9 best portable heaters
Confused about which is the best heater to warm up your space? Don’t sweat it – we’ve got the hottest buys
When choosing which radiator is right for you, first consider where it’s going to be used. Are you happy to leave it in one place or do you need something on wheels that can easily be moved? Do you want to have it pumping out heat for hours, or simply a quick fix to take the edge off a chilly room?
Oil filled radiators are a good choice for larger spaces or those that are going to need constant heating as they’re more cost efficient to run, staying warm even when switched off. Larger convection heaters are faster to heat up so choose one of these if you only need to use it occasionally for short periods. If it’s a quick hit of warmth you need for a small space, choose a fan heater.
Mill Heat 99407 Oil Filled Radiator 1500W: £199.99, AO
It may not be as bulky as some of the other oil-filled radiators we tested, but clever design means the heated fins are enclosed and the hot air rises through the top of the casing, which distributes the heat efficiently. This Norwegian radiator looks good in any setting and the vertical shape means it’s unobtrusive in small spaces. We particularly liked the settings via the Mill Heat app for remote activation.
Von Haus Oscillating Fan Heater: £37.99, Domu
If you’re not quite at the stage when you want to turn central heating on throughout the house, make your room warm and cosy with this instead. This 2000W ceramic fan heater is small enough to sit on top of a table or desk, and has an anti-tip switch, so would turn off automatically if it happened to be knocked over.
Dimplex OFC2000ti Oil Filled Radiator: £79, AO
With the look of a traditional portable radiator, this fuss-free model is perfect for cosying up a larger room that needs a long-term source of heat. The smooth castors make it easy to move around and we especially like the cable tidy for safe storage and the timer remote control, so it could be turned off when it hit the right temperature and we didn’t want to move from our sofa den.
De’Longhi Slim Style HCX3124FS Radiator: £90.46, Amazon
This is a good-looking panel convector heater that’s perfect for occasional use in the bedroom or smaller living room. At only 7.5 cm wide, there is also the option to mount it on the wall via the included brackets rather than as a stand-alone unit. It has a a choice of settings from low to plus, where the highest output is supplemented by an integral fan, so it’s easy to find the perfect set up for even the coldest of days.
Dyson AM09 Hot + Cool Fan Heater: £398, John Lewis
Choose the way you’d like the warm air to circulate on this stylish heater – direct a stream of warming air to one place or allow it to distribute more widely to heat a larger room. This brilliant piece of kit is also a life-saver on hot summer nights as it’s so whisper quiet you can fall asleep with it working at the bedside – timed to turn off if you wish. We love the way the dinky remote control is magnetised to stick to the main unit when not in use.
De’Longhi Dragon4 TRD4 0820T: £119, Amazon
We used this oil-filled radiator to heat a large living room normally kept toasty with a woodburner on chilly nights. It heated quickly and made a real difference to the ambient temperature faster than we expected. Heavier than most of the other models we tried out, the Dragon4 is a really great choice for those in need of a permanent heating solution rather than a little-used booster. De’Longhi gives a ten-year guarantee on this model, too.
Fin Digital Black Heater: £55, Dunelm
Three different heat settings for this finned radiator, which has 1500W of power. Check settings via its LCD display but there’s a system cut off it becomes overheated. Move this winter warmer around easily from room to room if it’s not in use, thanks to the chunky castors. But if you want to leave it in site, the sleek black finish seems to blend into the background on a gloomy eve than some of the bright white models here.
Challenge Digital Ceramic Heater: £29.99, Argos
This 2kW ceramic heater is a small size at only 19cm tall but will take the chilly edge off a room up to the size of 20m². It has a digital temperature button and will maintain the space at your chosen setting surprisingly quickly. We liked the handle on top which made it easy to move from surface to surface around the home. We moved it from kitchen worktop to home office and it did the job perfectly.
Hot and Cool Mini Fan and Heater: £14.95, John Lewis
You wouldn’t expect this small fan heater to take on a cavernous room, but for a quick blast of extra warmth to supplement central heating, it’s a useful standby. It weighs just over a kilo and so is easy to position perfectly, which is a bonus as it doesn’t oscillate. Useful little cooling fan to have on hot days too – at this price, you can’t go wrong.
The Verdict: Best portable heaters
We love the Dyson Hot + Cool – it looks so stylish and can be relied on to make your space comfortably cosy at speed. Come the warmer months, it can stay in place to cool you down instead of taking up valuable cupboard space.
It’s a big investment, though, so at the more modest end of the scale, we'd go for the Mill Heat radiator. Controlling it to come on before getting up in the morning or coming home from a damp commute was fab, especially when delayed trains meant we could cancel and reset.
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