Last updated: 10 Feb 2023

Best Portable Car Heater

Who hasn’t got up early for a necessary appointment only to find there was a severe frost overnight and the car is frozen solid. No-one has time to sit and wait while the engine warms up and defrosts the car; plus, the inside may as well be a block of ice.

Should your vehicle have leather seats and no seat warmers, it takes a brave man or woman to jump in and sit in the seat, when it’s minus degrees inside the car. 

A 12-volt portable car heater could be an excellent back-up to your car’s heater and get things moving a lot more quickly. In fact, instead of 15 to 20 minutes hanging around, you could be on your way in only a few minutes. 

Finding the best portable car heater is not going to be easy; there are so many choices. Do you have the time to search online every make and model of the heater?

With this buying guide, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of portable car heaters, and you only need to choose the one that suits your needs and budget; picking one from this list makes it quick and straightforward for you.

Best Portable Car Heater


Portable Car Heater - 12V 150W Defroster/Defogger with Air Purify

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You can fit the HLII portable electric car heater to your dashboard using double-sided tape; clean the installation area first, apply the tape, and pop the heater on top of the tape. It’s lightweight and will not fall off. 

As long as you have 12V power through the cigar lighter, the heater will warm the windshield for you.

Use the heater as a back-up to your vehicle’s demister; the heater design includes glass defrosting, de-icing and de-fogging.

This tiny heater is made from heat-resistant hard plastic and has one hundred and eighty degrees rotation to blow air into the car and the windshield. There is also a tilt angle on the heater to reach areas of the windshield that may continually fog.


Michebizzzz Portable Car Heater

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Plug the Michebizzzz car heater into your cigarette lighter socket; it requires 12V and 150 watts to work efficiently.

The bracket holds the portable heater and attaches it to the vehicle’s windshield by a circular sticky pad, similar to a car phone mount. The stand swivels 360-degrees so you can find the exact position you need. The heater is capable of de-icing and de-fogging your windshield in freezing winters or swivel the heater around to warm up the car’s interior.

Don’t attempt to continually use the heater for longer than ten minutes at any one time.

Dual functions, one for warmth and the other for natural air, allow the heater to be helpful during warm weather.


Portable Car Heater - 12V 150W Defroster Fans (Black)

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This model is an upgrade to the original Joeoy JAuto and now offers three air outlets to increase the airflow and heat. The heater powers up quickly and is de-fogging your vehicle in less than one minute. The heater is even capable of melting snow on your windshield.

To operate the JAuto, simply plug the cable into your 12V car cigarette lighter socket and position the heater in the appropriate position on your dash.

This portable car heater is a  straightforward design incorporating a 360-degree rotating bracket for optimal warm air direction. The heater will also adjust to several tilt angles to get at those hard-to-reach areas that car vents find difficult.

The heater is high-quality and durable ABS and polymer heat-resistant hard plastic. There are some built-in safety features including, power-off protection, anti-voltage, and a built-in fuse.

The heater is suitable for vehicles with a 12V cigarette lighter socket and can supply 150-watt power. JAuto is a 2-in-1 multifunction device providing both heat and naturally cool air.


FiveJoy Car Fan - 360 Degree Rotatable, 12V DC Electric (Dual Head)

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The fans on the FiveJoy are not heaters, but they can still benefit you because they can blow warm air from the car’s heaters around in the vehicle’s interior.

When there’s a lot of humidity in the car, some windshield areas and side windows are constantly misting up. Even if you put the blower on full power, the vents just can’t reach the correct place; plus, the heat level can rise excessively if you have it on high to get those spots.

With these fans strategically placed, you can cut your car’s heater’s temperature and still blow away the fog on your windows. Because the fans don’t heat, there’s sufficient power from 12V to give the fans more power.

Same with the rear window, set the fans to aim at the back of the car to clear that window, or split the fans one for the back one for the side.

These fans are great for the summer; during those times when it’s not hot enough for the aircon but you still need to circulate the air inside the car. Even if it’s hot enough for you to use aircon, you might not want to spend money having it running.


Heated Seat Cushion - Fast Heating (Reduce Stress)

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The Heated Seat Cushion warmer offers you luxuriously warmth even in the coldest winter months, and you can be feeling toasty within one minute of switching on your seat warmer, thanks to the NiCr heating wires rather than standard resistance wires.

There are three heating levels from 114-degrees Fahrenheit up to 131-degrees Fahrenheit; the heat covers your back, hips, and thighs.

There are dual safety guards built into the design. The cushion has insulation and is flame-retardant, plus there is an overheat protection thermostat. The final safety feature is the default timer that automatically shuts down the seat warmer after fifty minutes.

You can experience the luxurious feel of the top-quality PU leather cover backed by dense foam padding; the seat warmer is devoid of any static electricity build-up.

The seat warmer is quick and straightforward to install, and you can secure it around the headrest poles and with hooks that go under your vehicle’s seats. The underside of the warmer is non-slip rubber.

To use the seat warmers, simply plug the cable into a 12V or 24V vehicle cigarette lighter socket.


Zerostart 2600900 Interior Car Warmer

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If you park your vehicle inside a garage or within proximity to an electrical outlet, then the Zerostart 2600900 interior car warmer might be a good choice for you.

The unit is quick and straightforward to install; it fits under the dash or mounts on the floor of your car; the purchase includes a mounting bracket.

