Electric Heating – The Ultimate Buying Guide

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Electric Heating – The Ultimate Buying Guide

Welcome to our complete guide to electric heating. We've got you covered when it comes to navigating through the different types of electric heaters out there. Whether you're looking to beat the winter cold, create a cozy atmosphere, or find a cost-effective heating solution, we've got plenty of options to meet your specific needs.

In this guide, we'll explore the wide range of electric heaters, discussing their pros and cons, so you can make an informed purchase and lower your electricity bills while keeping your home warm and cosy. Let’s dive in!

How does it work?

Different types of electric heating operate in unique ways, but in a nutshell: Electrical energy is transformed into thermal energy through the magic of resistance elements. As electricity passes through these elements, they warm up, generating the cozy heat output you desire.

Why choose electric heating?

an image of mould on the wall

Electric heating can be an attractive choice for many reasons as it offers several advantages. Unlike traditional methods, electric heating systems are easy to install, requiring no plumbing into a central heating system or flue/chimney. They are 100% efficient at the point of use, meaning all the electricity they use is converted directly into heat. This results in lower energy costs in the long run. They also provide instant and controllable heat at the press of a button or turn of a dial.

Moreover, electric heating systems require minimal maintenance, reducing the likelihood of unexpected repair costs. They also offer an eco-friendly solution, producing no direct emissions or pollutants, making them an excellent choice for those conscious about their environmental impact.

Costs of electric heating?

The cost of electric heating can vary depending on the type of system you choose. Generally, electric heating systems tend to be more affordable than gas or oil-fired boilers. However, it's important to factor in your electricity bills when considering overall cost savings. Investing in a high efficiency heater can help offset energy costs and give you peace of mind that you're saving money in the long run.

What are the types of electric heating?

Electric radiators

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Electric radiators are highly sought-after and available in various sizes, making them suitable for any space, be it a cosy bedroom or a spacious living room. They offer versatility, seamlessly blending into your interior as discreet wall fixtures or serving as stylish focal points that add a contemporary flair. Crafted with aluminium or a natural dry-stone core, these radiators excel at heat retention and are equipped with an array of features, including digital programming and wireless control, ensuring optimal convenience and comfort.

For more information about Electric Radiators see Electric Radiator Buying Guide and Top 10 Electric Radiators to help you choose a radiator for you!


  • Great heat retention
  • Less maintenance - no bleeding, no balancing, and no flushing
  • Cheaper installation compared to gas central heating
  • Only heat the rooms you're in, rather than the whole house
  • Accurate temperature control with digital thermostats
  • No carbon monoxide risks


  • Electricity is currently more expensive than gas
  • Incorrect installation may lead to heater electrical faults

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Panel heaters

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Panel heaters work by applying the principle of convection. Heat is generated in an electric element, the warmed air transfers out of the heater and moves outwards into the room. The more powerful the heater, the wider the area of circulation of the warmed air. They warm up quickly and are quite silent when working. Panel heaters can be freestanding, or wall mounted. They are lightweight and easy to move around in your house. Some models are available which have thermostatic control to select your preferred heat setting and timers to set for certain times of the day.

To learn more about panel heaters, check out our Panel Heaters Buying Guide or Top 10 Panel Heaters.


  • Provide instant heat once they are switched on
  • Heat is distributed in an efficient way
  • Warm rooms evenly as the air rises and falls equally within the space
  • Very silent


  • Less efficient than electric radiators
  • Not suitable for constant use due to the heat element potentially causing sooty deposits on the wall
  • Less durable than electric radiators, which can result in lower life expectancy

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Check out our full guide for more information Panel Heaters vs Electric Radiators.

Oil filled radiators

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Oil filled radiators are electric heaters with multiple fins. The fins increase the surface area of the heater whilst creating pockets for air to collect in. The radiator is full of small pipes which carry the oil around. The oil is then heated by an electrical element and pumped all-round the heater. This allows the surfaces of the radiator to heat up, warming the room. They usually have a control panel, with the thermostat to set the temperature and a timer to choose time intervals.

To learn more about oil filled radiators, check out our Oil Filled Radiators Buying Guide or Top 5 Oil Filled Radiators.


