Choosing the proper way to heat your home can feel like an impossible task. Deciding on the best home heating system for you – like a furnace, boiler, heat pump, electric, wood-burning, and oil-filled system – depends on many things. It’s all about how well a heater can heat a space, but also how efficiently it does so. In terms of performance and efficiency, an oil-filled heater is a fantastic choice.
An oil-filled heater works by heating oil contained within the unit, which then works to heat up the surrounding air. We’ll get into detail on how an oil-filled heater operates, how to care and maintain an oil-filled heater, and how to go about purchasing the best oil-filled heater for your home. This in-depth guide provides information on the 7 best oil-filled heaters on the market right now.
How Oil Filled Heaters Work
Oil-filled heaters contain oil, but they use an electrical element rather than burning the oil as fuel. The electricity heats the thermal oil that is contained within the heater. The electrical component is fully submerged in the oil, and as soon as it starts heating, it transfers that heat to the surrounding oil. So how does this heating process make it possible to heat a living space?
Well, it’s actually relatively simple, and it has to do with a heat energy transfer called convection. According to BBC, “convection occurs when particles with a lot of heat energy in a liquid or gas move and take the place of particles with less heat energy.” Once the heater’s oil rises in temperature, the heated molecules begin to flow in a convection cycle.
As we all know from entry-level science classes, heat rises. The heated oil begins to rise to the top of the radiator. As it does this, the colder oil is pushed downwards closer to the electrical heating element. Two-thirds of the heat created by the oil is given off, meaning that a large room or even an entire home is capable of being heated. Even when the system is turned off, the oil can remain warm for hours, creating a warm and cozy space.
Advantages of Having Oil Filled Radiators
With so many home heating solutions available, it’s reasonable to wonder what makes an oil-filled radiator better than the rest.
There are many advantages of oil-filled radiators, but the main one is the efficiency that comes along with this heating system. Choosing an oil-filled heater has the potential to save a great deal of energy, therefore saving you money.
This is because all of the electricity is used for creating heat – not energy is wasted whatsoever. So if you’re wondering are oil-filled electric heaters expensive to run, the answer is no.
But oil-filled heater efficiency is certainly not the only advantage of choosing an oil-filled heater. Here are a few more benefits to investing in an oil-filled radiator:
- There is no fan, so oil-filled heaters create virtually no noise
- They continue to generate warmth for hours, even when the system is off
- They come with a thermostat, allowing for exact temperature control
- Oil-filled heaters are standalone units, so they can be used anywhere in the home
- Oil-filled heaters do not dry the air in a home, so you won’t need a whole-house humidifier
Considerations Before Buying an Oil Filled Heater
Heating Capacity vs Size of the Room
Choosing a heater based on the size of the room that you plan on heating is the first step. Every oil-filled heater has a different heating capacity based on the heater size as well as the wattage output. A good rule of thumb to follow is that that the best oil-filled heaters for large rooms will be large in size, plus they will have a higher wattage. These heaters come in all shapes and sizes, so if you’re heating an ample space, choose a large heater.
These days, the best oil-filled heaters come with a variety of heating settings to choose from. You can easily control the heat output by setting the temperature to your exact preference. Some heaters go all out in terms of settings though, so consider the number of options during the buying process. Look into whether or not the heater offers an eco-friendly heating mode and whether the temperature reads in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
How much do oil filled electric heaters cost to run? Asking yourself this question before purchasing a heating unit is essential. If you choose an energy-efficient, eco-friendly heater, the running cost will remain low even during the cold winter months. The amount of money you spend on heating your home depends on how much electricity your oil-filled heater uses.
Hunker says that oil-filled heaters are “more economical than exposed-element heaters because the energy they generate goes into the oil rather than being radiated – and lost – throughout the room.” That being said, not all oil-filled heating models feature the same energy efficiency rating. Lower-wattage heaters (700-800W) consume less energy than higher wattage models (1500W). You’ll pay less on energy bills with a low-wattage heating system, but remember that these also produce less heat.
