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Best electric heaters: fan, convector and halogen heaters to keep your home warm this winter

Add some extra heat to your home this winter with a blast of warmth from an electric heater. Whether you're looking for a purse-friendly portable unit or a more permanent solution, we round up the best of the bunch.

By Poppy O'Neill | Last updated Jan 7, 2022

Portable electric heater

Most houses have cold spots, and as winter approaches, we’re feeling the chill. If an extra cardigan, a blanket hoodie or slipper socks aren’t cutting it, an electric heater is the perfect way to give your home a boost of warmth.

With so many of us working from home, the prospect of heating the whole house while you’re at your desk isn’t an attractive one. An electric heater will come to the rescue, saving you freezing fingers and sky-high heating bills.  

They’re also a godsend if your boiler decides to pack up during the coldest week of the year. Having an electric heater in your cupboard for emergencies is a wise decision. But with so many different types available, which one is right for you? We’ve drawn on the collective wisdom of Mumsnetters to help us put together this handy guide, so you can tell your convections from your ceramics, and your infrareds from your halogens.  

Here are the best electric heaters to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall electric heater: Dimplex Oil-Filled Radiator

Dimplex oil-filled radiator

Price: £75 | Buy now from Argos

"Agree that an oil fired radiator is the best option. We bought one last winter when our gas boiler was giving up. It was a lifesaver during very cold days, and I believe they are fairly economical. I recommend one with a timer" - Girlsbrigadewashorrible

"I work at home 3 days, and have a little electric oil filled rad in my office so I don't have to heat the whole house all day" - Hullabaloo31

Oil-filled radiators like this one from Dimplex work in much the same way as a traditional wall radiator. Thermal oil is heated within the radiator and the heat radiates outwards, making them a good choice for heating one room without having to heat the whole house. 

Like traditional radiators, oil-filled units take a while to heat up - around 20 minutes - so they’re best for sustained heat over a number of hours. Mumsnetters like that they stay warm for a long time after being turned off, and this one has three heat settings and an automatic cut out switch, making it both fire-safe and energy efficient. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Oil-filled
  • Power: 2kW
  • Size: H63.7, W43, D24cm
  • Weight: Not stated

2. Best budget electric heater: Daewoo Halogen Heater

Daewoo electric heater

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

"I have a halogen heater next to my desk for a quick warm up. Very efficient re: energy use and not expensive to buy" - CutesyUserName

"It heats my kitchen easily and I tend to stay put in there for most of the day if it's cold. Saves heating the rest of the house" - SugarHighSky

For a fast-acting blast of heat, a halogen heater is a cheap, efficient option. The halogen elements direct heat at objects in front of them, so it’s perfect for warming yourself up first thing in the morning, or for if you work outdoors. If you’re looking to heat a whole room, a halogen heater probably isn’t the best choice. 

This model from Daewoo is light, portable and comes with three heat options and an oscillating function. The halogen elements also provide a source of light, and an automatic cut-off switches off the heater if it falls over, so there are no worries about safety. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Halogen
  • Power: 1200 kW
  • Size: 49 x 28 x 12cm
  • Weight: 1.46kg

3. Best fan electric heater: John Lewis Tower Fan Heater

John Lewis tower fan heater

Price: £40 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

"We bought the John Lewis tower one. Very quiet, takes up no space. Very warm!" - goldpendant

Fan heaters warm up a room really quickly by blowing air over a heated element. This tower-shaped heater from John Lewis comes with an adjustable thermostat, two heating levels and an automatic cut-off in case it tips over. 

The anti-frost setting allows the heater to come on automatically if the room temperature drops below 5°C. Great for a blast of heat when you need it, fan heaters are less good for keeping a room warm over a long period of time, as the heat is quickly lost once the fan is turned off. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Fan
  • Power: 2000W
  • Size: 44 x 18 x 18cm
  • Weight: Not stated

4. Best convection electric heater: Challenge Convector Heater

Challenge Convector heater

Price: £21 | Buy now from Argos

"The convector heater kicks out the most amount of heat when it's on and you can pick them up for around £20-40 from Argos. When buying look at the kwh as this will give you an idea of the electric it uses (the higher the kwh the higher the cost) - SuperWomanX4

One of the cheapest options, a convection heater heats cold air at the bottom of the unit, creating a constantly circulating stream of warm air to heat your room. This model from Challenge has two heat settings, a thermostat and a 1.5m cord so you can position it where you need it most. 

