The best heaters 2023on September 19, 2023 at 15:50 Tech Advisor


There are times when using a plug-in heater is more practical than switching on your central heating. Plug-in heaters are ideal for garden offices, less used rooms and anywhere that needs a quick heating boost to help you stay productive or make your evenings cosy.

There are several types of heater available, including fan, ceramic, halogen and oil filled. If you’re not sure which sort would be best for your situation, have a look at our guide outlining the different types and their advantages and disadvantages. If you have questions, read our FAQs below the chart.

But before you buy a portable heater, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is safety. Never cover your portable heater or use it to dry clothes.

Second, be aware of cost. A portable heater can save you from switching on the central heating but if you run a plug-in heater all day, it’ll consume a lot of power.

If you’re in the UK, have a look at your electricity tariff, find the wattage of the heater you’ve got your eye on and use an energy calculator to work out what it’ll cost you to run.

For example, running a 1,000W heater on my current UK tariff will cost 36p an hour. If the heater is left on for an entire working day, that would be £2.52. This is just an average estimate, by the way, and different power settings will consume more or less electricity. You can get a much more accurate idea of cost by using a power meter. We explain how.

Don’t forget, there are cheaper ways to stay warm at home, if you can get onboard with the idea of just heating yourself, rather than the room. We’ve reviewed a Glamhaus heated throw that costs just 3p an hour to run, as well as a heated under sheet for night time use (check out our Cosi Home heated blanket review).

And, if you’re ready to take the leap and buy a whole smart home heating system, read our round-up of the best smart thermostats available.

The best portable heaters

Devola Smart Wi-Fi Glasss Panel Heater – Best for semi-permanent use


Attractive, minimalist design

Comprehensive, easy to use smart features

Silent operation


Heavy, not very portable

As with all plug-in heaters, it’s pricey to run

This heater would be excellent as a (semi-)permanent addition to a garden office, extension or little-used spare room. The panel heater is slim, silent and can be wall-mounted or fixed on feet (which you’ll have to do yourself when you unpack it).

It comes in glossy black or white and is much more attractive than your average plug-in heater. Plus, its simple lines mean it’ll be easy to keep clean.

The glass panel is perfectly plain, except for four bolts that fix it to the back. We think there must be a more elegant way to do this but it’s a minor complaint. It features an LED display and touch control panel that’s integrated into the surface. The temperature readout is in large, blocky, retro digits, but the other settings can be more difficult to read, depending on the light.

That’s one of the reason you’ll want to use its smart features. The other reason is that these features are genuinely excellent and a good reason to choose this heater over others.

In the simple, well-designed Smart Life app from Tuya, you can set up a heating schedule and even specify it to certain days of the week, add it to a group of smart home devices, create scenes and automations (so that it switches on when the temperature drops below a certain threshold) and use voice control, via Alexa and Google Home.

It’s a powerful heater and good value for its price point. We tested the 1,500W model, but there are also 1,000W and 2,000W models available from retailers including Amazon. Make sure you know which one you’re getting as it could make a big difference to running costs.

We’ve also reviewed another very similar model: the Princess Smart Glass Panel Heater. Its build, price point and feature set are almost identical to the Devola model. On the plus side, the Princess has an even more minimalist design. We’d recommend both models, so you might want to decide based on price and availability.

Read our full

Devola smart Wi-Fi glass panel heater (1,500W) review

Dreo Solaris Slim H3 Space Heater – Best compact heater






No smart features

Dreo’s heater is a neat, attractive little appliance. It’s a miniature column that’s 40.5cm tall and 14.5cm in diameter, so it’ll be easy to find a spot for and can be used under or on a desk as a personal heater.

It has three heat settings (900W, 1,100W and 1,800W), which allow you control of the temperature and your spend. Plus, there are failsafes to ensure you don’t leave it running. In Eco mode, the heater will switch off when it reaches a set temperature. Or you can set a timer for up to 12 hours, to ensure you won’t forget to switch it off.

