Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The RundownBest Overall:COMFIER Massage Seat Cushion at Amazon"With three heating pads and two heat level settings, it promises to start warming you up within a minute, helping to ease the frigid feeling of getting into a half-frozen vehicle."Best for RVs:Caframo Limited True North Space Heater at Amazon"This heater provides plenty of warmth for your camper, with five heat settings to suit your needs up to a maximum wattage of 1500"Runner-up, Best for RVs:Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer at Amazon"The Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer packs a lot of heat into a small device, providing 900 Watts/120 Volt AC/3,000 BTU of power."Runner-Up, Best Heat Massager:Snailax Massage Car Seat Cushion at Walmart"This massage cushion, which plugs into your car's lighter port, both heats and massages to get you warmed up and comfortable in a hurry."Best Budget:AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater at Amazon"For occasional heating needs in your RV, it's a very affordable device to keep handy."Best Defrosting:FERRYONE Portable Car Heater at Amazon"It plugs into a 12V lighter port and rapidly defrosts your windshield with a blast of hot air."Best Shiatsu Heat Massager:Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager at Amazon"Zyllion's massager is a versatile option that can be used for the upper and lower back, plus it comes with both car and home plugs for use anywhere."Runner-up, Best Shiatsu Heat Massager:Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager at Amazon"The Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager drapes around your neck, delivering relief as the heated shiatsu balls push and prod your muscles."in this articleExpandOur PicksAbout Our Trusted ExpertsFAQsWhat to Look for in a Portable Electric Car Heater:
The best portable electric car heaters can be a lifesaver in the winter. If you live in an area with four well-defined seasons, then you probably know well the frustration and discomfort of dealing with a car in the winter. Whether it's a cold car or frosty windows, it can take a while to get comfortable—or even be able to see outside the windshield. And if you own an RV, then the colder months can make camper living a lot less appealing.
Luckily, there are many different electric heating options for cars and larger vehicles, including heaters designed for RVs, compact heaters meant to defrost your windshield, and heated massager cushions that can help you warm up in a hurry.
Our pick for the best portable electric car heater is the COMFIER Massage Seat Cushion with Heat at Amazon, which warms your back and bottom while providing optional massaging vibrations. Not sure what kind of portable electric car heater is best suited for your needs? Read Ach5's explanation of which heaters are best and safest for use in vehicles.
Otherwise, read on to see the best portable electric car heaters to get.
Best Overall:COMFIER Massage Seat CushionBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Warms and massages
Multiple massage settings
Has car + home adaptersWhat We Don't Like
Just vibration massage
Your car might take a while to warm up on its own, but at least you can accelerate your own comfort with the COMFIER Massage Seat Cushion with Heat, which looks to live up to its name. With three heating pads and two heat level settings, it promises to start warming you up within a minute, helping to ease the frigid feeling of getting into a half-frozen vehicle.
And that's not all. Thanks to 10 vibrating motors dispersed throughout the back and seat of the pad, you'll also get a nice massaging feeling while you warm up and drive. It has five programmed settings and three intensity levels, so between the heat and the massaging capabilities, it shouldn't take long before you get comfy for your commute.The 6 Best Car Battery Warmers
Best for RVs:Caframo Limited True North Space HeaterBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartBuy on Home DepotWhat We Like
Looks like a car heaterWhat We Don't Like
Reports of non-functional units
Looking to fill your RV with heat and minimize your reliance on propane? Caframo Limited's True North Space Heater provides plenty of warmth for your camper, with five heat settings to suit your needs up to a maximum wattage of 1500, plus a dual overheat protection system to avoid dangerous overheating.
Customer reviews point to a powerful blast of heat that circulates quickly through your heater and generates only noise, particularly on the lower settings. It's still pretty compact at 9.25 x 4.4 x 4.4 inches and just over 5 pounds, with a metal and plastic look that works well in an RV and can be easily mounted to a wall or ceiling.
Runner-up, Best for RVs:Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car WarmerBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartWhat We Like
Strong heating power
Overheating protectionWhat We Don't Like
Not for smaller cars
Ideal for RVs, passenger vans, and light-duty utility vehicles, the Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer packs a lot of heat into a small device, providing 900 Watts/120 Volt AC/3,000 BTU of power. It'll warm up the inside of your ride while also clearing the frost from your windows, getting you both comfortable and ready to roll.
Customer reviews suggest that it's great for getting your car toasty warm before you even step out of the house, plus it has a safety sensor that automatically shuts the heater off should it reach extremely hot temperatures.The 5 Best Heads-Up Displays of 2021
Runner-Up, Best Heat Massager:Snailax Massage Car Seat CushionBuy on WalmartWhat We Like
Heats and massagesWhat We Don't Like
Only for car use
Just six vibration motors
SNAILAX's Massage Car Seat Cushion is a less robust massaging option, but it's also more affordable as well. This massage cushion, which plugs into your car's lighter port, both heats and massages to get you warmed up and comfortable in a hurry. It has three built-in heating pads that cover the back and seat, with optional auto shut-off timers.
