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Electric heater reviews

We review more than 30 electric heaters, priced from $39 to $599, including convection, panel, radiant-and-convection and fan models.
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01.Introduction

electric-heaters-lead-new

We have test results for more than 30 electric heaters priced from $39 to $599, including 10 newly tested models, plus results for discontinued models we've previously tested, in case you're considering looking at the second-hand market.

Our rigorous testing reveals which models:

  • heat a room evenly, effectively and with the least fluctuation in temperature, and
  • are easiest to use.

On this page, you'll find:

Electric heaters may not be the most efficient way to heat a room, but there’s nothing like a cold snap to make you forget that and pull out the heater to bask in its rosy glow – until the next electricity bill comes in.

But while reverse-cycle air conditioners and gas heaters are much more energy efficient for the amount of heating they can deliver, portable electric heaters are generally much cheaper to buy and can be a good option for small spaces or occasional use.

Which type: convection, column, radiant or fan?

A heater with a fan is best for rapidly warming a room, but fan-less operation is very quiet so it has its advantages too. If you want the best of both worlds, some of the electric heaters we tested operate with the fan on to reach optimum temperature and then allow you to turn the fan off and let the element keep the room at a stable temperature. If portability is important, most convection models are significantly lighter than their column counterparts. We also include some fan heaters and radiant-and-convection models for comparison.

For more information on electric heaters, see our heating options buying guide. Or, for more heating and cooling test reports go to Heating or Cooling.

Brands and models tested

  • Abode ACVHA2000TR #
  • Arlec MTH9 #
  • Atlantic Artisan 519622
  • Atlantic Artisan 519627
  • Atlantic Tatou Digital RYHGH-ATL2
  • DeLonghi Dragon 4 TRD42400MT #
  • DeLonghi HCM2030
  • DeLonghi HCS2552FTS
  • DeLonghi HS25F #
  • DeLonghi TCH7092ER
  • Dimplex OFRC24ECCB
  • Dimplex OFRC24TIB
  • Dyson AM05 #
  • Everdure HPE221W
  • Everdure HPE222W
  • Goldair GMH500 #
  • Heller OIL11T #
  • Kambrook KOH111
  • Kambrook KRH300 #
  • Mistral MCVHA2000 #
  • Noirot 7358-7T
  • Noirot 7358-8T
  • Omega Altise OAE24ET
  • Omega Altise OCON20F
  • Omega Altise OFC2400TIF
  • Omega Altise OMP24E
  • Prima PYLB1511T #
  • Rinnai JEPH22DTW
  • Sunbeam HE2105
  • Sunbeam HE4100

# Newly tested models. 

Plus results for 19 previously tested models now discontinued.

How we test

Our tester checks:

  • How long the electric heaters take to raise the room temperature by 5°C and 10°C, and how evenly the heat is distributed. Several heaters didn't manage a 10° temperature rise.
  • Ease of use, including controls, stability, moving around, storing the power cord and cleaning.

The tester also conducts electrical safety and surface temperature tests, including those required by the Australian standard. We also include a test in which a towel is draped over the heater while it's on full power. We check that the heater doesn't overheat and that it shuts down before it damages the towel or itself - a tough test that simulates what might happen if something is draped over the heater (deliberately or accidentally). Tip: While most electric heaters pass this test, always put your clothes on a rack nearby rather than put anything in direct contact with a heater.

Running costs

We’re often asked why we don’t include running costs for heaters. But there are many factors that make this hard to gauge. For example, if your heater has a thermostat – as it should, if you’re serious about saving money – it won’t be on all the time. Instead, it will be detecting the change in temperature and adjusting the heating accordingly – so regulating the cost. Other factors also affect the dollar amount of energy you use, such as insulation, room size and type of heater.

One thing we can do, however, is measure the electricity use of the heater over its first two hours during our performance test of heating up a cold room.

In this update, we include a column in our results table displaying the cost of a heater for these first two hours, using 26c/kWh as the base cost for electricity. This figure is derived from the national energy price survey we conduct each year. Bear in mind, however, that this price will fluctuate and should only be used as a rough guide: a good heater adjusts its output over time and a well-insulated room won’t need to be as constantly heated as a poorly insulated one.

Our table also shows which of the tested models are efficient at heating when compared to the other tested models. Most are OK in this respect, but we’ve found some that are better, and a few that are worse. Good heating performance and good energy efficiency don’t always go together. A model may be great at heating, but only OK for efficiency, meaning it will heat the room effectively but cost more to run. Some are efficient but only OK performers, so they don’t heat the room as effectively, but at least they use less power. Sadly, we’ve found a few that are not only weak at heating, but use a comparatively large amount of power too; unsurprisingly these are towards the bottom of our comparison table.

In other words, running costs don’t give an indication of performance.
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