If your home doesn’t have the luxury of central heating, split system or ducted air conditioning, an electric heater might be on your shopping list as a safe, efficient and reliable source of essential warmth and comfort.
Portable electric heaters, like the ones listed here, are most suitable for enclosed spaces over gas heaters, and often more energy efficient and cheaper to run as well. With so many options available, you can be forgiven for being a little confused in your quest to find the best electric heater for you.
First, we look at the 12 best electric heaters currently available in Australia to suit all budgets and needs, and then we explain the differences between the common types of electric heaters available and guide you on how to find your best match.
1. Dyson Hot+Cool Fan Heate
The best fan heater in Australia fuses cutting edge technology with sleek design
Price AUD: $647.00
Could this be the best electric fan heater ever? Don’t let its small size fool you, the Dyson Hot+Cool Fan Heater delivers powerful, efficient and personalised heating in room sizes up to 30 square metres.
Its smooth oscillation ensures even air flow all across the room and Dyson’s signature bladeless design is not only stylish and super easy to clean, it also ensures no choppy air, delivering a smooth stream of airflow.
There are two ways to program this heater - firstly, the long range Jet Focus control allows you to direct the airflow precisely where you want it. This is great if, for example, you have retired to the couch for the night and want the warm air to circulate you, but not necessarily the rest of the room. Alternatively, the Diffused mode gently guides the air to fill the entire room. It’s easy to switch between modes with just the push of a button, and the included remote control attaches cleverly to the unit magnetically for storage.
Compact enough to have on your desk or table, it can also sit unobtrusively on the floor. No worries if it accidentally gets knocked over, it will switch itself off for safety so you can rest easy. Perfect for night time use, it’s surprisingly quiet with a sleep timer that can be programmed anywhere from fifteen minutes to a full nine hours for those icy nights.
And none of that nasty burning smell either - the elements are guaranteed to never exceed 200°C which is well below the burning point of dust (the smell is caused by dust particles accumulating and burning inside the unit).
Best For Large Rooms
2. Noirot 2400W Spot Plus Panel Heater
Ideal for large rooms and surprisingly energy efficient
Famous for making some of the best panel heaters in Australia, the much acclaimed Noirot Spot Plus Panel Heater features intelligent European design to bring you energy efficient, safe and effective heating for your family throughout the winter months.
This 2400W model is the best electric heater for large rooms, suitable for open plan living areas, hallways and high, well insulated ceilings. Steady, ambient heat is distributed by natural convection and with no moving parts it’s 100% silent as well as suitable for those with asthma or allergies as there are no fans to move air and dust particles around.
With a slim profile and tiny footprint, it’s very portable and you can easily wheel it from room to room as needed, or mount it to the wall with the hidden wall bracket.
The easy to use control panel features a handy timer so you can wake up to a lovely warm room in the morning, making getting out of bed all that more pleasant.
Noirot Precision Thermostat works to maintain your desired temperature to 0.1°C while preventing overheating and wasting energy. It’s also fitted with a thermal safety cut out, so the heater will stop automatically if it senses an obstruction in its vents that could potentially cause overheating. For even more added safety, all edges are rounded in case of littlies running around, so this is a fantastic, quality choice for a young family.
3. De’Longhi Slim Style
The best electric panel heater for speed of heating
Price AUD: $249.00
This convection panel heater features De’Longhi’s clever double fan system, Hi-Fi Technology, which actually increases the performance of the convector. It works to reach the correct heat almost immediately after turning the heater on, moving rapidly through the room to fill all spaces. It sounds too good to be true, but it really isn’t, and we were so pleasantly surprised by just how fast our large room warmed up.
There are three heat levels to choose from, however we noted that the Hi-Fi dual fan technology only kicks in on the highest level, meaning if you choose one of the lower levels the heat will simply radiate slowly, rather than be pushed out. It may seem like a waste that the Slim Style’s prized feature is only available on one of the three settings, however, for improved energy efficiency you can use the highest setting to heat a room up quickly and then change to a lower setting for ongoing warmth. This works quite effectively and cuts down on unnecessary energy usage, delivering a lower power bill at the end of the quarter.
