questionswhat's a good space heater to use at work?


No, Mr. Cratchet, you may not have any more coal for the fire.

I think you will be hard pressed to find a space heater that is approved for use on an extension cord or power strip. Strips at least have their own breakers that usually trip before the main circuit breaker trips. That would make it a little safer than an extension cord.

The problem is current draw. Most outlets are rated for 15A, and you'll usually have multiple outlets on each breaker. The circuit breaker is usually rated at 15A-25A, based on how many outlets you have on that circuit.
If your electrical setup is like my house, the original installer saw no reason to have more than one circuit in the kitchen, so if I run my coffee pot at the same time as the dishwasher, then I pop the breaker.

Bottom line, find something that will keep you warm with a low current draw (5A or less). Good luck. Be careful.


Add up the power consumption of what's already plugged in (computers, monitor, printer, etc.). If it's under 900 watts, then you can use a heater on the low setting that doesn't exceed 600w. You don't want to overload the circuit ... that would be bad.

Better yet, talk to whoever's in charge to see if they can just turn up the thermostat a notch or two.


FYI: For all you non-science whizzes:
Watts = Voltage x Current (in the DC world. You can approximate the AC world this way)

So, a standard 120V, 15A outlet would have a maximum 1800 Watts available to share between the iDevices, Computers, call phone chargers, cool desk lamps, lava lamps, fans, and space heaters.


I would suggest pointing out to your boss / maintenance people that raising the temperature to the building a couple degrees would be a whole lot cheaper than paying for a space heater for every employee and a furnace. They're terribly inefficient, and super bad for the environment. A modern furnace is much cheaper to run.


Hello and welcome to woot! If @jrpigman's suggestion doesn't work, I found this 200 watt model available on Amazon for only $17.99. It looks like it may be just what you're looking for. It even says "Lower power useage saves on your energy bill and helps to elimanate tripping the circuit breaker if multiple heaters are used in an office setting" in the key features.


Most workplaces forbid the use of space heaters, ask to turn the heat up or wear heavier clothing or use thermals under your dress clothes. I know it's not what you want to hear but at my work I am usually wear my coat all day long in the winter.


Yeah, space heaters are a fire hazard in a work environment and could get you in trouble. That's not to say many many people ignore and use one anyway.
Maybe you can turn your computer around to blow the hot air over you, then run Prime95 or similar to keep that CPU cranking. :)
(only partly joking here, these PCs put out some heat, yo)

j5 j5

Warm blanket for the legs hidden under the desk, and fingerless gloves.


I have a small Honeywell space heater I use in my office and have not had any electrical issues with it, though I have nothing else plugged in to the outlet that I use for it. They are technically not allowed but multiple people use them. But this past winter I bought a Sunbeam electric blanket on woot! and will be using it this winter instead. I used it at home in my office last year and it worked great, and using it here at work this year will be safer (I believe) than the space heater.


How about an electric throw blanket and your grandmother's cardigan sweater? You can pack 'em both into a desk drawer when you go home at the end of the day.


As a network technician, I have to chime in and say: keep that thing away from your computer! It sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many computers we have die during the winter due to people using space heaters too close to their towers. That, and keep it on a separate surge protector.

But more directly to your question; I like radiator style heaters as there are no moving parts and they don't have crazy-hot heating elements, so they're safer.


@inkycatz: You sound like you speak from experience.


@gt0163c: I have a really large collection of gloves I can type in, just saying.


Huh. I use one, usually on high, at work off and on all day. It's the only thing on the power strip, and the only thing plugged into the outlet. I can't find anything that tells me its output. I was going to say that the most important component in my office heater is the automatic cutoff when tipped. I unplug it when it is not in use. If you can't get a heater for the office, my Costco is selling these "bun warmers", cushions that you heat in the microwave then sit on. They supposedly stay warm for hours. There are also gloves that are heated via USB that you could use to keep your hands warm. Only $4 with free shipping at Meritline, numerous selections under $10 at Amazon. There are a lot of things hunters and fishermen use to keep warm out of the reach of electricity, you could look at battery warmed socks and other sportsman's gear.


@xochiluvr: That's a really good idea. I have an electric throw I use on the sofa at home. I'll have to keep that in mind when they move us to the nasty warehouse they plan to store us in so they can demolish our building and put a baseball stadium in its place. I expect I'll be losing pretty much all the niceties I have work so hard to accumulate over the years.


warm heat bad


With one duplex receptacle and a power strip plugged into each outlet I see nothing but trouble here. My best advice would be to dress warmer, or as mentioned earlier, ask someone in charge to bump the thermostat up a few degrees.


Our office supply catalog just provided a supplement to the main catalog that featured two heated footrests. One is the Heat and Slide Footrest and uses 90 watts/.75 amps. The other is the Climate Control Footrest which offers cool fan, low heat, and high heat and uses 250 watts and 2.1 amps. They both offer an 8-hour auto-off feature. They seem to be made by Fellowes. This might be a more subtle way to keep from freezing to death. I would still try to put it on its own power strip or heavy duty extension cord, if possible.

cf cf

On the subject of "bun warmers" or generally keeping warm when you can't turn up the heater... You can also get those little hand warming packs super cheap (amazon currently has 12 dozen for $5

If you would rather be "green" about it, hot/cold rice packs are great: they don't use any more energy than 1 minute in the microwave every 20-30 minutes; I highly recommend these classy ones They're fleece on one side and cotton on the other; the cotton side lets the heat through more than the fleece, so you can flip it back and forth for the intensity you prefer.

We have a couple of those and my kids call them "heavy hugs", because we heat them up and give them to the kids as comfort objects when they're feeling needy and we aren't able to stay in their room for whatever reason.


Oh... and if someone really does want a space heater that ISN'T close to a computer nor plugged into an extension cord, this one from Sam's is great for small spaces: