The days may be getting lighter but while we wait for temperatures to play catchup, we can stil detect a definite nip in the air. Pulling on another jumper will only get you so far, and cranking up the central heating can deliver a serious hit to your bank balance. What to do?
The answer? An electric heater, which can be more cost- and energy-efficient for a temporary fix, or when your main heat source just isn't cutting it.
They’re not just for home use. Shop wisely and a portable heater can warm those awkward spots that don’t have a readily available heat source: think a conservatory, shed or caravan. If you’re one of those folks who always feels a chill, a personal heater can help avert temperature wars over the thermostat by offering localised heating directly to you instead.
For dual purpose warming, it's worth considering getting a heated clothes airer. While most models don’t have enough power to heat a whole room, they will keep your clothes off radiators, drying them effectively as a tumble dryer minus the costly running expenses.
Before we dive into our roundup of the best personal heaters, think first about your needs and the space you need to heat.
A fan or halogen heater is likely to be sufficient for most small spaces, while larger, loftier rooms will probably benefit best from a radiator heater.
Even if you’re shopping on a strict budget, there are plenty of heating options to keep you warm on frosty days. Perfect for anyone with a small space to warm, a fan heater rapidly billows heat into the room by propelling air across a heated element and then blowing it into the room.
While a fan heater works quickly in making the room toasty, the flipside is once you switch it off the heat vanishes too. The fan element means some heaters can make quite a racket, which may not be such a thorn if you’re using it in a home office but would be a deciding factor if you want a heater to warm a room before bed.
A free-wheeling cousin of a traditional wall radiator, this freestanding version works in pretty much the same way – by heating an element such as water or oil in a metal structure which in turn radiates heat into the room.
First off, the pluses. They’re as quiet as a mouse, and create long-lasting heat that doesn’t disappear the moment you turn off the power source. In fact, the slow cool down time means the radiator continues to produce heat without using energy which means you don’t need to have it on all day to stay warm.
The downside is that these radiators also take longer to warm up, so you’ll need to think ahead and switch them on a good half an hour before to feel the benefits. Luckily many models come with built-in timers so you can set them to switch on when you need them to.
Also working in a similar way, convection heaters work by directing hot air through the radiator then circulating it throughout the room, although the heat given off is not as far reaching – you’ll notice if you step out of the direct line of heat.
Where can you use a convection heater? It will earn its keep with small groups, but it isn’t the most sensible option for families or spacious rooms. The cons of a convection heater is the circulated air can be an issue for allergy sufferers or anyone sensitive to dust. The upshot is they’re cheaper to operate and can heat a room faster.
Finally, meet the halogen heater - you might have encountered the motion-detected versions outside pubs. They work by warming filaments which then give off heat and they’re ideal for anyone planning outdoor events or if you’re working outside. The negative? You can only really feel its warmth if you’re directly in front of it, which stands to reason if you’re using them in the open air.
For a money saving option, these are very good. Storage heaters stockpile electricity at night when the tariffs are lower, releasing it out during the day at a lower cost to you. This operation means they’re ideal for home workers who need warmth in the day.
That said, they’re not for everyone and will suit certain homes better than others so we've dedicated an entire roundup to just this type of heater.
Electric Heater Guide 2021
This guide is split up into the following sections, use these quick links to jump to each section.
Best for: A quick fix
Russell Hobbs RHRETPTC2001 Retro Fan Heater - Black
Vintage vibes reign supreme with Russell Hobb's cute little heater, which offers two heat setting so you can use it as a fan in the summer too.
Set on short legs, this fan heater operates at a powerful 1500W output and has an adjustable thermostat. There is a safety overheat and a tip over switch that will cut the power if the heater gets knocked over or too hot - handy if you have curious pets or toddlers around. It’s perfect for providing localised heat, like your WFH desk or positioned by your feet when you’re watching telly.
Works most effectively on spaces measuring 15 m².
Pro Breeze 2000W Mini Ceramic Fan Heater
Pro Breeze 2000w is one of the highest rated fan heaters on Amazon, it does what it says and looks good doing it too - but let's get down to the specifics.
The ceramic heating element helps create a faster and stronger heat and unlike many static fan heaters the Pro Breeze offerers 60 degrees of oscillation.
It measures 18.5 x 15.5 x 26 cm, so while it is bigger than your average mini fan heater it's still smaller compared to its peers. If you have a small flat and need something in equal parts powerful and petite—this is the fan heater to buy.
Safety features include built-in overheat protection and automatic anti tip-over switch.
