The quick and easy way to keep the cold at bay
Keeping warm in winter doesn’t have to mean cranking up the central heating or lighting the fire. Sometimes you just want quick heat without any hassle. And that’s precisely what portable heating offers.
Portable heaters provide localised warmth, ideal for heating just one room, or for personal heating – just pop it in front of you to warm you directly. Being portable, these heaters are often lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. They require no set-up, simply plug them in and they’re ready to go. There are no further maintenance costs and are perfect for renters or students who aren’t in a position to install their own heating. And when you move house, you can take the heater with you.
Mobile heaters are cheaper to install than central heating or a fire, however they can be more costly to run in the longer-term. Because of this, we recommend as a good semi-permanent or temporary solution to keeping the cold at bay.
What portable heater is best for you?
Before we consider the different types of mobile heaters available, the most critical question to answer is: what do you want to heat? The scale of your space – whether it be big or small - determines how much power you need. If you are heating a room, you will need more power than if you are just heating your own personal space. And how large is the room? Very large and you might want to think about multiple heaters.
Portable heaters range from 500watts (W) or 0.5Kilowatts (kW) to 3 KW or 3000W in power, and to heat one room we recommend a 2 to 3kW heater. If you’re only looking to toast your toes with some personal warmth, you’ll want something 2kW or less.
Once you’ve settled on the power of your chosen heater, there are four different types available.
As the name suggests, these heaters apply the principle of convection. Heat is generated via an electric element, with the warmed air rising up out of the heater and then moving outwards into the room. The more powerful the heater, the wider the circulation of the warmed air.
Convector heaters are quick to warm up and are near silent when working. Most are freestanding and some larger models can easily be mounted on the wall for a more long-term solution. Lightweight, they’re very easy to move and manoeuvre and come with a number of limited functions.
Models are available with thermostatic control to select your preferred heat setting and some include timers to set for certain times of the day. Other features available include thermal cut-out, which stops the heater when in danger of overheating and look for ones with a turbo function. This is an integrated fan that speeds up the convection process to disperse the heat more quickly.
Fan heaters blow air through a heated element and then disperse this warmed air out into the room.
There are two types available:
- One uses a metal element to generate heat – this is the standard, most common type of fan heater.
- The other is known as a ceramic heater as it uses a ceramic element (also known as PTC ceramic) which converts the energy into heat more quickly and efficiently than the metal version. Additionally, it can achieve the same level of heat at a lower power rating so is more cost efficient.
Fan heaters offer the quickest way to heat space, and being smaller than other heaters, are best suited to small spaces or heating individuals.
The standard variety offer features such as thermostatic control and thermal cut-out. While many models also have a cool air setting that is good for cooling in warm weather.
As well as superior energy efficiency, ceramic fan heaters can also boast more impressive functions than standard models. These can include timers, LED temperature display and touch control panels for quick and easy use. Many achieve improved heat distribution thanks to oscillation functions and the extra height of their tower shaped designs. Less noisy than ones with metal elements, they’re also more stylish and contemporary looking making them a more attractive addition to your home.
Oil-filled radiators use convection to heat the oil contained within. This oil is electrically heated and so doesn’t burn the oil as fuel, meaning there is no need to top-up or replace the oil.
Also commonly known as oil heaters or oil-filled heaters, they offer the most durable option. As while their upfront cost is the most expensive of the portable heaters on offer, they’re the best value in the long term as they retain heat most effectively, and so use less electricity to maintain the desired temperature. Additionally, their column design is more robust and so is resistant to everyday knocks.
This heavier design doesn’t affect its manoeuvrability, as many models come on wheels to ensure ease of movement. With this extra bulk, comes a time lag as oil-filled radiators can take longer to heat up than fan and convection heaters. Look for models with built-in fan heaters as they combine the best of both worlds. Use the fan heater for immediate heat while the radiator warms up, then switch to the radiator once it’s reached temperature for more economical and efficient warmth.
Oil-filled radiators are near silent when working and while most commonly used as freestanding, some models can be wall-mounted. Like the other heaters, oil-filled radiators feature thermostatic control, overheat cut-out safety functions and timers.
Alternatively, our oil-free radiator retains all the benefits of an oil-filled radiator, but instead uses water for a more eco-friendly option.
Panel heaters provide a combination of convected heat (like convector heaters) and radiant heat. This radiant heat doesn’t heat the space, just the person. The rays of radiant energy travel directly in straight lines and only convert into radiant heat once they reach the person, as like warmth from the sun. Because of this, panel heaters provide a comfortable warmth and uniform heat distribution, that unlike many other types of portable heater can provide a more permanent heating solution.
Panel heaters are often designed to be flat and slimline so that they can be used in all sorts of small spots around your home. Because of this, they’re also known as flat panel heaters, space-saving heaters or slimline heaters.
They can be used freestanding or wall-mounted, and are lightweight and easily portable.