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The Best Electric Heater (Review) in 2020
Electric heaters aren’t cheap to run, therefore, investing in the most energy-efficient appliance possible is going to save you a great deal of cash in the long run.
Our guide will focus on the most efficient electric heaters on the market. We’ll explain the types of electric heaters and which one is right for you, what running costs you’ll have, and will tell you what is the best electric heater we found from reviewing more than 15 models.
Table of Contents
Types of electric heaters
Below we’ve quickly covered the different types of electric heaters.
Remember, the cheapest electric heater to run for one person, might not be for another. And, that’s because it depends on the type of space you’re trying to heat, as well as things like your property’s insulation and so on.
The most suitable is what ends up being the cheapest to run and most efficient.
Convection electric heaters aren’t the quickest to heat a room, but they’re ideal for small-medium sized spaces that you want to heat for a few hours or more.
Typically, they are quite large. So, not only do they take up space, but they can be more difficult to move than say, a small fan or halogen heater. That said, a typical convection heater only weighs around 4-5kg.
- In our opinion, the Dimplex 403TSFTie offers the best value for money in this category.
Electric fan heaters are perfect for small rooms that you want to heat for short periods of time. They’ll warm air and distribute heat quickly and efficiently. They’re also compact and lightweight, meaning they’re portable.
However, they’re not ideal (or efficient), when it comes to heating large spaces with high ceilings, or spaces that you’re planning to heat over a long period of time.
- If we’re buying a fan heater, we’re buying the Dimplex DXFF30TSN.
Halogen electric heaters are ideal for outside spaces, or those that are particularly draughty (such as an old building without good insulation). And, that’s because halogen heaters focus on warming objects, not air.
If you’re suffering from feeling like the whole room is cold and it’s a struggle to heat due to draughts or lack of insulation, this is going to be the best electric heater for you.
- The Warmlite WL42005N gets our vote for the best electric heater in the halogen category.
You’ve probably come across storage heaters if you’re on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff. They can store heat, meaning you can build-up that heat on your evening tariff, and use it in the day.
That might sound like this is going to be the cheapest electric heater to run. However, they’re certainly not our top pick.
They’re ridiculously expensive. In fact, to a point where it would be cheaper to upgrade your heating system both from an initial investment point of view, and in terms of running costs. Not to mention the fact they’re usually the heaviest heaters on the market, meaning they’re not easy to move from room to room, or pack away into storage.
That’s why we won’t be recommending any storage heaters below. The best electric heaters (depending on your space and heat requirement) that are the cheapest to run and buy are convection, fan and halogen.
Best Electric Convection Heater
Our Pick: Dimplex 403TSFTie
Type: Freestanding convector | Output: 3 kW | Programmable: Yes | Turbo: Yes | Warranty: 3yrs
We’re heading for the Dimplex 403TSFTie as our top pick, and here’s why. If you browse any online store offering electric convection heaters, you’ll see plenty of cheap, or no-name brands. Generally, the highest rated products aren’t always the best, but instead, the cheapest.
Dimplex is a well-known brand in the heating industry, so this is where I’d be looking. For their lower end Dimplex 403TSFTie, you’re only looking at around £10 more compared with a no-name equivalent, so it’s no brainer in our opinion.
The question is, what size electric heater do you really need? There are plenty of 1kW heaters available, but it’s much better to get a 2kW or bigger and reduce the temperature on the thermostat if needed.
This is going to reduce the kWh you use, but you still have the option of that extra heat boost by using the full 3kW output.
The 403TSFTie is a 3 kW heater but setting it at half power means you’ll only be using around 1.5 kWh of electricity.
If you’re looking for a portable electric heater, convection (or fan heaters for that matter) are ideal.
The Dimplex 403TSFTie for instance weighs just 4.75kg. That’s going to make it easy to move from room to room or to pack away into storage during the summer months.
Unlike most convection heaters, the Dimplex 403TSFTie has been designed to be portable. The two carry handles make it extremely easy to move.
Not only can you change the temperature on the Dimplex, but you’ll also be able to program it, using the 24hr programmer.
So, you’ll be able to set it to come on just before you wake up and click off just after you go to sleep.
One thing worth looking at when buying an electric heater, is the cord length. If you’re short on sockets you might have to place the heater the opposite end of the room to a plug.
Bear that in mind, as the only downside to the electric heaters, is they usually come with a short cord. The Dimplex is reasonable, with a 1.2m cord length.
There are hundreds of reviews of the Dimplex 403TSFTie heater online, most positive. Of the reviews I found, most negative ones referenced a bad smell.
This is typical of electric heaters when they’re new. After an hour or two of running, this smell should disappear.
Should you buy it?
In terms of longevity, Dimplex are a well-known brand, so, including purchase costs, the Dimplex 403TSFTie is likely to be the cheapest heater to run.
Compared with no-name brands, it offers extras such as a 24hr thermostat and a frost setting. And, that’s why we’ve made this our pick for the best electric convection heater.