Convection heaters take longer than other types to heat up a space, but once they get going they provide a good and even heat flow. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Convection
  • Power: 2kW
  • Size: 34 x 52 x 20cm
  • Weight: 2kg

5. Best ceramic electric heater: DeLonghi Capsule Ceramic Fan Heater

DeLonghi fan heater

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

"Our boiler went on the fritz and my other half went to Argos and bought a DeLonghi mini table top sized electric fan heater cost about £40 its brilliant. The room got lovely and warm in about 10 minutes. I don't know running costs - I was just happy to be warm" - isseywithfourvampirecats

This dinky ceramic fan heater from DeLonghi looks good and will heat up a small room in a flash. The ceramic element provides self-regulating heat, so it maintains a constant temperature, making it a good heater for chillier parts of the house where your central heating needs a boost. The ergonomic handle means you can bring the heater around with you, heating up just the area you need. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Ceramic fan
  • Power: 1.8kW
  • Size: 19 x 10 x 27cm
  • Weight: 1.3kg

6. Best small electric heater: Beldray Compact Digital Heater

Beldray electric heater

Price: £14 | Buy now from Amazon

This tiny fan heater is an ingenious way to keep your feet warm under your desk. It plugs directly into a mains socket, heating up the area around it while taking up minimal space. 

Featuring an easy-to-read digital display and a 12-hour timer, the casing is designed to stay cool so it’s safe to touch the buttons even while switched on. Using a ceramic element, the tiny heater works quickly and pushes out an impressive amount of heat for its size. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Ceramic
  • Power: 500W
  • Size: 10 x 7 x 19cm
  • Weight: 550g

7. Best designer electric heater: Russell Hobbs Retro Portable Heater

Russell Hobbs electric heater

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

For a heater that both warms up the room and looks like a vintage TV set, check out this portable ceramic heater by Russell Hobbs. The nobs and switches are satisfying to use, and it kicks out a good amount of heat - the manufacturer says it can heat a room of up to 15m2. The cord could be longer, but if you’re looking for a compact heater that’ll be a good-looking permanent feature, this is a fantastic choice.

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Convection
  • Power: 1.5kW
  • Size: 17 x 20 x 26cm
  • Weight: 1.8kg

8. Best high tech electric heater: Rointe White Electric Radiator

Rointe electric heater

Price: From £99 | Buy now from the Heater Shop

"We only have electricity in our small flat and use 3 Rointe heaters all year round" - goldenshoe

For a permanent, wall-mounted electric radiator, Rointe bills itself as “quite possibly the best radiator in the world”. Using fuzzy logic technology and WiFi compatibility, this clever radiator puts traditional central heating to shame. Controlled via the Rointe app or the in-built control panel, you’ll be able to control your radiator’s timings and temperature, as well as keeping up to date with its energy consumption and costs. With a range of sizes and colours available, this high-tech radiator can be tailored to your exact requirements. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Radiator
  • Power: Varies
  • Size: Varies
  • Weight: Varies

9. Best smart electric heater: ElectriQ Wall Mountable Panel Heater

electriQ heater

Price: £89 | Buy now from Amazon

This panel heater by ElectriQ can be free-standing or mounted to the wall, plus it’s water-resistant so you can even use it to heat your bathroom. Controlled by an app, it’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Home voice controls. 

Featuring both eco and rapid modes, this heater is energy efficient too. You can set the timer to heat up just before you arrive home, saving money and energy while ensuring your home is lovely and cosy. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Panel
  • Power: 1.5kWSize: 47 x 71 x 9cm
  • Weight: 4.8kg

10. Best wall-mounted electric heater: Herschel Inspire Infrared Mirror

Herschel infrared heater

Price: From £479 | Buy now from Herschel

"I put in Herschel infrared heaters. They look like mirrors or you can even have a custom picture panel. Controlled with a central digital thermostat" - Pipandmum

Can you spot the heater? This one’s disguised as a mirror, but is also available with your favourite photo or picture printed on it. Using infrared technology, the unit itself doesn’t get hot, it gently and evenly warms the room using infrared waves. It’s especially good as a bathroom mirror, as it doesn’t get steamed up while it’s on. At £400+, this is the most expensive heater in our roundup, because Herschel heaters are built to last a lifetime and come with a 10-year warranty. It’s also worth bearing in mind you also need to buy a Herschel thermostat for around £70 to control the heater. 

Key specs

  • Electric heater type: Infrared
  • Power: Varies
  • Size: Varies
  • Weight: Varies

How to buy the best electric heater 

The best electric heater for you depends largely on what you need it for:

  • If you need to heat a whole room all day, go for an oil-filled or convection radiator
  • A quick blast of heat is best provided by a fan or halogen heater
  • If you’re after a permanent alternative to central heating, look at smart, wall mounted heaters  

Once you’ve decided on the type you need, check the kw of the heater and multiply this by your energy tariff to get an idea of running costs. 

Can an electric heater heat up a whole room?

Yes - electric radiators are the best type for heating a whole room. Halogen and fan-style heaters can heat a whole room, but not very efficiently. 

Which type of electric heater is the most energy efficient?

Technically, all electric heaters are as energy efficient as each other, because 1kw of energy = 1kw of heat. However having a timer, a thermostat and different heat settings will help you save energy and money by enabling you to use the heater wisely. 

What is the best electric heater to buy? 

Portable and effective, this oil-filled radiator from Dimplex is an essential addition to any household. 

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which electric heaters discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their homes. We compiled a list of the heaters they recommended for being warm, effective and energy efficient.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which electric heaters had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers’ reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the heaters we thought would make the best buys in several categories.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.