Which Electric Heaters are the Cheapest to Run?

A Comprehensive Guide to Heating Your Space Economically


Welcome to this insightful article, where we will delve into the world of electric heaters and find out which ones are the cheapest to run. Whether you’re looking for a cost-effective solution for your office, home, or any other space, understanding the running costs of different types of electric heaters can help you make an informed decision.

Understanding the Cost and Efficiency of Different Electric Heaters

To start with, it’s important to note that all electric heaters can typically cost the same to run. For instance, a 1000-watt halogen heater will cost the same as a 1000-watt convector heater if they both ran for the same duration of time.

However, the efficiency and effectiveness of these heaters can vary depending on various factors such as the type of electric heater, the size of the room, insulation levels, and the specific heating needs.

There are four main types of electric heaters:

  1. Halogen heaters
  2. Convector heaters
  3. Oil-filled heaters
  4. Fan heaters

Halogen Heaters – These heaters are ideal if you want to warm yourself directly or heat a well-insulated small room. They provide instant heat by emitting infrared radiation that warms up people and objects directly rather than heating the air. Learn more about halogen heaters here.

Convector Heaters – Convector heaters are good all-rounders, suitable for rooms that are effective at retaining heat. They work by circulating convection currents across a heating element in the heater, providing instant heat. Learn more about convector heaters here.

Oil Filled Heaters – For those who prefer steady, warm heat over longer periods, oil-filled heaters are a great choice. While they take around 15 minutes to warm up, they remain warm even after being switched off, making them energy-efficient in the long run. Learn more about oil filled heaters here.

Fan Heaters – These are ideal for poorly insulated spaces that need heat faster than it is being lost. They work by blowing air over a heating element, which then heats up the room rapidly. Learn more about fan heaters here.

Which One of These Electric Heaters is the Cheapest to Run?

So, which is the cheapest electric heater to run? Well, it ultimately depends on the space you’re heating and your specific needs. The cost of running an electric heater can vary widely depending on the type and your specific needs. Here’s a closer look at some of the cheapest electric heaters to run.

Halogen Heaters:

Halogen heaters are a popular choice for heating solutions due to their ability to provide immediate warmth. They work by using halogen elements to emit heat, which can be felt almost instantly, making them perfect for environments that require fast-acting warmth. This feature makes halogen heaters particularly ideal for smaller spaces or areas where quick heat is needed, such small rooms, or workshops.

Use Less Power: The power output of a typical halogen heater is around 1200W. This high output ensures that the heater can quickly generate enough heat to warm up a person or a small room. However, many halogen heaters also come with adjustable settings, allowing you to lower the power output to 400W. Using the heater at this lower setting can make it incredibly economical to run, especially in small, well-insulated spaces. This means that you can enjoy a comfortable temperature without worrying about excessive energy bills.

Instant Direct Warmth: Another advantage of halogen heaters is their directional heat. Unlike conventional heaters that aim to raise the overall temperature of a room, halogen heaters primarily warm up the objects and people they are pointed at. This means if you’re sitting in a room and only want to warm up yourself, not the entire space around you, a halogen heater would be an efficient choice.

Halogen heaters offer a versatile and cost-effective solution for those seeking immediate warmth. Whether you need to heat a small room or just want a quick burst of warmth, a halogen heater can be an excellent option.

Oil Filled Heaters:

Oil filled heaters have long been a popular choice for heating homes and offices, primarily due to their efficient energy consumption and exceptional heat retention capabilities. Here’s a more detailed look at why these heaters are beneficial:

Superior Heat Retention: Oil filled heaters use oil as a heat reservoir. The heater warms the oil, which in turn radiates heat into the room. The key advantage here is that oil retains heat very well, meaning the radiator continues to emit warmth even after the heater itself is turned off. This can provide a consistent level of comfort over extended periods without consuming additional electricity.

Built-in Thermostat: Most oil filled heaters come with a built-in thermostat, which allows users to set the desired temperature for their room. Once the set temperature is reached, the heater automatically switches off, thereby conserving energy. Over an hour, a 2000W oil filled heater might only draw on electricity for 30-40 minutes, depending on the set thermostat temperature. This feature makes oil-filled heaters more economical compared to other heaters that constantly consume electricity.

Cost-Efficiency Over Longer Periods: For those requiring heat over extended periods, oil filled heaters can be the most economical choice. Because of their excellent heat retention and thermostatic control, they use less energy over time compared to other heaters that need to run continuously to maintain the same temperature.

Quiet Operation: Unlike fan heaters, oil filled heaters operate virtually silently, making them ideal for use in bedrooms or study rooms where noise could be a distraction.

If you’re looking for a heating solution that provides sustained warmth, is energy-efficient, and cost-effective for long-term use, an oil-filled heater could be an excellent choice.

Fan Heaters:

Fan heaters or forced air heaters are also good options when it comes to poorly insulated spaces. They work by blowing air over a heated element to warm up the room. As they throw out rapid heat, poorly insulated spaces will have more warmer air in the space, than escaping through poor insulation.

An oil heater in this scenario will not force enough heat into the air before it escapes, an oil heater will need to be on for much longer before you feel the warmth, making it more expensive in this scenario. Here’s a more detailed look at how these heaters work and why they can be particularly effective in such environments:

Working Principle: Fan heaters function by blowing air over a heated element. This process warms the air, which is then circulated throughout the room. The rapid generation and distribution of heat are key characteristics of fan heaters, which set them apart from other types of heaters.

Rapid Heat Generation: Fan heaters are known for their ability to generate heat quickly. This makes them an ideal choice for situations where immediate warmth is required. Whether you’ve just arrived home on a cold day or you’re taking a break in a chilly workshop, a fan heater can provide the quick blast of heat you need to feel comfortable.

