Buyers Guide to the Electric Heater [Reviews 2019]

Three main arguments

Electric Heater offer favorable acquisition costs

Electrical Heating is an efficient heating operation

With electrical heating you are independent to the gas and oil market

In Short: The Best Electrical Heater

Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater

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What is an electric heater?

A technical heating system without boilers and pipelines to be laid, used for heating rooms in buildings or, by means of a continuous-flow heater, for heating drinking water. The heat is generated decentrally in hot water, i.e. in each individual instantaneous water heater. The electricity from the household socket serves as the energy source. The heat generated and emitted by the electric heater is also called electric heat. Electricity heating or electric building heating are further terms for the colloquially abbreviated electric heating.

The electric heating – how it works

As the name suggests, the electric heating system generates heat energy with the help of electric current. This passes through a conductor in which a so-called heating resistor is created, which heats the conductor and releases the heat. Similar to the active principle in immersion heaters, heat is generated in electric heating when electricity flows through an electrically conductive material. The heat generated can be used flexibly to heat room air, objects, a storage medium or hot water. It can be blown directly into the room air or stored in oil, ceramic or natural stone and only used when it is needed.

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What types of electric heaters are there?

Electric heating systems are now available on the market in various designs. Before buying, it is advisable to first familiarise yourself with the individual variants before making a decision. They are roughly divided into direct heating systems and heating systems that have an intermediate storage tank that gradually releases the heat. If the heating effect is thus stored over construction units and only later delivered as warmth, then one speaks of a storage heating.

Direct heating systems

The direct heating systems of electrical heating systems include convectors, radiant heaters, fan heaters or radiators, which are optically normal radiators. In the case of direct heating, the heat is emitted directly. Or individual elements are heated in the room, which is referred to as heat radiation. They are suitable both for permanent installation and as a transportable device. As a rule, they are filled with oil, which is heated by the use of electrical energy and can then release this heat into the room.

Infrared heating systems

Infrared heating is a direct heating system as it does not heat the air but the objects in the room. Infrared heating is well suited for heating small rooms or, for example, conservatories, but not for continuous operation or for heating larger rooms. The advantage of infrared heating is that it saves energy and is therefore much more economical than convection heating. A popular variant of direct heating is towel heating in the bathroom, but it is also frequently used as underfloor heating. Another variant is available as wall heating, it can be mounted on the wall or under the ceiling and is available on the market as mirror heating, picture heating or panel heating.

Fan heater/fan heater

Ideal when, for example, the party room needs to warm up quickly. The electrically driven fan uses a heating element to heat the air that flows through it. This direct heating is rather unsuitable for continuous operation because the electricity costs are very high. Also known as electric heater.


This is an oil-filled, self-contained heating system in which there is a heating rod. This heats the oil and the heat is released into the room air. Without a fan, the heat is then distributed very slowly throughout the room, resulting in low efficiency direct heating. Radiators are mobile electric heaters on wheels.

Floor heating systems

The radiators look like those of a normal heater and are connected to the next socket via a cable. It is permanently mounted on the wall of a room and works completely noiselessly. The heat is produced by electricity and emitted via the radiator with an amplified infrared radiation component. Classic underfloor heating falls into this category and, like all surface heating systems, belongs to the category of direct heating systems.

Heat pump heating

Nowadays they are very widespread and extract the energy from the outside air via a pipe system. In geothermal heating systems, the energy is taken from the ground. The phase transition from liquid to gaseous or vice versa takes place with the aid of carrier substances. The electricity is used to compress them. However, its share is considerably lower than the need to operate the heating system electrically alone and thus offers a significant advantage. The energy comes from the outside air or the soil and the electricity costs of these direct heating systems are therefore very low.

