Cheapest Electric Heater to Run UK Including Most Efficient

James Elston
Written by James Elston
Updated on 4th March 2024
Posted on 1st January 2024
Topic: Boiler Advice
Cheapest Electric Heater to Run UK – Most Economical Heaters
infrared electric panel heater

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on economical electric heaters.

In this article, we will delve into the world of energy-efficient heating solutions, helping you make informed choices for your home or office to help keep the electric heater running costs down.

While here at Boiler Central we specialise in the gas central heating system, our goal is to provide you with valuable insights and recommendations for an energy-efficient electric heater that can help you save money on your heating bills while keeping your home comfortably warm as cheaply as possible.

Our Expert Gas Safe Engineer Says:

If you're boiler is broken, or you are just looking for something cheap to run in a smaller room, then the following options can help. If you are considering this as a long term solution, it is also good to know that electricity is more expensive than gas per unit!

James Murfin

Gas Safe Registered Heating Engineer

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Understanding the Need for Economical Electric Heaters

money saving

We all know that heating expenses can contribute significantly to your overall energy costs. That’s why it’s important to consider economical electric heaters that offer efficient performance without breaking the bank.

Most electric heaters provide a convenient and efficient way to warm up your space, especially during the chilly months in the UK. These space heaters are versatile, portable, and come in various types, each with its own set of advantages.

With central heating running costs getting higher all the time, you’re looking for the most cost-effective electric heaters to run in the UK, it’s essential to understand the different options available and the factors to consider when choosing one.

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Types of Electric Heaters That Are Cheap to Run

  • Infrared Electric Heater
  • Halogen Electric Heaters
  • Electric Storage Heaters
  • Oil-Filled Electric Heater
  • Ceramic Electric Heater
  • Fan-Assisted Electric Heater
  • Heat Pump Electric Heater

All these are a great stop gap between getting a boiler replacement if yours is starting to cost your money.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Electric Heater

If your scampering round because your central heating boiler is not working for something cheap to heat your home then here are some of the main things you should take into consideration.

Room Size

When looking for the cheapest electric heater to run, you need to consider the square footage of the room you want to heat.

Smaller rooms may require less powerful heaters, while larger spaces may need higher wattage models to keep the hot air circulating.

On top of this, if you have a larger room a fan heater may be a better option to ensure even distribution throughout.

Energy Efficiency

Look for electric heaters with high energy efficiency ratings. You may need your cheap electric heater to run for longer periods of time, so energy-efficient models can help reduce your electricity bills without compromising on performance.

Read more – Most energy efficient boilers

Safety Features

Check for safety features such as tip-over protection, overheat protection, and cool-to-touch exteriors. These features enhance the safety of the heater, especially if you have children or pets and can prevent fires in the worst case scenario.

Noise Level

Some heaters, such as oil-filled and ceramic heaters, distribute hot air and operate silently. If noise is a concern for you, choose a heater with a quiet operation such as the infrared heater or oil filled radiators.


Consider whether you need a portable heater that can be easily moved between rooms. Portable heaters offer flexibility and convenience. This is one of the main benefits of a plug in electric heater and portability can be the deciding factor when choosing an energy efficient heater to run.

Read more – All about electric boiler installation, costs, plus pros and cons.

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The Cost of Running Electric Heaters

If you weren’t aware, electricity is much more expensive than gas, hence why electric boilers are not really used in most homes.

So, before exploring the cheapest electric heaters to run in the UK, it’s important to understand the cost factors associated with running electric heaters:

Electricity Rates

The cost of electricity varies, and it’s essential to check your electricity provider’s rates to estimate the expenses. Electricity rates are typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and higher rates will increase the cost of running your electric heater.

The wattage of the Heater

The wattage of the heater directly affects its energy consumption. Higher wattage heaters consume more electricity, leading to higher running costs. Choosing a heater with the appropriate wattage for your space can help minimise expenses and maximise comfort at the same time.

Duration of Use

The amount of time you use the electric heater each day will impact your overall energy consumption. Using a thermostat can help and if you plan to use the heater for extended periods, it’s evidently important to choose an energy-efficient model to keep costs in check.

Insulation and Room Layout

The insulation of your space and the room’s layout can affect how well the heat is retained. Well-insulated rooms and efficient layouts can reduce heat loss, allowing the heater to operate more efficiently and effectively.

