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Electric heaters to avoid buying 

These models rated lowest in our independent lab test.

four electric heaters with percentages noirot mistral goldair 2022
Last updated: 17 May 2022

Need to know

  • We lab-tested 35+ heaters from Dyson, DeLonghi, Arlec, Kmart Anko, Kambrook, Goldair and more
  • Experts assess key factors like heating performance, safety, ease of use, running costs, noise and more
  • Consider joining CHOICE to access full reviews and top-rated heaters

With so many heaters on the market, where do you begin? Here at CHOICE we've done the hard part for you by rigorously testing the latest electric heaters. And while some of the models we tested gave us a warm fuzzy feeling, there were plenty that left us cold. 

Here are the four worst-performing electric heaters we came across in our recent tests. The heating performance scores given below are based on how quickly the heater heats up, how evenly it distributes heat, and how consistent it keeps the room's average temperature.

As always, our testers also uncovered some very good heaters (some well under $100) so check out our full review results.

noirot 7358 7t

Noirot 7358-7T.

1. Noirot 7358-7T

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 48%
  • Heating score: 50%
  • Price: $459

What's worse than buying a cheap dud? Buying one that costs almost 500 bucks that still scores under 50% overall. More expensive than many of our top-scoring heaters, it rated only OK for comparative energy efficiency, has no cord storage, and our testers found that it wasn't very easy to move. 

Read the full Noirot 7358-7T review

mistral mcal 11t

Mistral MCAL-11T.

2. Mistral MCAL-11T

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 49%
  • Heating score: 38%
  • Price: $363

While the retro look and green/cream colourway of this convection heater may appeal, its heating capabilities also appear to be stuck a few decades back. 

Our testers gave it one of the lowest scores for heating performance because it failed to achieve a 5°C rise in temperature in our room in two hours (some of our best-performing heaters manage this in as little as seven or eight minutes). So, if you don't want to be left sitting in the cold, look elsewhere.

Read the full Mistral MCAL-11T review

noirot dm73585fjez

Noirot DM7358.5FJEZ.

3. Noirot DM7358.5FJEZ

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 52%
  • Heating score: 47%
  • Price: $399

Yes, another disappointing Noirot. Surprisingly, this one is cheaper than the 7358-7T but performs slightly better. Perhaps there's an inverse relationship between the price and performance of Noirot products? 

This one has good comparative energy efficiency, but that's probably just due to the fact that it doesn't heat very well so doesn't use much electricity. It's also pretty light on features: no frost watch, no remote, no carry handles, only one heat setting and no tilt switch observed. 

Read the full Noirot DM7358.5FJEZ review

goldair goc2111

Goldair GOC2111.

4. Goldair GOC2111

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 52%
  • Heating score: 48%
  • Price: $120

It might be cheaper than all the other electric heaters we've mentioned in this list, but that's about all it has going for it. Its heating performance is only Borderline, and its comparative energy efficiency is only OK. 

While it's relatively portable in that it has a carry handle, cord storage and four castors, it's also a heavy 10.9kg. But given that it scores less than 50% for heating, it's definitely one to avoid. 

Read the full Goldair GOC2111 review

Our expert guide to buying a heater

Electric heaters aren't the most energy-efficient way to heat up your home, but they're still an effective solution to quickly take the chill out of a cold room.

"An electric heater is generally a short-term solution for those nights when it gets chilly in the spare room or the kids' room and you don't have an air conditioner or gas heater in that area of the home," says Denis Gallagher, CHOICE's digital home expert.

Here are Denis's top tips for features to look for when buying a new heater:

Look for a long cord

You want the heater reasonably close to you, particularly in a large room, and you don't want to be using an extension lead.

Try to get a timer

It's a great feature as electric heaters are the most expensive heating product to run. If you want to use an electric heater to take the chill out of the room before going to sleep, set the timer for the heater to turn off after a couple of hours, and maybe have it set to turn on again early in the morning.

Consider size and storage

You'll need to stow the heater somewhere in the summer months, so you might want to consider one of the smaller models.

Never use it to dry clothes

Don't put your clothes over an electric heater – even an oil column heater – to warm them up. It's a fire risk.