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Explore our comprehensive electric radiator guide and browse and compare electric radiator models, pricing options, and suppliers.

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SpotDif’s 2024 guide to electric radiators

Welcome to SpotDif's essential 2024 guide to electric radiators. If you're thinking about enhancing your home heating system or are just interested in more eco-friendly home improvement options, this guide is for you.


In this comprehensive overview, we'll explore the fundamentals of electric radiators with their various types and designs. We'll delve into detailed comparisons of features, prices, and what to expect during installation. 

By the time you finish this guide, you'll be equipped with all the necessary knowledge to choose the best electric radiator for your home and compare your options.


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What type of property do you live in?

Convection Radiators

What are electric radiators?

Electric radiators heat their environment solely from electricity. Unlike traditional central heating, they do not heat water but instead use electric elements to warm up quickly and efficiently.


These electric radiators provide heat on demand, making them highly energy-efficient with minimal waste. They are particularly useful in homes that lack access to natural gas or where installing a full central heating system would be impractical.

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Compare electric radiators with SpotDif

Understanding where to start with electric radiator installations can be daunting. That's why SpotDif simplifies the process of finding the ideal electric radiator provider in the UK for you, and it only takes a minute!

How do electric radiators work?

Electric radiators function by using electrical elements to directly heat the air around them, similar to how an electric kettle heats water. When you turn on the radiator, electricity flows through these elements, causing them to heat up and radiate warmth into the room.

Comparing types of electric radiators

Electric radiators come in several types, each tailored to different household needs and preferences.


Panel radiators


Design & Functionality


Panel radiators are slim, flat heaters that are commonly found in modern homes due to their sleek design and efficient heating capabilities. In our experience, panel radiators are great for smaller spaces or rooms that require a quick and even distribution of heat.


Maintenance


The design and arrangement of the panels can make it awkward to regularly dust and clean your radiator, but make sure this does not put you off. Regular wipe-downs and spending time dusting between your panels is all you need to do to keep your radiator in tip-top condition.


An image of 3 different types of radiators with different designs and aesthetics

Oil-filled radiators

Design & Functionality


Oil-filled radiators use electricity to heat oil inside a sealed unit, which then radiates heat into the room. We suggest using them for continuous heating in rooms used regularly, as they retain heat well and provide a steady temperature over extended periods.


Maintenance


Oil-filled radiators require minimal maintenance. It's important to check for any oil leaks periodically, which are rare but can occur. Beyond that, routine surface cleaning to enhance efficiency by ensuring good heat emission is all that's needed.

These Electric radiators have proved to be efficient for homes/offices

Storage radiators

Design & Functionality


Storage radiators are designed to take advantage of off-peak electricity tariffs by heating up during the night and releasing the stored heat gradually throughout the day. This makes them a cost-effective option for those looking to manage energy usage without sacrificing warmth.


Maintenance


Storage radiators need occasional checks to ensure their insulation remains intact, and the elements are functioning correctly. Because they store and emit heat over prolonged periods, you should make sure the reflective panels inside are clean to maintain efficiency.

Storage heater

Infrared radiators

Design & Functionality


Infrared radiators emit infrared waves that directly heat objects and people in the room rather than the air. This makes them highly efficient and perfect for poorly insulated spaces or outdoor areas, as they provide immediate warmth without wasteful heating.


Maintenance


Before you start, safety first! Make sure your heater is switched off and unplugged. Next, you want to remove any dust from the heating element and the reflectors with a soft cloth.  Not only does this keep your radiator in great condition, but it also helps your heater work more effectively.

Inertia radiators

Towel radiators

Design & Functionality


Towel radiators, often found in bathrooms, combine the functionality of warming towels with heating the room. They are a dual-purpose solution that enhances comfort and convenience in bathrooms.


Maintenance


Maintenance involves regular cleaning to prevent dust and moisture buildup, which can affect their efficiency and lead to corrosion. It's also important to check for any signs of rust or scaling in bathrooms as humidity is higher.

towel radiator

Fan-assisted radiators

Design & Functionality


Fan-assisted radiators use a small fan to circulate the heat they produce more quickly and evenly around the room. Because of this, we recommend fan-assisted radiators in larger or irregularly shaped rooms where quick and even heat distribution is needed.


