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Best Electric Heaters 2022: Keep warm the easy way

Is your house is cold or do you need heat in a room where you can't put a traditional radiator? Trusted Reviews' best electric heater guide is what you need

There are several good reasons to buy a portable electric heater. For starters, they can be placed where central heating doesn’t reach, keeping that outbuilding or conservatory nice and toasty throughout the year. If you have a particularly cold house then an electric heater can be a good way to boost the temperature of a room, using it in conjunction with your existing heating.

Finally, an electric heater can be an effective way of heating just a single room, without having to run the entire central heating system in your home, which can be ideal in those periods when the weather is starting to warm. Electric heaters make sense in rarely used rooms, too, since they’ll often do a better job of warming such places to a working temperature more quickly than central heating.

The downside to electric heaters is the heat they produce will be lost quickly, and they can struggle to fill up larger rooms. As such, they’re better suited to small to medium-sized rooms, or for use with existing heating.

Here, we’ve rounded up the best electric heaters, having reviewed all types of model: fan heaters, convection heaters and oil radiators.

All use electricity, so efficiency remains the same across all models. The main differences come in the way that they work.

Best electric heaters at glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test electric heaters

It’s important that we test all electric heaters in the same way. We measure how hot they get (or the heat output from a fan heater). We measure how fast the air moves out of each heater, which is especially important for fan heaters, where they’re designed to push air into the room. We also measure the temperature of our test lab, seeing the effect that each heater has. We measure electricity consumption on the highest and lowest settings, so see how much each product will cost to run. Finally, we test any smart features and apps that a heater may have.

Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

Perfect all-year round comfort
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Pros

  • Works all year round
  • Powerful purification
  • Excellent smart controls

Cons

  • Expensive

If you don’t want to buy another product that sits there being useless for half the year or more, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde. This is a traditional fan, a fan heater and a purifier all-in-one. At the bottom of the fan sits the filter, which can capture fine particles and gasses. These filters should last around a year, although the app and display will tell you when it’s time to make the change.

Dyson’s apps is one of the best. From here, you can control every aspect of the fan, including enabling the heat mode, setting a target temperature and even scheduling when you want it on and off. In this way, the Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde acts much like a smart thermostat.

It warms a room quickly, but is also exceptionally quiet, running at 39.62dB (background noise) on its lowest setting. On full pelt, in fan mode, I measured it at 3.8m/s – fast enough to provide cooling, with Dyson’s fanless design delivering smooth air.

Air purification is equally as good, and the range of sensors that this model has means that it responds to lots of atmospheric contaminants quickly and efficiently. Perfect for use at any time of year, this is a brilliant all-round product, but it is expensive.

Review: Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower

A powerful smart heater and cooling fan
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Pros

  • Powerful heating and cooling
  • Useful smart app and voice control
  • Doesn’t take up much space

Cons

  • Doesn’t display fan mode on LCD
  • Could do with a lower fan speed

It doesn’t have an air purifier built-in, but as the Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower has both heating and cooling modes, it’s still useful for most of the year. You can control all of the features, setting fan speed and target temperature, using the bundled remote control, but you get a few more options if you connect the fan to your Wi-Fi network.

Via the Climate app, you get all of the same options that the remote control gives, plus you can set a timer and schedule when you want the fan to come to life. That’s very useful if you want to regularly heat a space and need smart thermostat-like controls. There are a few mismatches between what you on the fan and what’s replicated in the app, but these are minor annoyances at worst.

In fan mode, the Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower is as powerful as its Dyson competition, although quite a bit louder, particularly as the lowest fan speed isn’t that low. Heat mode was enough to cope with a 30m2 test lab, getting it to a comfortable 21C before the fan shut down.

Having an accurate thermostat is very helpful on a product such as this, as it means that you’re only using a high amount of electricity (1983kW here) for shorter periods; heaters with inaccurate thermostats will typically run for longer than you need them.

Well priced and useful throughout the year, the Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower is a great option for anyone that wants a smart device with a high level of control.

Review: Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Dimplex MaxAir

Hugely powerful in both fan and heat modes
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Pros

  • Super-strong fan
  • Incredibly effective heating
  • Three-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Quite noisy

The Dimplex MaxAir is a full-on tower fan, producing enough cooling air to cope with a summer’s day. However, if you need warming up then there’s also a 2.5kW heater inside it delivering top performance.

As well as being a versatile unit, the Dimplex MaxAir is also pretty attractive, so you’ll have no problem leaving this product out in your home throughout the year.

You can set the desired fan speed and, if required, the temperature using the simple on-body controls or via the provided remote control. There’s also a Bluetooth app, which lets you use your smartphone control when within range of the fan. The app provides the same controls, although they’re a touch easier to understand here.

