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In this guide
There are only two kinds of winter: pre-heater and post-heater. If your home is so cold you've found yourself getting in bed to do your emails, things are about to get much better. Sure - you could get an electric blanket, but that won't cut it when you're cooking dinner in your thermals. The best heater is safe, energy-efficient, and portable. We've got a line-up of hot products to envy the all-male revue at your bestie's hen's do. Probably.
The best electric heater radiates warm air around the room rather than pooling heat in one place. Some of our top picks have fans to ensure heat movement, while others use patented technology for efficient heating. We've spent hours searching the web to bring you the top electric heaters in Australia this winter.
How we picked
The hunt for Australia's best heater is serious business, so we began with CHOICE, the country's leading consumer advocacy group. They independently tested a lot of heaters, so we took note of their expert reckons, and headed over to Consumer.
Consumer is the Kiwi counterpart of CHOICE, and their expert reckons also gave us further insight into the Trans-Tasman heating situation. We could have stopped there, but expert reviews don't always reflect what consumers think. ProductReview.com.au was our next port of call.
Anything over 3 out of 5 stars is usually a good bet, so we added the top-rated heaters to our list, and started sifting a little deeper through the info. One heater stood out above the rest, as it had been tested by both CHOICE and Consumer. ProductReview.com.au also showed that everyday Aussies rated it highly.
Four of the other heaters we reviewed were also independently tested by CHOICE and Consumer, but 2 impressed us with their design and safety features. Our final pick was an underdog with too many rave reviews on ProductReview.com.au to ignore. While it wasn't tested by the consumer authorities, we did test it ourselves. That secured its place on the list.
There are broadly 3 categories of electric heater: fin / oil column heaters, fan heaters, and panel / convector heaters. Fin heaters radiate heat from warm oil circulating inside each metal column. Fan heaters blow heat around the room from a heating coil source. Panel heaters work through convection, replacing cool air with warmth.
A quick note on older heaters. If you plan to use your old heater, check it carefully. Rust can cause hotspots, and gathered dust may irritate allergies. To be sure your old heater is safe, check out product recalls and find heating safety tips.
The best electric heater for most
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These Noirot Spot Plus heaters are the stuff of dreams - that is, if your dreams are about being snug as a cinnamon bun. With a lifetime replacement warranty, these heaters come with National Asthma Council approval, precision thermostat, and an efficient Monobloc element for silent warmth.
What we love
These clever heaters harness the natural convection process to generate warmth with less energy.
The non-timer versions come with straightforward knobs, which you turn to set the heat.
These heaters are approved by National Asthma Council Australia, so they're a better choice for those with breathing troubles or allergies.
An impressive lifetime replacement warranty for peace of mind.
Timer models can be set to ensure the room doesn't fall below 7 degrees Celsius.
Unlike your loud uncle, the Noirot Spot Plus reads the room. These heaters monitor the temperature every 30 seconds to keep things within 0.1 degree of your desired setting.
Timer or non-timer
Save money by choosing the basic model, or set your heater to a schedule with a programmable timer.
The not so good bits
You'll have trouble moving these around while they're still hot.
The smallest model starts at around $300, but we're reassured by their lifetime replacement warranty.
The Noirot Spot Plus panel heaters are our top pick for electric heaters because they're high quality, well-designed and completely silent thanks to their patented Monobloc element. These French-made heaters come in four different sizes or wattages. You can also choose between timer and non-timer models, giving you more bang for buck.
- Spot Plus 7358-3/7358-3T 1000w Heater (420 x 440 x 80)
- Spot Plus 7358-5/7358-5T 1500w Heater (585 x 440 x 80)
- Spot Plus 7358-7/7358-7T 2000w Heater (745 x 440 x 80)
- Spot Plus 7358-8/7358-8T 2400w Heater (900 x 440 x 80)
The Noirot Spot Plus range is ideal for families trying to keep heating costs down without compromising on safety. They're approved by the National Asthma Council of Australia, and have thermal safety cut-out. Noirot thermostats include lockable child-proof settings, too. Unlike other heaters, their precision thermostats ensure constant heat within 0.1 degree Celsius. This sweet spot keeps you cosy and prevents over or under-heating, whether your worries are allergies or cold feet.
We should also mention they have a lifetime replacement warranty. While Noirot heaters start at around $300, they're built to last, and heat more efficiently. We think it's smarter to buy something that costs you less in the long-run, rather than dropping $100 on a sub-par heater every couple of years. Noirot reckon their smallest 1000w heater costs 15 cents an hour to run, while the largest, 2400w heater comes in at around 36 cents an hour.
