If you're counting on a Kmart Anko heater to keep you warm this winter, you might be waiting a while. For the second year running, the brand has performed worst in our independent electric heater lab tests.
Last year, its $55 oil heater shared last place with an icy CHOICE Expert Rating of just 48%. The HD904-11 unit took almost an hour to heat our test room five degrees, leading our experts to dub it "a warm doorstop".
Amazingly, Anko's new DL03L convection heater sets the bar even lower. In our latest heater reviews, the $59 unit scraped in with a CHOICE Expert Rating of just 45%, making it the worst heater we've tested since 2014.
Kmart do deserve marks for consistency. Remarkably, the new Anko heater earned the same terrible heating score as last year's model, with a frosty fail of 38%.
To its credit, it did heat our test room five degrees in under ten minutes (last year's took a glacial 57), but it lost points on thermostat performance and ease of use.
Several models from other brands cost only a dollar more and scored a lot better in our reviewsMatthew Steen, CHOICE director of testing
"Last year's heater was one of the poorest-performing electric heaters I'd seen at CHOICE, until I saw this one," says Matthew Steen, our director of testing and reviews. "It's disappointing. Kmart could have improved their products or at least added a fan to help distribute the heat. Instead, they've delivered one that's more expensive and inferior."
Some like it not - JB from CHOICE assesses the new Anko.
As it's the cheapest heater in the test, some might argue 'you get what you pay for' with the Anko. But Matthew says a low price shouldn't be an excuse for poor performance.
"Several models from other brands cost only a dollar more and scored a lot better in our reviews," he says. "And Kmart have previously performed well in other categories, such as their cheap coffee machines and frypans."
Of course, our experts also uncovered some very good heaters in their tests too – see our full review results.
We review 2019's "warm doorstep" fail.
Kmart not the only lukewarm performer
Three other models – ranging in price from $99 to a whopping $459 – didn't rate higher than 50%, and many more struggled to surpass 60%.
Testing a heater in the lab.
The results show you can be equally ripped off, whether you're making a $50-plus or a $400-plus investment. Given how poorly these heaters performed in our independent tests, it's important to be cautious about the suspiciously glowing reviews you find online.
Our electric heater tests are carried out by an independent lab team, which assesses heating performance, safety, energy efficiency, and ease of use.
So how should I heat my home instead?
It may come as a surprise, but a reverse cycle air conditioner is the best heating option for most homes.
But we know that not everyone can afford that investment or get their landlord to agree to install one. So this is why we test portable electric heaters to help you find a good performer to suit your needs and budget.
Our experts also have some cheap and simple tips that can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your home warm.