The 7 Best Portable Electric Car Heaters to Buy in 2018

Defrost quickly and be on your way

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If there's one thing all car owners can agree on in the winter, it's that blasting warm air in a hurry is a must. Fortunately, products like 12V electric portable car heaters exist to help get the warm air flowing throughout a car in as little as 30 seconds, which is often far faster than most built-in automobile heating units. Whether your car heating system doesn't work well or you're looking to have something for an emergency that doubles as a window defroster, we've put together some of the best portable car heaters to help you get warm and stay warm.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Tvird 12V Car Heater

The 12V Tvird Car Heater is a standout choice for warming up a vehicle fast. Offering 180 degrees of rotation, hot air quickly flows up, down and all around. With three separate output ports, hot air can rapidly spread heat throughout the car before or during driving. Two different power level options provide additional control depending on the temperature outside. Beyond heating up the vehicle, the Tvird car heater doubles as a window defroster if pointed directly at the rear or front windshields.

Best 360-Degree: AUTOPDR Car Fan Heater

The AUTOPDR is a top-notch 12V portable car heater with 360-rotation that provides direct heat output throughout a car in seconds. With a suggested distance of around five feet, placement of the AUTOPDR is best handled near the dashboard where it can double as a window defroster. It has built-in overheat protection preventing overuse and the manufacturer recommends a 20-minute run time.

Additionally, the AUTOPDR maintains a minimal noise level, so it can run in the background as you drive the car, talk on the phone or listen to the radio without overwhelming interruption. Operating the AUTOPDR is a breeze with a quick flip of a switch to "on" while the base can be mounted anywhere in the car with double-sided adhesive tape.

Best Multipurpose: Ixaer Car Heater Fan

The Ixaer portable car heater begins warming up a car within 30 seconds of being plugged into any 12V input. Powered by three different air outlets and a 360-degree rotating base for evenly warming up the inside of a vehicle, the Ixaer can quickly make you comfortable when you're waiting for the engine to heat up and start blowing its own hot air. Doubling as a window defroster, thanks to its warm-air mode, the Ixaer will rapidly reduce time spent waiting for windows to defrost before placing the car into drive. And it can quickly switch into cold-air fan mode during the summer to cool down the car. The Ixaer is compact enough to sit directly on a dashboard without impairing vision or vehicle operation.

Best Budget: Schumacher 12V Ceramic Heater

When you’re talking about products with an average price point between $15 and $30, the budget option had better be cheap. The Schumacher 12V heater comes in well under the competition, which is pretty amazing as the unit promises to heat up in minutes and runs power directly from your cigarette lighter. Of course, there are some shortcomings, including a finicky power current optimization and some mixed Amazon reviews, but these heaters are a last-ditch effort that aren't meant to replace the work of a full-car heating system. All in all, you can overlook some of the poor reviews for the price point, but it is important to check what wattage your car can put out through the cigarette lighter (this unit takes 150W) because for the device to even put out any heat it has to be rated correctly for your vehicle. 

Best Reach: niceEshop Portable Car Heater

While most 12V portable car heaters can reach to the dashboard, the niceEshop takes it up a notch with a 47-inch cable that can stretch to the backseat of most cars for rapid warming. Designed for both heat and defrosting windows, the niceEshop includes three outputs, each with its own powerful airflow that can both heat up and cool down in a flash. Capable of fitting any vehicle with a 12V power input, the unit includes premium materials like a copper cable for increased longevity and lifespan. The base can be mounted using double-sided adhesive tape (not included). Once attached, the niceEshop rotates 180-degrees for sending airflow in a variety of directions.

Best Design: Hibuy Fan Front Heater

Unlike a few other brands, Hibuy understands the limits of a tiny 12-volt portable unit and realized that the best use-case for them is windshield defrosting. While many of the units on this list do offer that as a feature, this Fan Front Heater presents that goal as its main focus, earning the best design spot on our list. The heater can reach a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) and comes complete with a 180-degree rotating base so you can point it at whatever part of the windshield would benefit most from its attention. There are ten high-temperature vents that are concentrated in an even beam at the front which better equips the unit to heat a small section of the windshield. Like most units on this list, it plugs right into the cigarette lighter and requires only a few minutes to fully heat up. 

Best Universal: Nuzamas 12V DC Car Heater Fan

NUZAMAS 12V DC Car Demister Heater Fan for Front Windscreen Window 150W Winter / Cold Weather Foggy Screen Removal
Courtesy of Amazon

Built to last with a strong ABS plastic exterior, the Nuzamas car heater fan is a dashboard-friendly option that's lightweight and easy to use. The included 4.5-foot cable allows the heater to move all around the car. With a maximum power of 150 watts, the Nuzamas heats up faster than the car's own built-in heating system, so you can get on the road quicker. Whether you're a car or truck owner, the Nuzamas plugs directly into any 12V DC input or cigarette lighter whether they're in the rear or front seats. The 180-degree base mounts directly onto a dashboard with included double-sided adhesive tape.