Storage heaters

In storage heating systems, the so-called storage medium is usually heated at night and then fed into the room during the day as required. Heating wires are also installed in these heaters so that the heat-storing materials can heat up optimally. In most cases these are ceramics, which become very hot inside and can store this heat over a long period of time. Storage heaters are also a very economical solution that can be “charged” with cheap night electricity – although fewer and fewer energy providers are offering inexpensive night electricity tariffs.

Low tariff storage heaters

The classic night storage heater, which used to be extremely popular, has long since become a classic and is almost no longer built. In order to take advantage of the weak utilization of the electricity grid at night, customers were offered cheaper electricity. The night storage heater then stored the electricity and used it during the day to generate heat. Belongs to the storage heaters.

Partial storage heaters

The heat accumulator is often in the form of a natural stone, which is electrically heated to approx. 80 to 90 degrees Celsius. This storage heater can be purchased uncovered or covered with a conventional radiator. Also as marble heating or natural stone heating designated, if the heat accumulator is mounted uncovered at the wall. The heating element is then directly behind it and emits a radiant heat similar to the tiled stove to the room. The heat radiation lies in the range of infrared light.
and is especially boring.

Floor storage heaters

Function similar to the surface heating systems, collect the often cheaper night electricity and use it during the day for heat generation. Nowadays, however, night electricity has largely disappeared from the market because the tariffs no longer differ from day electricity. This outdated type of heating belongs to the storage heaters.

Electric Heater: Tips and Infos

Where to set an electric heater to?

Avoid window areas or draughty locations when setting up. The space under the window is particularly suitable for surface storage heating, as it heats the room air just like classic heating. For ceiling installation, e.g. infrared heating, there must be sufficient ceiling height to prevent excessive heat from forming on the head. In addition, infrared heating should not radiate onto window surfaces.

Which electric heater is suitable for a garden house?

Here a fan heater or a radiator will be the best solution. Both units are mobile and warm up the room quickly and efficiently.

Which electric heating for the bathroom?

The installation of infrared heating in the bathroom is recommended as it actively combats or prevents mould and is also suitable for asthmatics.

Which electrical heating for the caravan?

In the caravan there is little space, here a fan heater or a small infrared heating would be the ideal heat source.

Which electric heating in the bedroom?

The natural stone heating in the bedroom can be very pleasant, as there is no need to produce high temperatures. Here, heating to 30 to 40 degrees of the storage core is sufficient. In addition, the heat is emitted evenly and pleasantly.

What electric heating for the cellar?

If the cellar is only used sporadically, a fan heater is recommended, which provides cosy warmth in a few minutes. Infrared heating is also an option, as it also prevents mould, which is particularly common in old cellars.

Calculation and costs of an electric heater

Before purchasing a new electric heating system, regardless of whether it is permanently installed or mobile, the costs should always be planned and calculated. This must include the acquisition costs, any structural changes and installation costs, the running costs for maintenance or inspection and the electricity costs for consumption.

What does an electric heater consume?

The standard average annual consumption for an average ceiling height and normal insulation is 70 to 150 kWh per square metre of heating surface. Old buildings tend to hit with 150 kWh, with energy-saving new buildings the 70 kWh is quite sufficient. The heating does not run usually all year round, but one calculates an annual average value. With a room size of 20 square meters can come together with 70 kWh 406 euro. In the old building against it even 870 euro at heating costs.

What does an electric heating cost in the month

Depending on the consumption, the costs are different in the month, but one can generally say that it is an expensive way to heat. For the basis of the calculation it can be assumed that currently one kilowatt hour of electricity costs about 30 cents. The consumption depends also on the indicated Wattzahl of the equipment and the duration of the enterprise.

A calculation example:
Equipment has 100 Watt and runs 10 hours with 0.28 cent costs per kilowatt-hour = 1kWh and 0.28 cent heating costs.
Device has 500 watts and runs 300 hours a month at 9 months heating period in year= 378€ and a power consumption of 1350 kWh.

When is a electric heating worth it?

