Space heaters provide so much value during the cold months, but they can be dangerous. For that reason, they’re also usually not allowed in places like offices and dorms, leaving you to shiver through work or study sessions. I once sneaked a heater into an old job and kept it under my desk, but the stress of having contraband and the guilt of endangering my colleagues was upsetting. I wish I’d known then what I know now: There are some great space-heater alternatives out there.
Warming gadgets that aren’t space heaters
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First things first: There are gadgets you can use to replace space heaters. They’ll keep you warm without the risk of, well, starting a fire. You should still always use caution when interacting with hot items, but these are a good place to start:
Keep a heated vest like this one from Burngogo ($44.99) wherever you tend to get cold, like your office or bedroom. It shuts off after two and a half hours of inactivity and allows you to choose between three heat settings. Be advised that most of the heated vests available on Amazon do not come with a battery pack, but you can buy one separately or use a power bank you already have for your phone. I’ve had one of these for years and swear by it for chilly commutes.
Try a heated floor mat to keep your feet toasty under your desk. Hodeamy sells one for $37.99. It has eight temperature levels and an automatic shutoff after three hours, plus it’s small enough to take on the go.
Electric heating pads, like this one from Meetmet ($15.10), are a mainstay for those of us who get nasty cramps once a month, but they have uses well beyond that all winter long. Again, this has an automatic shutoff and is small enough to cart with you from home to office. Drape it on your shoulders or stick it in your lap for instant warmth.
Even when draped in blankets while you work, your hands must still reach into the cold to access your mouse and keyboard. That’s not a problem anymore. You can get a heated mouse pad ($21.97) or even a heated pad to put under your keyboard ($24.99).
Finally, try a heated seat cover ($50.99) if you struggle with low temps while you work. The one linked here is big and cushy, but you can also find thinner ones that are like big versions of the electric heating pad, like this one ($31.99).
Other non-space heater options
I’ve long been a proponent of directly warming yourself with a hair dryer, but that’s not easy to accomplish if you have to hold anything else in your hand. If you’re anti-gadget altogether, you can always go the old-fashioned route and bake something, which heats up your kitchen and surrounding areas. When you’re done, leave the oven open and your home will become a hot paradise—temporarily.
Don’t forget to pick up some HotHands insole warmers, too. You can get 16 pairs for $34.65. They’re not electric at all. In fact, I don’t really know how they work; I just know they do work and I am forever stuffing them into my shoes before commuting. They say they work up to nine hours, but as a penny-pinching dirtbag, I can confirm they work longer than that, so 16 pairs will last you a while. Just be advised that after some time, they’ll sort of start to disintegrate in your shoe, so remove them before you see any signs of that. (It’s hard to get the crumbly bits out of your footwear, especially boots.) But these aren’t just for outdoor treks—put some in your slippers for at-home warmth. Just know you have to wear socks as a barrier between your foot and the warmer, but that added layer of toastiness should not be a concern when the goal is to be warm.