Best Heater Buying Guide 2021 | Retravision
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The 2021 Guide To Buying The Best Heater & Electric Blanket In Australia!

A good heater can make all the difference in the world when the colder, winter months roll around. If you’ve ever spent a long, cold night shivering under a blanket, you’ll understand why home heating is important. The best heaters will keep you feeling warm and cozy, even on the chilliest days. But with so many different types of gas and electric heaters available, how do you choose the right heater for your home?

Retravision’s comprehensive buying guide compares all the options and features you’ll find available, so you can make the best decision for the space you’re trying to heat. Plus, you can always speak to our friendly team in-store and online for help finding the perfect heater to suit you home; we’re the experts in climate control systems!

Hot tips on heaters

Check out our handy heater buying guide for all the best tips and advice on buying a heater, and all the latest products from leading brands!

Types Of Heaters

Fan, column, gas, split-system, ceramic - which type of heaters is right for your home? At Retravision you’ll find a huge range of heaters on offer, from some of the world’s biggest brands like Rinnai, Dyson, Delonghi, Omega Altise, and Sunbeam.

One of the first things you should think about when trying to decide what type of heater to buy, is whether or not you would like it to be gas or electric powered.

Electric heaters tend to be more portable and don’t need to be vented, so they’re suitable for enclosed areas. They are normally less expensive to purchase than gas options. Gas heaters on the other hand are available flued or unflued; flued heaters will need to vented outside and are usually in-built, whilst unflued are usually portable and require proper ventilation. Many don’t require an electric power source so they can still be operated during a power outage.

Split System Air Conditioners

Split-system air conditioners are one of the most popular options for heating and cooling the home. They are often considered to be the most efficient electric heater - those with a good star rating generally require a lot less electrical energy input than other types of heaters. Split-system air conditioners are great for heating large spaces and are popular in Australian homes because they can be used for cooling in the summer.

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Top Split System Air Conditioners

Fan Heaters

If you’re looking for the best portable heater for your home, then fan heaters are often considered to be a convenient, and very affordable option. Designed to be extremely compact, they’re usually very easy to move from room to room and use a heating coil to draw air inside and distribute heat around a room. They are ideal for smaller spaces or heating up a single room, often very lightweight and produce little to no noise.

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Top Fan Heaters

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters are a great option for homes with a gas connection. They are known for being a great alternative to energy efficient electric heaters because they require little to no electricity to run. They are capable of heating large spaces effectively, and are often considered to be some of the best heaters for living room spaces. It is worth noting that there are two types - built-in systems which connect to a flue pipe which vents gas outside, and portable gas heaters which require ventilation. If you plan to use a portable gas heaters inside your home, make sure it’s in a large and well ventilated room.

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Top Gas Heaters

Column Heaters

Column heaters are a great option for when you plan to run your heating all day or night. Oil column heaters are the most common type and they’re great for bedrooms as they are usually quiet to run and portable. Oil heaters are often very efficient once they have heated up and are suitable for long periods of use.

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Top Column Heaters

Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters use a heating element behind a ceramic cover to heat spaces. They are designed to be portable and are great for small rooms, like the bedroom and considered to be a safer option for households with children. Many come with an oscillating function to help spread heat around the room.

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Top Ceramic Heaters

Electric Blankets

Electric blankets will keep you feeling warm and snug when you get into bed at night, or keep you comfortable on the couch. Electric blankets come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some are designed to go on your bed and can be used to warm your mattress up to comfortable temperatures on cold, winter nights. Other’s might be made from fleece and other materials and are perfect for keeping you warm in a cold, unheated room.

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Top Electric Blankets

What to consider

When comparing heaters there are a few key things to consider;

Room size

How large is the space you’re trying to heat? A small, portable heater will not be able to disperse heat effectively in a large room and may leave you shivering, but a heater that’s too big for the space will draw more energy than necessary and end up costing you more than you need to be paying on energy bills.

Heating speed

How fast does the heater heat up? Some heater, like oil column heaters will take much longer to heat up whilst others, like fan heaters will get hot straight away and start blowing heat. It’s worth thinking about how you want to use your heater - do you want to turn it on and heat up right away after getting home from work, or do you want to turn it on before bed and have it slowly warm up throughout the night?

Noise

Some heaters are noisier than others. It’s important to consider how you plan to use your heater - are you going to sleep with it overnight? If so a noisy fan heater or oscillating heater may not be the right choice for you. If you’re going to have it on for short periods throughout the day then a bit of noise may not be a problem at all!

Safety features

Some types of heaters can pose a safety risk if they are not used correctly. Both electric and gas heaters can pose a fire risk because they get hot! Certain types of heaters will be much hotter to the touch and won’t be safe within reach of children - if you have small kids consider out of the way systems like split-systems. Look for safety features like automatic shut-off and overheat protection mechanisms as these will turn your heater off in the event that it gets too hot or gets tipped over.

