Best Panel Heaters for Local Warmth in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 23, 2018
In the sea of options, it is sometimes a challenge to find the right heater. Panel heaters are mostly designed for heating small or medium rooms from time to time, they are a great way to save money on both the device and your bills if used properly. Allow us to tell you a bit about them. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
TYPE
POWER
CONTROL
PLACING
EXTRAS
DIMENSIONS
WARRANTY
 
PROS

The child lock feature lets you block the controls to prevent accidental changes to the settings.

CONS

The timer setup is a bit overly complicated.

OUR VERDICT

This is a sleek black heater that will fit in any interior and warm up several rooms at once easily. It does consume quite a bit of energy but the above-average expenses bring you excellent heating after all.

detailed parameters
TYPE

Radiant

POWER

2000 W

CONTROL

LCD-screen with digital control panel

PLACING

Floor (legs included) or wall-mount (mounting kit included)

EXTRAS

IP22 class protection, safety thermal cut-out

DIMENSIONS

82 x 47 x 8 cm

9.3 kg

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The 2 switches let you choose between 3 heating modes, either a high-power one or two low energy and economical ones.

CONS

The power cord is very short.

OUR VERDICT

This Dimplex model doesn't cover all that much ground but it's very energy-efficient and helps you trim the electricity bills. Besides, it's very easy to control and you can mount it anywhere that suits you or leave it standing near your bed to keep your rest comfy.

detailed parameters
TYPE

Radiant

POWER

800 W

CONTROL

2 switches (3 heat settings) and mechanical knob (adjustable timer)

PLACING

Floor (legs included) or wall-mount (mounting kit included)

EXTRAS

Safety thermal cut-out

DIMENSIONS

80 x 50 x 3.5 cm

5.9 kg

WARRANTY

3 years

PROS

This model is quite small so you can easily put it in an office with little space or slide it under your desk.

CONS

The wall-mount bracket is pretty shoddy.

OUR VERDICT

This mini-sized heater will be a good fit for those who want to up the temperature in their offices and bedrooms, especially if you have little space to spare. It's easy to control, offers pretty substantial coverage, and though the wall-mount option is not advisable, the overall quality of this model is very high.

detailed parameters
TYPE

Radiant

POWER

1000 W

CONTROL

2 mechanical knobs (adjustable thermsotat and adjustable timer)

PLACING

Floor (legs included) or wall-mount (mounting kit included)

EXTRAS

Safety thermal cut-out

DIMENSIONS

66.5 x 32 x 5 cm

~4.5 kg

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The device comes with a remote control so you can adjust the temperature without getting out of bed.

CONS

The current temperature isn't always displayed correctly.

OUR VERDICT

If you want a heater that you can use safely even in your bathroom, this water-resistant model is a great choice, especially since you can control it remotely without getting out of the bathtub. And, of course, the control capabilities also make it great for keeping your bedroom warm, that way you can doze off while shutting down the heater remotely.

detailed parameters
TYPE

Radiant

POWER

1500 W

CONTROL

LCD-screen with digital control panel, remote control

PLACING

Floor (legs with castors included) or wall-mount (mounting kit included)

EXTRAS

IPx4 class protection, Safety thermal cut-out and tip-over switch

DIMENSIONS

67 x 47 x 9 cm

8.2 kg

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

This model uses an aluminium heating element that's completely safe for your health and more eco-friendly.

CONS

The device takes a while to heat up.

OUR VERDICT

If you want your heater to be safe and ecologically-friendly, the NETTA model is a good and economical choice, offering a low price with sparing energy consumption. It retains heat well and though it takes a while to warm up, the results are worth it.

detailed parameters
TYPE

Radiant

POWER

1500 W

CONTROL

2 switches (2 heat settings) and mechanical knob (adjustable thermostat)

PLACING

Floor (legs included) or wall-mount (mounting kit included)

EXTRAS

Safety thermal cut-out

DIMENSIONS

70 x 47 x 8 cm

7.8 kg

WARRANTY

1 year

Wärme WH-20P

Safe and Cozy

Keeping your household warm is vital, especially if you have young kids, who are much more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. However, there’s also the issue of keeping tots safe from the heater or, rather, the heater safe from the tots. That’s one of the reasons why we like the Wärme WH-20P, a modern heating appliance complete with parental lock settings.

We wouldn’t be surprised if little kids wanted to fiddle with the colourful touch controls as this model looks just like a flat screen TV, all black and smooth. Besides, the controls are all digital and colourful and all information is displayed via an LCD screen. Thankfully, the area with the buttons doesn’t heat up and, if you’re worried about the tot changing the temperature or turning the heat off altogether, you can engage the child lock.