The heater can oscillate, to warm up a larger area. Controls come via a control panel on top of the device, and an LED display. There are no smart features but it also comes with a remote control. Its safety features include tip-over and overheating protection, but if you don’t use the timer or Eco mode and forget about it, it won’t switch itself off until 24 hours has elapsed.

UK users should also beware: its 1,800W top setting is power-hungry. On the new, post-October UK tariff, it could cost 64p per hour.

Dyson Purifier HP09 Hot+Cool Formaldehyde – Best 3-in-1 appliance


Stylish design

Year-round usage

Can destroy formaldehyde

App and virtual assistant



Not easy to move

Given its high price, this appliance is a luxury and an investment. However, it may look a bit more reasonable (but only a bit) if you consider that it can take the place of three appliances: heater, personal fan and air purifier. It’s still not a money saver but it is a space and hassle saver, and more stylish than most other options on the market. You can find a spot for it in your home and leave it there year-round.

It can stand on a table or on the floor and unlike some other Dyson appliances, it can be tilted up or down. As it’s bladeless, it’s safe for little hands. The heating is rapid, and to save on power, it’ll automatically turn itself off once it has reached the desired temperature (up to 30°C).

It works brilliantly in all three roles, with the unusual selling point of also being able to destroy formaldehyde in the air, something that not every air purifier can do.

There is one caveat beyond its price, however. It’s not particularly easy to move, so you won’t want to be transporting it around your home with you.

Read our full

Dyson Purifier HP09 Hot+Cool Formaldehyde review

De’Longhi Capsule Ceramic Fan Heater – Stylish, compact design







The Capsule isn’t the cheapest small heater you’ll find on the market but there’s much to like in its compact form.

For one thing, it looks good. That’s an important factor in an appliance that will spend its life on show in your home or office. The cute grid stylings, mixture of metal and ceramic, and its modern, curved edges set it apart from many heaters that are built for service but not for display. This is a piece of tech that’ll fit into your home and quickly become part of the furniture.

The Capsule feels built to last, and is a great size. Weighing around 1.3kg, and 192 x 137 x 270mm, it’s perfectly portable. Critically, it’s equally at home on the floor or on your desk, which isn’t true of all ‘compact’ heaters. And its 1,800 watt output pumps out plenty of heat, and quickly – although this means it’s also very pricey to run.

So what’s not to like? Noise. The Capsule is compact in all respects except for its audio footprint. After a while, you’ll tune out its sound but if you’re hoping for a silent heater, this is not it.

Attractive, compact and capable: we like the Capsule a lot. We just wish it was a little quieter.

Princess Smart Heating & Cooling Tower – Best 2-in-1 appliance




Easy to use

Good smart features


Still relatively pricey

Fan is noisy on higher settings

This tall, slim tower can stay out year-round, as it also doubles as a fan. Nor will it take up much space, as it has a very small footprint. If you did want to move it, however, you’ll find that it’s light (7.6lbs) and portable – there are no moving parts to catch on things or flap around when you lift it. 

It’s bladeless, so it’s child and pet-friendly – as well as having attractive, minimalist lines.

Best of all, though, are its smart features. Once you’ve downloaded the HomeWizard Climate app and connected it to your home Wi-Fi (a doddle when we tested it), you can control it remotely and set up schedules, including different options for weekdays and weekends.

There is even support for voice controls via Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri. This basically amounts to switching it on and off, although there’s a surprisingly granular level of settings options, so you can have different voice commands to switch on, for example, a low level of heat, with oscillation, or a cooling fan blast that diminishes over the course of an hour.

There are 10 fan settings, four heat settings, oscillation and three modes: natural (which varies the airflow, to distracting effect), normal and sleep (which slowly reduces its intensity while you drift off). 

There’s also an inbuilt thermostat, which allows you to set a target temperature. When it reaches this level, the heater will turn off. It’ll come back on again when the temperature drops. There’s also a timer, which you can set in increments of one hour, for up to 24 hours.

It comes in a choice of black or white and it’s ready to use as soon as you unpack it, with no assembly required, The supplied remote control even comes with two AA batteries. 

