Gas v Electric: Which One Is Cheaper To Heat Your Home?

Energy bills are a hot topic at the moment for all the wrong reasons. In April, the energy price cap rose by a whopping 54% due to energy price rises, and this is predicted to rise again by another 80% in October.

Due to this unprecedented increase, many people are looking for ways to keep costs down around their home.

In this article, we’ll look at whether it’s cheaper to use gas or electric in your home, as well as some top tips to keep your home warm for less.

An image of an electric gas stove being switched on with a blue flame

How much does it cost to run an electric panel heater in comparison to a gas radiator?

Gas radiators are the main type of central heating system found in most UK homes. It’s all linked together and connected to a boiler which heats water to be used for heating. The 2 most common boilers (old style mains gas boilers and combi-boilers) in the UK both use gas.

Electric panel heaters, however, are run exclusively from electricity. They can either be wired in fully by a professional electrician, or simply plugged in at a nearby wall plug.

When looking at the costs of the 2 different systems, we’ll take upfront cost into consideration as well as running costs.

Upfront Costs

Electric panel heaters can range in price from £50 - £250 depending on your preferences and room size. For our example we’ll use a mid-range, 1kW panel heater that costs £100 in every room of a five room home that is simply being plugged in to a wall socket. This means upfront cost will be £500.

Calculating upfront cost for a gas central heating system is tricky. Installing a brand new system in a five room home can cost around £3,000 - £4,500. However, most homes typically come with one already installed. This means that, in a typical household, the upfront cost of a gas heating system is £0.

When comparing this to the upfront cost of buying all new electric radiators, it may seem like your existing gas heating system is the better choice. This is where the running costs make up additional costs.

Running Costs

For this example we’ll use the official figures of 52 p/kWh for electricity and 15 p/kWh for gas*. We’ll also assume that you want to use your heating for 8 hours per day.

Using a 1kW electric panel heater for 8 hours gives you 8kWh. At a cost of 52p per kWh, it costs £4.16 per day. Multiply that by the 5 panel heaters in your home, and you have a total cost of £20.80.

Energy usage from a gas central heating system comes from the boiler, with the average energy use being 24kW. Times this by the 8 hours you want to run it for, and you have a daily gas usage of 192kWh. At a cost of 15p/kWh, you have a daily running cost of £28.80.

This means that monthly, an electric panel heating system will cost £624, whereas a gas heating system will cost £864.

Furthermore, this means that the money you save per month using electric panel heaters will payback your upfront cost in 2 months.


Electric panel heaters are around 100% efficient. While they do often have LED controls, this energy usage is negligible, so 1kW of energy will become 1kW of heat. Not having wasted energy means that you’re also not wasting money when using your heating system.

The same cannot be said for gas central heating. Starting at the boiler, a brand new boiler is generally around 90% efficient. As the heated water is not used within the boiler, you lose more energy as it travels through the system, with up to 50% of heat being lost if the pipes are not well insulated. That warm patch on your floor? That’s wasted energy.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of an electric panel heater is around 20 – 30 years depending on usage. A modern gas boiler has a life expectancy of 15 – 20 years, without taking into account the upkeep on your pipes and radiators. This means that your panel heating system may last longer than your gas system before it needs to be replaced.

As well as this, if one of your electric panel heaters fails, the rest will still work while you source a replacement. However, if your boiler fails, you have no central heating until it can be repaired or replaced.

How to save money with electric panel heaters

Image of a panel heater, wall mounted in a smart neat living room with a grey sofa

Electric panel heaters also come equipped with features that can help you save more energy, and therefore money.

Zone control

Individual control over gas radiators can be limited. While they may be fitted with a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV), many older systems are not. Therefore, whenever the boiler is on, all of the radiators are being heated. This often means that you are unnecessarily heating rooms.

Electric panel heaters are able to be individually programmed and controlled, so that you only use the heaters in rooms you need. They will also only heat your room to the desired level. For example, you may have your living room set to heat from 6pm – 9pm at 22°C but your bedroom set from 9pm – 11pm at 18°C.

Smart features

Many electric panel heaters come with Smart functionality. This means that you have even greater control over your heating using an app on your phone or your smart home assistant. More than just scheduling and temperature control, you can also set ‘rules’ for your heating system – and there is a wide array of rules available.

For example, you can set it to turn your heating off when you leave the house so that you’re never wasting energy, or set it to turn on when you’re nearly home. You can even set your heating to turn on depending on the weather in your area!

Panel Heaters

Panel Heaters

*Accurate as at 31/08/2022