It’s chilly out there and with many of us working from home and spending more time indoors, it’s a challenge to pick the perfect heater and keep the Winter chills away without blowing the household bills.
With all the different gas, electric and reverse cycle air conditioner options, it can be difficult knowing what exactly is the perfect heater for you, that best suits your needs and will heat your home effectively. Whether you’re looking for a small portable heater for the home office or something to heat a larger space, Bing Lee’s appliance experts have created a heater buying guide to help you find the perfect heater to suit your needs and budget.
Before you even start looking at specific products, you need to consider the following:
- The size of the space you’re wanting to heat
- Whether or not your home has an existing gas connection.
- How you plan to use the heater, for example if you want to use it in multiple rooms or for extended periods of time and
- What extra features you will need. Will you want a timer so you can program your heater to turn on at specific times? Or do you have young children and require extra safety features for tip-over protection?
Understanding these will be key for narrowing down which is your perfect heater.
Gas Or Electric?
There are two types of fuels used for heating your home – gas and electricity.
Flued gas heaters need to be installed with a flue pipe, which carries the exhaust fumes outside of the house whereas portable gas heaters, sometimes referred to as unflued gas heaters, only need a gas bayonet outlet and a powerpoint. Unflued heaters should only be used in larger, well-ventilated areas of the house.
Portable electric heaters are usually cheaper to buy than gas heaters and can usually just be plugged in, so are often more convenient too. They’re good for heating enclosed areas quickly, but can cost more to run than gas heaters. If you opt for an electric heater, the most energy efficient room heaters will be the cheapest to run.
Electric heaters offer a greater variety of choice in terms of different products and styles, and as they are generally 100% efficient (all of the energy is converted to heat) they can be well worth the cost it takes to run. While gas heaters can be more expensive to purchase upfront and are not as efficient with their heat output, they are cheaper per unit of energy and, depending on usage, may save you money on bills later down the track.
Regardless of whether you decide to go with gas or electric, it’s always a good idea to check if they come with an energy efficiency rating and enquire about ongoing running costs.
Heating For Large Areas
Keeping the size of the room you’re wanting to heat in mind is important as it helps determine what heat output will be required for the heater to work efficiently in that space. For large living areas, particularly an open plan living space or area with high ceilings, a powerful gas heater is your best option, with between 2000 and 24000W best suited to larger rooms
According to Bing Lee’s appliance experts, Gas heaters are excellent for larger spaces, especially if you don’t have insulation or double-glazing in your home, as they heat and circulate the air evenly.
Alternatively, they also suggest that reverse-cycle air-conditioners can be effective for larger rooms. Like gas heaters, reverse-cycle air conditioners tend to cost a little more upfront than electric heaters, but they’re less costly to run and can also be used to keep you cool in the warmer months.
If gas or reverse-cycle-air conditioners are outside of your budget, electric convection heaters are a more affordable option. Convection draws in cold air and emits warm air which rises towards the ceiling, continuing the cycle until there’s no cool air left. Generally speaking, they’re quick to warm up and great for large spaces, while being lightweight and portable.
Picking The Perfect Heater For Bedrooms And Smaller Spaces
Fan, column and panel heaters can be great options for bedrooms or smaller spaces. 1500W is usually a sufficient amount of power for small room heaters. However, this depends on a number of factors, such as how well your home is insulated and the outside temperature. Keep in mind that the higher the wattage, the higher the running costs.
Electric fan heaters are a reliable option for small, enclosed spaces such as a bedroom or bathroom. They warm up quickly, and due to their size are some of the most portable electric heaters making them a great option you’re wanting to use it in more than one space. Many also feature heating and cooling settings for winter and summer however it’s worth noting these can be noisy when on full power.
Column heaters can take a little longer to heat a space up but they are ideal for prolonged use, making them a great option for home offices or bedroom heaters that can be used at night. They’re also generally quiet to operate, affordable to run and retain heat well.
Panel heaters operate in a similar way to convection heaters, drawing in cool air with an electric heating element. However, they tend to be thin, flat and more stylish. Some panel heaters are wall-mountable, making them great for space-saving, and those with a thermostat will help maintain a consistent temperature in your room.
Heating For Ambience
Nothing beats being curled up in a warm and cosy room on a cold winter’s night and electric fire heaters are a fantastic way to replicate the ambience of a traditional woodfire.
The heater experts at Bing Lee recommend electric fire heaters, which are ideal for those who want the ambience of a fireplace flame without the hassle of starting a fire. They come in different styles and can even be wall mounted for added style and convenience.
What what would be your perfect heater? Tell us in the comments below.