Power & Wattage
Most of the best oil-filled heaters on the market today use between 700 and 1500 watts of power. Generally speaking, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the heater. Some oil-filled heaters can radiate heat more efficiently than others, even with a lower wattage number. This is not always the case, so you’ll need to learn about energy efficiency by reading the best oil filled space heater reviews.
A 700-watt heater is perfectly capable of heating a small space, but for a large space look for something closer to 1500 watts. You’ll also want to consider BTU, which is the British Thermal Unit. BTU is a measurement of the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Calculating BTU can be difficult, but just remember that the higher the BTU rating, the better the heating performance.
One of the major perks of choosing an oil-filled heater is that they produce very little noise. This is because they do not require a fan to operate like many other heating systems. However, some noise might be produced from the clicking of the thermostat or the electrical element kicking on. The best oil-filled heater comes with sound insulation, making it virtually silent.
Style & Aesthetics
Unlike a central heating system, an oil-filled heater is a standalone unit that is physically placed within a space. For this reason, considering the style and design of the unit is a must. Choose something that looks good and fits well aesthetically within the area you’re heating.
Timer Settings Options
Having the ability to set a timer is one of the high-tech features of modern oil-filled heaters. If you’d like to set your heater to turn off after a certain amount of time, you can do so. This is not only a convenience feature but also one that enhances safety. Some timers can be set via remote control, while others have to be set on the heater itself.
Since an oil-filled heater will be present with you in the room, added safety features are critical. This is true in all cases, but even more so if you have little kids or curious pets running around the home. Look for a heater that features a cool-to-touch exterior, safety switches, and a timer. Some of the best oil-filled features have shut-off capabilities when the heater is tipped over or if it overheats.
Price & Warranty
Just because oil-filled heaters are highly efficient when it comes to energy consumption doesn’t mean every homeowner is willing to spend tons of money on the heating solution. Prices of oil-filled heaters vary depending on the size, manufacturer, and heating features. No matter the price you pay, look for a heater that comes with a warranty included.
7 Best Oil Filled Heaters Reviewed
1. Insignia HTRFBK6
Our Top Pick
|Max Area Heated||144 sq ft|
|Temperature Range||65°F, 70°F, 75°F, 80°F, 85°F|
The Insignia HTRFBK6 is our #1 choice for the best oil-filled heater, and not just because of the stylish design. This heater comes with safety features that make it the ideal choice for any homeowner. It can heat up a space as large as 144-square feet, keeping your home warm and cozy during winter months. 144 square feet isn’t an overly large space, but it is perfect for a home office or guest bedroom.
The Insignia features the maximum power output of oil-filled heating systems at 1500 watts. This helps it to heat a room rather quickly, typically within 10 minutes or less. The remote control operation is one of the most-loved features of this oil-filled heater. This allows you to turn the unit off and on or change the temperature setting from the other side of the room.
This heater has several features that make it one of the safest options on the market. It is equipped with a safety tip-over switch, meaning it will shut-off automatically if the machine ever leaves its upright position. The LED display on the front side of the heater contains all of the necessary controls. This is also where you can access info (like temperature and timer settings) at a glance.
The Insignia company creates heating and cooling solutions with its customers in mind.
Insignia says that “we believe electronics should be dependable, affordable and easy to use. That’s why Insignia products are designed and tested to meet high standards of quality and functionality.”
The HTRFBK6 certainly meets and even exceeds these high standards.
- 3 heat settings
- Powerful 1500W heater
- Remote control included
- Safety tip-over switch
- Costly model
2. Pelonis Electric Heater
Best Value For Money
|Max Area Heated||162 sq ft|
|Wattage||900W, 1500W, eco mode|
|Temperature Range||65°F, 70°F, 75°F, 80°F, 85°F|
The highly portable Pelonis Electric Heater is our pick for the best value oil-filled radiator heater. The low cost of this heater makes a lot of people Pelonis customers skeptical at first. But as soon as this 1500-watt machine is put to work, that skepticism disappears. The Pelonis company focuses on creating efficient and safe heating products, all at an affordable price.
