Supplement your central heating units this winter by using portable space heaters. These devices are small units that focus the heat on a select area. While there are different types of portable heaters on the market, radiant heaters are the most energy efficient---particularly newer models. Portable radiant heaters warm the immediate surroundings of a room as well as the room's occupant. However, be sure you use portable heaters with caution. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 25,000 residential fires occur yearly do to space heaters. You can reduce your risks by purchasing newer models with current safety features and by keeping heaters on a level surface away from children and pets. Quartz Heaters Quartz radiant heaters also are referred to as infrared space heaters. They use a glowing quartz that radiates heat from infrared light waves. Most of the generated heat is absorbed by surrounding objects instead of dissipating through the walls, floor and ceiling. These heaters tend to maintain a balanced temperature from floor to ceiling without cold pockets. Ceramic Heaters Ceramic heaters use ceramic-coated heating elements, a safer alternative to heaters that use coils. They cost more than quartz models, but have a larger heating surface, so they do not need to run as hot. They heat quickly, achieving their full temperature within a few minutes. Similar to quartz radiant heaters, they provide a balanced temperature from floor to ceiling without cold spots. Halogen Heaters Halogen or reflective heaters make use of an energy-saving halogen bulb to produce heat that is then reflected on nearby objects. Halogen lights provide a very hot radiant source of energy that heats up quickly. The high temperature allows for the superior heating of a room and these heaters remain hot for some time even when shut off. Halogen heaters feature an automatic shut-off, which is activated when the unit lies dormant for several minutes or when it falls over.