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Last updated: 18 May 2018

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.

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Our test covers fan, column, convection and radiant heaters. 

Our expert testers give every heater a thorough workout to help find the models that:

  • are the most effective at heating a room quickly and evenly
  • are the most energy-efficient
  • pass our safety tests
  • are easy to use.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find the models that score best and have the right features to suit your needs. 

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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This is the manufacturer's recommended retail price.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 30 and 749

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Heater type

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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.

Design type

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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.

Cord storage

Fan

Fan-only option

Costs

Running costs / 2 hours

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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

Running costs / winter

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Based on 500 hours of use during a winter (6hrs/day during 3 months). Peak pricing at 30c/kWh.

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Test results

Heating score

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Based on heating speed, heat distribution and thermostat performance.

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Specifications

Cord length (m)

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0.9 and 2.7

Weight (kg)

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 1.56 and 19.2

Features

Thermostat

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Maintains a pre-set temperature.

Timer

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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.

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Included in this review

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  • Overall score
  • Running costs / 2 hours
  • Running costs / winter
  • Recommended
  • Heating score
  • Ease of use score
  • kWh at maximum over 120 min
  • Comparative energy efficiency
  • Noise with fan on (dBA)
  • Safety tests
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price
  • Fan
  • Fan settings
  • Heater type
  • Design type
  • Claimed maximum wattage
  • Frost watch
  • Timer
  • Thermal cut-out
  • Thermostat
  • Tilt switch
  • Fan-only option
  • Cord storage
  • Dimensions (cm, H x W x D)
  • Warranty (years)
  • Weight (kg)
  • Cord length (m)
  • Heat settings
  • Country of origin
  • Contact
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