Aussies love their Noirot Spot Plus heaters, giving them around 3.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au. One reviewer uses their Spot Plus 6 hours a day without big power bill jumps, and most agree they heat small to medium-sized rooms quickly and efficiently. These heaters can be wall-mounted, or bought with castors for moving between rooms. At the same time, reviewers say they don't have handles, which can make this difficult.
Reviewers also say the outside is hot to touch, so wall-mounting may be an especially good option for families with young children. Each version has a timer and non-timer model, but if you opt for the former, you can set and save timer settings to your own custom schedule. One person says the timer isn't very user-friendly, but most are stoked that they can wake up to a warm house.
Related: The Best Electric Blanket
The best value electric heater
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Sitting at the top of our winter wishlist, you get more than you expect with the wallet-friendly DeLonghi 2000W Convection Heater. Compact and portable, it reliably warms up smaller spaces with its 3 power levels. It’s a breeze to use and can even be wall-mounted if you’re tight on floor space.
What we love
It comes in around $60.
It’s ideally suited to small spaces, thanks to its compact dimensions - it’s just 10cm deep.
Weighing less than 3kg, it’s easy to move around.
You can safely move it around with the cool-touch handles.
Three power options
Control how warm your room gets by choosing 750w, 1,2500w and 2,000w of power.
Easy to use
It’s only got a thermostat dial plus 2 switches so there’s no steep learning curve to using it. Plug it in and away you go.
Short on floorspace? You can mount it on the wall with the included wall brackets.
It’s packed with safety features, including a tip over switch safety system, auto shut-off, anti-frost function and double insulation.
The not so good bits
No timer or remote
If you’re using it in a bedroom, you’re going to have to get out of your cosy bed to turn it off or change the settings.
Not well-suited to larger rooms
Plenty of reviews rave about its heating power for small rooms. It seems to struggle in larger areas.
It’s a convection heater which means it doesn’t have a fan. Fans can make rooms feel warmer as they blow air around rather than concentrating it in one place. This is probably why some Aussies find this heater isn’t very effective at heating large spaces. However, no fan equals no fan noise.
The DeLonghi 2000W Convection Heater has a wallet-friendly RRP of around $60. Invest in this and you’re getting a portable electric heater that heats up small spaces well. So, if your home office or bedroom is a bit chilly, the DeLonghi 2000W Convection Heater could be the solution.
DeLonghi reckons it’s a compact option. We agree: it measures just 54.2cm W x 10.6cm D x 40cm H. This compactness combined with its weight (less than 3kg) and cool touch handles makes it easy to move it around your home.
Moving it is easy, and so’s using it. It has an adjustable room thermostat to choose and maintain your ideal temperature. There’s 2 switches to choose minimum or maximum power. You’ve got 3 heating options at your fingertips: 750w, 1,2500w and 2,000w.
If you’ve got a small room, it’s got a space-saving design. It comes with wall brackets and removable feet so you can mount it on the wall, giving you more floor space. It’ll happily free stand too.
To keep you safe while you’re using it, it’s got a tip over switch safety system and auto shut-off if it overheats. It also has an anti-frost function and double insulation, which are handy if your home gets particularly Arctic.
What you’re not getting for this price is a timer, fan or a child safety lock. However, this electric heater has been reviewed by CHOICE and gets around 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au. Aussies rave about its heating performance, especially in small spaces.
Related: The Best Air Purifier
The best electric heater for gadget-lovers
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If you want your living room to put Elon Musk's to shame, the Dyson Hot + Cool is your best bet. Its dual settings makes it a versatile choice, although reviewers rated the heat better than the cooling function. The Dyson Hot + Cool uses cutting-edge technology to heat your home, and bonus: it doubles as a conversation piece.
What we love
Thermostat and diffused air flow options to heat or cool precise areas.
Easy to clean
No blades mean simple cleaning.
Turns off if it tips or overheats, with no exposed elements.
Doubles as a fan
Use it year-round to get your money's worth.
Change the temperature from on the couch or in bed.
The perfect temperature is yours with 10 fan settings and a thermostat that goes from 0-37 degrees.
A slick-looking fan that comes in either white and silver, or black and nickel.
The not so good bits
The AM09 design isn't everyone's cup of tea.
With great features comes a great price tag.
A 2-year warranty is OK, but it's not ideal given the price.
No cord storage
Not a deal-breaker, but there isn't anywhere to hide the cord.