Adjustable knobs, rather than a control panel, are used to manage power settings, 24 hour manual delay timer and precise room thermostat which maintains your desired temperature. It also features a safety tilt switch, turning the heater off if it accidentally falls over.
The sleek, slimline design of this heater will suit any home either freestanding or mounted to the wall, and its off white colour means it will blend into most neutral coloured walls so hardly an eyesore. The carry handles ensure easy transportation from room to room, even when the unit is still warm, and the integrated cord storage ensures you won’t get tangled up when moving it around.
4. Rinnai 2200W Panel Heater
Completely silent with unique vent design for optimal heating
The Rinnai 2200W Panel Heater is the largest and most powerful of the series and is ideal for quickly warming small living areas, large bedrooms or even bathrooms with gentle, natural air flow that fills the room effectively.
With no fans or moving parts, this panel heater is completely silent in operation and its unique perforated vent design allows the air to flow and rise optimally for quick, even distribution throughout the space.
The simple backlit LCD display has just four buttons which is all you need to power on and off, set your desired temperature anywhere between 5 and 30°C and operate the 24 hour delay timer. Thermostatically controlled, you simply set and forget so you can go about your business all in the comfort of a perfectly warmed home.
We love the classy, minimalist aesthetic of this heater, its versatile clean white colour and softly curved edges and will look great in any home. Easily portable on four high quality castor wheels, you can also mount this lightweight Rinnai on the wall if you desire, however at 13cm deep it isn’t the slimmest on the market and can take up precious space in small rooms.
It comes with a generous seven year warranty so you can be sure you’ll be staying toasty warm for many winters to come.
5. Goldair 1000W Inverter Panel Heater
With inbuilt Wifi, control from anywhere!
Price AUD: $199.00
This clever electric panel heater is WiFi enabled, meaning you can operate it remotely from the next room, when you’re on the bus ride home, or even from out of town! You’ll need to download the free iOS or Android app to your phone first, but it’s super easy to use and oh-so-useful, even if you just don’t want to get up from your comfy couch. Woke up in the middle of the night and are freezing cold? Turn on your heater without having to get out from under the blankets - we love it!
Inverter technology allows the heater to continually adjust its heating output according to the temperature in the room, ensuring it never gets too hot or too cold, and can actually optimise energy use which translates to lower energy bills for you.
With five heat settings, 24 hour delay timer and an adjustable thermostat, this sleek Goldair has all the basic functions you’d expect and at a fair price too. If we had one complaint it would be that the LCD control panel illuminates very brightly which of course is particularly noticeable at night, probably making it undesirable for those who like to sleep in darkness.
Like most panel heaters, you can move it around the house on its castors or mount it to the wall, but it’s not the lightest nor the slimmest of heaters; in fact, at over 25mm deep, it’s one of the largest.
Best For Energy Efficiency
6. De’Longhi Oil Column Heater 2400W
The best electric oil heater for faster warm up time and even distribution of heat
Price AUD: $159.00
This modern take on the classic oil heater is suited to medium to large sized rooms such as your living room or possibly even smaller open plan family areas. It’s the most energy efficient portable heater on our list, saving you more money than your average panel heater all the while delivering much of the same results with modern features like a 24 hour delay timer, anti frost function and tip over switch for safety.
It features an additional 500W fan to boost the speed of the release of heat so your room warms up faster, which also helps to evenly distribute the heat to every corner. We definitely noticed how quickly the room was heated compared to other oil column heaters, and once on it did a good job of regulating its temperature, giving long lasting heat with no cold corners.
Unique Thermal Slots are integrated into the heater’s eleven fins, which are said to increase heat distribution through air movement, as well as lower surface temperature. When in use, the surface temperature, while still warm, is much cooler than the oil heaters you probably remember from your youth and it’ll be difficult to unexpectedly burn yourself, ideal for kids and klutzes alike.
