The Truth About 1p Per Hour Electric Heaters

Find Out The Real Cost of Heating Your UK Home

While the idea of heating your home with a device that costs just 1p per hour to run sounds appealing, unfortunately, such electric heaters do not exist due to the cost of electricity in the UK as of 2023. Yes, you might find devices that produce heat for 1p an hour, but these gadgets, like candles, will likely produce less heat than required to warm a room effectively.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Heater Per Hour in The UK?

The cost to run an electric heater for 1 hour varies depending on the heat output of the heater, which is measured in watts. As of 2023, a unit of electricity in the UK costs about £0.28p on average. A unit of electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and 1 kWh equals 1,000 watts an hour.

Therefore, if an electric heater has a maximum heat output of 1,000 watts, it would cost £0.28p to run it for 1 hour. If the maximum output is 400 watts, the cost to run it for an hour would be 0.4 x 0.28 = £0.11p (rounding up to the nearest even number).

To help you understand how to convert watts to kWh, here are some examples:

  • 400 watts = 0.4 kWh
  • 500 watts = 0.5 kWh
  • 600 watts = 0.6 kWh
  • 1,000 Watts = 1 kWh
  • 2,000 Watts = 2 kWh

For an electric heater to run for 1p, it would need a maximum heat output of around 20–30 watts. While small 30 cm tubular heaters with this output do exist, they are insufficient for heating a room.

How Many Watts Heater Should You Have to Heat a Room?

Depending on the size of the room and insulation, there is a minimum heater wattage that will be required to heat a room.

There is a lot to consider when selecting the right wattage heater, insulation, solid or cavity walls, how many outside walls you have, height of ceiling, double or single glazed windows.

Below is a calculation most people can use to help them decide which wattage electric heater is right for them, this is for the average insulated solid brick wall terraced house.

Room size in square meters x 100 watts per square metres

  • 500 watts can heat up to 5 square meter room
  • 600 watts can heat up to 6 square meter room
  • 750 watts can heat up to 7.5 square meter room
  • 1,000 watts can heat up to 10 square meter room
  • 1,200 watts can heat up to 12 square meter room
  • 1,500 watts Can heat up to 15 square meter room
  • 2,000 watts can heat up to 20 square meter room
  • 2,200 watts can heat up to 22 square meter room
  • 2,500 watts can heat up to 25 square meter room

The figures above a rough estimate as to what you will need, if you have a modern property with excellent insulation, low ceilings, instead of a 1,000 electric heater, you may be able to use a 500-750 watt electric heater instead.

If you live in an older property with high ceilings, instead of a 1,000 watt heater, you may need a 1,500 heater, and if you have old wooden sash windows, 2,200 watts is what you may require to keep the room warm.

What is The Cheapest Type of Electric Heater to Run?

The main types of electric heaters are:

All of these electric heaters use a certain amount of electricity to provide heat, a 1,000 watt convector, fan oil filled and Halogen will cost the same to run, the difference is that they are suited top different circumstances.

Convectors, fans, and oil filled electric heaters will heat the space, the air in the room, and they do it very differently from each other.

Convector will draw in the cold air from the bottom of the room, heat it and release it into the air. Convector electric heaters are quite when operating and can be fixed to a wall.

A fan heater will use an internal ceramic heating element to produce heat and use the fan to force it into the air. Fan heaters are good for poorly insulated spaces such as garages and workshops as they can throw out hot air fast but can be noisy when in operation.

Oil filled electric heaters heat up the oil inside them, once this oil is hot, the oil filled radiator releases heat to warm the air. Oil filled radiators take longer to heat up, but can provide heat for around 30 minutes after switched off. See the best oil filled radiator here.

Halogen heaters heat objects, they will heat people directly rather than the space (room) that it is in. That’s why they are good for outside spaces, or well insulated rooms where there isn’t much of a chill in the air. You can find the best halogen heaters here.

As you can see, technically, one isn’t cheaper than the other, they are suited to different uses. A fan heater will be better suited to an oil filled electric heater in a poorly insulated room, as it forces hot air into the room, rather than releasing heat.

As the fan heater would provide better heat, you would not need to use as long as the oil filled heater, making the fan heater cheaper to run.