Best Energy Efficient Electric Heaters In The UK In 2024?

Last updated: January 19, 2024

Electric heaters are an attractive purchase option due to their ready availability, cost-effectiveness, safety, portability, user-friendliness, and numerous claims of energy efficiency.

However, the critical question remains: are they financially prudent over the long term? Moreover, with the current state of electricity prices, which electric heater ranks as the most cost-efficient to operate in the UK?

When considering the purchase of an electric heater, it’s essential to evaluate various factors, including your intended usage, the specific location it will be used, and the duration of use.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve thoroughly reviewed and ranked a range of popular electric heaters available in the UK, aiming to discern which ones offer genuine economic value.

We hosted the very first heater award…

Not really and while there is no official heater awards in the UK, we did our best to imagine what they may look like if they did in the image above – we hope you enjoy.

It’s important to remember that gas is still cheaper than electricity. For example, in the UK, from October the average cost of electricity will be 27p/kWh and the cost of gas will be 7p/kWh.

Economical Electric Heating Key Points:

  • Electric heaters should only be used for a limited amount of time and to heat a small space.
  • Overall, the cheapest type of electric heater to run are generally infrared heaters, costing around 26p an hour on average.
  • Electric heaters with a timer function can save you a lot of money by limiting your usage.
  • Ignore what they say about heating rooms of a certain size as this is dependant on many factors such as the size of the room and the level of insulation.
  • Examples meeting these criteria can easily be found on sites like Amazon, like this one.


#1 Princess Smart Infrared Panel Heater

Our top pick: Most economical electric heater

The Princess Smart Panel Heater is a great option for those looking for a reliable and electric heater with low energy consumption.

The heater also features a timer function, which is incredibly useful in case you ever forget to turn it off.

This may seem like a simple feature, but during our research we found an incredible amount of electric heaters that feature no timer options at all.

Another great feature is the adjustable thermostat that allows you to adjust it to your comfort and to an appropriate level based on the time of year. Again, many electric heater models have limited functionality in this regard.

In terms of limitations, this heater does have a lack of colour options, which may be disappointing for those that like to colour match and the thermostat placement is somewhat awkward.

Check price on Amazon


In general, the bottom line is that electric heaters should only be used as a secondary or supplementary source of heat i.e. to heat a small space for a limited period of time.

There are many factors that come into consideration when analysing whether it’s cheaper to use an electric heater vs central heating.

For example, the age of the property, how well the property is insulated and the duration all come into play.

In general, using an electric heater will work out around twice as expensive as using your central heating. This all due to gas working out cheaper than electricity, by around twice the amount.

However, the caveat to this is the duration and space you intend to heat, for instance it would be cheaper to use an electric heater if you only intend to heat a small space e.g. one room and for a small duration e.g. an hour or two.

In terms of the types of electric heaters available, halogen heaters are the most efficient in terms of home heating, however, electric convector heaters will be the most useful at heating the space up faster, but will use more energy and cost more.

They can make a lot of sense for homes that don’t have access to the gas grid, or for households that find their central heating just isn’t providing adequate heating and warmth.

If you want to learn about the best way to heat your conservatory, you may want to check out our guide on which electric heater is cheapest to run, you may be surprised to find out that it is not a halogen heater.

What is the Cheapest/Most Energy Efficient Electric Heater to Run?

Cost of running an electric heater

The national average price per kWh of electricity is going to be £0.27p in the UK from October the 1st. Electric heaters show how much energy they use as their heat output.

The exact running cost will depend on the type of electric heater used, for how long and your particular energy tariff.

The current energy price cap means that the electricity cost is 0.27p per kWh, therefore, the calculations might be:

For a 2.5kW fan heater:

  • Cost per hour: 2.5 kW * £0.27 = £0.675
  • Over a four-hour evening: £0.675 * 4 = £2.70
  • Running for a week for the same duration: £0.675 * 7 days = £4.725

For a 3kW convector heater:

  • Cost per hour: 3 kW * £0.27 = £0.81
  • Over a four-hour evening: £0.81 * 4 = £3.24

Keep in mind, the actual cost could differ based on the specific electricity rate in your area. If you meant 27p (which is 0.27 pounds), the updated calculations would be as demonstrated above.

Electric Heaters vs Central Heating

There are many factors that come into consideration when analysing whether it’s cheaper to use an electric heater vs central heating i.e. your boiler.