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The Cheapest Electric Heaters to Run in the UK

When it comes to finding the cheapest electric heaters to run in the UK, considering energy efficiency is paramount. Here are some types of electric heaters known for their cost-effectiveness with a short description of how they heat a room.

Energy-Efficient Electric Heaters

Energy-efficient electric heaters utilise advanced technologies and features to provide optimal heat output while minimising energy consumption. Look for models with high energy efficiency ratings, such as heaters with an Energy Star certification.

Infrared Electric Heaters

Infrared heaters are highly efficient because they directly heat objects and surfaces rather than wasting energy on heating the air. With their radiant heat, they provide instant warmth and can help save on energy costs.

Radiant heaters are efficient because they directly heat objects and people in their path. An infrared heater doesn’t waste energy warming the entire room, making them an economical choice for spot heating.

Halogen heaters

Halogen heaters have gained popularity as efficient and convenient heating solutions for various indoor and outdoor spaces. These heaters utilise halogen lamps to produce instant heat, offering instant warmth and customisable comfort settings.

A halogen heater consists of a heating element enclosed within a quartz tube filled with halogen gas. When electricity flows through the heating element, it becomes extremely hot, reaching temperatures that can efficiently generate heat.

Convection heaters

convection heater

An electric convection heater is a type of heating device that uses electricity to generate and distribute heat throughout a space. It works like normal types of radiators, as it operates based on the principle of convection, which involves the circulation of warm air.

Typically, an electric convection heater consists of a heating element, usually made of metal, and sometimes a fan. The heating element converts electrical energy into heat energy, which warms the air in contact with it.

Electric storage heaters

An electric storage heater is a type of heating device that utilises electricity to store thermal energy during off-peak hours and release it later when needed. It is designed to take advantage of lower electricity rates during specific periods, such as overnight, to heat and store the energy for use during peak times.

The construction of an electric storage heater typically consists of insulated heat-retaining bricks or blocks, which are heated when electricity is supplied. These bricks have a high heat storage capacity and can retain the generated heat for an extended period.

The stored heat is then gradually released into the room through convection or radiation, providing warmth throughout the day.

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Oil-Filled Electric Heaters

Oil-filled heaters are known for their excellent heat retention properties. Once the oil is heated, it continues to radiate warmth even after the heater is turned off, making them an energy-saving option.

Ceramic Electric Heaters

Ceramic heaters are energy-efficient and heat up quickly. They distribute heat evenly and effectively, allowing you to warm up your space without using excessive electricity.

Fan-Assisted Electric Heaters

Fan-assisted heaters combine the quick heat-up capabilities of a fan with the energy efficiency of electric heating. Fan heaters distribute warm air efficiently, ensuring that the heat is evenly spread throughout the room.

Heat Pump Electric Heaters

Although heat pump heaters may have a higher upfront cost, they are incredibly energy-efficient in the long run. They extract heat from the air or ground, making them a sustainable and cost-effective option.

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Tips to Reduce Electric Heater Running Costs

Aside from choosing a cost-effective electric heater, implementing these tips can further reduce your electric heater costs:

Proper Insulation

Ensure that your space is properly insulated to prevent heat loss. Insulating your hot water tank, windows, doors, and walls can significantly improve the efficiency of your electric heater.

Seal Drafts

Identify and seal any drafts or air leaks in your room. Drafts can let cold air in and warm air escape, forcing your heater to work harder and consume more energy.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable room thermostat allows you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day. If you can learn how to use a programmable room heating thermostat properly then you can optimise your heater’s usage and avoid unnecessary energy consumption.

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Zone Heating

Focus your heating efforts on the areas where you spend the most time. By using electric heaters strategically in the rooms you frequently occupy, you can avoid wasting energy on unoccupied spaces.

Dress Warmly

Layer up with warm clothing and use blankets to stay cosy. By relying less on your electric heater, you can reduce your energy consumption and save on costs. Dressing warmly allows you to lower the thermostat temperature without sacrificing comfort.

Regular Maintenance

Keep your electric heater in optimal condition by performing regular maintenance. Clean the filters, check for any obstructions, and ensure proper airflow. A well-maintained heater operates more efficiently, reducing energy usage.

