As the temperatures start to sink, we usher in another winter full of freezing nights and bitter frosts. Meanwhile, the space heater industry gears up for the customer rush to grab one of their appliances to preserve a bit of comfort in their homes.

Figuring out which space heater to buy is often a tough task. Walk into a store and you see dozens of models on the shelf. Some are big, others are small. Some cost hundreds of dollars, while others are closer to $50.

If you don’t want to waste your money buying the wrong model, do your homework before you leave the house. Know your needs, so you can find the perfect space heater for your home.

Here are five different things to think about when shopping for energy saving space heaters.

What type of heater do you want?

There are numerous styles of energy saving heaters. Some are logistically more functional for certain spaces, while others are a matter of preference.

Essentially, there are three basic types of electric space heater: radiant, convection, and fan-forced.

Radiant heaters are usually smaller. They’re great for “spot” heat - such as heating underneath your desk. There isn’t a lot of power in a radiant heater, so typically they’re tasked with a small space.

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Convection heaters are great for heating even in larger rooms. Powerful and typically bulky, this is a heater you want in your living room or basement.

Finally, the fan-forced heaters are exactly what they sound like: they blow the heat with a fan. This results in fast heat that spreads out quickly. Fan-forced heaters are also space efficient, so they don’t get in the way.

What is the size of the space you need to heat?

A massive convection heater is a waste of money if you are just looking to keep your toes warm in your office. Likewise, your living room won’t change one degree if you have a small radiant heater running.

Make sure you have an idea of the square footage of the area that you want to heat. Then, look at the wattage rating of the space heaters in the store. Usually, a room heater uses 10 watts of power to heat one square foot. If your space is 150 square feet, a 1,500-watt energy efficient space heater would be plenty for supplementary heat.

Different styles have different rules, of course. Check the box for the manufacturer’s recommendations on the size of the room that the heater can handle.

Is it energy efficient?

Whether you are looking to lessen your impact on the environment or just want to save as much money as possible, finding the most efficient space heater for your money is very important.

While there isn’t a standard energy rating on electric heaters - like you might find on other appliances - you can still look for energy saving features available on your space heater.

It might be a simple “Energy Saving Mode” or an adjustable thermostat. If the model offers low wattage and programmable timers, you can set it up to minimize its power consumption.

What safety features are available?

A heater can be an intimidating appliance in the home. Any time you’re dealing with something that gives off a lot of heat, there are concerns about burning yourself or starting a fire.

The last thing you want is your dog or your child to accidentally burn themselves on an overheated, unsafe space heater.

Safety is crucial for customers - and fortunately, manufacturers of space heaters have made safety a top priority.

With most models today, the housing of the space heater is cool-to-the-touch, to avoid the risk of accidentally burning yourself by bumping into it or picking it up.

Other great features include an internal switch mechanism that automatically disables the heater if it is knocked over or tipped. This greatly reduces the risk of fire or other damage to your home.

Another invaluable feature is overheat protection. With this feature, a sensor will monitor how hot the heater gets. If, for whatever reason, the heater begins to give off too much heat, the sensor kicks in and disables the appliance before getting too hot.

How loud is it?

Let’s wrap up with possibly the most overlooked consideration when buying a space heater: noise.

Whether you keep your space heater in the bedroom for chilly nights or in the family room for comfortable movie watching, the last thing you want is a heater that drowns out the peace and quiet of your room.

Like any appliance, a space heater is going to make some noise while it operates. But also like any appliance, some models are louder than others.

Typically, fan-forced units are the loudest. The hum of that fan can be peaceful, but in many cases, it’s just too noisy to operating on a regular basis.

One great option would be a non-fan-forced unit, like a baseboard heater or an oil-filled radiator. These models are practically silent, so you can sleep in peace and harmony while staying toasty warm. And if you set one up in the family room, you won’t miss a word coming from your TV.

Another option is to consider a radiant space heater for smaller spaces, as they tend to be the most silent of models.

Which space heater do you need?

Only you can answer that question. Take a look at the list above and see what you overlooked. Jot down some notes and measurements and then you can head to the store to pick up the perfect model for your needs.

Just don’t forget to consider all aspects of the space heater. And only when you narrow down your search to the models that fit your specific needs can you then sort them by price.

The entire process just got a little more simple, didn’t it? Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed with all your options. Just pay attention to a few key areas, so you can shop with confidence.