The Dyson Hot + Cool AM09 is the latest in cutting-edge heat technology. Dyson is the king of blowing hot air around, but their marketing is backed up by innovative quality. Reviewed by CHOICE and Consumer, this product is unusual in that it heats and cools. Many consumers were ecstatic about this one, rating the heating slightly higher than the cooling function.
The AM09's space-age features include Jet Focus technology, which means you can choose how widely you want heat distributed. It has a tilt switch, a sleep timer, and a very precise thermostat, which can be set between 0 and 37 degrees. The wide range of (10) fan settings and 2-year warranty speak to its durability and versatility. It even has a remote control, and is safer than other fan heaters with no blades or exposed elements.
The major downside is that this fancy tech comes with a price tag. But if you bought a top-notch fan and a top-notch heater, you'd spend much more. We think the price tag reflects this. It’s disappointing that the warranty isn't longer, especially given that cheaper heaters have much longer warranties. The Dyson AM09's design is also polarising, but at least it guarantees your dinner guests something novel to disagree over.
Related: The Best Portable Air Conditioner
The best electric heater for bedrooms
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The Goldair GCT225 is a solid pick if you're in the market for a bit of peace and quiet. It's compact, and has an oscillating fan to make the room feel tropical quickly. It's just what the doctor ordered on a chilly Sunday morning, distributing gentle warm air, and heating in a hushed tone.
What we love
One of the quietest heaters on our list.
Surprising value for such an effective heater.
Moves warm air around the room rather than focussing it in one place.
Consumers spoke to its longevity, and it has a 2-year warranty.
Compact and portable
Not only is the Goldair GCT225 light, but it's also small. It measures 19cm x 14cm x 45cm, and has carry handles for maneuverability.
Despite its compact size, reviewers are impressed by its ability to heat larger rooms.
The not so good bits
No frost watch
Won't prevent condensation.
No timer or remote
Paper, scissors, rock for who has to get out of bed and turn the heater on.
No cord storage
Nowhere to hide ugly power cords.
If you're in the market for a bedroom heater, the Goldair GCT225 is gazing wistfully at your home. It's one of the quieter heaters on the market for under $100, and comes with a 2-year warranty. Like most of the heaters on our list, it switches off upon tipping, and has thermal cut-out protection to stop the heat if things get too hot.
The GCT225 is reviewed by both CHOICE and Consumer. Given that this heater is only 2.2kg with a carry handle, it isn't hard to manoeuvre. This makes it ideal for those who are a little frail (or just sleepy). What takes the GCT225 from a good heater to a great heater is the oscillation. It moves warm air around the room, rather than heating one spot.
It's also worth mentioning that ceramic heaters are usually more cost-effective than some of their counterparts. Ceramic holds heat better than metal, so less power is required to keep the temperature constant. These heaters are safer as they don't have red-hot exposed heating elements like older styles, making the GCT225 even more ideal for the bedroom.
Unfortunately, this heater doesn't have a timer or a remote, which is one of its major downsides. You'll have to get out of bed to turn the GCT225 off. This may wind up being a positive, as it's safer and more economic to heat your room before you sleep. With 2 heat settings, this durable and compact heater punches above its price range. Better still, it isn't much louder than your fridge or dishwasher.
Related: The Best Dehumidifier
Others worth considering
The Goldair GPCH230 Fan Heater sounds great. It was reviewed by both CHOICE and Consumer, is priced under $100, and has a 3-year warranty. This is the longest warranty out of all the heaters under $200. With tip over protection and thermal cut-off, it's more than up to scratch on the safety side of things. It doesn't have frost watch, or a timer, but that won't matter to everyone.
On the other hand, the Goldair GPCH230 Fan Heater sounds terrible. Consumers overwhelmingly complain about the noise that this heater makes. Some even claim they can't hear the TV over the heater. The price point remains attractive, however, so we've still included it in this guide. Those who aren't sensitive to sound may find that this is a great budget heater.
The DeLonghi HSX3324FTS was nearly one of our top picks. It’s reviewed by CHOICE, and is well-priced at under $200. With similar features to premium Delonghi models, this heater is a very reasonable choice for households on a budget. It includes an anti-frost function, 24-hour timer, handle, and thermostat, which is impressive at this price range. The unassuming design also means it will fit in any home.
Consumer reviews for the HSX3324FTS are the main reason it's not one of our favourites. Some people love it, especially for the price, but there were more than a few skeptics. We saw that faulty heaters were replaced, only to fail again within a year or two. Given that the warranty is only 1 year, you may be better upgrading to a more robust model.