Meanwhile, the six vibration motors provide a massaging feeling to your upper and lower back, hips, and thighs, with five different massage mode settings and four intensity settings. With a soft polyester finish, seat straps, and an anti-slip surface on the bottom, the SNAILAX Massage Car Seat Cushion can make your next cold-weather journey a lot more pleasurable.10 Essential Tech Items to Pack For the Ultimate Road Trip
Best Budget:AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini HeaterBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Compact sizeWhat We Don't Like
Modest heating power
Amazon's AmazonBasics line delivers simple, common electronics typically at a lower price than rival brands, and that's true with the AmazonBasics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater. While not packed with a lot of power, this portable electric heater is great for warming up your surroundings in a pinch.
Ideal for use in an RV, this six-inch tall heater can be placed on a table or countertop to provide warmth to any small space. It has tip-over protection to automatically shut off if knocked over, and Amazon sells it in four different colors. For occasional heating needs in your RV, it's a very affordable device to keep handy.
Best Defrosting:FERRYONE Portable Car HeaterBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
360-degree swivel mountWhat We Don't Like
Not much power
A frosty windshield is one of the worst parts of coming back to a half-frozen car. Even if you can tolerate the frigid feeling inside your car, you might not be able to get moving for a while until the frost clears. Luckily, that's where the FERRYONE Portable Car Heater comes in handy. This dash-mountable heater is designed to help clear your view in a hurry.
It plugs into a 12V lighter port and rapidly defrosts your windshield with a blast of hot air. At 150W, it's not going to provide a ton of heat to warm up the inside of your car in a hurry, but this little device should be very handy for its intended task.The 6 Best Car Chargers of 2021
Best Shiatsu Heat Massager:Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck MassagerBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Strong shiatsu massage
Heats while it massages
Both car + home adaptersWhat We Don't Like
Could feel bulky in car seat
While those other massaging cushions stick with vibrating pulses to deliver relief, the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager has heavy-duty rotating balls that rotate as they work into your muscles. All the while, the balls optionally heat up, delivering warmth and comfort. It's perfect for a long drive in the winter, warming you up while keeping you cozy and comfy.
Zyllion's massager is a versatile option that can be used for the upper and lower back, plus it comes with both car and home plugs for use anywhere. It's compact and affordable—a very helpful companion for your winter aches and pains.The 5 Best Car Phone Holders of 2021
Runner-up, Best Shiatsu Heat Massager:Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck MassagerBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Massages and heats
Car and home adaptersWhat We Don't Like
Could be distracting for some
Here's another shiatsu heat massaging option, albeit more targeted towards the upper back and heck. The Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager drapes around your neck, delivering relief as the heated shiatsu balls push and prod your muscles.
While a bit less versatile than the Zyllion massager, given its shape, it still delivers a lot of comfort as it both massages and heats you up in the process. Naipo includes both car and home power adapters so that you can use it anywhere, and it's a good way to start winding down on a cold drive home—or get warmed up in a cool car in the morning.The 5 Best Car Stereo Systems of 2021Final Verdict
COMFIER's Massage Seat Cushion with Heat is our pick for the best option for most car drivers, as it can warm you up safely and with little hassle, with the added benefit of vibration-based massaging as well. However, if you drive an RV or you're looking for a small heater to defrost your windshield, we recommend the Caframo Heater. It provides up to 1500W and has overheating protection.FAQ
About Our Trusted Experts
Sean Ludwig is a full-time gadgets writer who has amassed bylines in publications such as Gizmodo, VentureBeat, PCMag.com, and Fast Company
Andrew Hayward is a freelance writer and editor who has covered gadgets since 2006 and had his work appear across the web, magazines, and books.
Do portable car heaters really work?As our article explains, while a portable car heater powered by the cigarette lighter outlet can't stand-in for the full heating system of your vehicle, a 12-volt heater wired directly to the battery with an inline fuse is much more capable. A universal heater that relies on coolant rather than an electric heating element is an even more powerful alternative, but they're expensive and difficult to install.
Can you run a propane heater in your car?Using a propane heater in your car, particularly with the windows closed, is a bad idea. Propane heaters not only produce propane exhaust but also generate a lot of water vapor/moisture; without proper ventilation, the available oxygen can be quickly exhausted. They also present a risk of fire.
Are portable car heaters safe?Used properly, the heaters on our list are extremely safe; many 12V heaters, for instance, have an inline fuse for safety. That said, most residential heaters, even portable ones, aren't designed for or safe to use in your vehicle.
What to Look for in a Portable Electric Car Heater
Functionality - What do you need the heat for? Are you trying to keep an RV warm in the winter, warm your body with a heated cushion, or melt the frost on your windshield so that you can get going? There are heaters designed for each need.
Compatibility - Make sure your car can handle the 12V lighter port plug that many of these heaters use, otherwise you'll need a car power inverter to plug in a traditional two-prong plug and draw power from your vehicle.
Price - Ultimately, a heater has to fit within your budget, so consider your needs and whether you want to shell out for something significant or just want something affordable. We have included a wide range of options on this list.