The Zerostart is primarily a heater to warm the car before you want to drive away. If it’s a particularly freezing night and you want a warm and frost-free vehicle, plug the warmer into the power outlet and leave it for a few minutes to work its magic and when you return ready to go, you have a lovely toasty warm vehicle.

Don’t worry if you forget you’re using it because an automatic high-temperature safety sensor will switch off the unit once the vehicle’s interior reaches a maximum of 158-degrees Fahrenheit.

The warmer will reset and begin heating again after a break of between 15 to 30 minutes.

The Zerostart has a one-time secondary use thermal safety sensor; this turns the heater off before reaching a critical heat of 286-degrees Fahrenheit. The heater will not work again or be repairable.


Lasko Heating Space Heater

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The Lasko is an excellent space heater for cars. The unit plugs into the mains supply, so if you want to use it in your vehicle, you have a couple of options. Plug it into the AC outlet in your garage and pop it into the car and before you drive away in a nice warm vehicle, unplug the space heater. The other option is to use the heater while your traveling purchase an inverter.

A power inverter will increase the DC voltage from your car’s battery, change it to AC and use it to run your space heater. We recommend you purchase a 3000-watt inverter, but you’ll need to know what voltage the vehicle’s battery uses, so you don’t buy the wrong inverter.

The portable space heater has a ceramic heat generating core and a fan to circulate the warm air. For such a small unit, the heater can throw out some decent heat. If you are close up, the temperature can rise to close to 95-degrees Fahrenheit and down to roughly 68-degrees Fahrenheit from three feet away. Really, that’s plenty of heat in a car’s confined interior, especially when the main idea is to warm the vehicle until its heater takes over.

With a six-foot cord, there’s plenty of length to plug into a wall outlet and put the heater inside the car.

There are safety protocols installed in the heater, such as automatic overheat protection.


Stalwart 75-BP800 Red/Black Electric Blanket for Automobile

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The Stalwart electric car blanket is a different take on how to keep warm in a vehicle. This electric blanket is perfect for road trips in the dead of winter, especially if you have passengers that really feel the cold; older parents or young children can get very cold on long trips in the back of a vehicle. 

While those in the front seat get pretty hot using the car heaters, passengers in the back might still be feeling cold. An electric blanket keeps them warm without front passengers getting toasted.

If you want your kids to get a decent sleep in the back seats, you’ve got to keep them nice and warm.

Talking about elderly parents, if you’re stuck on what to buy them for a gift, an electric car blanket would be ideal and not something they might expect.

The blankets are available in a range of six colors that will match any vehicle interior. The blanket plugs directly into your cigarette lighter socket and, with a 96-inch cord, will easily reach those back seat passengers we’ve been talking about.

The blanket is 100% polyester, and the dimensions are 59 by 43 inches. Because of the wiring running through the blanket, it’s not suitable for machine washing, but you can spot clean. There is also a convenient storage case so you can stow the blanket in the trunk when not needed.

Safety Precautions When Using Portable Car Heaters

Staying safe when you’re driving is obviously the priority in any situation and using a portable car heater is no exception.

Heaters are a terrific way to get going more quickly on freezing mornings, but you could also say they are a safety feature in themselves. Road accident surveys continually put driver distractions as the number one cause of road traffic accidents.

There’s nothing more distracting to any driver than freezing cold in their vehicle and driving in those conditions. What about those drivers who don’t have the time or patience to clean the ice and snow off their vehicle’s windows; they’re driving with severely reduced visibility.

Using a portable car heater is a quick way to clear the ice and snow before the car’s heater has a chance to kick in and finish the job, saving a lot of time and a potential accident.

What safety precautions should you take when you use a portable car heater?

  • They still use electricity, so keep them away from any liquids.
  • Ensure the heater is suitable for your vehicle.
  • Heaters should automatically turn off if they tip over for any reason.
  • A thermostat (temperature controls) is essential.
  • Ensure you switch the heater off or unplug from the lighter socket when not in use.
  • Check for any breakages in the cord and make sure the fuses work correctly.

Best Portable Car Heater FAQ

Are portable car heaters safe?

Dealing with anything electrical that reaches high temperatures is potentially dangerous. You should treat them with respect, even though they are typically small, and plug them into your cigarette lighter socket.

Assuming you have checked the heater’s manufacturing source and that it’s a suitable one for your vehicle, then it’s a question of you being careful when you have it switched on while driving.

Do portable heaters have a remote?

Typically no, they do not. Most portable car heaters have a simple on/off switch on the body of the heater. Of course, you can always turn them off by removing the plug from the lighter socket.

How Long Does It Take A Portable Heater To Be Effective?

There’s no definitive answer to this question because it will depend on the heater. But considering most portable heaters are small and have a relatively low heat output, it will take a few minutes to, let’s say, melt the ice from your windscreen.

You use them to begin the process of unfreezing your vehicle. To wait for your car engine to heat up sufficiently for the heaters to throw any warmth out can take quite a long time. The portable car heater can begin the process instantly you switch it on inside the car; it will undoubtedly get you going a lot faster than not having one.

Bottom Line – Best Portable Car Heater

There are several ways of heating your vehicle in freezing weather, and you can see from our buying guide we have given you a wide selection. We are confident that at least one of the heaters will benefit you next time you’re facing a snowed-in or frozen vehicle.

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