  • Excellent thermal retention, therefore lower running costs
  • A lasting, comfortable warmth over a longer period of time
  • No need to refill the oil, as it won't burn or evaporate inside the radiator


  • Doesn’t provide instant comfort as it takes around 15 minutes to heat up fully
  • Heavy to move around in the home, as they have the added weight of the oil

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Oil free radiators

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Oil free radiators work by using thermal components, like ceramic stone or aluminium. The heat is transferred by the processes of convection and radiation. Convection transports the heat around the room, and the radiation emits the heat to the air. The room will warm up quickly, as this heating technology is the most advanced.


  • Easy to use and don't make much noise when on
  • Light and portable, meaning you can move them from room to room with less hassle
  • They warm up fast
  • Ideal for large spaces, homes with high ceilings, open floor plans and stairwells


  • Less heat retention compared to oil filled radiators
  • Doesn’t distribute heat evenly

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Check out our full guide for more information Oil filled vs Oil free radiators: Which is best for your home?

Fan heaters

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Fan heaters pass air through a heated element, and then disperse the warm air out into the room using its built-in fan.

There are two types available:

  • Fan heaters which use a metal element to generate heat.
  • Ceramic heaters which use a ceramic element to convert the energy into heat quicker and more efficiently than the metal version. It can also output the same level of heat at a lower power rating, making it more cost efficient.

Fan heaters are ideal if you want to heat a specific area of your home quickly. They are also ideal for heating up smaller spaces, as they are compact in size. Fan heaters are mostly used in bathrooms, garages, and attics.


  • Low price heating
  • Poratble, easy to lift, and carry
  • Significant heating power
  • Modern design


  • Consume a lot of electricity compared to the heat output
  • Can be noisy

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Electric fires

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Electric fires provide the warmth and atmosphere of a real fireplace, without the use of gas, wood or coal as the heat source. They use electricity to generate heat in the metal coils of the electric fire. The internal fan distributes the heat throughout the room. The installation is simple, as the electric fire only needs to be plugged into an electrical socket.

To learn more about electric fires, check out our Electric Fires Buying Guide.


  • High efficiency as heat energy is not lost through the burning of fuel or chimney
  • No servicing costs, as they are easy to maintain
  • Safe as they don't produce toxic fumes
  • Installation is simple, just plug in and go
  • Variety of designs available
  • Most designs can be hardwired to hide the plug and cable


  • Noisy because of the fan within the fireplace
  • Heat output is typically limited to 2kW for safety
  • It takes a longer time to heat up the room

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Patio heaters

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Patio heaters use the heat transfer method of radiant heat to warm up the outdoor environment. They will warm up people, furniture and objects directly, which means the heat won't be lost by the wind. Patio heaters are the most efficient way to heat an outdoor space, as people will retain the heat and radiate it out further. They are suitable for homes, as well as commercial environments like bars, cafés, restaurants, terraces and warehouses.

To learn more about patio heaters, check out our Patio Heaters Buying Guide or Top 10 Patio Heaters.


  • Great for outdoor gatherings with friends and family when it's cold
  • They come in multiple sizes and design options
  • Affordable and portable
  • Can heat a large area
  • Floor standing and wall mounted options available


  • May cost more in the long term, due to electricity consumption

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Electric towel rails

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Electric towel rails are a great way to heat your bathroom, giving you all the warmth and comfort of central heating without the cost. The heated towel rail will warm your towels up quickly so that when you step out of the bath or shower after enjoying a long soak, your towels will be warm and cosy!

Electric towel rails are available in a wide range of sizes and styles to suit any bathroom. Our range includes traditional designs with modern finishes to give your bathroom that contemporary feel. They are also incredibly efficient, as they don’t need to be switched on for long to heat up your towels.


  • Energy efficient, as they only use a small amount of electricity to keep your towels warm and cost
  • Can provide extra warmth during the cold winter months as they generate heat without relying on central heating
  • Great for smaller bathrooms


  • Installation can get expensive as they require professional hardwiring due to their position in the bathroom
  • Not as durable as their water-based versions

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With electric heating, you can quickly and effectively heat any room just the way you like it. Plus, you'll enjoy lower energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. When your central heating falls short, electric heaters are the perfect addition to your home. Whether you need a boost of warmth in the morning or sustained heat in the evening, our range of electric heaters offers exceptional value for money. Stay cosy all winter long!