Whenever a room is to be temporarily heated or installed in rarely used rooms and buildings. Even a building with very strong thermal insulation can be worthwhile for electric heating.

Which electric heating is the most economical?

In general, electric heaters are not among the most economical types of heating. Their costs depend on the acquisition costs, the size of the room and the service life, so this question cannot be answered so easily.

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What to consider when buying an electric heater?

The size or volume of the room is important because it allows the required connected load of the radiator to be calculated. Up to 40 to 50 watts must be calculated per cubic metre of room. It is important to pay attention to the electricity connection, whether it is an electric heater with 230 V or 400 V. The power consumption of the radiator must be calculated for each cubic metre. (Single-phase alternating current and three-phase alternating current) It is also important that the grid operator you have selected provides for the operation of an electric heater. This is especially true for fixed electric heaters.

In principle, prices and manufacturers should be compared in detail. Modern electronics on the electric heater can help to significantly reduce electricity consumption and thus reduce heating costs.

The more favorable acquisition costs of the electric heating make only then an advantage out, if the running costs do not turn out high. And this can only be achieved through temporary use of the electric heating system. It is too expensive for continuous operation.

What is better: electric heating or infrared heating?

Infrared heating heats objects such as walls and floors. However, the infrared heater must be ideally positioned and such storage media must be available in the room. Long-wave infrared light, which emits heat, is healthier. However, it takes some time for the feeling of warmth to set in when you enter a room that is heated with infrared heating. The most frequently chosen room for infrared heating is the bathroom. It fights the mold formation there lastingly, because here not the air is warmed, but the human being and the entire matter in a space. The air humidity remains in the air, because a dry warmth develops. Even brief ventilation does not affect the heated room. The walls remain warm for a long time and immediately give off heat again. The warmth distributes itself evenly and seems to come from all sides. Also the room climate improves and leads to fewer breathing problems, because they produce no dust circulation. In addition the infrared warmth can relieve joint pain and dissolve tensions.

Which electric heater is recommended?

This is always due to the purpose of the heater, the comfort requirements of the operator, the structural conditions and the individual preferences. Mobility is very important for many buyers, the type of connection is also a selection criterion and the type of installation and assembly can be the deciding factor for or against an electric heater. When purchasing, it is advisable to use brand-name devices, preferably those that have a VDE or TÜV seal of approval. Only after passing the strict product tests do electric heaters receive this certification and serve as orientation for buyers when purchasing. Also the voluntary sign for tested safety, GS, is recommendable as purchase consultation. The manufacturer has then voluntarily subjected himself to safety tests and thus guarantees additional safety for his equipment.

Installation of an electric heater

What to consider when installing an electric heater?

First of all, it must be ensured that both the structural conditions and the electrical installations are suitable for the installation of an electric heater. Flow heaters and mobile auxiliary heaters are usually installed and commissioned without major planning. However, radiators permanently installed in a room are more complex to install. For electric heaters with 230 V, as the single-phase alternating current, the normal household socket is sufficient. To do this, the electric heater must be marked L1/N/PE when purchased. In addition, a maximum of 3,680 watts per socket, rather only 3,500 watts, can be connected, as otherwise the fuse flies out or worse, a cable fire could occur.

For the so-called high voltage current, the three-phase alternating current with 400 V, a special connection similar to that for the electric cooker is required. Under certain circumstances, these cables may have to be re-routed. Operation via a normal socket is not possible for these electric heaters.

Who installs an electric heater?

Depending on the connection and heating type, you will need a heating technician for the installation. This is the case, for example, with heat pump heating or a night storage stove. In general, you always need an electrician to connect a three-phase alternating current electric heater.
If you buy a radiator or a fan heater, it is simply plugged into the socket and switched on. If the radiator is mounted on a wall or ceiling, it should be fixed by a craftsman. Generally the expenditure of the assembly is very small and often completed within 1 hour.

What is the difference between an electric heater and a night storage heater?

