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Best Electric Heaters 2023: Our top picks to help you keep warm this winter

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

If you need some extra help to warm up your home over the harsh winter months, then this list of the best electric heaters could come in very handy indeed.

Electric heaters are versatile bits of kit: they can help add warmth to a room that already has a radiator, they can be used to heat just one room without having to turn the main heating on, plus they can be used anywhere there’s a plug, such as in an outbuilding.

With the cost of electricity at an all-time high, buying an electric heater may not sound like a great idea. A typical 1,800W heater, for example, may cost 61p an hour to run, which might sound terrifying. However, don’t let that necessarily put you off.

Electric heaters are generally fast at warming up a limited area, that is, putting out a lot of heat in a short space of time. This means they don’t have to be on for long to make a noticeable difference, and if you buy a heater with a thermostat then it will shut down once your room has reached the right temperature.

Don’t let the power rating put you off, either. As it’s easy to turn electricity into heat, all electric heaters are roughly as efficient as each other. The main difference between different powered models is how much heat they can put out at once: a high-power heater will warm a room faster than a lower-powered one, but their overall power usage will be similar.

That said, very low-power heaters are good for warming just yourself: making a cold working space more comfortable, for example. Also, you should buy a heater that’s big enough to warm your room, as every heater will tell you the maximum-sized room it will work in.

The downside to electric heaters is that the warmth they produce will be lost quickly (radiators cool down slowly, so rooms cool more slowly as a result), and they can struggle to fill up larger rooms. As such, they’re better suited for 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 models: 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 a 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 we can gauge 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

The best overall heater
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Pros

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

Cons

  • Expensive

If you don’t want to buy another appliance that sits there being useless for half the year or more, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde may be for you. 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 gases. These filters should last for about a year, although the app and display will tell you when it’s time to make the change.

Dyson’s app 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 to turn on and off. In this way, the Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde acts much like a smart thermostat.

It warms a room quickly, but it’s 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 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

The best hot and cool 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 a built-in air purifier, 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 and set the 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 become active. 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’s 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 rival, 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 21°C before the fan shut down.

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

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

Review: Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower

Reviewer: David Ludlow

De’Longhi Capsule Desk

The best personal heater
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Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Compact
  • Gentle individual heat

Cons

  • Thermostat not that useful

Drawing just 352W, as read from our power meter, the De’Longhi Capsule Desk costs only 12p per hour to run. The reason it doesn’t use much power is because it’s a small electric heater – no bigger than a DAB radio – designed to warm one person at a time.

Drop this on a desk and angle its grille, and the De’Longhi Capsule Desk can push out an envelope of warm air. We found that it made it much more comfortable to sit in a drafty office, making us feel warmer and, crucially, keeping our hands warm.

The controls on this device are very simple: there’s a single dial on top that you twist to adjust the unmarked thermostat. We don’t think that the thermostat is that helpful here, as we tended to set this heater to maximum and turn it off once we felt warm, rather than letting it click off automatically.

This heater doesn’t have the power to affect the temperature of an entire room, but if you want a relatively cheap way to keep yourself warm, it’s a great choice.

Review: De’Longhi Capsule Desk review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Dimplex MaxAir

The most powerful heater
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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, there’s also a 2.5kW heater inside it that delivers 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.

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’ve reviewed.

At 44.9dB, the fan is a touch noisy on maximum power. So if you’re after a quieter unit, a convector heater might be a better choice.

With tip-over and overheating protection, the Dimplex MaxAir is a fan that can be left unattended without concerns about 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

The best heater that automatically turns off
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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 MotionMove Eye 2.0kW Heater is one of the smallest electric heaters you can buy. Its size and energy rating tells you that this is 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 mode. Unlike its little brother, the 1.8kW Heater, this model also has a thermostat, so it will turn off when the target 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.

The MeacoHeat MotionMove Eye 2.0kW Heater also adds an oscillation mode into the mix, which lets you cover a wider area with warmth. This is good if you want to take care of multiple occupants.

Unusually, there’s an IR motion sensor, which lets the 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 this heater only has a 1m motion detection range.

If you do want to leave the heater unattended, then tip-over and overheating protection keep things safe, even if the heater gets knocked over.

A great occasional heater for small rooms, or for boats and caravans that can take the peak 3kW power drain, the MeacoHeat MotionMove Eye 2.0kW is a well-made and attractive fan heater.

Full review: Meaco MeacoHeat MotionMove Eye 2.0kW

Reviewer: David Ludlow

TCP Smart Heating Fan Heater Mini

The best mini smart heater
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Pros

Cons

Designed for rooms of up to 15m2, the TCP Smart Heating Fan Heater Mini is a neat, smart way to keep a space warm. Measuring just 260 x 170 x 170mm, this fan heater is compact and easy to place, comfortably sitting out of the way on a desk.