Performance was excellent, with the fan producing some of the most powerful airflow we’ve seen; it maxed out at 5.7m/s when measured from 15cm. Heat performance was just as good, with the Dimplex MaxAir warming our test bedroom by the largest degree of any heater we reviewed.

The fan is a touch noisy on maximum at 44.9dB, so if you’re after a quieter unit then a convector heater might be a better choice.

With tip-over and overheat protection, this is a fan that’s capable of being left unattended without worry of any accidents.

The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool is slightly more flexible and looks neater, but it’s far more expensive, making the Dimplex MaxAir an excellent value alternative.

Full review: Dimplex MaxAir review

Reviewer: Simon Handby

Meaco MeacoHeat MotionMove Eye 2.0kW

A small but powerful heater that can shut off when nobody is around
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Pros

  • Good performance
  • Well priced
  • Oscillation helps warm an entire room

Cons

  • Styling is a little basic
  • Motion sensor has limited range

The compact MeacoHeat Motion Eye 2.0kW Heater is one of the smallest electric heaters you can buy. The size and energy rating tells you that this is really a model designed for smaller rooms, or for working in conjunction with an existing heating source.

The top panel houses the controls, including two heat levels and a fan-only cooling modes. Unlike its little brother, the 1.kW Heater, this model also has a thermostat, so the heater will turn off when the temperature is reached. There are three heat modes (L, M and H), although there’s no corresponding temperature printed anywhere, so you may have to experiment.

This model also adds an oscillation mode into the mix, which lets you cover a wider area with warmth, which is good if you want to take care of multiple occupants.

Unusually, there’s an IR motion sensor, which lets the MeacoHeat Motion Eye 1.8kW Heater turn on automatically when motion is detected. This could be useful in a rarely used room, such as a garage or other outbuilding. Positioning is important, though, as the MeacoHeat Motion Eye 1.8kW Heater has only a 1m motion detection range.

If you do want to leave the heater unattended, then tip-over and overheat protection keep things sage, even if the heater is knocked over.

A great occasional heater for small rooms or for boats and caravans that can take the peak 3kW power drain, the MeacoHeat Motion Eye 2kW Heater is a well-made and attractive fan heater.

Full review: Meaco MeacoHeat MotionMove Eye 2.0kW

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater

A well-priced smart heater for smaller rooms
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Pros

  • Smart features
  • Neat looks
  • Warms well

Cons

  • Fiddly to attach legs

The Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater is an affordable convection heater that can be wall-mounted or freestanding, and can be controlled via your phone using the app, or by your voice using Alexa or Google Assistant. There are two versions available: a 1500W model suitable for rooms up to 20m2 and a 2000W version for rooms up to 25m2.

After connecting the Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater to your Wi-Fi network using the HomeWizard Climate app, you can set the heat mode, temperature target and toggle standby mode. The app also gives you schedules, so you can have the Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater work much like a smart thermostat. With the app connected to Wi-Fi, you can use the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant skills to turn the heater on and off with your voice.

There are two heat modes to choose from, high and low, with the former heating up a small room quickly, while the latter is more economical and useful if you want to maintain the temperature. In small to mid-size rooms, there’s enough power for this to be the only heater you need.

Full review: Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater

Reviewer: David Ludlow

FAQs

What do heat controls do?

Heat mode selection is important, since it lets you adjust how hot the electric heater gets. As well as letting you cut down on running costs, it means you can adjust heat to suit the time of year and room: hotter on the coldest day and cooler when the outside temperature is warmer.

Do I need a thermostat?

A thermostat lets the heater turn off automatically when the set temperature is reached, helping keep a room at a comfortable temp. A proper thermostat will let you set a target temperature; an uncalibrated thermostat needs to be turned to maximum and then, when your room feels comfortable, dialled down until the heater cuts off.

Are timer controls useful?

If you’re using an electric heater as the only source of heating, timer controls let you programme when the heater comes on and off, much like your central heating. This is a good way to save money and only run the heater when you need it.

What safety features do I need?

There are two main safety features. Overheat protection ensures that the heater turns off before it becomes dangerously hot to prevent a fire. Tip-over protection turns off the heater if it’s knocked over, preventing damage to surfaces. The former features on all of the models here; the latter isn’t on all heaters. Typically, tip-over protection is best where it’s likely that a heater could get knocked over, such as with children or pets around.

Can you use an electric heater with a smart thermostat?

Not easily, but it can be done using an electrical relay and some rewiring. You’ll probably want an electrician to tackle the job for you, but here’s how to wire a smart thermostat to use an electric heater.

Specifications

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Remote Control
App Control
Number of speeds
Fan Type
Oscillation
Timer
Night Mode
Heat mode

Trusted Reviews Test Data

Sound (low)
Sound (high)
Time to clear smoke
Air speed 15cm (low)
Air speed 15cm (high)
Air speed 1m (high)
Air volume 1m (low)

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