When the lock isn’t on, though, you have access to plenty of controls, including several heating modes, temperature adjustment, a chance to set a clock with timer to make sure the heater doesn’t run long into the night if you doze off on the couch. We do have to say that setting the timer is a bit more complicated than it needs to be. Still, a few tries will help you figure things out and it’s not like the timer is something you’d be setting every single day.

Review of Wärme WH-20P Wall Panel Heater Radiator

Decoration and Utility

Turning to the subject of placement, while you can leave this model free-standing on your floor, we do recommend going for the wall mounted option. Not only does the slick black body fit in neatly with any interior design but the slim profile makes this model a compact and non-intrusive choice. Admittedly, this does take away the portable capabilities so you can’t move the heater into different rooms. But the 2000 W power guarantees that you will feel the warmth in adjacent spaces anyway, though it does end up running a pretty hefty electricity bill. Still, it works fast and you’ll feel the heat in less than an hour after launching the device.

Last but not least, the Wärme WH-20P has all the standard and time-tested safety features such as the IP22 protection and the thermal cut-out. They’re nothing too fancy but you can sleep soundly knowing they have your back.

All things considered, the Wärme WH-20P panel heater takes the basics that you see in the competitors but refines them, creating a slick and powerful model. The design is modern and appealing, the controls are easy, and the heater itself is as safe as it can be. This is a great pick for a cosy home with small kids running around.

Wärme WH-20P Wall Panel Heater Radiator in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Dimplex ARLWP800TI

Cutting the Bills

While having a warm home in the freezing months of winter is nice, few people want to face the hefty electricity bill that arrives after you run your heater day in and day out. Thankfully, you can always opt for a more economical model such as the Dimplex ARLWP800TI.

Although you might look at the 800 W specs on the box and think that the level isn’t all that different from what’s available from the competitors, this heater does go more economical thanks to the broad settings. For one, you can use the switches on the body of the device to browse between 3 main modes. Each of them has different wattage from 300 W to 500 W and, finally, the officially disclosed 800 W. The first two options are very low energy and yet they provide enough heat to keep a room toasty.

Don’t worry about the Dimplex ARLWP800TI being a safety hazard either, as the device has a thermal cut-out feature and, more importantly, a timer that you set via a knob. It’s as easy as can be and the automatic shut-off will help keep you nice and warm while you go to sleep without waking up to a stifling hot room in the morning. We wouldn’t have minded a few more safety features but it’s pretty good as is.

Review of Dimplex ARLWP800TI Low Wattage Electric Panel Heater

Looks Aren't Everything

The design is, of course, a matter of personal preference but we’d say that the slick white body of the Dimplex ARLWP800TI is a good fit for any room, especially a tiled bathroom. Plus, while touch controls seem to be all the rage with newer models, the dials here are an easy way to control the temperature and the switches don’t get stuck. Aside from the short cord, which cuts your options of placement a little bit, the Dimplex ARLWP800TI is pretty winning in terms of design, especially since you also get the choice of leaving it floor-standing or mounting it. And mounting is made easy not just because you get the kit with the purchase but also thanks to this model weighing just 5 kg, relatively little for a heater.

Now, admittedly, if you want to cover a lot of ground with just one heater, the Dimplex ARLWP800TI might not be the optimal choice. After all, the low-power modes are where this model shines and the short 1-metre power cord restricts placement quite a bit. Still, you can wall-mount it in the middle of your living room and keep the whole space warm and cosy. So if you’re not looking for portability, this is a fine option and it’s more than enough to cover about 15 square meters easily. A smart and economical pick for keeping your flat toasty.

Dimplex ARLWP800TI Low Wattage Electric Panel Heater in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air

Make Space for Comfort

Sometimes you want to keep your home office (or the regular one, for that matter) warm but have very little space to work with. That’s understandable and, luckily, you can always turn to compact models that can fit under your table. One such heater is the HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air, a modestly-sized little appliance that can stand its ground against larger and much more cumbersome competitors.

Let’s take a closer look at the size and weight of the HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air right away to prove that it is, indeed, a storage-friendly choice. For one, this model weighs just 4.5 kg, one of the lightest free-standing models we’ve seen. And though the 66.5 x 32 x 5 cm body isn’t exactly tiny, it’s still very slim and can be slid behind the table when not in use. That’s pretty handy for office use or flats where storage space is worth its weight in gold, so you can hide the heater in the summer months when you won’t need it. Besides, you can take off the legs, which add about 4 cm of height, leaving you with just 28 cm. Now, obviously, you shouldn’t do that when the heater is on but it does make storage even easier.

