The Best Oil Heaters (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Get toasty with these efficient and inexpensive oil heaters
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON June 16, 2021
Oil heaters can be a great way to economically heat a room. A well-built oil heater can be up to 99 percent energy efficient because nearly all of the electricity consumed is converted to heat. These radiating heaters use electrical current to heat and circulate thermal oil, which heats up warming fins that radiate warmth into the room. As the air around the radiator is heated, the hot air rises to create a circulation that spreads the heat to the room. This process can be slow, but because there are no fans or heating coils, an oil heater uses less energy than an electric heater and is completely quiet.
Not only are they quiet and more energy-efficient, but oil heaters don’t dry out the air in your home the way other space heaters and forced-air heaters do. All of these factors make the oil heater a superior choice in space heaters. Here are some of the best oil heaters on the market.
This oil heater features comfort temp technology that reduces energy costs while automatically maintaining a comfortable temperature in whatever room you put it in. Heat settings range from 700 to 1,500 watts.
- Sleek and inconspicuous design automatically maintains optimal temperature and power settings
- Comes pre-assembled for use straight out of the box
- Can collect dust and be annoying to clean
- Takes up space when not in use
At a portion of the cost of other heaters on the market, you can get 1,500 watts of power that could heat a medium to large room. It’s equipped with several safety features to prevent accidental fires.
- Compact and unobtrusively designed to blend into the decor
- So quiet, you don’t even know it’s there
- Construction of the faceplate and caster wheels doesn’t seem to be as rugged as some other models
This unit’s three heating modes and five temperature settings maximize efficiency and control while the LCD screen, programmable thermostat, and remote control offer ease of use.
- Design fits in with a lot of home decors
- Features several safety precautions and a timer with automatic shut-off
- Heater and timer only work on preset temperature and time settings
- Not as customizable as some other models
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Benefits of Oil Heaters
- Energy efficiency. Oil heaters are among the most energy-saving space heaters since they don’t have fans that are required to push warm air out, but work simply on the principle of radiant heat.
- Heat retention. Because it takes time for the oil to cool once you turn off the unit, an oil heater continues to heat the room for a while after being shut down.
- Good air quality. Again, because a fan isn’t used to push heated air out into the room, oil heaters don’t dry out the ambient air in a room, and they make virtually no noise when in operation.
- Portable. Most oil-filled heaters are on caster wheels and are light enough to be moved easily from room to room to provide heat wherever you need it.
- Safety. With many portable heaters, the surface gets hot enough to burn anyone who may touch it, but not so with oil-filled heaters. They do get warm to the touch, but not hot enough to cause a burn.
Types of Oil Heaters
This is the typical portable oil heater that people use in most homes. It consists of oil-filled columns or coils through which heated oil flows by convection. This creates heat on the coils that radiates out into the room in order to provide ambient, moist heat for spots in your home that may not be heated by your built-in heating unit.
This is a central unit that provides heat throughout your entire home. The main unit is usually in a basement or other storage area in the home. Here, oil mixes with air and is burned. The flames heat a metal heat exchanger that is then mixed with air, forcing heat through your home’s internal ductwork to deliver it all over your house.
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The Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. was formed in 1906 by engineer Mark Honeywell. Honeywell has been a trailblazer in the home plumbing and heating industry ever since, and is known for producing high-quality products like the Honeywell 7 Day Programmable Thermostat and Honeywell portable air conditioners.
Founded in 1902, De’Longhiis a well-known small-appliance manufacturer based out of Treviso, Italy. Its espresso machines and coffee makers are some of the best in the industry, as is its large line of portable space heaters.
Pelonis has been in the portable heating and cooling business for more than 25 years. Based out of Exton, Pa., the company produces a reliable line of dehumidifiers, portable air conditioners, fans, and portable heaters.
NewAir is a compact-appliance manufacturer that was launched more than 15 years ago by Luke Peters, who sold portable air conditioners and evaporative coolers out of his garage. Today, the company has diversified greatly to offer all sorts of small home appliances, such as the NewAir Freestanding 27 Bottle Compressor Wine Fridge and the NewAir Countertop Clear Ice Maker.
Oil Heater Pricing
- Under $50: This price range will get you a limited selection of portable oil heaters. The very tiny and compact models that are suitable for heating smaller spaces, or the models without a lot of added features, are usually found in this price range.
- $50-$100: This price range offers a lot of options for oil heaters. Here, you’ll find accessory options like programmable timers, remote-control operation, and digital displays.
- Over $100: Here, you’ll have access to the most futuristic, sleekest designs of oil heaters that will be equipped with all the bells and whistles, like incremental digital temperature controls, energy-saving operation modes, and more.
When selecting a portable oil heater, make sure it’s equipped with safety shut-off features to minimize fire risk. Options should include overheat protection and tip-over protection. Some models also offer anti-freeze protection to ensure that the oil doesn’t freeze in the columns if it becomes too cold.
Multiple Heat Settings
A good oil heater will allow you the ability to customize the amount of heat that’s produced based on your needs or comfort level. Look for a heater that offers at least two or three heat settings ranging from low to high.
While all oil heaters come with adjustable thermostats, the ones that feature incremental changes are the most customizable, allowing you to increase or decrease the temperature of the heater by single degrees. Some oil heaters offer very limited temperature settings, making it more difficult to achieve the desired level of warmth in a room.
Be sure to look for an oil heater that’s backed by a solid warranty from a reputable company. There are a lot of heater manufacturers and sellers out there, and not all heaters are created to be super reliable and durable. You don’t want to invest money in a new heater only to have it break shortly after purchase and find out that you have no recourse for getting it replaced.
- Portability. If you plan to use your oil heater in different areas of your home or office, easy portability is key. Some oil heaters are bulkier and much heavier than other models. Does the unit have wheels for easy transportation?
- Heating Capacity. Consider the size of the space where you’ll be using the oil heater. Larger rooms require between 900 and 1,500 watts of heating capacity, whereas small offices, bathrooms, and bedrooms might be sufficiently heated by a 300- to 500-watt heater. If you’re going to heat a small space, then a larger, more expensive heater is unnecessary.
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Best Portable Oil Heater Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Always shut your oil heater off whenever you leave your home in order to minimize the risk of fire.
- If you have small children, be sure to put your oil heater in a space that minimizes the risk of accidental tip-over or changing of the temperature settings by curious hands.
- Be sure to keep the heater in a well-ventilated space away from drapes, furniture, or clutter to avoid accidental overheating or burning.
- Always read online reviews before buying to see what other consumers have experienced with the particular model you’re interested in.
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Do oil heaters use a lot of electricity?
A: Oil heaters are much more energy efficient than other types of portable heaters. A typical 1,500-watt oil heater running for six or seven hours per day will cost less than $1.50 per day in electricity charges, versus a typical ceramic forced-air heater that costs over $3 to run for the same amount of time.
What oil-filled heater is the best?
A: The best oil-filled heater is one with automatic shut-off safety features, multiple heat settings, and a solid manufacturer’s warranty.
What type of oil heater is the cheapest to buy?
A: Usually, smaller means less expensive. Heaters with less capacity that are better suited for small spaces are the cheapest to purchase.
How efficient are oil heaters?
A: Portable oil heaters are almost twice as efficient as their forced-air ceramic counterparts.
If you have a room in your home that just can’t seem to get warm enough with your home’s central heater, or you want to cut your overall heating costs, portable oil heaters are an effective and efficient option. Whether you choose the De'Longhi Oil-Filled Heater, the Aigostar Pangpang 1,500-Watt Oil-Filled Radiator, or another option, there’s almost certainly an oil heater that will suit your needs.