Top five winter essentials for your homeThe best products to help you welcome in winter
08 November 2015
As temperatures drop and nights draw in, a recent study reveals that the majority of Britons try to hold out from turning on heating for as long as they can. But you don't have to grin and bear the cold as we've rounded up the top five winter essentials to keep you toasty.
According to TopCashback, 81% of Britons use 'winter warmers', such as extra layers and electric blankets, to keep your thermostat set to off for as long as possible.
To help you stay warm, with or without the heating, we've reviewed a range of products, from electric heaters to slow cookers, that will help you have a cosy winter and save money at the same time.
For access to all our reviews of thousands of products, from ovens to smart phones, try Which? for only £1.
1. Electric heater
If you just want to heat up the room you are using rather than the whole house, an electric heater can do a great job and therefore save you money on your energy bills. They will usually turn on and off as needed to maintain a constant room temperature and, because they are usually light and portable, can be easily moved from room to room.
We've reviewed electric heaters from brands such as Dyson, DeLonghi and Dimplex. Find out what we thought of their heating efficiency and how easy they are to use in our electric heater reviews.
You can also see what we thought of the Dyson Hot and Cool AM09 fan heater in our video review.
2. Electric blanket
A good electric blanket transforms your cold bed to toasty warm in mere minutes and they can be very cheap to run. The most popular type of blanket is fitted on top of your mattress and under your sheets, but you can also buy overblankets to use on top of the duvet instead.
When we tested underblankets we found a Best Buy that heats up in just six minutes compared to some of the less high performing blankets that take almost half an hour.
Read our electric blanket reviews to find out which one is right for you.
3. Energy monitor
An energy monitor gives you a real-time estimate of the amount of electricity you are using. By keeping track of your energy usage you can discover how different appliances affect your energy consumption, so they should help you cut your energy bills. They are easy to set up by yourself and don't have to be an expensive purchase - the energy monitors we've tested ranged in price from £30 to £150.
We found there was a big difference between monitors - our Best Buys are easy to use, understand and displayed clear, quality information. The monitors that did less well in our tests are confusing to understand and lack consistency in the data they display.
If you are interested in cutting your energy usage, visit our energy monitor reviews.
4. Slow cooker
You may not think of a slow cooker as an obvious money saver, but they are energy efficient to use - roasting in a slow cooker uses less energy than using an oven, and you can use cheaper cuts of meat as the slow cooking process gives it a great tender taste.
They are generally pretty cheap to buy as well - we found Best Buys for as little as £20. See our slow cooker reviews to find out which ones we recommend.
5. Smart thermostat
If you do decide to cave and turn on the heating, installing a smart thermostat could be the way to ensure you keep saving money. Smart thermostats allow you to set up different temperatures in different rooms, control your hot water and turn your heating on and off using your smart phone. This means that you can turn your heating off at home if your plans change while you're out, therefore not wasting energy.
Some clever smart thermostats can also learn your routine and preferred temperatures and so program themselves to your preferences.
Different products offer different features, but you can make an informed choice using our smart thermostat reviews, which includes British Gas's Hive Active Heating or the Google-owned Nest Learning Thermostat.