While they both use electricity and are both considered smaller, more economical alternatives to central heating, electric panel heaters and oil filled radiators are a little different. If you’re wondering which one is best for you, you’ll want to read this guide.
All Electric Heaters
Panel heaters and oil filled radiators are different, but they do share some similarities. Here are some things to look out for when you’re in the market for an electric heater.
The power of your electric heater determines how much heat it can put out into a room. Power is measured in watts (and kilowatts, which is 1000 watts). A general rule of thumb is that you’ll need around 100w to heat a single square metre, so if your bedroom is 6m² in size, you want a heater that’s at least 600w.
Modern electric heaters are clever things – if you switch them on and set their temperature, a modern heater will only draw as much power as it needs to reach its set temperature. If you set a modern electric heater to 20°C, it’ll use energy to warm your room until it detects the room is at 20°C exactly. Once it senses the temperature is right, the heater actually stops drawing power, and it only switches on again once it the room temperature start to drop. This means you’ll only ever use as much electricity as you need to keep your room at an even temperature, ideal for cutting down on winter heating bills.
Most modern electric heaters will come with some sort of timer function. Timers will let you program your heater to turn on and off at certain times of the day. Most heaters include a 24-hour timer function, but many can also include a 7-day timer as well. This will let you set a heating schedule for each day of the week. If you work regular hours, this means you can set your heater to come on at different times during the week and through the weekend.
Types of Heat
There are two different types of heat – radiant heat and convective heat. Radiant heat warms you and the objects in your room directly, while convective heat warms the air around you, creating warm air currents that travel around the room. Both electric panel heaters and oil filled radiators give off both types of heat, but panel heaters tend to give off more convective heat, while oil filled radiators give off a little more radiant heat. Think about how you’re going to be using your heater before you make a purchase.
New regulations from the EU state that all wall-mounted electric heaters must meet strict energy-efficiency standards. Free-standing panel heaters don’t have to be ERP-compliant, but some of them are anyway, so it’s worth checking before you buy. This will help save you money, as you know an ERP-compliant electric heater will have an accurate thermostat and smart energy-saving features like open window detection. Check out our blog on Lot 20 for more information.
Electric Panel Heaters
Electric panel heaters are sometimes known as convection heaters because of the way they heat up. Inside an electric panel heater is a heating element – usually made of ceramic or another heat-conducting material – which heats up to a set temperature. The heat from this heating element is then circulated around the room using a small fan, warming the air around your room for a cosy feeling. Panel heaters tend to be slimline and some can be wall-mounted or left free-standing.
Advantages of Electric Panel Heaters
Fast Heat-Up Time
Electric panel heaters warm up very quickly, giving you instant heat when you need it most.
Many panel heaters give you the option of leaving them free-standing or wall-mounting them.
Great for Well-Insulated Rooms
Electric panel heaters are ideal for well-insulated rooms as the warm air they emit won’t escape.
As the name suggests, panel heaters are shaped like panels. This makes them suitable for fitting in smaller rooms where you don’t want a bulky radiator jutting out from the wall, as well as being easy to store away when not in use.
Oil Filled Radiators
Oil filled radiators contain a thermally-conductive oil that they use as a heating element. This gives off more radiant heat, which, unlike convective heat, warms you directly rather than warming the air around you. The oil inside oil filled radiators is only used to conduct heat, so it’ll never need to be replaced. Oil filled radiators are usually very small and light and they make good portable heaters.
Advantages of Oil Filled Radiators
Oil filled radiators usually (but not always) heat up slightly slower than panel heaters, but they use less energy to do so. They also stay warm for longer without power, making them a good if you plan on using your heater through the night.
Small and Portable
Small and light, oil filled radiators can be wheeled around to any room in your home. They can even be used in caravans or garages.
Good for Poorly-Insulated Rooms
As oil filled radiators give off more radiant heat, they’re more effective in poorly-insulated rooms.
Use Them for More Than Heating Space
Oil filled radiators can be used to keep warm, but they can also be used for things like drying clothes or deterring frost.
Which Electric Heater is Right for Me?
Pick up an electric panel heater if:
- You want something you can wallmount or leave free-standing
- You want a heater that warms up more quickly
- You want to heat small or large rooms for a few hours at a time
Go for an oil filled radiator if:
- You want something light and portable
- You want a heater you can leave on overnight
- You want something really energy-efficient and don’t mind a slightly slower heat-up time
For more detailed information, browse our range of heaters and see which one best fits your requirements and budget. If you have any questions about which electric heater is best for you, get in touch with us by calling 0800 091 3171 or by using the live chat function at the bottom of your screen.