The cold months are fast approaching and as we’re spending more of our time indoors working from home, we’re turning our heating and heaters on during the day in an attempt to stay warm. But this means our utility bills can rack up quickly especially for our energy spending.
In order to try to save money, we’ll explore the best heaters that are energy efficient and affordable to run. Hopefully, this will be your saving grace if your central heating system isn’t cutting the mustard or you’d rather not sit in 12 layers under a blanket trying to fight the freeze.
Gas or electric heaters?
While it’s no secret that gas is three times cheaper to run than electric, it is nowhere near as efficient. Not all the energy emitted from a gas heater is converted to heat with energy lost to moisture, light and exhaust.
Also, a gas heater comes with its own precautions. The room your gas heater is in needs to stay well ventilated to account for the safety risks of carbon monoxide and potential condensation from the heater resulting in damp.
Electric heaters, on the other hand, are 100 per cent energy efficient with all electricity being converted into heat – all your money is going into what you actually want, which for me screams money well spent. However, this doesn’t guarantee it will be cheap to run as the higher the power rating of the heater and the more heat produced can result in higher costs.
The answer is to find an electric heater that has a low power rating and/or includes key features such as a thermostat or a timer to ensure you’re only using the heat when you need it.
This way, you’ll be choosing not only the best option for efficiency but one that is not a burden on your purse strings.
Which type of electric heater should I choose?
It couldn’t be as easy as gas vs electric I’m afraid! There are many different types of electric heaters to choose between…
Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections. Find out why you can trust us here
Different Types of Electric Heaters
1. Convector Heaters: DONYER POWER Convector Heater
How does it work? A convector heater works by heating internally and relying on the rising hot air to replace the surrounding cold air.PRO: It distributes heat more thoroughly through a roomCON: Due to its process, its slower to warm up a room compared to alternatives
2. Fan Heater: Pro Breeze® 2000W Mini Ceramic Fan Heater
How does it work? A fan heater creates heat by blowing warm air across the room from a heated electric coil.PRO: It can heat a small room quicklyCON: A fan can be noisy and heat can be lost quickly too
3. Halogen Heater: AMOS Quartz Halogen Heater
How does it work? A halogen heater uses radiant heat to expel heat directly to you, instead of by heating the air.PRO: It works quickly and with a low power rating, is most efficientCON: It emits a bright glow, not ideal if you want to keep a dark room
4. Infrared Heater: Challenge 1kW Carbon Heater
How does it work? An infrared heater will radiant heat like a halogen heater but with a slightly different technology. Often seen and used outside to heat patios.PRO: Works quickly to heat without the halogen glowCON: It comes with a high initial product cost
5. Oil-Filled Heater: PureMate Oil Filled Radiator
How does it work? An oil-filled heater uses electricity to heat the oil which is circulated around the heaterPRO: The heater is self-sustainable as the oil won't need replacingCON: It's less portable due to the weight of the oil and takes longer to heat up
Our verdict for the best energy efficient heater
Our choice for the most energy-efficient would be a halogen heater. These heaters have a low power rating which makes them one of the cheaper options compared to other gas and electric models as their heat is focused on heating you, so money isn’t being wasted heating a full room. And with any added key features such as thermostats and timers, they’re a no-brainer.
Our second spot would go to infrared heaters. These are great at heating large spaces if you have an open-plan living space and don’t mind shelling out initially as they come with higher unit costs.
Both are great eco-friendly options for families with no harmful substances used and the electricity being a renewable source of energy. We’ve listed some great options to buy online if you’re looking to get warm at a low cost.
Halogen & Infrared Heaters
1. Igenix IG9514 Portable Upright 3 Bar Halogen Electric Heater
Features:Auto cut-out safety tip-over switch and oscillating functionThree power settings 400/800/1200 W and instant heatEnergy efficient and economicalLightweight design with integral carry handle and portable heating optionHeat resistant handle for portability
2. TOOL-GENIUS® 2 x Halogen Heater
Features:Instant powerful efficient heating3 heating elements3 temperatures settings 400/800/1200W70 degrees oscillationAutomatic safety cut-off if unit is knocked over
3. STATUS Premium Portable Halogen Heater
Features:Power: 1200 W3 heat settingsPortable lightweight design makes it easy to move between different roomsIt has a overheat protection to keep your home safe, as well as a safety switch to turn the heater off if it accidentally gets knocked over
4. AMOS Quartz Halogen Heater
Features:Two power output settings – 400W and 800WIdeal as a supplementary heating source; great solution for smaller spaces like bedrooms, offices or even caravans and holiday homesTip-over switch and overheat protection for safety; built-in carry handle and lightweight design for easy relocationFolds flat for easy storage
5. Challenge 1kW Carbon Heater
Features:Heat output 1kW2 heat settingsFreestandingSafety cut out switchSize H78.5, W30, D30cmMinimal assemblyManufacturer's 1 year guaranteeSuitable for room size up to 15m2
How will this affect my energy bill?
Despite choosing the most efficient option, you should use your heater secondary to your central heating system. According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy if used over a long period of time a heater is likely to be more costly in the long-term.
If you're looking for other ways to say money on your energy bill, consider some of these tips:
• Close your doors and curtains to help block any draughts and keep heat in your home.
• Turn your thermostat down by a single degree. According to USwitch, this could save you as much as £60 over the space of a year.
• Consider switching your supplier to make sure you're getting the most affordable deal for you.
If you're on a low income, it is worth checking if you are eligible for an energy efficiency grant to make improvements to your home
What to read next:
Eleanor Weaver is a Commercial Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for Yours, Mother&Baby, Grazia, heatworld and Closer across beauty, tech, and lifestyle.
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