Choose from three heat settings, set the room thermostat to keep your desired temperature, and off you go. A safety thermostat is also installed, meaning if for any reason the heater overheats, it will switch itself off automatically which is great for peace of mind.
Easy to move around the house, it sits on four sturdy castor wheels and also features a cord wrap, cool touch handles, and a sleek and slender build to fit into any space.
7. Kambrook 200W Ceramic Tower Heater
Heats up fast with long range oscillation
This is an impressively powerful little heater from Kambrook offering fast, efficient ceramic heating with oscillation to circulate warm air throughout the room. Alternatively, you can turn off this function to target a specific area.
We love that it gives off a lot of heat quickly to get you warmer faster, and when it’s time to turn it off, it cools down just as fast. Neat, compact and very lightweight, anyone can move it around the house easily at a moment’s notice. It would be a great heater to use in the bathroom to make getting out of the shower on those icy winter mornings bearable.
There are two heat settings to choose from, high or low, but this heater does such a great job of heating up so quickly and efficiently that often the low setting is all you’ll need. It’s most suitable for warming small rooms, or can be used in a larger room if only targeting a certain area, space or person.
The thermostat on this heater is, in all honesty, not the best and it seems to struggle to maintain a constant temperature with noticeable fluctuation. This could be problematic particularly in overnight use.
As you’d expect from a fan heater, the Kambrook is rather noisy and there doesn’t seem to be much difference if it’s on the high or low setting. We do however imagine that most people would use this heater in fairly short bursts, rather than long periods or overnight, so during the day this noise might not be as annoying.
8. Dimplex 2000W Ceramic Heater DHCERA20E
High quality ceramic tower heater includes a handy remote control
Price AUD: $135.00
If you’re looking to heat small to medium sized rooms quickly and effectively, look no further than the impressive Dimplex 200W Ceramic Heater with easy to use electronic controls. It features modern brushless DC motor technology to achieve precise motion control, in turn offering optimal performance and reducing energy usage.
There are two heat settings to choose from, both great for spot heating, as well as an oscillating function to effectively heat a wide area, which it certainly succeeds in. We were impressed with how fast our small living room was heated to toasty warm all with very minimal noise. And with the adjustable thermostat, you can set your preferred temperature anywhere between 10 and 35°C to enjoy for as long as you like. We were also pleased to note that there was no burning smell and the plastic casing remained fairly cool to the touch throughout.
It’s easy to read and use the soft touch screen, although it’s located at the base of the heater meaning you’ll need to crouch down to access it. Fortunately, a handy remote is also included so you can avoid this and control your heater from the comfort of your couch.
This tower heater is 51cm in height and despite its slender design, feels secure and sturdy on its feet. It’s very lightweight and easy to move around with the inbuilt carry handle. In case of accidental knock overs, there is both overheat and tip over protection.
9. Heller 2000W Oil Free Column Heater
Perfect for overnight with its efficient thermostat
Price AUD: $119.90
For those chilly nights, this practical column heater will gently warm small to medium sized rooms with its two X shaped aluminum heating elements, two heat settings and manual thermostat control.
It does take rather a long time to heat up initially, but once it’s at your preferred temperature it maintains this very well; we experienced no issues with the thermostat. The heat radiated feels very natural and gentle and won’t dry out or irritate sensitive skin.
Set upon four castor wheels for easy moving, there’s a covered handle but the heater itself is never too hot to touch so you can feel safe with children running about. The wheels aren’t removable and don’t fold away which increases the footprint of this otherwise slimline heater but this is a classy looking column heater, finished in a sophisticated matte black.
Standard safety measures including overheat protection and a safety tip over switch are included, however we should mention that the power cable is quite short. Because of this, the heater will need to be positioned near the powerpoint when in use which is something to consider depending on the space you intend to use it in.