Via the controls on top, this fan heater can be put into one of its three heat modes (high, low and cool), and the temperature adjusted by the thermostatic control. Having a thermostat is great, as this fan heater saves power when the right temperature has been hit. It’s a little annoying, however, that the fan doesn’t turn off when the target temperature has been reached, dropping into fan-only mode instead.

Remote control is available via the TCP or the Smart Life app. We preferred the latter, as it’s also compatible with products from other manufacturers. The app replicates the physical controls but also gives a schedule, making this device as controllable as a smart thermostat. There’s Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa smart control, too.

Using it in a chilly office that was 15°C, the TCP Smart Heating Fan Heater Mini took the temperature to 19°C in 30mins. On high heat, this heater costs 66p per hour to run, while it’s 37p per hour on low heat. Low heat is ideal when it’s not as cold and you just need to take the chill off a room.

If you want a smart heater for a smaller room, this is a good choice.

Review: TCP Smart Heating Fan Heater Mini

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater

The best smart panel heater
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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. It can be controlled via your phone using the app, or by your voice using Alexa or Google Assistant. There are two versions available: a 1,500W model, suitable for rooms of up to 20m2, and a 2,000W 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 this 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 a specific temperature. In small to mid-sized rooms, there’s enough power for this to be the only heater you need.

Full review: Princess Glass Smart Panel Heater

Reviewer: David Ludlow

De’Longhi Capsule Fit Fan Heater

The best heater for flexibility
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Pros

  • Looks great
  • Powerful
  • Three heat settings

Cons

  • Basic thermostat
  • Fan-only mode not that useful

Fan heaters tend to be ugly, large, or both. The De’Longhi Capsule Fit Fan Heater is different, as it’s been built to look great, and its small body can be stood horizontally or vertically, giving a wider range of places it can be placed in. We found it best to stand this heater on a sideboard or a table.

There’s no tip-over protection on this model, as a result of it being able to stand in two positions. However, if it’s knocked over when it’s vertical, the heater drops into horizontal mode.

Controls on the De’Longhi Capsule Fit Fan Heater are basic. There are three heat levels: 2.3kW (79p per hour), 1.3kW (47p per hour) and 982W (33p per hour). That’s handy, as this electric heater can be turned down when it’s not so cold, to provide a more gentle heat.

There’s a thermostat, too, although this isn’t marked. De’Longhi recommends setting the thermostat to maximum, and when the temperature feels right, turning it down until you hear a click.

We found that this fan took 20mins on maximum to take a cold office from 14°C to a more comfortable 19°C. It was also quiet at 44dB.

There’s a fan-only mode, although this is very gentle to the point of being worthless. If you want something you can use all year around, check out the hot/cold fans on this list.

If you’re after a quality electric heater that looks good and can fit into multiple spaces, this one is a good choice.

Review: De’Longhi Capsule Fit Fan Heater review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Aeno Premium Eco Smart Heater

Most stylish heater
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Pros

  • Looks great
  • Multiple mounting options
  • Heats evenly

Cons

  • No physical temperature controls

The Aeno Premium Eco Smart Heater brings some style to a market that isn’t typically known for its sleek designs. 

This infrared panel heater comes in two black and white glossy finishes and is slim at just 11mm in depth. 

It does take up a lot of space at 1000 x 365mm in height and width, meaning it may not be suitable for smaller rooms. For those looking for something smaller, a fan heater like the TCP Smart Heating Fan Heater Mini might be a better choice, though it won’t look nearly as slick. 

The Aeno Premium Eco has a versatile design that can be positioned either standing on the floor or mounted on the wall. It can be turned horizontally or vertically, and there’s even the option to mount it on your ceiling if you don’t mind calling in a professional to install it. 

As an infrared heater, the Premium Eco Smart directly heats objects in its path, including people and objects, causing them to radiate heat similar to how the sun would. This makes the heater more efficient than a convection heater which heats the air and can create a stuffy environment. 

Infrared heaters also prevent the air in a room from getting dried out, creating an unpleasant smell or producing unwanted noise. 

We found that the Aeno had a maximum draw of 794W and it took 1 hour and 19 minutes to raise the temperature of a room from 19°C to 22°C using just 0.332kWh. We also appreciated how the heat felt natural and warm as the Aeno didn’t deliver the same blast of hot air you might get from a fan heater. 

The heater is efficient too, automatically switching the panel off when the correct temperature has been reached and turning it back on when it drops again for better efficiency. 

The only major drawback here is the lack of physical temperature controls or an on/off switch. 

The Premium Eco Smart is controlled entirely via the Aeno or Smart Life app (depending on which you prefer). These apps offer temperature controls, the option to create a schedule or set a timer and voice control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Skills. However, it’d be nice to have physical controls available as well. 

Review: Aeno Premium Eco Smart 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 turns 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. Overheating 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 available 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.

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