Portable 12V car heaters are fantastic little devices that can heat up or in some cases cool down your vehicle quickly, without having to leave the engine running for a while. You don’t need to install these heaters or cooler fans, just simply sit them on your dashboard, plug them into your 12V cigarette socket like you would with a portable kettle, and you’re ready to start putting out heat. They’re not going to put out a great deal of heat and certainly won’t be able to match the standard car heater, but it’s the practicality and speed of getting heat out that makes them worth considering.
If you’re normally in a rush to get to your work and need to be able to defrost or defog your windshield and don’t have the luxury of protecting it with a windscreen cover, then one of these portable heaters are suitable for giving it a quick blast over to clear. Have a look at our top 12 volt portable heater picks for cars below to see if there’s one that looks effective enough for clearing your windscreen at an affordable price.
Best 12 Volt Car Heaters in the UK Reviews
Heating and Cooling
Blows natural wind and warm air
#1. MOSOY Car Heater Defroster
The MOSOY Car Heater Defroster is a convenient and attractive option to help you manage any cold weather conditions, fog, or frost that may be making your driving experience unpleasant. This is a 150W heater that will perfectly heat your car and will defog and defrost your windows and windshield.
It has a universal rotating base that can direct heat in any direction, allowing you to freely control what areas of your vehicle receive directed heat. It has a non-slip base that is affixed to your dashboard with a double-sided adhesive. It resists bumps in the road and has full power failure protection.
- Anti-fog and anti-frost
- Uses premium copper cable to heat your car for long durations
- The anti-slip base is 360-degree rotatable
- Great for travel, camping, and regularly warming your vehicle during winter months
- Easy to install and adjust
- Blower not as powerful as it could be
#2. Lesgos Portable Car Defroster
If you have trouble warming your car or clearing away fog or frost, the Lesgos Portable Car Heater is a great solution to your problems. This car heater defroster is designed to ensure quick heating and is compatible with all 12-volt sockets in your car. It’s easy to install and use, as the base can be installed with either screws or double-sided tape.
Additionally, this heater works as a fan as well, so you can use it year-round for all of your temperature-adjusting needs.
- Features a 180-degree rotary bracket
- Can be used as a fan on hot days and a heater in colder weather
- Easy to install with either double-sided tape or screws
- Made of heat-resistant ABS material
- Takes a little longer to heat up
#3. LayOPO New Multifunctional
The LayOPO New Multifunctional Car Heater is a powerful, 150-watt plug-in fan, heater, and defroster that comes with two adjustment modes conveniently located at the front of the unit. This will allow you to either cool or heat the air space in your vehicle, depending on the temperature you’re hoping to achieve.
- Has a high-quality exhaust fan
- 360-degree universal rotating base
- Suitable for all 12-volt vehicle sockets
- Has an anti-skid design and additional anti-skid mat
- Great for defogging windshields and windows
- Heat could be stronger
#4. Tenlso Portable Car
The Tenlso Portable Car Heater Defroster has an easily-rotatable 180-degree rotary holder so that you can direct both heat and cool air in almost any direction that you need it. With a wide air outlet, you can warm your car directly and completely without any additional hassle. Despite the wide outlet, it is a small, portable unit that will not obstruct or disturb your view while you drive.
- Made from ABS heat-resistant material able to withstand high temperatures
- 180-degree rotation
- Comes in 12V and 24V to accommodate a wider variety of vehicles
- Has a built-in fuse and automatic power-off protection
- 2-in-1 heater and fan
- Not as effective as other units
#5. MIFXIN Portable
MIFXIN’s Portable Car Heater Defroster is a noiseless portable heater that will defrost your windows and warm your car starting as soon as 30 seconds after being plugged in. It has a 360-degree rotary holder that will allow you to reposition the unit in any way you like or need to that particular windows or areas of your car heat up faster or first. It is compact and easy to install.
- Made from ABS and polymer heat-resistant hard plastic
- Features automatic heating, overheating protection, and low energy consumption
- Ideal for cooling, heating, demisting, and defrosting
- 360-degree rotary holder
- Available in three different colours: red, black, and grey
- Quality isn't as good
Portable 12v Car Heater Buying Considerations
Heating Capacity and Noise Level
When searching for the perfect 12-volt car heater, you should first consider the capacity of your potential heater and the noise level the heater might cause within your vehicle.
The amount of space that a heater can cover is essential to determining if it will be a good fit for you and your needs. A good rule of thumb is that a heater will use 10 watts of power to heat a square foot of space. This doesn’t apply to every heater model, of course, but it’s a good baseline to figure out what kind of output you need to be searching for.
Noise is a contributing factor if you’re someone that likes to listen to the radio, podcasts, or even conversation within your own vehicle. Additionally, a heater that is too loud may make it difficult for you to hear outside forces, like trains or brakes. Most people opt for heaters that they cannot hear working.
There are primarily three types of 12-volt car heaters available on the market. Each has its own pros and cons, but it’s essential to know what you’re looking for when you begin your search.
Convection portable car heaters are arguably the safest kind of portable car heater to use. They draw the cold air over an electrical heating element and then transfer the heat into the air in the space. The heated air rises because it is less dense than the cold air, and more cold air is then pushed into the heater.
Convection heaters work best in vehicles that are sealed up since the convection method relies on having access to a closed volume of air for circulation and heating.
Additionally, some convection heaters use oil. These oil-filled heaters heat the oil sealed inside of them using electricity. The oil is not actually burned, however. The heat from the oil is transferred to the surrounding casing and then to the air circulation system. Oil-filled heaters tend to take longer to heat your car because they rely on natural convection rather than forced-air convection.
Fan-forced heaters also heat air over a heating element within the unit. They will warm your car’s air space quickly because they use a fan system to redistribute the heated air. These heaters are fantastic options for particularly cold weather, and as an additional bonus, they take up much less space than convection heaters.
The downside to these fans is that they are usually very noisy when the fan is on full power. They also may hold some fire hazard risks depending on the placement of the heating element and any surrounding clutter in your vehicle.
There are also ceramic fan-forced heaters, which are usually safer than the traditional heaters as ceramic cools more quickly than metallic elements will. This reduces the risk of fire or burning.
The final type of car heater is the radiant portable car heater. These also use a heating element to bring warmth to your vehicle, but instead of circulating warm air or forcing it out, these heaters emit infrared radiation. Infrared radiation causes specific objects to warm up as the radiation comes in contact with the surface of the object.
This makes them great for small spaces, where all of the surfaces are nearby, even though they do not warm up the air directly. Be sure that they are not close to any combustible materials and remain in a clutter-free space, as they can pose a fire hazard under these conditions.
Your Car’s Size and Climate Conditions
The larger the vehicle you’re trying to heat, the less helpful you’ll likely find a 12-volt car heater to be. Portable car heaters are generally best used in smaller vehicles. If you live in consistently colder climates and your car is larger, you may want to get a portable diesel car heater. Keep in mind that you’ll want to choose an inline heater of that type, though. Make sure that your chosen heater is at least 150W, as well.
The Final Word
Portable heaters are a quick, usually cheap, solution for heating your car up without having to rely on your engine running away to generate enough heat from the vehicle. There’s a whole host of unknown manufacturers out there that produce cheap plastic 12v heating units, as can be seen by the ocean of negative reviews around most of the models you’ll come across. Our best 12 volt car heater picks have a mixture of models and may include some lesser-known manufacturers, but they all should be able to do their primary job of heating up your motor effectively.
Last Updated On: February 26, 2021.