Best Electric Fan Heater
Our Pick: Dimplex DXFF30TSN
Type: Fan | Output: 3 kW | Controls: Thermostat | Cool Air: Yes | Warranty: 3yrs
There’s a chance you’ve already guessed we’re a fan of Dimplex, as the Dimplex DXFF30TSN is our pick for the best electric fan heater.
That’s not to say there aren’t other options. For instance, there are electric fan heaters likes this one for around half the price. But if it were me, I’d invest in something that’s going to stand the test of time.
It’s unlikely these cheaper brands are going to offer a warranty at all, compared with Dimplex’s 3-year warranty offering.
We’re sticking with the 3kW output product as our pick for the best electric heater, because it allows to heat up a larger space, too.
The 3kW DXFF30TSN unit from Dimplex is more than big enough to heat a small room, a compact space such as a campervan, or even a converted-into-office garage or a small home gym.
Typically, fan heaters are much smaller than convection heaters, and that’s certainly the case here. It’s just 24.5 x 25.3 x 11.4 cm and weighs just over 1kg.
So, if you want a portable heater that you can move around easily, the Dimplex DXFF30TSN fan heater should be at the top of your shortlist.
Like with the convection heater, you’ll get a range of heat settings which can be controlled via the thermostat, including a cool air setting for hot summer days.
Like other Dimplex electric heaters, you’ll find a tonne of reviews online. As with any product, it’s worth reading through these reviews, to see what buyers say about things like heat settings and noise.
Should you buy it?
The difference in price between the cheap brands and Dimplex is much higher for fan heaters than it is, for say, convection heaters. You’re looking about twice the price for a Dimplex fan heater compared to the cheapest ones available.
However, a 3-year warranty is something not offered with cheap products, and combined with its efficiency, we consider the Dimplex DXFF30TSN to be the best electric fan heater, as well as one of the cheapest to run when you factor in purchase costs and how long it’s likely to last.
The Best Electric Halogen Heater
Our Pick: Warmlite WL42005N
Type: Halogen | Output: 1.2 kW | Wide-angle Oscillation: Yes | Warranty: 2yrs
For particularly draughty buildings, a halogen heater is going to be ideal. They focus on heating objects, rather than air. And, that’s perfect when you’re in a building where there’s a constant flow of cold air – a small heater is going to struggle to keep it up to temperature.
Our pick for the best electric heater in this category is the well-priced Warmlite WL42005N.
You’ll notice the Warmlite is a little lower in output compared to our two picks above, being just 1.2kW. Typically, this is going to be a big enough heater to heat a small space.
For days where you just want to take off the chill, you’ll be able to set the heater to its 400W or 800W setting. And, for the cooler days and nights, you’ll be able to max out the heater on its 1.2kW setting.
In terms of weight, halogen electric heaters typically sit somewhere in between convection and fan heaters.
In the case of the Warmlite WL42005N, it’s just 1.81kg. So, that means it’s portable – it’s easy to move from room to room, or pack away for storage.
As we’ve mentioned you’ll have three settings on offer: 400W, 800W and 1200W.
Built into the controls is a safety mechanism meaning if the heater is knocked over, it’s going to cut out automatically. This is a must-have safety feature that will come on all the best electric heaters.
For such a low price, you’d expect the reviews of the Warmlite to be reasonable at best. But, that’s not the case. There are tonnes of positive online reviews from happy customers, and they’re certainly worth a read.
Should you buy it?
After comparing multiple halogen heater’s specifications, reviews and prices back to back, the Warmlite WL42005N is the best (and cheapest) halogen heater for the money.
Electric Heater Running Costs
How much does it cost to run an electric heater?
Working out the cost to run your new electric heater isn’t particularly difficult.
You’ll need two things:
- Your kWh (kilowatt hour) electricity rate on your current energy tariff (for instance, 13p)
- The kW output of your electric heater.
As an example, let’s just assume you’re on 13p per kWh for electricity on your current tariff.
And, let’s assume you have a 1 kW electric heater.
Electric heater cost calculator
The calculation based on the above is simply 1 (kW output from your heater) x 13p (kWh charge from your electricity supplier) = 13p per hour.
A few different scenarios to work out costs might be:
- 6.5p for 30 minutes running time
- £1.30 for 10 hours running time
- £2.60 for 10 hours running time using a bigger 2 kW electric heater
- A 2kW heater, only being used at half capacity (1kW on the thermostat) will use 13p per hour, but 26p per hour on its maximum 2kW setting.
As we’ve said: kW output of your heater x cost of your tariff (per kWh) = The cost to run your heater per hour.
Which type of heater is the cheapest to run?
Before picking a specific heater, you need to determine which type of heater is going to be the most economical to run. Different types of heaters are designed for different scenarios and spaces.
Typically, the most popular electric heaters in the UK are:
- Convection heaters
- Fan heaters
- Halogen heaters
- Storage heaters
Fan heaters are probably the ones you want if you’re on a budget and you expect good results.
Hopefully, our guide to the best electric heaters not only helps you understand which type of heater you need but also, which one is the cheapest to run based on your heating requirements.
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