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electric radiator

Electric heating types, pros and cons

Electric heating is a great option when considering how best to heat a space, whether that’s a room in your home, a cold workshop or even a motorhome. Unlike many other forms of heating, there is a lot less to think about when it comes to the installation of electric heating and in most cases, you can complete the installation yourself.

In this guide, we discover the benefits of electric heating, how to the choose the right electric heating for your space, how you install and maintain your radiators and cost comparisons across the range of other heating options.



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Types of Electric Heating

The most common types of electric heating are night storage heaters, convection heaters and electric radiators. Fan heaters are another electric heating option but more ideal for temporary installations.

Night storage heaters use night time electricity (such as Economy 7 tariffs) to heat bricks within each heater and then release that heat throughout the day. It should also be noted that storage heaters are not ideal for asthma sufferers due to the fact they burn the air.

Convection heaters operate by air convection currents circulating through the body of the appliance and across it’s heating element.

Both storage heaters and convection heaters mainly convect heat up to the ceiling, which can cause cold feet.

Electric radiators operate in a similar way that standard radiators do in central heating systems. Multiple heating elements within the radiator are heated quickly by electric and provide even heat distribution, resulting in an often more comfortable heat.

Pros and cons of electric heating

Night Storage Heaters are the most common electric heating appliance found in homes across the country. They are typically quite large, bracketed against the wall in each room of the house and work independently from each other.


  • They keep the home warm during the night and early morning
  • Where mainline gas isn’t available, night storage heaters provide the heating
  • Installation is easier and cheaper than new central heating systems
  • Low or no maintenance required
  • No pipework or boiler required


  • Heat is lost while charging overnight
  • The night time electric tariff is often only as good as a normal tariff and does not necessarily result in cheaper heating costs
  • Heat is released during the day regardless of whether it is needed or not
  • Controls can be complicated to use, resulting in incorrect operation and loss of heat at the wrong times of the day and night
  • They are very heavy and bulky, typically taking up more floor space than radiators used in other heating systems
  • Dust can be released from the heater when the fan is used to increase the heat transfer
  • They are not good for asthma sufferers



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Convection heaters come with their own list of pros and cons, but the list is less than night storage heaters.

The main advantages of convection heaters are that you can turn them on and off independently from each other, allowing you to heat the spaces you need, when you need to. They are also typically smaller than night storage heaters.

There are a couple of key disadvantages with convection heaters. The first is the way the heat is created. Convection makes the heated air increase in volume, making it more buoyant and rise. The result of this is that the warm air may accumulate at the ceiling of the room. Therefore, ceiling fans are commonly paired with convection heaters to help circulate the warm air, making the room feel warmer and allowing you to turn down the thermostat.

The second main disadvantage is that convection heaters can cost more to run as they are pretty heavy on electric due to the technology inside the heater.


  • Where mainline gas isn’t available, convection heaters provide the heating
  • Installation is easier and cheaper than new central heating systems
  • Low or no maintenance required
  • No pipework or boiler required
  • No heat leakage
  • Space saving


  • Temperature controlled heating 24/7 not available
  • Cold spots
  • Poor heat circulation
  • Ceiling fan maybe required
  • Scorching effect in some cases
  • Draws electric non-stop when being used thus increasing costs

Electric radiators have all of the advantages of a convection heater over a night storage heater but with some differences.


electric radiator wall mounted

  • Electric radiators radiate and convect providing more comfortable heat
  • Installation is easier and cheaper than new central heating systems
  • Low or no maintenance required
  • No pipework or boiler required
  • No heat leakage
  • No scorching effects
  • Temperature controlled heating 24/7
  • Space saving


  • Draws electricity when being used – but so does gas too

Electric radiators are becoming a much favoured option for homes looking to update their old gas central heating system and make the switch to a surprisingly cost effective alternative.

An electric radiator by The Economy Radiator Company

Be Prepared

Before you purchase an electric heater, make sure you assess which option is best for you.

Have a think about:

  • Where the heater will be sited – The position is important in order to heat the room most efficiently. Try not to block the heater with furniture or clothes
  • Your living habits – For example, do you only use one room in your home. Do you have empty rooms that do not need heating?
  • Your budget – Calculate your budget and stick to it. Electric heaters can be added at any time to get the most ideal heater for each room to help heat it most efficiently

Consider other forms of heating

Always consider other forms of heating before committing. Depending on the space you are heating, the typical usage and available budgets, you may find electric isn’t right for you.

Consider oil and gas fired central heating systems, solar technology and other green heating options.

Other Energy Efficiency Options

It’s important to assess the energy efficiency of your home alongside the electric heating. Adding loft, floor and wall insulation can be a way of further reducing your energy bills and keeping your space warmer for longer.

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