Dunelm 1.5KW Mini Ceramic Fan Heater with Timer
Looking more like a speaker, you would never know this heater pushed out warm air - unless you turned it on. This makes it a perfect option for those who want their new purchase to fit seamlessly into their interiors.
The ceramic heating technology means you'll get fast and effective heating on demand with teperatures ranging from 15°C - 35°C.
Keep it on at night without worry thanks to the seven hour timer, and choose from a pair of heat settings; 1000W and 1500W. There is also a cooling fan option which will come into its own as we head into summer.
It has all the usual safety elements, plus a handle so you can easily move it from room to room.
The Dimplex Glofan is a versatile and sophisticated heater boasting an LED ring that glows red to indicated heat mode and blue to indicate a cooling mode, so you can run it in the summer months too. Thanks to a digital thermostat, the backlit LCD screen will display the temperature of the room.
This best-selling compact fan heater is priced more in the lower to mid-range department but offers a higher grade of heating. Simply put, the Dimplex Glofan is one of the best around.
There’s a safety cut out to stop it from overheating while a three-year guarantee adds to your peace of mind. With its sleek appearance, you get plenty of bang for your buck with this heater.
Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool Fan Heater
This cleverly designed AM09 from Dyson may be on the pricier side but, when you consider this country's temperamental weather, it's a sound investment for whatever the conditions are like beyond your front door.
The third in Dyson’s range of ‘Hot + Cool’ fans, this blows hot and cold air so you can use the AM09 year-round rather than just over the winter. It boasts world-class Dyson tech, such as an improved heating fan system and Air Multiplier technology that evenly dispels warm air all while operating at whisper-like noise levels.
It may look small and unassuming, but it can heat a room incredibly quickly – right up to a toasty 37 degrees, if you like. The best thing about this is that it’s blade-free, making it ideal for anyone with pets or infants in the house.
De'Longhi 1.8kW Ceramic Capsule Fan Heater
A rather stylish option for those looking for a quick fix. Weighting just 1.3kg and standing at roughly 27cm, this ceramic fan heater comes complete with a safety cut-out switch to prevent overheating.
The compact shape and gently rounded edges are a welcome departure from the standard rectangle while the contrasting loop handle makes it very easy to move from one room to another. A good job, because this little heater is destined to be your cold weather BFF.
Mini Fan Heaters
Best for: smaller rooms or areas where you'll be seated - like a lounge or home office
Pro Breeze Mini Heater
As far as personal fan heaters go, this triangular design ticks all the boxes. It uses ceramics to push out heat efficiently enough to keep your immediate area warm, it's not powerful enough to heat an entire room but, if you forever have cold feet or want to make a small space like a camper van cost, this compact fan is ideal.
It has the safety tip over switch, temperature control and portability of the other heater fans on our list, but at a snip of the cost. Operating noise is as quiet as a mouse too. A brilliant bargain buy.
NEWXLT Fan Heater
When you need heat quickly and in a concentrated area, you'll be pleased to have this powerful little gadget in your cupboard. The electric heater pushes air over heated ceramic plates, offering toasty levels of heat in seconds. It's the perfect thing to keep by your feet when you're at your desk or to place on a coffee tables as you settle down to your latest box-set binge. It even comes with a remote control so you can adjust the heat without getting up.
Homful Space Electric Heater
Add an extra element of warmth to your rooms with this budget 600W heater that can sit unobtrusively on desks, tabletops and bedside tables for targeted heat as and when you need it. It has an auto cut-off in case it gets too hot and as an additional safety element, it will shut down if it's knocked or tipped over.
Best for: Big spaces, allergy sensitivities, no sound
ANSIO 2300W Oil Filled Radiator Heater
Why it's the best radiator of 2021: Eco mode, timer setting, child lock, remote, safety tip-over switch at the base, good looks, strong heat.
The Ansio 2300 is one of the best radiators for the home for many reasons: it can be operated at three power settings, Low-Power at 1000W, Medium-Power at 1300W and High-Power at 2300 W.
It's easy to move and includes a nifty child lock which disables the buttons on the display.
The remote control is more useful than you might expect: staying cosy under the covers and not getting out of bed to turn the heat on/off feels like its own special winter magic.
There is a practical timer setting which can be set from one hour to 24 hours to start or stop the heater, and an Eco Mode which will help save power.
As safety is concerned this one ticks all the most important boxes. There is a safety tip-over switch at the base and if the temperature of the heater gets too high, (say for example if you are using other heat sources in the room) the thermostat will automatically turn it off.
If you're on the hunt for a reliable, good looking and very well performing radiator we highly recommend the Ansio 2300.
Jack Stonehouse 9 Fin 2.KW Oil Filled Radiator
The best value radiator of 2021: For a small to medium size room, this handsome Jack Stonehouse radiator will keep you warm all winter long on a narrow budget.