Review of HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air Electric Panel Heater

Back to Basics

Now, the design isn’t the only thing the sleek HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air has going for it. For example, the controls here are quite simple as you adjust temperature and set the timer by simply turning the dials. You can choose between several power levels so you won’t have to use the 1000 W max setting all the time. However, we do wish that the dial with the wattage had a bit more info on it as it would make for more refined tuning. Even as is, you can switch between high-power heating (if you want to warm up a few rooms at once) and economical cosiness.

And, since we heaped praise on the design, it’s only fair to point out its one major flaw. Namely, the mounting bracket kit is quite flimsy and we wouldn’t recommend using this model as a wall mount at all. The legs for free-standing, however, are thankfully very sturdy. Other than that, we didn’t spot any glaring flaws, especially for a product at this price point. It might not be the king of the market but it’s a serviceable choice for home use.

All in all, although we recognise that the HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air has its shortcomings, it’s tough to fault this mini-sized heater that much. It offers good and quick heating, can be set both for extra power and a bit of economical operation and saves space in your home. A worthy choice for flats, offices, and bedrooms, especially those with little room to work with.

HOMEFRONT Prem-i-air Electric Panel Heater in the use

 

Jack Stonehouse EX01009

Control It Remotely

Nobody likes getting out of a warm bed to walk all the way across the room with a cold floor, especially when it’s to turn off a heater. So we’re very glad to present the Jack Stonehouse EX01009, a model that you can adjust and turn on and off without moving an inch.

This convenience is accomplished really easily, you just get a remote control with the purchase. And though it’s a small thing, the gadget will help you change the temperature, set a timer, and shut down the heater, if needed. The fact that you can do all of that from the comfort of your own bed is a big bonus, especially for the cold winter months. And, luckily, the remote works well even from a reasonable distance so you can lean out of the kitchen while cooking and shut off the heating in the living room, for example.

We do have to advise keeping the remote on hand as you might be changing the temperature frequently since the level displayed by the device isn’t always correct. Sometimes it’s a few degrees off which can make all the difference when it comes to staying comfortable in the cold months. But at least you can always see the data clearly thanks to the built-in LCD screen. Which, by the way, you can control manually should you lose the convenient remote.

Review of Jack Stonehouse EX01009 Electric Panel Heater

Safety First

We’ve already mentioned the timer and temperature adjustment but those aren’t what makes the Jack Stonehouse EX01009 stand out. This model is equipped with IPx4 water-resistant protection, which means you can put it near water sources without worrying about damage. You could even place this heater in your bathroom so that you don’t get goosebumps once you get out of the shower. Obviously, you shouldn’t straight up pour water on it, but the protection still adds a layer of security to the device, a good bonus since the warranty is, sadly, just a year long. And, of course, added to the water resistance, there’s also the safety cut-out and tip-over switch so you don’t have to worry about knocking the heater over.

Plus, you don’t even have to leave this model free-standing as it comes with a mounting kit. Put the Jack Stonehouse EX01009 up on your wall and save space while still getting the warmth you crave!

So if comfort is the feature you value most, the Jack Stonehouse EX01009 is one of the best choices on the market. It offers remote controls, lots of adjustable temperature levels, and broader safety measures than what you’d get from most competitors. And it’s pretty reasonably priced to boot!

Jack Stonehouse EX01009 Electric Panel Heater in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

NETTA GH-15A

Clear the Air

Heard those spooky rumours about heaters being ultimately bad for you as they dry out the air and, if it’s an older model, might even have some materials that could be harmful to the human organism? Don’t let them worry you as you don’t have to settle for shoddy old heaters when you have the NETTA GH-15A at your disposal!

This model uses an aluminium heating element that contains no asbestos or any similar materials that could cause long-term damage to your body. The materials used here are all as ecologically friendly as possible for a heater. Plus, they’re chosen specifically because they can heat air up without drying it out, causing a plethora of issues for people with skin conditions. All of the above makes the NETTA GH-15A one of the safest choices for those with health issues.

Admittedly, the choice of aluminium is a double-edged sword as it does take a while to heat up, a bit longer than some of the more basic materials. If quick warmth is a priority for you, you might want to put the heater on a bit in advance. It does, however, stay hot for a long time after you turn it off, which saves a bit of money on your electricity bills in the long run. Besides, you can boost it up to the max 1500 W level if you want speed over lower bills. And, of course, opt for a lower level if you want to cut electricity bills even further.

