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.
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: Catinbow Portable Car Heater
Designed to fit any car with a 12V plug, the Catinbow portable car heater offers high-temperature output and a long range to maximize its effectiveness. Equipped with both fan and heat settings available at the flip of a switch, the Catinbow is as reliable for heat in the winter as it is for a blast of cool air in the summer. Installation is a breeze; the power cord from the Catinbow plugs directly into any 12V input while the removable base can rotate 360-degrees for maximum airflow. It can also be held safely in place with double-sided adhesive for aiming air flow in one direction. A universal fit for any vehicle, Catinbow ensures longevity with its products by utilizing copper wiring, wear-resistant cores and an alloy ceramic heating element to ensure there’s no risk of damage to the car or its battery.
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: CARETHYS Portable Car Heater
With a plug and go design, the Carethys 12V portable car heater and its sharp design are a great solution for a cold weather problem. It’s red and black and has three outlets that can blow out warm air across 180 degrees. The freely adjustable base stays in place with screws (not included) or the included double adhesive tape. Also useful for defrosting or demisting windows, the CARETHYS can pause the 180-degree rotation to blow air in a specific direction rather than relying on the car’s built-in units that can take more time to warm up. With an easy connection directly into a car’s 12V outlet, the Carethys is ready to work almost instantly, however, with 150 watts of power it’s recommended for around 10 minutes of use before risking overheating.
Best Universal: Nuzamas 12V DC Car Heater Fan
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.