Effective in Poorly Insulated Spaces: In spaces with poor insulation, heat tends to escape quickly. However, because fan heaters throw out heat rapidly, they can keep the air in such spaces warmer for longer periods. This is a significant advantage over other types of heaters, such as oil heaters, which radiate heat more slowly and may struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature in a poorly insulated room.

Cost Efficiency: While oil heaters retain heat well and can be more efficient in well-insulated spaces, they might not be the best option for poorly insulated areas. In such spaces, an oil heater would need to be on for much longer before achieving the desired warmth, which could lead to higher energy consumption and, therefore, increased costs. On the other hand, a fan heater can heat the space quickly and might end up being a more economical option in this scenario.

Versatility & Portability: Many fan heaters are lightweight and portable, making them easy to move from room to room as needed. This flexibility allows you to heat only the area you’re using, potentially saving on energy costs.

If you’re dealing with a poorly insulated space and need a heating solution that provides quick warmth and could potentially save on energy costs, a fan heater could be a great option.

Convector Heaters:

Convector heaters work by drawing cold air over a heated element and then releasing it back into the room. They can be cost-effective, especially for medium-sized rooms, and with a built in thermostat, they can be cheap to run as they will stop using electricity when the desired temperature is reached. Unlike oil filled radiators, they will not be able to produce heat when off, as the elements cool quickly.

Convector heaters, also known as convection heaters, are another option when it comes to space heating. Here’s a more detailed look at how these heaters work and the benefits they can offer:

Working Principle: Convector heaters operate by drawing in cold air from the room, heating it using an internal heating element, and then releasing it back into the room. This cycle continues until the desired temperature is reached. The heated air rises and circulates around the room, creating a consistent and comfortable warmth.

Cost-Effectiveness: Convector heaters can be a cost-effective choice for medium-sized rooms. They heat up quickly and efficiently, providing a good balance between performance and energy consumption. Their fast heating capability can save time and energy, especially when compared to slower heating options like oil-filled radiators.

Built-in Thermostat: Like many modern heaters, convector heaters often come with a built-in thermostat. This device allows you to set your preferred temperature, and once that temperature is achieved, the heater will automatically switch off. This not only maintains a comfortable environment but also helps save on energy costs, as the heater isn’t continuously drawing electricity.

Quick Heat Dispersion: Convector heaters are known for their ability to disperse heat quickly and evenly throughout a room. This makes them ideal for spaces where a quick increase in temperature is needed.

Limitations: Unlike oil-filled radiators, convector heaters don’t continue to produce heat when turned off, as their heating elements cool down quickly. This means they may need to turn on more frequently to maintain the desired temperature, which could potentially lead to increased energy usage in colder conditions or larger spaces.

Versatility and Installation: Convector heaters come in both portable and wall-mounted versions, offering flexibility depending on your space and needs. Portable models can be easily moved from room to room, while wall-mounted units can provide a more permanent heating solution.

If you’re looking for a heater that provides quick and even heat distribution, is cost-effective, and offers the convenience of a built-in thermostat, a convector heater could be an excellent choice. However, for continuous heat production, particularly in colder conditions or larger spaces, an oil-filled radiator might be a better option.

In conclusion, on Which One of These Electric Heaters is the Cheapest to Run?

Determining the most cost-effective electric heater largely hinges on several key factors. Here’s an expanded look at each of these considerations:

Size of the Space: The size of the room or area you wish to heat is a critical factor in choosing the right heater. For instance, larger spaces may require a more powerful heater for efficient heating, while smaller areas can be comfortably heated with less powerful models. Fan heaters might be ideal for quickly heating smaller, poorly insulated spaces, while convector heaters can efficiently heat medium-sized rooms. For larger spaces, oil-filled radiators or panel heaters might be more appropriate due to their ability to provide consistent heat over longer periods.

Insulation Quality: How well a space is insulated significantly impacts how much heat is retained. Poorly insulated spaces allow heat to escape rapidly, meaning a heater will have to work harder and run longer to maintain a comfortable temperature, which can increase energy consumption. In such cases, a heater that can generate heat quickly, like a fan heater, may be more cost-effective. In contrast, well-insulated spaces retain heat better, allowing for more efficient use of slower, sustained heat sources like oil-filled radiators or infrared heaters.

Duration of Heating: How long you need the heater to run is another important consideration. If you only need to heat a space for a short period, a fast-acting heater like a fan heater or a ceramic heater can be a cost-effective choice. However, if you need sustained heat over longer periods, a heater that retains heat well, such as an oil-filled radiator, may prove to be more economical over time.

Additional Features: Many modern heaters come equipped with features like thermostats, timers, and energy-saving modes that can contribute to cost-effectiveness. A thermostat can maintain a consistent temperature, preventing the heater from running unnecessarily, while a timer can ensure the heater only operates when needed.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make a more informed decision and select the electric heater that offers the best balance of performance and cost-efficiency for your specific needs.

Do Electric Heaters That Run For 1p an Hour Exist?

However, one common question is whether you can find electric heaters that run for 1p an hour. The truth is, while some manufacturers may claim this, it’s not practically feasible considering the current energy prices. Remember, the cost of running a heater is primarily determined by its wattage, most people will need a 2000 Watt heater and the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 2000 Watt electric heater is around 0.56p an hour.

In Conclusion

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to which electric heater is the cheapest to run. It depends on various factors, including the size and insulation of your space, are you looking to heat the whole house, how long you need the heater to run, and your personal comfort preferences. However, understanding the workings of different types of heaters and their advantages can help you make a decision that best suits your needs and budget.