Not only will you get effectiveness and efficiency and safety with your Pelonis heater, but also fantastic performance. There are 3 heating options – 900W, 1500W, or eco mode – and 5 temperatures setting to choose from. The temperature settings range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit in increments of 5. This is perfect for anyone looking for a customized temperature setting for optimal comfort.
There are a lot of features that come with this oil-filled radiator, but they’re all highly user-friendly. All of the controls and buttons are located on the front panel of the radiator, along with an LCD screen, programmable thermostat, and timer settings. The timer can be set anywhere from 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours, so you have plenty of options for how long you wish to heat your space.
At Pelonis, safety has been the #1 priority for over 25 years. This is why their heater is equipped with overheat protection and a tip-over safety switch. One piece of negative feedback is that this machine is not whisper-quiet while operating. But for the amazing price, there’s no room for complaining about the Pelonis heater’s performance, efficiency, and safety features.
- Tons of custom settings
- Castor wheels for portability
- Special safety features
- Large room coverage
- Hums at the highest setting
- Thermostat lacks accuracy
3. Costway Oil-Filled Radiator Heater
Best Small Oil-Filled Heater
|Max Area Heated||~100 sq ft|
If you’re looking for something to heat up a small space, the Costway Oil-Filled Radiator Heater is our top pick. This is the best small oil-filled heater, mainly because the maximum power output is 700 watts. This means that it is highly energy-efficient while heating small spaces. This machine heats a small room up quickly and provides continuous warmth.
This heater is highly portable with its carrying handle and lightweight design. It does not come with castor wheels, but there’s no need for these with the carrying handle. This is a top choice when it comes to safety since the machine automatically shuts off upon overheating. The same goes for if the heater tips over. The oil used within this heater is contained within a sealed tank, meaning there is no need to ever refill or replace it.
Many companies claim that their products are “whisper-quiet” when they actually aren’t. When Costway guarantees that its 700W heater features silent operation, though, you can 100% trust this claim. The main reason for this is because the maximum power is just 700W rather than 1500W. It won’t make noise while running, allowing you to enjoy the warm and cozy atmosphere fully.
It’s possible to adjust the temperature to meet your specific needs with the adjustable dial, which ranges from minimum to maximum. Some reviewers don’t seem to love the fact that you can’t set a specific temperature, but others don’t mind this. If you’re looking for something with tons of temperature settings and heating features, this might not be the one for you. But if you’re looking for something to heat a small space effectively at an affordable cost, the Costway 700W heater is a great solution.
- Easy-to-adjust thermostat
- Quiet heating
- Overheat protection feature
- No need to refill oil
- Compact and portable
- Only for small rooms
- Very basic heater
4. NewAir Electric Oil-Filled Space Heater
Best for Bedrooms
|Max Area Heated||150 sq ft|
|Temperature Range||65°F, 70°F, 75°F, 80°F, 85°F|
Anyone in need of a heating solution for a bedroom space should look no further than the NewAir space heater. This oil-filled heater is the best for bedrooms for several reasons, but mainly because it is completely silent while operating. You’ll be able to hang out in your room or sleep through the night while remaining warm and cozy. The fan-free air circulation is to thank for this heater’s quiet operation.
Another reason that this a top choice for the bedroom is that it’s capable of heating spaces up to 150 sq ft in size. This is about the size of the traditional master bedroom. The powerful 1500-watt design makes this possible – just be sure to use a power source that can handle this wattage. If you choose to move it from room to room, the carrying handle and rolling wheels make this an easy task.
The 7-fin design means that this heater can raise the temperature of a small room in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is hit the power button and choose your ideal temperature setting. Temperature settings range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and power output can be set to Hi, Lo, or Eco. The preset timer is another perk, giving users the option to time their heating sessions anywhere from 2 to 10 hours.
