They're not the best for big spaces, but electric heaters can take the chill out of a small room pretty quickly. We lab test and review the latest electric heaters to help you find the best one for you. Our buying guide will help you decide which type of heater you need, and how we test explains our testing rigour and scoring method.
Looking to heat a large space? You might want to check out our gas heaters or air conditioners buying guides as they may be more cost effective.
Our test covers fan, column, convection and radiant heaters.
Our expert testers give every heater a thorough workout to help find the models that:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find the models that score best and have the right features to suit your needs.
List of brands we tested in this review.
This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 30 and 749
We recommend models with overall scores 70% and above; however, CHOICE Recommended models also require a heating score of 70% or above.
Unlock this by becoming a member.
Already a member? Log in now
This test score is for members only. Join now to unlock our expert results.
Already a member? Log in now
Radiant heaters are personal heaters. They radiate heat from a red-hot heating element.
Convection and panel heaters draw cold air over an electric heating element. The warmed air then leaves the heater and rises towards the ceiling, while cooler air moves in to replace it. This includes oil filled column heaters.
Fan heaters are specifically designed to blow hot air; the fan is a key part of the heater design, rather than a booster as on other heater types. Their fans are usually more powerful and can project the hot air a reasonable distance into the room.
Heaters come in all shapes and sizes, but generally conform to type. If you see elements like 'ceramic' or 'micathermic' we've found these aren't guaranteed to give better results than other formats, so tend to fall into the marketing spin category. We list the common forms seen here, such as oil columns, towers, panel heaters, fan heaters and radiant heaters.
How much does the heater cost to run over 2 hours. This will give you a base to calculate how much running it for longer will cost. This is run at max temperature.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0
Based on 500 hours of use during a winter (6hrs/day during 3 months). Peak pricing at 30c/kWh.
Based on heating speed, heat distribution and thermostat performance.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0.9 and 2.7
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 1.56 and 19.2
Maintains a pre-set temperature.
May be digital or mechanical. A timer allows you to set the heater to run at set times or periods – useful to heat up the room before you get back from work, for example.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.