If energy efficiency is your concern, start first by draught-proofing your home and keeping doors shut to any rooms you’re unlikely to go into.
Some home features that can help warm up a room are heat-retaining blinds and reversible ceiling fans that redistribute hot air. For something more stylish, a thick woolly throw can make a cosy couch companion in the evening, or can be just as easily draped over the bed for extra warmth.
While all these simple changes can make a difference, the key to a well heated space (and a low electricity bill), comes down to choosing the right heater.
Types of portable heaters
There are several types of portable heaters: radiant, oil-filled column heaters, convection (panel), and fan heaters.
Convection heaters are highly efficient for bigger spaces and provide an even distribution of heat but might take some time to heat up. Oil column heaters are reliable but take their time too, they're also quite heavy making them hard to move around the home.
Fan heaters are a popular choice because they're budget-friendly, but unfortunately are quite noisy. However, more upmarket models such as Dyson's Hot + Cool fan heater have moved the blades into the base of the appliance, eliminating the noise. Lastly, radiant heaters can heat up a space quickly but have many safety concerns and are a fire risk.
What is the cost of heating with a portable electric heater?
According to Sustainability Victoria, electric portable heaters annual energy cost for a small room 12m2 averages $330. For a break down, Sustainability Victoria have a good guide to all kinds of heating and home sizes here.
Choice also ran a study comparing a fan, oil and panel heater in prices and found that oil heaters are the cheapest to run at $0.51 cost per hour, followed by panel heaters at $0.60 and then fan at $0.63. Over a three-month winter period, they averaged that oil heaters will cost $223, panels $264 and fans $278.
You can also calculate the cost yourself by multiplying the input power in kW by the price of your electricity per kWh to get a rough figure. Most heaters display the wattage under technical specifications. However, calculations will depend on the area being heated and how well insulated your home is, among other things.
Here are our top 10 picks for electric heaters
While you probably don't want to drop such a hefty amount on one product, the Dyson Hot + Cool fan heater has thousands of five star reviews to testify that it's worth the price tag. This appliance cools in summer and heats in winter so you you can get year-round usage.
Convection heaters are a popular choice given their long list of features, and this slim and stylish heater does not disappoint. It has a timer, three heat settings, ergonomic rotary switches and anti-frost functions. It also has the option to be wall-mounted.
This oil heater comes with three heat settings and a 24-hour timer in case you need to leave it on well into the night.
Mount this budget-friendly panel heater on the wall, or roll it from room-to-room for optimal heating. Its top features include water resistance, overheat protection and thermostat control.
This white, portable heater will blend easily into your modern decor. While it's good for direct immediate heat, you can also set a timer and let it slowly warm up your whole room.
The warming glow of this radiant heater will bring you instance warmth on a cold evening. While it's hot to the touch, the safety cut-out switch and tip-over switch should give you some peace of mind.
This sleek remote-controlled heater can oscillate at 70 degrees so it'll hit every corner of your room. It has an LCD display for easy use and a 7.5-hour sleep timer, so you can have a toasty night sleep.
Kmart's budget-friendly buys don't stop at homewares and decor, their appliances range is just as beloved by shoppers. This oil-filled heater has overheat protection, a tip-over switch and three heat settings.
This compact heater will get you warm quickly and is small enough to fit under your desk so you can keep your feet toasty while you work from home.
Setting your ideal temperature has never been easier with this simple convection heater. Program your heating levels with its timer function and three heat settings and sit back and enjoy the cosy ambiance.