Types of heater

Different types of heaters are appropriate for very different scenarios, and choosing the right one for your needs will make a big difference to how much it costs you to buy, and to run. Understanding how different sorts of heaters work and the advantages and disadvantages associated with each is a good way to help you decide what's right for your needs.

Radiant bar heater

Radiant bar heaters (or strip heaters) produce a lot of heat very quickly, and are ideal for areas like bathrooms, where heat is required for short amounts of time.

Oil-filled column heater

Oil-filled column heaters provide radiant heat, and are generally favoured over other portable electric heaters for reasons of efficiency and safety.

Geothermal heat pump

Geothermal heat pump systems

Geothermal heat pump systems are able to draw heat from the ground to use for cooling your home. Geothermal systems are expensive to install but very cheap to run.

Electric panel heaters

Wall-mounted electric panel heaters are reasonably cheap to run, and are fairly safe to use due to the convective heat they give off.

Hydronic heating

Hydronic heating uses heated water pumped through a network of pipes to radiators. It also works as under-floor heating.

Wood heaters and fireplaces

Wood heaters give out a fantastic, cosy, radiant heat, but they require a steady supply of fuel and the occasional clean to keep them going.

Gas heaters

Gas heaters are reasonably efficient, cheap and environmentally friendly, and require little maintenance to keep them up and running.

Heat pump or reverse cycle air conditioner

Reverse cycle airconditioners are effectively heat pump heaters. They are a cheap and efficient heating option, and provide both heating and cooling.

Solar air convection heaters

Solar air convection heaters are rare, but have no operating costs at all. Because solar heaters rely on sunlight, they don't always provide heat when it's needed.

Off-peak storage heaters

Off peak storage heaters, also called heat banks, heat up during the hours when off-peak electricity rates apply. These heaters are best suited to constantly cold climates.

Electric fan heaters

Convection fan heaters provide instant heat and are very portable. They are also fairly inefficient, and are best suited for short-term use in small rooms.

Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs)

Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), while they do use energy, are an efficient and effective way to ventilate a tightly sealed home while maintaining the temperature.

Heat lamps

Heat lamps can be a good source of warmth for your bathroom, particularly in colder weather.

Trombe walls

A wall surface, using some clever design principles, can be used to passively heat air and allow it to naturally flow into your home. Learn more about Trombe walls and how they work.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating can keep your toes warm on cold mornings and keep the temperature in your house at a constant, comfortable level.