While the night storage heater emits heat exclusively via the room air, electric heaters generate pleasant radiant heat, which largely avoids the turbulence of the room air. The mild heat radiation ensures even heat distribution. Night storage heaters are very unsuitable for allergy sufferers and are very difficult to control. The electric heating, on the other hand, can be controlled individually and automatically and is dependent on the current outside temperatures. It is also ideal for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.

The advantages and disadvantages of an electric heater

The individual types of electrical heating differ both in their design and in their specific properties. Each device has its advantages and disadvantages, which have to be weighed before buying. Be aware that the advantages of a night storage heater do not apply to an electric fan heater, for example – the devices cannot be generalized.
However, there are some basic aspects that all electric heaters have in common.

Advantages of an electric heater

These include, for example, the relatively low acquisition costs. If you want to sufficiently heat a house with an area of 130 m², you should calculate around 5,500 euros for the heating. To the comparison: A pellet heating would hit here with more than 10,000 euro to beech – and also oil and gas heatings cost more than an electric heating. Particularly economical are more compact radiant heaters, which are ideally suited for small rooms, but rather unsuitable for large living rooms.

Advantages of electric heating

These include, for example, the relatively low acquisition costs. If you want to sufficiently heat a house with an area of 130 m², you should calculate around 5,500 euros for the heating. To the comparison: A pellet heating would hit here with more than 10,000 euro to beech – and also oil and gas heatings cost more than an electric heating. Particularly economical are more compact radiant heaters, which are ideally suited for small rooms, but rather unsuitable for large living rooms.

The installation of an electrical heating system is usually no problem also for laymen, however there are naturally large differences: An underfloor heating requires some technical fate, which is not necessary with a simple heater, which one must attach only to a plug socket. Small electric heaters such as radiators or radiant heaters are also mobile devices that can be used anywhere, as long as there is a power connection. This saves again costs for the chimney sweep as well as further expenditures.

Disadvantages of an electric heating system

Despite all the advantages, the disadvantages of an electrical heating system should also be taken into account. Most devices have a relatively poor efficiency, although the conversion into thermal energy is almost 100%. Compared to other types of heating, however, the electrical heating system is far behind. This is because the energy required for its operation comes from environmentally harmful power plants and entails losses. In principle, the operating costs of an electric heating system are significantly higher than those of other types of heating. If one observes the development of the electricity prices in Germany, then it shows up that also in the next years not with more favorable prices is to be counted, but the costs will rise rather. The basically very inexpensive night current cannot be made beyond that no more taxally valid and is in the meantime rather the exception with most power suppliers. Thus a night storage heating does not pay off any longer really.

If one decides for a convection heating, it can be that one feels disturbed by the constant draught near the equipment. This design is also anything but optimal for allergy sufferers. Please also note that electric heaters with a connected load of more than 2 kW must be reported to the local energy provider. If it is a direct heating system, then you cannot use the cheap night current via the electric heating system, but have to use the expensive day current.


In conclusion, an electric heater can be a worthwhile investment if you are aware of the advantages and disadvantages and the costs are lower than with other types of heating. This should be calculated in advance to avoid a nasty surprise.

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Lasko #5775 Ceramic Tower Heater
  • 1500 watts maximum output with low, high and thermostat controlled settings
  • safe ceramic element with overheat protection and cool-touch housing
  • Electronic thermostat and auto-off timer
  • fully assembled, 22.75" tall.
  • ETL Listed for safety
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Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt
  • Can heat up a large room with Auto Energy Saving Model With High and Low Feature. Tip-over protection and Overheat protection
  • Dual Heating Systems featuring infrared quartz tube + PTC with 12hr automatic shut-off timer
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  • Electronic Thermostat: range 50 to 86 degrees. Caster Wheels and lifetme filter
  • Weights 24 lbs and uses 12.5 Amps of Power. 1500 Watts.Electric Cord 72 inch long
[Total: 2   Average: 5/5]