On the minus side, the cooling fan does get noisy on higher levels – much more so than a traditional circular fan – and it’s a power-hungry 2000W. 

Read our full

Princess Smart Heating and Cooling Tower review

Dreo – PTC Fan Heater – Best desk heater



Well made

Powerful for its size


Oscillation of limited use

Measuring just 5.5 x 6.7 x 10.3in (approximately), this handy little heater could stand on your desk – or under it. 

What makes it stand out from competitors is its build quality. It’s compact and attractively made, with nice features including a carry handle at the back and an illuminated LED display at the top. It’s even fitted with a removable filter to prevent you from getting a dust cloud in the face when it’s switched on (useful if you’ve stored it away in a dusty cupboard over summer).  

It’s definitely a personal heater, rather than one to warm up a room but at 1,500W on its highest setting, it’s powerful and effective for its size. But that also means it’s expensive to run.

It has four modes, including a fan-only option, which could be useful to keep you refreshed if you’re stuck at your desk over summer. It also has a 12 hour timer and it can oscillate, although I found these to be less than compelling features in a heater of this size, where you’re likely to be using it close up and on an ad-hoc basis. 

It has an energy saving mode in which it switches off when it reaches the temperature you’ve set. However, it was only partly successful in our test. It switched off when it reached the temperature threshold, but was inconsistent in switching back on, perhaps because it got too warm itself.

Its safety features include overheating and tip-over mode protection. 

Dimplex M2GTS Ceramic Heater – Powerful ceramic heater




LCD screen


Won’t suit every interior

The Dimplex M2GTS might be relatively expensive for its size, but this ceramic heater packs a punch.

If you need a compact heater with genuine power, the M2GTS will suit. It’s less than a foot tall but can kick out 2kW of power, making it perfect for placing under a desk or in another small space. Its black and red design is stylish, plus it has a useful handle at the back for moving it around.

Spending a little more on a heater like this means you get a bunch of handy additional features.

The M2GTS has three power settings. We really like the small LCD screen that shows the temperature you can set. It goes from a 5°C frost protection all the way up to 30°C and the display changes colour as you go.

You also get optional oscillation, as well as a 12-hour timer. This will ensure you don’t leave it on and forget about it, because at 2,000W, it’s one of the most power-hungry heaters in our round-up.

How we test our heaters

Rather than performing a series of tests in lab-style conditions, we take the heaters home and try them out. We keep products for several weeks and use all of their functions in as many situations as we can think of, so we can give you an honest evaluation of how well they’ll work in your life.  



Which heater is the cheapest to run?

Here’s where wattage matters. In general, the higher the wattage of a plug-in heater, the more power it will use to run. This will give you a good idea of which heater to buy. You can use a heater’s wattage, your energy tariff and an online energy calculator to give you an estimate of how much it’ll cost you to run.

However, this doesn’t take into account a heater’s different modes and settings. For the most accurate estimation of the power it’s using once you have it at home, plug your heater into an energy monitor or a smart plug.


Will a heater reduce humidity and damp?

If you need to reduce the moisture content in your air at home, the best option is a dehumidifier. We’ve reviewed the Meaco Arete One, which is effective, simple to use and available in a number of sizes, depending on the area of the room you want to dry.

But a heater can help with condensation and damp walls. As the heater warms up the air in the room, it increases the air’s capacity to hold moisture, so it’s one method you can use to stop a damp problem from worsening.


Is it cheaper to use an electric heater or gas central heating?

If you’ve heard the maxim, ‘heat the person, not the room’, you may be wondering when it works out cheaper to use a plug-in heater, rather than switching on your central heating.

We have an article explaining how to work it out but a decent rule of thumb is that if you’re home alone and settled in one room, it’ll probably be cheaper to use a plug-in heater. But be careful that you don’t fall asleep with it on, or it’ll cost you. (If you’re likely to do this, look for a heater with a timer you can set.)

But if there are multiple people in the house, or you need to heat more than one room, it’s almost always going to be cheaper to switch on your central heating.

Smart Home, Thermostats

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