Automatic shutdowns, unbearably loud rackets and an inability to produce heat are just some of the reasons that electric heater owners were left in the cold after their heaters broke. If you buy a heater from a top brand, you're less likely to find yourself with a broken or potentially even dangerous heater in the middle of winter.
Our unique customer satisfaction survey of 2,279 electric heater owners proves that not all electric heaters are created equal. Members of our Which? Connect panel and the general public told us what they thought of all the major electric heater brands and what happened when their heater broke.
Our survey data reveals which brands' heaters developed faults and whether their owners were forced to repair or replace them.
We've published customer scores for the biggest manufacturers, including Dyson, Dimplex, DeLonghi, and Argos so you know which electric heaters come recommended by owners.
The table below summarises this year's results based on electric heaters bought in the past seven years. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which reflects whether customers would recommend each brand and their level of satisfaction.
The 'proportion faulty' is the percentage that experienced a fault and the 'proportion repaired or replaced' is the percentage that were fixed or thrown away due to a fault.
|Brand||Customer score||Proportion faulty in the first seven years||Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
Our research proves that there's a notable difference between the best and worst electric heater brands in terms of customer score and fault rate.
|Proportion faulty in the first seven years||4%||18%|
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault||2%||13%|
By combining our fault data, customer scores and the results from our test lab, we've provided a detailed look at each brand.
Already know which electric heater brand you want? Use these links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model for each brand:
All heaters generate some noise. Fan heaters are the loudest by far, but convector heaters and radiator will produce a low hum as they generate heat. Heaters might also make cracking noises as the heating and cooling down of the heater causes the materials encasing the heating element to grow and contract.
Our survey shows that some heaters become louder over time. And fans that are already loud can produce abrasive, high-decibel noises that are simply too annoying to put up with. Unless the heater is a premium model, such as a Dyson hybrid fan heater, you'll probably find it cheaper to replace it.
When we test heaters, we push them with varying degrees of force to make sure they stay upright. This is important because a fallen heater can make a surface incredibly hot. In some cases, such as with rugs and curtains, this could be a fire hazard. If the heater also can't ventilate properly, it will become too hot itself and present a serious fire risk.
A heater becoming unstable will generally happen because of physical damage to the heater that affects its structural integrity. Legs may become weakened or even snap off. The base of the radiator may erode leaving it liable to tilt and topple over. When this happens, an impromptu fix like propping it up isn't a great idea because of the fire risk involved, so you're best getting rid of it.
Heaters are designed to stop working when something goes wrong, like if its mechanics fail, or if it detects that it's fallen over. These safety features are important to keep you safe.
But they can become themselves faulty and trigger too often. Or, perhaps, another fault with the heater is causing it to repeatedly switch itself off. In many cases, you won't really know. But regardless, the heater simply won't let itself operate. It's unlikely that a repair will be cost-effective, especially because the issue isn't always obvious, so a replacement is the best course of action.
Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite brands. Every year, we ask Which? members to tell us about the home appliances they own – from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home.
This year 6,997 Which? Connect panel members and 3,003 members of the public told us about more than 20,454 individual products. We calculate a brand's customer score, fault rate and proportion replaced or repaired based on the results of our annual survey.
Our surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best electric heater to buy.