A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Between Oil-Filled and Electric Heaters

Oil Filled vs Electric Heater


When winter temperatures plummet and your home needs an extra heat source, space heaters come to the rescue. Selecting the right heater to meet your room temperature requirements while saving on energy costs can be challenging. This guide aims to provide insights into the pros and cons of oil-filled and electric heaters, helping you make an informed decision of “oil filled vs electric heaters”, for a warm and cozy space during the bitter cold.

Oil Heaters:


Oil heaters, also known as oil radiators, utilize diathermic oil as a reservoir, not as a fuel. The heating element at the radiator’s base converts electricity into heat, while the oil-filled radiator draws in cool air and circulates it through thin fins, employing thermal radiation and convection.

Benefits of Oil-Filled Electric Heaters:

1. Energy Efficiency:
Oil heaters are energy-efficient, saving power consumption by retaining and continuing to emit warmth even when switched off.

2. Ideal for Small Spaces:
Well-suited for small to medium-sized enclosed spaces, oil heaters provide prolonged heating compared to quickly heating and cooling electric heaters.

3. Silent Operation:
Oil heaters operate silently as they lack fans, making them preferable, especially when used in bedrooms or during sleep.

4. Portability:
Most modern oil-filled heaters come with wheels, making them easily transportable and suitable for any room.

5. Maintains Air Humidity:
Unlike electric fan heaters that dry out the air, oil radiators keep the environment clean and moist, promoting better health and prolonged warmth.

6. Safety:
Oil radiators pose less risk, especially in homes with children, as their columns heat up less, reducing the likelihood of accidental burns.

Cons of Oil Heaters:

1. Expensive:
Oil heaters are relatively expensive due to the technology used for convection heating with dielectric oil.

2. Slow to Heat Up:
Oil-filled heaters take more time to heat up compared to other electric heaters, making them less suitable for instant warmth.

Electric Heaters:

Electric heaters convert electrical energy into thermal energy using an electrical resistance that transforms current into heat energy. They include various types such as infrared, convection, and fan heaters.

Advantages of Electric Heaters:

1. Cost-Effective:
Most electric heaters are less expensive than oil-filled heaters, making them a budget-friendly option.

2. Quick Heating:
Electric heaters excel at rapidly heating a room, providing instant warmth, which is advantageous during cold nights.

3. Ideal for Large Areas:
Suitable for large spaces like labs and warehouses, electric heaters are efficient in quickly heating expansive areas.

Cons of Electric Heaters:

1. Lack of Heat Retention:
Electric heaters only provide instant or spot heating and do not retain heat once turned off, resulting in quick cooling.

2. Increased Electricity Consumption:
Operating on higher wattage, electric heaters are expensive to run and must be used for extended periods, contributing to higher electricity bills.

3. No Thermostat Control:
Many electric heaters lack thermostats, limiting control over maintaining a constant room temperature.

4. Noise Pollution:
Electric fan heaters can be noisy due to the rotation of the fan, causing discomfort to some individuals.

5. Potential Health Concerns:
Radiant electric heaters may affect air quality, leading to breathing difficulties, allergies, and asthma.


1. What is the difference between oil vs electric heater?
Oil heaters are known for efficiency, longer-lasting heat, and silent operation, while electric heaters provide quick heat, are lightweight, and offer direct heat.

2. How efficient are oil-filled electric heaters?
Oil-filled space heaters are over 99% energy efficient, converting nearly all electrical power consumed directly into heat.

3. Can you leave an oil-filled heater on all the time?
Generally, kerosene stoves, including oil-filled heaters, can be left on overnight, given their design with no exposed heating elements and safety features.


Choosing between oil-filled and electric heaters involves considering factors such as energy consumption, room size, and heating requirements. There is no right or wrong choice, only wise decisions based on your specific needs. Keep in mind that informed choices lead to optimal comfort and efficiency during the winter months.

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About the author


I am Ben , a seasoned HVAC specialist with over 6 of experience in the HVAC industry. I holds HVAC Certification and has a proven track record in providing expert advice on HVAC systems.