10. Heller 2000W Portable Ceramic Oscillating Fan Heater
Uber portable and safe for use with children
Price AUD: $88.95
A sensible choice for those wanting the efficient, fast heating advantages of a ceramic heater in a small and compact unit, the Heller Portable Ceramic Oscillating Fan Heater also won’t break your budget. It will warm up small rooms remarkably fast and includes a handy remote control, a feature which is often missed in less expensive models.
We appreciate that it has a removable, and therefore easily cleaned, dust particle filter to ensure the insides stay dust free for more efficient heating and oscillation as well as keeping those unpleasant burning smells away.
The eight hour timer and manual thermostat come in very handy and it has two heat power settings to suit your space and your preferences, with a temperature range between 10-35°C. We rate the noise from the fan as about average and even after running for long periods of time, the unit itself was never too hot to touch so we would feel comfortable using it in the presence of young children.
Because of its small and lightweight size, it’s extremely portable and can be used either on the floor on a table, however the surface should be hard and solid - if used on a plush rug or carpet, the automatic safety switch might not allow the unit to be turned on.
11. Bitzong HA0001
The best small electric heater in Australia really packs a punch
Price AUD: $98.95
This compact ceramic heater is truly portable and ready to go wherever you go. Surprisingly powerful, please don’t be fooled by its small size. Standing at just over 20cm tall, it will effectively heat smaller rooms such as bedrooms and offices within seconds and while it won’t heat larger rooms well, it’s ideal for spot heating and will keep you toasty warm if you keep it running nearby.
It can be placed safely on your desk or benchtop as well as the floor and will power off immediately if it’s accidentally knocked over. The optional wide angle automatic swing ensures every corner of the room is heated continuously and there are two heat settings to choose from, low and high, as well as a cold air mode.
With no features like a timer or thermostat, this little heater is best suited to shorter bursts in the day time rather than long periods or overnight. We can’t deny that there is definitely a noticeable noise when in use though it’s not the loudest, or the most annoying, of the heaters on the market.
All in all, we love this portable heater for no fuss, versatile and reliable daytime use throughout the home and office, and weighing in at just over 1kg, it’s also no problem to bring it along with you for instant warmth anywhere there’s a power supply.
12. De’Longhi Portable 2000W Convection Heater
High quality convection heating at a price that suits
Suitable for medium sized rooms up to 60m³, this is a fantastic value traditional convection heater from a well trusted brand, perfect for those on a budget. Ideal for spot heating, it provides close to instant warmth and heats a room up quickly without the bells and whistles.
The room thermostat setting works well to keep a constant temperature and the three different heat settings means you’re sure to find and maintain the perfect toasty temperature.
We will note, however, that the exterior of the heater becomes noticeably hotter than other convection heaters we tried, so safest to keep it away from small children, and we also missed the timer function which is absent in this model. It means you will need to remember to turn it off before you go to sleep but for many this will only be a minor complaint.
At just 10cm deep, this heater will sit unobtrusively in even the smallest of rooms and is easily portable with its cool touch handles so it can move around the house with you. An easy-to-use wall mounting kit is also provided if you would prefer a fixed home for it.
Although this is considered a budget friendly, entry level convection heater, it doesn’t skimp on those all important safety features which include an anti-frost function and tip over switch safety system. We are impressed with the quality of this heater, how quickly it warms up and how well it maintains the warmth of the room over time.
How to choose the best electric heater for you
Here’s a quick rundown on the types of electric heaters available on the market today, as well as some helpful hints to consider when choosing the best one for you.
Types of electric heaters
- Panel/Convection. These heaters work by natural convection - that is, by drawing cold air over the heating element and releasing it upwards. Sometimes they have an inbuilt fan to force more warm air from the heater, which heats the room up faster. Lighter and more portable than oil column heaters, panel heaters can usually be mounted to the wall for a permanent home. Suitable for medium to large rooms as well as overnight, the air will heat gently, evenly and fairly quickly.