Like the other heating models mentioned so far, this one comes with a tip-over kill switch to ensure safety. It also has a shut-off function if the heater ever exceeds the recommended temperature. If you have any additional questions on safety, the NewAir product support team is there to help out.
- Smart safety features
- Energy-saving timer
- Totally silent operation
- Best for entire room heating
- Low quality remote
- Hi mode is too powerful
5. DeLonghi EW7707CB Comfort Temp
Best Oil-Filled Heater for Large Rooms
|Max Area Heated||150 sq ft|
|Wattage||700W, 800W, 1500W|
|Temperature Range||Low & High|
Finding a space heater to raise the temperature of a large space effectively can be challenging. For this to be possible, you’ll need to invest in the best oil-filled heater for large rooms. This title goes to the DeLonghi EW7707CB Comfort Full-Room Radiant Heater. Not only can this heater increase the temperature of a large space, but it can accomplish this while also lowering your energy bills.
DeLonghi is all about creating products to enhance home comfort. There are a lot of heating systems on the market that increase comfort, but not many that are capable of doing so in large spaces. The EW7707CB model is the exception. It operates on 1500 watts with options for a minimum, medium, and maximum heating setting. Temperature is controlled using a dial, which ranges from low to high.
The only downside to this heater, according to some reviewers, has to do with the temperature setting dial. With this system, it’s not possible to set your exact temperature preference. You simply set the temp anywhere from low to high. But once you get the hang of how this heating device operates, it’s actually very simple to set your desired temperature.
One of the most-loved features of the DeLonghi is its Comfort Temp technology. The heater works to cut your energy bills by automatically maintaining the optimal room temperature. If you prefer to set your own temperature and heating preferences, you can do so. But if you want to save the most money possible on your next utility bill, just press the “ComforTemp” button on the front side of the heater.
- Comfort Temp technology
- Rust-resistant metal construction
- Gently-rounded design
- User-friendly adjustments
- No exact temperature preferences
6. Tangkula Electric Oil Heater
Best Cheap Oil-Filled Electric Heater
|Max Area Heated||144 sq ft|
|Wattage||600W, 900W, 1500W|
|Temperature Range||Low, Medium, High|
One of the main reasons to invest in an oil-filled heater is to save money on energy bills. It’s possible to do so even with a very low upfront cost when you invest in the Tangkula Electric Oil Heater. This is the best cheap oil-filled electric heater to make our list. Even with the low price, the Tangkula ranks high in terms of heating performance and energy-saving ability.
The machine’s 7 oil-filled thermal slots and maximum 1500-wattage are what help this heater to be at the top of its class. The thermostat is adjustable from min to max, and the power usage is controlled with 3 heat settings (low, medium, high). There is no official square footage listed by the manufacturer, but reviewers say that this heater can heat any room up to 144 square feet.
Another perk of choosing the Tangkula is its silent operation. The quiet nature of this heater makes it perfect for every room, especially the bedroom. The heavy-duty caster wheels make it easy to move this heater from one location in the home to the next. Thanks to its adjustable power settings, this is one of the most energy-efficient space heaters on the market. For the best energy efficiency, choose the 600W operation mode. For the most powerful performance, though, you’ll want to take advantage of the 1500W mode.
Tangkula has a safety guarantee by designing the heater to automatically shut-off when it overheats. It also features to shut-off feature in the event of a tip-over. This is an amazing choice if you have little kids or pets since the thermal slots were designed to maintain low surface temperature. Thanks to this, you don’t ever have to worry about an accidental scalding.
The only downside is that this heater does not come with an included warranty. However, if your product arrives damaged in any way, you can contact the company, and they’ll send a replacement upon receiving the damaged product.