Maintenance


These radiators require slightly more maintenance due to their moving parts. Regularly cleaning the fan component and ensuring it’s free from debris is crucial for optimal operation and to prevent overheating.

Fan assisted radiator installed in a home

Why should you compare radiators through SpotDif?

Comparing radiators through SpotDif ensures you find the most competitive prices and best service options from a selection of vetted, top-quality providers. It's a straightforward, efficient way to ensure you choose the perfect radiator for your home without any of the usual fuss or hassle. 

The advantages of electric radiators

Electric radiators offer several benefits, particularly in terms of installation and operation. 


We recommend choosing electric radiators because they are generally easier and less expensive to install than central heating systems as they do not require pipework or extensive installation processes. This simplicity also leads to a reduction in initial setup costs.


Electric radiators are known for their efficiency; they convert almost all the electricity they use into heat, with minimal energy loss. Additionally, they operate quietly and require less maintenance than systems with more complex components.


Lastly, electric radiators can be an environmentally friendly heating solution, especially when paired with renewable, non-polluting energy sources like solar power, ground source heat pumps, and air source heat pumps.

Their efficiency can be further enhanced by ensuring good loft insulation, which reduces heat loss and maximises energy use.


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Comparing electric radiators vs central heating

Comparing electric radiators to central heating systems means we have to look at several key factors, and it’s important to figure out which one is best for your needs. 


Firstly, the most obvious difference is that electric radiators heat individual rooms and offer simple installation without extensive pipework, while central heating systems use a gas or electric boiler to distribute heat throughout a home via a network of pipes, ideal for simultaneously heating multiple rooms.

Now let's compare the other key aspects of the two heating systems.


Installation and setup


Electric radiators: Easy and less expensive to install; just mount and plug in.


Central heating: Requires extensive installation with higher initial costs.


Cost


Electric radiators: Higher operating costs due to electricity prices but lower upfront costs.


Central heating: Generally cheaper to run with gas, though the initial setup is pricier.


Efficiency and control


Electric radiators: Highly efficient with almost 100% energy-to-heat conversion; allows precise control over each room's temperature.


Central heating: Efficiency varies; modern systems are better but may still lose heat through pipes.


Environmental impact


Electric radiators: Eco-friendly if powered by renewable energy. Most households are powered by fossil fuels via the grid. 


Central heating: Relies on non-renewable sources of electricity, unless integrated with eco-technologies like solar panels.


Suitability


Electric radiators: Ideal for smaller or intermittently used spaces.


Central heating: More effective for continuously heating larger, multi-room properties.


Maintenance


Electric radiators: Minimal maintenance is required. Typically, they just need occasional dusting and frequent checks to see that they are functioning properly.


Central heating: Needs maintenance more often, which can increase long-term costs. This includes annual boiler inspections, bleeding radiators to remove air pockets, and checking the system pressure and pipework for leaks, which can increase long-term costs.

The SpotDif Opinion

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In our experience, electric radiators offer ease of installation and precise control with higher operational costs, while central heating can be more cost-effective for larger homes that need all rooms heated simultaneously. That being said, central heating systems involve complex installation, regular maintenance, and harmful eco contributions.


Anyone who's dealt with a central heating system can attest to the occasional headaches—whether it's discovering a leaky pipe or the tedious task of bleeding a radiator, these challenges are all too familiar.

Using electric radiators to save money on energy bills

If you want to get the best out of your new electric heating system, look for the following features:


  • Precision digital thermostats will adjust the temperature in your room automatically so the space is heated to the correct temperature. You won’t need to regulate the temperature manually, and it’s easy to set up zoned heating, so you’re not paying to send hot water to a radiator in a room you don’t need to heat.


  • Open window detection ensures your radiator automatically shuts off if you've left a window open. Then, when the window is closed, the radiator establishes the correct ambient temperature. 