Cost

Cost is an important consideration when buying a heater. There are two factors to think about here; firstly the upfront cost of purchasing a unit, and secondly the running costs of your heater. Some heaters, like split-systems will require a larger upfront initial investment but will have lower running costs whilst others are very affordable to purchase but may noticeably increase your power bill. Fan heaters, gas and split-systems are usually cheaper to run than oil column heaters and ceramic heaters.

Installation

Some heaters, like split-systems and certain gas heaters, will require installation. This is something you should keep in mind as it’s an added extra cost and limits the portability of your heating system. If you’re looking for a heater that you can take from room to room, then portable models like fans or column heaters are likely the best option for you.

Energy efficiency

Some heaters are more energy efficient than others. If conserving energy is important to you then you’ll want to look at energy efficient systems like gas or split-system air conditioners, or look for ‘eco’ or low energy use settings on other types of heaters. You'll also want to make sure you choose the right type of heater for your space or environment. A small portable heater may need to work harder to heat a large space for instance and will consequently use more energy to achieve the same impact as a heater designed for bigger spaces.

Thermostat & features

What features does your heater come with? Some will come with adjustable thermostats, whilst others may only have a single heat setting. Other heaters may also include features like timers (great for bedrooms as you can set it to switch off after you fall asleep) and oscillation settings.

Safety tips

  • Avoid placing heaters close to curtains, clothing or rugs as they could burn them or catch fire.
  • Inspect heaters for any cracked, broken or frayed connections. If you see any sign of damage, do not use it.
  • Ensure your smoke detectors are in proper working order.
  • Don’t leave space heaters unattended whilst operating.
  • Ensure that gas heaters are properly ventilated.

FAQs

The best heaters for bedrooms are often said to be oil column heaters. They’re compact, quiet and affordable and great for retaining heat and keeping a room warm for many hours. Alternatively a quiet fan heater or ceramic heater can also be a great option for a bedroom space.

The best heaters for large, open spaces are those that are powerful enough to distribute heat evenly across the space. That means you’ll want to consider either a gas heater or a split-system air conditioner. Gas heaters are well known for their powerful radiant ability and can cover even more space when paired with a fan to help spread heat across the room. Split-system air conditioning is designed to blow hot air into a room and so they’re great for an open plan layout.

Gas and split-system air conditioners are generally considered to have the cheapest running costs. Gas heaters usually require little to no electricity and run on natural or LPG gas. Split-system air conditioners are the most energy efficient type of electric heater and many with higher star ratings will have cheaper running costs than their gas counterparts.

Split-systems are generally considered to be the cheapest type of electric heater to run, although that will depend on factors like the size of your unit, it’s energy efficiency rating, the temperature you set it to, how long you operate it for and the electricity tariffs you are subject to.

Oil heaters are relatively simple - they use a heating element to heat oil which warms and radiates heat around a room. They can be quite energy efficient in the right settings, but are known to consume more energy than other types of electric heaters, like split-systems. Most oil column heaters will be around 1500 watts, although some come with low energy settings. Whilst they are heating and the heating element is in use, they will consume energy. As the temperature climbs and gets warmer, the element will switch off. In a cold, drafty room, the temperature may fall more quickly and the thermostat in the heater will tell the element to switch back on in order to heat up the room - this will consume a lot more energy. To keep energy bills to a minimum, they are best used in smaller rooms where there is less air movement.

Oil filled heaters can be very cheap to run in smaller spaces, like bedrooms. They are designed to use full power when first switched on, but will switch off their heating element once the space around them has warmed up. In a space like a bedroom, they can be very cost-effective and keep the temperature at a warm, consistent level.

Gas and reverse cycle heaters are usually the cheapest (and most energy efficient) systems to use in the long run. Split-systems are capable of evenly distributing air evenly throughout spaces large and small and have the added benefit of cooling in the summer. Gas heaters will use your gas connection to heat up and can help you save on energy costs.

Heaters are usually considered to be very safe for your health, and will keep the winter chill away but for some people with allergies, respiratory issues and sensitive skin, heaters can cause problems. Heaters remove moisture from the air which can cause skin to feel dry and may lead to itchiness or a rash. It can also dry out the nasal passages which can cause nose bleeds. For some people, fans or convection settings can cause trouble for those who have allergies or asthma but for those most part they are very safe. It is important to remember that they get hot! It’s always essential to exercise caution to avoid the risk of burns. Those with gas heaters will want to make sure they are serviced regularly and ventilated properly. Leaking gas or poorly ventilated rooms can be a serious danger to your health. As long as you follow the correct safety directions of your heating unit, you’ll find they are very safe.

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