Review of NETTA GH-15A Glass Panel Heater

What a Bargain

You can leave the NETTA GH-15A standing on your floor, which might not be a good fit for all as the heater is, admittedly, pretty wide. If you’re short on floor space, you can mount this model on a wall instead as the mounting kit here is pretty sturdy and, thus, reliable.

Although the design here is pretty much classic for heaters, we do have to say that the 2 switches and the knob could have clearer markings to make adjustments easier. They’re still handy to use overall but you’ll have to figure things out on your own for a bit. Especially since there’s no screen to see the results of your adjustments.

Last but not least, we have got to praise the price, which is a huge deal for those seeking a heater on a budget. This is one of the most affordable models out there and, if you consider the fact that lower power levels will consume very low energy, you can really save a ton by choosing the NETTA GH-15A.

Despite a few shortcomings that might sour the impression somewhat, the NETTA GH-15A won us over with safe materials, good heat retention, and pretty economical power levels. If you need a heater that won’t dry the air out or exacerbate your skin conditions, this is a go-to choice for sure.

NETTA GH-15A Glass Panel Heater in the use

 

What Is a Panel Heater?

To an untrained eye, the first thing you notice about panel heaters is that many of them are significantly cheaper than, say, column ones or other analogs. There is a catch to that, of course.

Panel heaters are, commonly, designed to warm the spaces that are not too big. Small bedrooms, studies, nurseries, etc. will benefit from a panel heater better than from any other, bulkier model. Panel heaters are usually quite thin to take up as little space as possible, therefore, they will hardly get in the way as you walk. They are also rarely used for continuous heating during long hours; more frequently, it's to warm up the room for when you need to spend an hour or two there. However, they do heat up pretty quickly and offer a nice cozy feeling, so there's that.

Another benefit is that most "panels" do not get hot to the touch so they are safe to use even with kids and pets in the room. It is not uncommon to find a panel heater under the person's desk—in the case when you work or play on your computer and your feet get cold after some time, a small thin heater with no exposed heating elements is the best.

In the end, it all comes to your intended use. Check out our review to find out if a panel heater is what you need and if yes, which one. You can also see our reviews on oil and infrared heaters for comparison.

What Features to Compare

Type

When panel heaters were first introduced, they were strictly of convection type but today, almost any heater type can be made in (or close to) a panel form-factor. There are differences in the types we recommend you to consider before making the purchase.

Convection panel heaters emit warmth quite fast but the heat might settle in layers, unevenly, that's why it is usually advised to accompany one with a slowly working fan (a desk or a ceiling one). Micathermic models are in a way convection heaters but thanks to the mineral mica surrounding the heating element they offer more even heating of the room. Oil-filled models take longer to heat up and also may need an additional fan but they can also be left unsupervised and used for longer times, some even overnight. Radiant heaters warm the objects in the room and not the air so they are perfect for rooms with draughts; however, their housings do have the tendency to get somewhat hot. There are mixed types as well, they combine the good sides of two types.

Power

The power of the heater means how big a room it can warm up—the more power, the bigger the room. There are several ways to calculate the power you need for a room of a specific size, the most used one for electric heaters being to multiply your room area (in sq.ft) by 10 (as in 10 W of power per 1 sq.ft of a room). So, if you have a room that is 10 ft by, say, 15 ft, its a 150 sq.ft room, therefore, you will need a 1500W heater to properly warm it. However, as already stated above, panel heaters are generally only made for small to medium-sized rooms and to place under your desk to warm your feet and not the whole room so seeing a 500~750 W model is not that rare. Although more powerful heaters do exist today, they might be quite costly sometimes.

Features and Safety

Panel heaters are not usually rich on bells and whistles since they were created as budget models for a fairly narrow use but there are still features you would most likely appreciate, like a thermostat, for example. A thermostat will allow you to adjust the temperature whereas the cheapest models only have the on/off switch without the possibility to set a completely comfortable temperature. The lack of thermostat is not much of a problem if you do not plan on prolonged sessions near your panel heater but if we're talking at least a couple hours, it will definitely be better to have the adjustment possibility.

Speaking of safety, the guidelines are pretty much the same for every device that heats up—you will need it to have an automatic shut-off in the case the heater tips over. Even if its surface does not heat up too much and you can usually touch the device when it is working, the tip-over auto shut-off might save your house from a fire. It is especially important if you have either kids or pets who can wander into the room.

