Which type of electric heater is the cheapest to run

How much is your electric heater costing you? (Picture: INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

With energy prices proving a genuine concern for many households this winter, plenty of us may be looking into the most energy-efficient ways to heat our homes.

The government has several systems designed to assist with the cost of living over the coming months, including the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which will see a total discount of £400 applied to energy bills for most families from October 2022 until March 2023.

However, the Energy Price cap of £2,500, which was initially planned to stay in place for two years, was limited to just six months in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent mini-budget and is now due to rise to £3,000 in April.

With this in mind, plenty of consumers are turning to hacks and tips in order to reduce their energy bills.

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Rather than using your whole central heating system, you could be tempted to run a small portable heater in an effort to reduce costs.

But which type is the cheapest to run?

Here is everything you need to know.

Which electric heater is the cheapest to run?

Portable heaters can vary significantly in cost, depending on how they heat your home and their energy consumption.

Portable heaters come in two forms: Ones which heat your space (like radiators) or ones that give you directional heat (like a fan or halogen heater).

Electric radiators are the cheapest option, with a 1kW model costing around 34p per hour under the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee.

At the other end of the scale, 2.5kW fan heaters are the most expensive choice, at around 85p per hour.



Electric Heater Prices per hour

1kw electric radiator – £0.34/ hr

1.2kW halogen heater – £0.41/hr

1.5kW oil-filled electric heater – £0.51/hr

1.5kW infrared electric heater – £0.51/hr

2.5kW electric fan heater –£0.85/hr

Approximate prices, correct to the October 2022 Energy Price Guarantee

Heaters can be of different wattages, so it’s important to pay attention to this, regardless of the model.

1kW electric radiators can be free-standing or wall-mounted and give off heat through convection and radiant heat. A 1kW model will cost about £2.04 to run for 6 hours.

Halogen heaters give off radiant heat, making them a strong choice for outdoor settings like terraces or patios. While they will provide heat quickly once activated, the heat also dissipates soon after turning them off. 1.2kW models will cost around £2.45 for a 6-hour heating period.

A 1kW electric radiator will be the cheapest heater to run. (Credits: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Infrared heaters are a less common choice and work by emitting electromagnetic waves into the air, heating whatever they come across. This makes them ideal in draughty locations, and they will cost £3.06 to run for six hours, if they are a 1.5kW model.

Oil-filled electric heaters bring up the oil temperature within them and circulate it around the device to radiate heat. One advantage to these heaters is that they can commonly be turned off a little earlier, as it will take them a while to cool down, and they’ll still give off heat during this time – a 1.5kW unit will typically cost around £3.06 for a 6-hour heating period.

Fan heaters work by heating a metal coil while the fan directs the heat where you want it to go. While they are often very portable and inexpensive to buy, they work best when heating a room for a short period of time, as they clock in at around £5.10 per day for a 6-hour heating period.


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