Highlights include all the necessary safety features like over-heat protection and a safety tip-over switch as well as a 1.8m power cord - a healthy length in the world of radiators.
There is also a front hook to tidy the cord when it's not in use and you need to move it to another room. This radiator comes with three heat settings and will adequately heat an area of around 25m2.
If you can up the price to £73.99, a great upgrade is the 13 fin radiator from Jack Stonehouse features an LED display and a stronger heating power.
De'Longhi TRNS0505M Nano S Oil Filled Radiator
Small and compact, this curved radiator from De’Longhi is ideal for when you want heat quickly. It comes with anti-frost protection which automatically turns the heater on if the temperature falls below 5 degrees and there’s also a overheat safety function, designed to keep you safe as well as warm.
It’s not the kind of device we would recommend using in a poorly insulated space, such as a garden shed, but it will keep you nice and cosy while sheltering indoors from a blustery evening. Comes with a five-year guarantee.
Dimplex Black 2kW Oil Filled Electric Radiator
This slick all black radiator heater is perfect for keeping toasty in the bedroom as it's super quiet so it won't disturb you while you sleep.
With a 2000W power outage, a thermostat and 24 hour timer it's ideal for those living in a flat or house share or when you want to heat one room rather than the whole house.
Helpfully set on castor wheels, it's easy to glide this heater across the house to where you need heat the most. Mains operated, comes with a three-year guarantee.
Silentnight Benross S-Type Oil Filled Radiator
This radiator proves that looks aren’t everything and sometimes the beauty is in its function. To that effect, Silentnight’s oil-run radiator scores highly, providing generous warmth at a much more affordable price than heating an entire home.
It gets warm quickly so you won’t have to wait long to thaw out after coming in from the cold, but if you’d prefer to walk straight into a warm room simply set the integrated timer.
Granted, it’s a little awkward looking but for a portable heater that rapidly warms a room, this under £60 model is a winner.
Kingavon BB-OR110 7-Fin 1.5kW Slimline Oil Filled Radiator - Black
Apart from the obvious warming benefits, what more do you want from your heater? If your checklist includes a sleek statement look, this chic black radiator could be the one for you.
Made to operate quietly in the background without drawing attention, this silent friend has three heat settings, simple-to-use contgrols and comes fitted with castors and a pull handle so you can move it around easily. It's not just the colour that’ll keep you in the black; at under £40, the price is pretty heart-warming too.
Best for: Fast heat for medium sized rooms
Duronic HV120 Convector Heater
When you need warmth super fast, this Duronic convector heater is here to save the day. The built-in turbo fan means you can heat up a room in next to no time with three different settings - 750W, 1250W and 2000W. The HV120 is incredibly lightweight, making it impressively portable and is also wall mountable if you want to keep it in a fixed position.
Dimplex Essentials DESC2TN 2kW Convector Heater
If you need a convector heater that’s small enough for any room in the home, here’s a budget-friendly option with some convenient features. With handles for easy carrying, it can work as a wall-mounted unit or as a freestanding model. There’s a cut-out switch to prevent it from overheating and it is also thermostatically controlled for easy temperature management. Wall fixings are included.
De'Longhi 2kW Thermo Convector Heater
This is the priciest convector heater on our list, but it’s no doubt impressive and still affordable at just under £70.
The freestanding unit has a heat output of 2kW and features an adjustable room thermostat to help you find and maintain your desired temperature.
We're particularly impressed by its sleek appearance, which makes it a stylish addition to almost any modern space. There’s also three heat settings, a safety cut out switch and an anti-frost function for using in low temperatures.
Best for: Direct heat outdoors
Prolectrix EH0197 1200W Halogen Heater
This desgin comes complete with three heat settings and a wide angle oscillation to help you control the distribution of heat.
A thermal cut-out control as well as a tip over switch are both beneficial and necessary when considering safety.
This halogen heater also features replaceable tubes so should any damage occur you can replace the parts rather than the whole thing. Measuring 31L x 10W x 51.5H cm it's an excellent portable and sturdy option for indoor use on hardwood floors only.
Our top pick goes to the stylish Russell Hobbs Retro Fan Heater for its streamlined good looks and well-built components. The Pro Breeze 2000w oscillating fan heater is also a worthy purchase and is ideal for small homes where storage is tight.
Our pick for the best performing radiator of 2021 goes to the Ansio 2300w oil filled radiator. The more modern details like the remote or memory function are useful home functions, the performance, even heat distribution and top-to-bottom safety features make this radiator an excellent buy.