Kambrook describes their 2000W White Ceramic Tower Heater as ‘an all-round stylish ceramic heater’. But we think it’s got more going for it than good looks. Although with its sleek cylindrical design, it does look good and will suit any modern home.
It’s got 2,200w heating power and it slowly turns, to help spread the heat throughout your room. You’ve got 2 manual heat settings plus an auto mode.
We like that it’s got an easy to use remote control so you don’t have to fiddle with switches or dials. A LCD display on the top gives you an at-a-glance look at the temperature. Upping the convenience is an 8-hour auto-off timer so you can set and forget. If it tips over, it’ll automatically shut itself off. It also has overheat protection.
The bottom line
A good heater is the difference between six months of shivering and six months of snuggling. Without one, you're probably going to have a bad time.
Most people will be more than happy with a Noirot Spot Plus panel heater. These French-made heaters are cleverly designed to be 100% silent without compromising on oomph. They're not the cheapest heaters, but with a lifetime replacement warranty, Asthma Council approval, and patented Monobloc heating efficiency, we reckon they represent good value.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep warm in winter. The DeLonghi 2000W Convection Heater proves this. Coming in around $60, it’s a great compact and portable heater that heats small rooms well. It’s got essential safety features but is lacking in convenience - there’s no timer or remote control.
You'll get more than you bargained for with the Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool. And we don't just mean your dad teasing you about your weird new heater. For starters, its impressive safety features make it suitable for nearly any household. It warms, it cools, and whether you love it or hate it, it's an impressive piece of design.
We also rate the Goldair GCT225 Ceramic Tower Heater. With no exposed elements, and tip-over protection, it's an especially good choice for a bedroom. This ceramic heater retains warmth better than its metal-based counterparts, and the oscillating fan creates a gentle, quiet warmth. What more could you want from a heater? Well, a remote or a timer, perhaps, but at this price, you won't miss them.
Features to consider
Finding the best electric heater for your household may seem overwhelming, but these features should help you decide what you want in a heater.
When it comes to heating, safety is number one. All of the heaters on our list have thermostats and tilt switches. This means they turn off when the temperature gets to a certain point, or when they’re tipped over. Take care not to drape clothes or other materials over a heater, and check for rust spots and dust build-up after storing.
Heaters come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy them with LED displays, dials, and even smart heaters with voice control. As a general rule, the more features, the more fiddly the settings. Cheaper models had fewer features and simpler buttons.
One of the hardest parts of picking a heater is choosing a style. Ceramic holds heat better than metal, and insulation adds to the heat retention. Heaters with fans are usually more effective than those without, as they move the air around the room so it doesn't sit in one place. Some also give you control over where you want the heat, which means less wasted power.
Consumers hate loud heaters. Noise is one of the factors that many people comment on first, and it's a total deal-breaker for some. A fan may make your heater more efficient, but it will probably make it louder, too.
Electric heaters are usually smaller than gas heaters and heat pumps. Size isn't always a reflection of how much heat a unit could produce. The Goldair GCT225, for example, is less than half a metre high, and probably thinner than War and Peace.
What you get if you spend more
It’s difficult to compare the cheapest and most expensive models on our list. They're almost different products entirely. The pricier heaters had more features, but not all of those features were ground-breaking enough to warrant the price jump.
The Dyson AM09 stands out for its design. A lot of thought has gone into this product, and it shows. Consumers who bought the DeLonghi models in our selection were usually pleased with the clean, simple style of their heaters. If you want something that either stands out or blends in, you will need to spend upwards of $100. Otherwise, you're likely to get a heater that prioritises function over style.
Some of the more expensive heaters on our list justify their price with technology. This doesn't necessarily mean NASA-level features, but it does mean greater energy efficiency. Some heaters are better insulated, so the unit doesn't have to work so hard. Others, like the Goldair heater, use ceramic to improve heat retention.
A timer is useful. It's safer than a plug-in timer, and means you don't have to wake up to chilly tiles. You also don't have to get out of bed to turn the heater off at night, which will probably save an argument or seven. Most of the heaters in the higher price range have timers.
Few of the smaller heaters had an anti-frost function. This is mostly reserved for panel heaters, which is a reflection of the warm, dry heat they tend to produce. Frost prevention combats condensation, so it's something to consider if your home gets damp.
Above all, more expensive heaters seem to last longer. One of our pricier picks even has a lifetime replacement warranty, and reviews show that these companies tend to have better customer service.