Another useful feature of a heater is an overheating shut-off. This one will turn off your panel heater after its temperature exceeds the optimal temperature. This one works for fire safety as well as when you might accidentally touch the heater's body. You don't want to get burned, do you?

Design

Panel heaters generally come in two types: freestanding and wall-mountable. Wall-mountable models are the best choice for the smallest rooms where a standing model will get in the way and become an obstruction. But wall-mountable models are harder to move, for obvious reasons, so if you plan to use the heater in different rooms, a free-standing option is what you've been looking for. Luckily, they are not too bulky either. They are also often equipped with casters and sometimes handles to make moving them easier.

Did you know?

How ceramic heaters work

When talking about room heating, ceramic heaters are the most widespread today: they are more or less affordable, quite safe, and offer decent warming. How so?

Ceramic heaters are sort of an upgrade from older electric coil heaters we used to have in our houses some years ago. Those electric heaters had (and still have since they are available on the market) metal coils that the electricity went through; the electricity heated the metal which, in its turn, distributed that heat around. The major problem with that was that exposed heating elements were extremely hot, you could not touch them lest you be severely burned. For the same reason, there was always a danger of starting a fire if the heater happened to topple over. Also, since the glowing metal is obviously rather fascinating, little kids and pets were to be shooed from the room while the heater is on or they had to be constantly supervised.

Then came ceramic heaters. Basically, ceramic heaters also use coils to transfer the electricity-based heat to the room. However, the coils in these heaters are covered by ceramic plates that offer a number of benefits. First of all, ceramics transfer heat without getting scorching hot, so it is safe to touch the heater in most cases. Secondly, the plates have openings to let the heat out in a certain direction, which, in turn, meant no more need for blowers, an integral part of electric coil heaters, and no blower meant more silent operation and less maintenance. Finally, ceramics heat up fast so the time needed to warm the area around the ceramic heater is noticeably less than that for a coil model. With the addition of thermostats and overheating/tip-over shutoff features, these heaters became pretty harmless, too, and that's why, despite being a little on the expensive side compared to coil devices, ceramic ones are now a general choice.

How to install a wall heater

Wall panel heaters are quite easy to install, generally, and rarely need the help of an electrician. However, if you are uncertain as to where the wires and pipes are located in the walls, or simply not sure in your skills with the drill, we do recommend you to call in a specialist. If DIY is your forte, though, there are just a couple things to keep in mind during a wall panel heater mounting.

  • Most wall-mounted models come with a mounting kit—brackets, screws, etc. If there are none, check the manual for what sizes and types to buy.
  • Also, check the manual regarding the height at which to mount a bracket. Some models ask for 4" and some for 8", there are options there. The height needs to be considered to avoid overheating.
  • Do not mount electric panel heaters too close to an outlet since there are wires inside that can be damaged during and after the installation. However, the outlet should not be too far either—connecting heaters via extension cords or power strips is highly advised against.
  • When mounting a wall panel heater, see to it that nothing blocks the heat distribution. Curtains should end several inches over the device, remove any furniture from directly near it. Do not dry your laundry on the heater and do not place the cord on it before it is fully cooled down.

Wall panel heaters are not installed inside the wall like smaller electric heaters. Instead, you simply install the mounting bracket and hang the heater on it. If your heater comes with a mounting kit, you will only need a drill.

  1. Mark the point on the wall where the bracket is to be mounted. Use a template or a bracket itself. Usually, the manual sets the height of the holes. A spirit level can help with equal height.
  2. Drill the holes where marked and affix the brackets with screws.
  3. Hang the heater on the bracket and mark the lower points for brackets. Remove the heater.
  4. Drill the lower holes, insert the anchors into the wall.
  5. Hang the heater back onto the bracket. Check that the top side is in fact at the top since panel heaters might be confusing in this regard. Then fix the remaining screws to the lower part of the appliance.
  6. Turn on the heater to see if everything works.

Sources:

1. How do Ceramic Heaters Work? DoItYourself.com.

2. Jack Gerard How Ceramic Heaters Work, Hunker.

3. Matthew Steen Electric heater buying guide, Choice. April 19, 2018.

4. Differences in micathermic panel heater & oil-filled radiating heater, LinkedIn. January 27, 2015.

5. Space heater, Wikipedia.

6. Fan Heaters vs. Convection Heaters, eBay. October 30, 2013.

7. What are panel heaters? How do they work? Quora.

8. Energy-efficient heaters, uSwitch.

9. Oli McKean How to buy the best electric heater, Which?

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Publish Date: 2018-10-23 08:18:20