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The electric heaters to avoid buying this winter

These models rated lowest in our independent lab test.

worst electric heaters
Jason Treuen
Jason Treuen
Last updated: 18 June 2020

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 too (some well under $100) so check out our full review results.

Anko dl03l heater

1. Kmart Anko DL03L

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 45%
  • Heating score: 38%
  • Price: $59

With the worst score in the test, this sad unit scores the wooden spoon for winter warming. We've already covered its many failings in our comprehensive review - including an abysmal 38% score for heating - so let's just say, if you see this in-store, it's best to keep on walking.  

arlec peh224ha heater

2. Arlec PEH224HA

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 47%
  • Heating score: 40%
  • Price: $99

Expect a frosty reception from this unit which scored just a fraction better than the Anko but costs $40 more. It does come with a remote, child lock and even some wifi features, but fails to do its primary task of heating with a paltry score of 40%. 

Read the full Arlec heater review.

noirot 7358 7t

3. Noirot 7358-7T

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

What's worse than getting a $59 dud from Kmart? Buying a heater almost eight times the price that still scores under 50% overall. More expensive than many of our top-scoring heaters, it only 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 heater review

goldair ggph205

4. Goldair GGPH205

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 50%
  • Heating score: 46%
  • Price: $139

Not only does this glass panel heater score a chilly 46% for heating, it could also be tricky to carry with a weight of 7.4kg and no carry handles. Not surprisingly, it scored a lukewarm 58% for ease of use. 

Read the full Goldair heater 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.

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