- Oil Column. Electricity heats the oil that is sealed inside the fins of the heater, which in turn is transferred to the casing and then to the air. Some modern oil column heaters aren’t filled with actual oil, but with other materials, however they work the same way. They radiate warmth throughout the room and can generally heat medium rooms effectively. On the other hand, they can take a long time to heat up, but are safe to use for long periods including overnight if the correct safety measures are taken.
- Ceramic Fan. Ceramic fan heaters have the advantage of uber fast heating and cooling thanks to the natural properties of ceramic. These heaters are fan operated and are usually smaller and more compact than other types of heaters. Ideal for spot heating, they’re generally suited to smaller spaces and for shorter periods of time. Also note that they will be the noisiest of the three types of heaters described here.
How big is the space you need to heat?
Consider the size of the space you need to heat, and choose a heater to match. A large open plan living area is unlikely to be heated through sufficiently with a small fan heater, and on the other side, if you’re only needing to heat a small bedroom, a large panel heater is probably excessive and may even overheat the room.
When thinking about the size of your room or space, be sure to consider the vertical space as well as the horizontal floor space. High or cathedral ceilings will obviously require much more energy to heat than lower apartment ceilings, as well the fact that any heat will rise and rest in the highest available space first before warming the living area close to the floor. The quality of your home’s insulation also plays a factor in this.
How will you use it?
Have a think about the way you’ll be using your new heater and how you want it to function. Live in a cold house and need a heater to warm the house through whenever you’re at home, including overnight? A panel or oil column heater will probably be your best bet.
Just need a relatively quick blast of heat for those frosty mornings and evenings, or perhaps you’re working from home and only need spot heating at your desk. A smaller ceramic fan heater is likely to meet your needs just fine. Want to move it from room to room regularly? Make sure the heater you choose is easily portable and will fit in all desired spaces.
Modern electric heaters are often fitted with an array of features designed to make your life easier. Some may really tickle your fancy!
- Remote control. There’s nothing worse than being snug as a bug on the couch or in bed, only to have to get up to adjust your heater’s settings. With a remote control, this will no longer be an issue. Some heaters’ remote controls even attach magnetically to the heater itself so you don’t need to worry about misplacing it when not in use. A step above this is WiFi connection - ultra modern models can feature inbuilt Wifi meaning you can control your heater from virtually anywhere in the world - talk about convenience!
- Timer. Perfect for bed time, simply set the timer to automatically switch off after you’re asleep so you won’t overheat in the night. The opposite of this and equally useful is the delay timer - set your heater to turn on at a time in the future. Alarm clock going off at 6am? Set your delay timer for 5:45am so by the time you wake up your room is already toasty warm, making your mornings that much more pleasant.
Thermostat control. Use the thermostat to set and regulate the room’s temperature to your preference so you won’t become overheated.
Energy efficiency and cost of running
It can’t be denied that heaters are one of the more expensive home appliances to run, especially if you will be using it for most of the day. There are however ways to reduce this cost, one of which is to choose an appliance with the very best energy efficiency possible.
The most energy efficient heater, and therefore cheapest, to run are usually the oil column type (though newer panel heaters are certainly giving them a run for their money).
However, you should also take into consideration variables such as how fast the heater takes to reach the optimal temperature. In this, ceramic fan heaters win hands down. This means that each minute of running time equals warmth for you, rather than “wasting” many minutes waiting for it to heat up each time you turn it on.
A word on safety
Rest assured that all electric heaters sold in Australia must be manufactured to strict Australian standards and modern electric heaters pose very minimal risk to safety, however responsible adult use is always required.
One distinct advantage of electric heaters is that they pose no risk to air quality, however you should always take care and exercise common sense when using electric heaters by not placing it too close to other furniture or flammables and never draping clothing or towels over it to dry. You should always plug it directly into your wall outlet rather than an extension cord which is not likely able to handle the high currents.
Look for heaters with inbuilt safety features including tilt over safety switch, anti frost function, safety thermostat and overheat protection.