Which? group test of fan heaters reveals four Best BuysWe reveal the best fan heaters out of 15 tested

12 September 2014

Portable fan heater

You can buy a Best Buy portable fan heater from less than £40

Our latest group test of portable fan heaters has uncovered four new Best Buys, including a budget-friendly high-scorer that costs less than £40.

As the first of autumn's cool evenings start to bite, we tested 15 portable fan heaters priced between £20 and £350. The models in our test included everything from the simple plastic fan heaters that you can pick up in the supermarket, all the way up to the stylish and pricey Dyson Hot and Cool AM05, which will set you back a cool £335.

The good news is our tests show that there are several cheap fan heaters that give pricier models a run for their money - but you'll need to pick carefully as some lower cost models are noisy, heat slowly and guzzle electricity.

You can find out which are the top-scoring models we recommend by heading straight to our Best Buy portable fan heaters page.

Fan heaters you won't want to hide

If your idea of a portable fan heater is a noisy grey plastic box, think again - our group test uncovered several that work quietly, and a few that could even be described as ‘stylish’.

Of course there’s still a place for the low-cost, traditional fan heater but in recent years designers have put their thinking caps on and come up with some sleeker, feature-rich alternatives. The result is a crop of hi-tech heaters with smart glossy exteriors and digital displays. Some even come with their own remote control, so you adjust the settings without leaving the comfort of your armchair.

Four heaters proved impressive enough to be Best Buy heaters and these are perfect for heating your room quickly and efficiently. They’re also portable enough to be moved around the house or taken away to warm those chilly student digs or create a cosy atmosphere in your holiday cottage.

Dyson Hot and Cool fan heater

The Dyson Hot and Cool is one of the most striking heaters around

Dyson Hot and Cool review

Arguably the most stylish of the heaters on test - and certainly the most striking - is the Dyson Hot and Cool fan heater. 

The Dyson Hot and Cool has been designed to boost the amount of air projected around a room without the need for blades, so it looks nothing like a conventional heater. And unlike most fan heaters, it's available in a choice of colours, including pink, blue, and nickel.

As you'd expect from a fan heater of this price, it comes with plenty of features, including a remote control that can be stored on the heater and is held in place using a magnet, which should mean there's less chance of losing it.

It can be used for heating or cooling, and the head can be angled to suit your needs. The oscillation mode can be switched on to help distribute heat - or cool air - around your room, or turned off if you prefer. The thermostat can be set between 1-37 degrees, and there are 10 air speeds to choose from.

But is the Dyson style over substance? Read our full Dyson Hot and Cool review to find out.

Quiet fan heaters

Which? researcher Matthew Knight says ‘Small fan heaters can pack a real punch, and some we’ve tested can heat a room in less than 10 minutes. The down side is that they can also be noisy, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to watch TV while heating your room. The good news is that several of the latest heaters on test scored well in our subjective noise tests, with one of our Best Buy heaters scoring a maximum five stars.’

If you’re after a heater that works quietly, use our portable fan heaters comparison tool to find one that scores four or more stars for noise.

We’ve tested analogue and digital heaters from brands including Argos, Bionaire, Blyss, Challenge, Dimplex, DeLonghi, Dyson and Glen; the results of these and more can be found in our portable heater reviews.

More on this...