  • Voice and Wi-Fi controls give you total control over every aspect of your home heating. It's easy to set up heating zones and daily or weekly schedules to maximise the use of cheap electricity or reduce the temperature in rooms you rarely use.
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Compare trusted electric radiator installers

SpotDif is committed to collaborating exclusively with trusted and vetted suppliers across all sectors to guarantee you receive the service that’s best suited for your needs. First, we ask you a few questions to pinpoint what you require, then we'll provide you with quotes for electric radiators from reliable installation companies in your area. The only thing left for you to do is choose the one that fits your needs the best.

A guide to buying your electric radiator

Selecting the right electric radiator involves several important considerations, from identifying the top manufacturers to understanding the cost implications and technical specifications like heating output, energy efficiency, and power consumption.


This section will guide you through these key factors to help ensure you make a well-informed decision tailored to your needs:


1. Identify reliable manufacturers


We recommend that you start by researching reputable brands that offer high-quality electric radiators. Look for manufacturers with good warranties, positive customer reviews, and robust support services. That’s why we only compare reputable, trusted UK suppliers at SpotDif. 


2. Consider heating requirements


Assess the size of the space you need to heat to determine the appropriate heating output. This will help you choose a radiator that can efficiently and effectively warm the room without any heat wastage.


3. Evaluate energy efficiency


Look for radiators that boast high energy efficiency ratings. Efficient models will consume less power and can significantly reduce your electricity bills, especially during colder months.

The SpotDif Opinion

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At SpotDif, we suggest looking for electric radiators with high energy efficiency ratings, such as 'A' or higher on the EU energy label. Efficient models use less power, significantly reducing electricity bills, especially in colder months. They often feature thermostats and timers to optimise energy use.

4. Understand cost implications


Compare the upfront cost of different electric radiators along with their long-term operating costs. While some models might be more expensive initially, their lower running costs could offer savings over time.


5. Check for additional features


You’ll find that some electric radiators come with features like programmable timers, thermostats, and smart home compatibility, which can enhance convenience and further improve energy usage.


6. Think about the installation requirements


Consider the ease of installation. While most electric radiators are easy to install, some might require professional help, especially those that are hardwired into your home’s electrical system.


7. Explore your aesthetic options


Since radiators can be a very visible part of your room’s decor, look for designs and finishes that complement your home’s style.


By carefully considering these aspects, you can choose an electric radiator that not only meets your heating needs but also fits your budget and enhances your home environment.

How much do electric radiators cost in the UK?

The cost of electric radiators in the UK can vary significantly based on the type, size, and additional features. From our research, the average price of an electric radiator ranges from about £150 to over £650, depending on the features.


Here's a breakdown of the potential costs:


  • Basic panel radiators: Prices start around £150, suitable for small spaces or supplementary heating.

  • Oil-filled radiators: Typically range from £60 to £300, depending on their size and thermostat features.

  • Storage radiators: Generally cost between £200 and £800, with higher prices for advanced models that offer better heat retention and control.

  • Infrared radiators: Can range from £100 for smaller units to £500 for larger or designer models.

  • Towel radiators: Prices vary from £50 to £400, influenced by material and designs

  • Fan-assisted radiators: Typically cost between £100 and £400, depending on size and control features.

  • The initial purchase price is only part of the overall cost. Installation expenses can vary based on whether you opt for a plug-in model, which you can typically install yourself, or a hardwired model, which may require professional installation. We advise getting multiple quotes to ensure competitive pricing and to find the best fit for your specific needs and preferences.

    Remember...

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    When choosing an electric radiator, it's essential to balance cost with quality and service. While the most expensive option isn't always the best for your needs, opting for the cheapest can sometimes lead to increased costs down the line.

    How much do radiators cost?

    Type

    Basic panel radiators

    Oil-filled radiators

    Storage radiators

    Infrared radiators

    Towel radiators

    Fan-assisted radiators

    Cost

    £150

    £60-£300

    £200-£800

    £100-£500 depending on size

    £50-£400

    £100-400

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    author
    Anna Dearden
    Home Sector Specialist
    Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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