Use Timers

If you have a predictable schedule, consider using timers to automatically turn the heater on and off to manage how long your heating should be on during the day. This prevents unnecessary heating when you’re not at home or during hours when warmth isn’t required.

Open Curtains During the Day

Take advantage of natural sunlight by opening curtains and blinds during the day. Sunlight can help naturally warm up your space, reducing the reliance on your electric heater.

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Close Doors and Windows

Ensure that doors and windows are properly closed when the heater is in use. This prevents warm air from escaping and cold drafts from entering, maximising the efficiency of your heater.

Consider Supplementary Heating Options

Instead of relying solely on electric heaters, explore other supplementary heating options. For example, using a heated blanket or space heater in specific areas can provide localised warmth without heating the entire room. Consider the running costs of central heating as it may be cheaper in the long run.

Compare Energy Efficiency Ratings

Before purchasing an electric heater, compare the energy efficiency ratings of different models. Look for heaters with higher ratings, as they are designed to provide optimal heat output while using less energy.

Monitor and Adjust Temperature Settings

Be mindful of the temperature settings on your electric heater. Lowering the thermostat by just a few degrees can result in noticeable energy savings over time.

Unplug Unused Heaters

Energy efficient heaters are most efficient when completely switched off. If you have multiple electric heaters, unplug the ones you’re not using. Even when turned off, they may consume small amounts of standby power, which can add up over time.

Utilise Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help circulate warm air throughout the room. Set your fan to rotate clockwise at a low speed to push the warm air downward and improve overall heat distribution.

Educate Yourself on Electricity Tariff Options

Familiarise yourself with different tariff options offered by electricity providers. Some providers offer off-peak rates or time-of-use tariffs, allowing you to take advantage of lower electricity prices during specific hours.

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When it comes to finding the cheapest electric heaters to run in the UK, energy efficiency is key. Consider factors such as the type of heater, insulation, room size, and your specific heating needs.

By choosing energy-efficient models, implementing cost-saving tips, and being mindful of your energy consumption, you can enjoy a warm and cosy space without breaking the bank.


Are electric heaters expensive to run in the UK?

Electric heaters can contribute to higher electricity bills, especially if used extensively. However, choosing energy-efficient models and implementing energy-saving practices can help reduce running costs.

Which type of electric heater is the most cost-effective?

Energy-efficient electric heaters such as ceramic, oil-filled, and radiant heaters are known for their cost-effectiveness in smaller rooms and situations and are much cheaper than the cost of a new boiler. They provide efficient heat output while minimising energy consumption.

Can electric heaters be used as the primary heating source in the UK?

Electric heaters can be used as a primary heating source in smaller spaces or as supplementary heating in larger areas. It’s important to consider insulation, room size, and energy efficiency when determining their suitability.

Are oil-filled electric heaters safe?

Oil-filled electric heaters are considered safe to use. They have features like overheat protection and stay cool to the touch. However, it’s essential to follow manufacturer instructions and exercise caution to prevent accidents.

Are electric boilers cheap to run?

Electric boilers aren’t cheap to run do to the high cost of electricity. Electricity costs way more than gas, and although they are far more energy efficiency, the running costs make the best electric boilers viable for flats at the most.

Do electric heaters contribute to carbon emissions?

Electric heaters are considered carbon-neutral at the point of use if they are powered by renewable energy sources. However, if the electricity used to run the heaters is generated from fossil fuels, there will be associated carbon emissions. It’s important to consider the overall environmental impact and opt for renewable energy whenever possible.

By following these guidelines and considering the various factors involved, you can find the most cost-effective electric heaters to run in the UK.

Make an informed choice that suits your heating needs while keeping energy efficiency and budget in mind. Stay warm and cosy while minimising your energy consumption and environmental footprint.

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Written by
James Elston
James Elston Director Of Boiler Central
Posted on: 1st January 2024
Topic: Boiler Advice

James Elston is our resident boiler replacement and heating expert here at Boiler Central. With over 20 years experience in the boiler installation industry, James ensures that he knows everything there is about our Gas Safe boiler installations, energy saving and home heating solutions. This can be from simply procuring the latest best combi boilers, to reviewing and ensuring that Boiler Central maintains the highest standards across our boiler installation company.

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