For example, the age of the property, how well the property is insulated and the duration all come into play.

In general, using an electric heater will work out around twice as expensive as using your central heating. This all due to gas working out cheaper than electricity, by around twice the amount.

However, the caveat to this is the duration and space you intend to heat, for instance it would be cheaper to use an electric heater if you only intend to heat a small space e.g. one room and for a small duration e.g. an hour or two.

In terms of the types of electric heaters available, halogen heaters are the most efficient in terms of home heating, however, electric convector heaters will be the most useful at heating the space up faster, but will use more energy and cost more.

What type of heater is the cheapest to run

Types of Electric Heaters & Running Costs

There are different types of electric heaters available in the market from budget models to high-end ones.

The cost of an electric heater can range from £60 to £200 depending on the model, features, brand and warranty.

All heaters available in the market have mentioned their energy output (kW) on their box which makes it easy to choose the right one for your heating needs.

Here is a list of the most common electric heaters available:

  • Convector heaters.
  • Infrared heaters.
  • Fan heaters.
  • Oil-filled radiators.
  • Ceramic heaters.

Read how much electricity appliances use and cost to power per hour here.

What type of heater is the cheapest to run?

Here is a list of some of the most popular types of electric heaters, we have outlined average upfront costs, running costs and examples of when and where they should be used.

Infrared Heaters (Most Economical Electric Heater)

These are a type of heater that uses infrared light. Infrared heaters produce a consistent, moderate heat that mimics that of the sun.

They heat objects rather than air. An infrared heater will heat any items in front of it, but a regular heater will just heat the air surrounding it.

That might be humans or furnishings! The air around those hot items becomes hotter as a result of their heat.

In terms of upfront costs, infrared heaters tend to be more expensive than other electrical heaters, but they are by far the cheapest to run.

For example, the average cost to run a 500w (watt) infrared heater is around 26p per hour.

This means that infrared heaters are by far the cheapest type of electric heater to run, but the downside is that they are often the most expensive to buy.

Regardless, for that reason, they are the one we would recommend for those in the market for an electric heater.

Ceramic Heaters:

Ceramic heaters function by heating a ceramic heating element, which subsequently heats the air around it. They may also feature a fan to circulate the air.

This is a typical electric heater. They’re very normal, to be honest! The cost of running them is totally determined by their wattage and how they are used.

Oil-Filled Heaters/radiators

While an oil-filled heater may appear to be outdated, newer ones are quite efficient. Both in terms of heating and lowering your energy expenditures. They’re also nearly deafeningly quiet.

Space Heaters

Our conventional space heaters are also available. These are the basic models with a heating element and fans that circulate hot air throughout the room.

They’re what we’re used to, but they’re not the most cost-effective to operate.

They’re fantastic if you need heat quickly, but any chilly drafts or open doors can waste all of that heat.

They’re so popular because of their low initial cost, but many don’t realize how much it costs to keep them running.

Storage Heaters

Although. These are a considerably more expensive model up front, but they can be highly cost-effective in the long term.

The way they function is that they store electricity. They’re designed to work with electricity tariffs that offer lower rates during off-peak hours.

What is the most energy-efficient electric heater?

The most energy efficient electric heaters of different categories are as follows:

  • Infrared Space Heater: Sonbion Infrared Heater.
  • Space Heater: Dr Infrared Heater DR968 (Auto Energy Savings Model).
  • Oil Filled Heater: DeLonghi KH390715CB5 (Quietest Space Heater).
  • Convection Panel Heater: DeLonghi SlimStyle (EcoEnergy Mode).
  • Wall Mounted Heater: EconoHome Heater (Lowest Wattage).

What is the cheapest way to heat a room with electricity?

As we concluded in our comparison above, infrared heaters will always be the most cost-effective and efficient heat source.

They use less electricity to heat a room than a space heater because of the way they operate.

Instead of the air, items are heated. The heat is also more long-lasting, and it will not dissipate if the door opens to a chilly breeze. Many people believe infrared is harmful, yet this is not the case.

Electric heaters are a good secondary source of heating mainly a closed and insulated spaces.

It costs more than the gas central heating due to the soaring electricity price. However, using the right type of electric heater can cut the running cost considerably low.

It’s best to do a little research on energy output and product features of the electric heaters before making a purchase.

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