- 3 heat settings for energy efficiency
- Customizable temperature
- Easy to store
- Automatic shut-off safety features
- No warranty coverage
7. Honeywell HZ-789
|Max Area Heated||144 sq ft|
|Temperature Range||65°F, 70°F, 75°F, 80°F|
If you’re looking for an oil-filled heater from a company you can trust, consider the Honeywell HZ-789. Honeywell is the most trusted brand on this list, so it goes without saying that the HZ-789 heater is a top contender. This heater has the potential to heat the entire room in as little as 5 minutes. The EnergySmart technology makes this heating device stand out from the rest.
Here’s what you need to know about the EnergySmart features according to Honeywell: “Regulating power consumption, this feature alone is fully capable of saving you up to 25% on your energy expenses. Digital LED lights accurately display the room’s temperature and preferred setting. An Energy Usage Indicator also comes equipped and displays the amount of energy used at any time.”
The 1-12 hour preset timer is another feature that makes this heater highly efficient. On top of eco-friendliness, Honeywell is a firm believer in creating safe products fit for the entire family. The HZ-789 comes with all the safety features you would expect from this most trusted brand. This includes Top-Over Safety Protection, Overheat Protection, Thermal Insulated Wiring, and Reinforced Wire Connections.
Because Honeywell is a name that you can trust, you can rest easy knowing that the company’s customer service team will do whatever it takes to keep you happy. Some reviewers wish for this heater to offer a bit more control when it comes to temperature adjustment. Another complaint is that the caster wheels could be more durable. But if you experience any problems with these features, just get in touch with Honeywell.
- Coated with heavy-gauge steel
- Rust-free enamel finish
- Exceeds industry safety standards
- EnergySmart technology
- 1-12 hour timer settings
- Durability of wheels
- Lacking in temperature adjustment
Comparing Oil-Filled With Other Heaters
With so many unique heating solutions available, it’s normal to feel confused as to whether or not an oil-filled heater is right for you. This comparison guide might help with your decision-making process:
vs Ceramic Heaters
When shopping for a space heater for the home, the most challenging aspect is often deciding between a ceramic and oil-filled heater. The main difference between the two is that a ceramic heater utilizes a fan to circulate heat, while an oil-filled heater does not. The perk of choosing ceramic is that it produces nearly-instant heat that is ideal for small spaces. But if you’re looking for a noiseless system that provides longer-lasting heat, the oil-filled heater is a better choice.
vs Panel Heaters
A panel heater contains no oil; it heats solely through the use of electricity. There is an electric panel that includes a heating element, which heats up to the set temperature. A panel heater is highly-convenient with its fast heat-up time and slim design. However, it is not nearly as energy-efficient as an oil-filled heater. As long as you are willing to wait a bit longer for the room to heat up, opt for an oil-filled heater over an electric panel.
vs Baseboard Heaters
Baseboard heaters are rarely used nowadays because of their lack of energy efficiency.
The Spruce says that “baseboard heaters’ economical nature stops after you leave the cash register. Inexpensive to purchase and equally inexpensive to install (when you do it yourself), baseboard heaters are notorious energy-wasters.”
The only perk is that they are inexpensive to buy, but it’s always worth it to spend a bit more cash on a more energy-efficient solution – such as an oil-filled heater.
vs Convection Heaters
A convection heater contains a heating element that produces hot air. The hot air rises up and out from the radiator and spreads throughout the room. These systems are notorious for drying out the air, but the main perk is that these can heat a space quickly.
Oil-filled heaters take more time to heat, but they also keep a room warm for longer. A convection heater is an excellent choice if immediate heat is what you’re looking for, so places like garages are perfect. Just remember that these heaters reduce a room’s humidity, which is not ideal.
Where to Place Electric Oil Heaters
Oil-filled heating units can get very hot, so never place your heater in a place that could cause a fire. A central spot within the room is best, away from flowy drapes and curtains.
Centrally placing the heater will also allow the unit to heat the room efficiently by reaching as much of the space as possible. Heat escapes by opening and closing doors, so avoid place the heater near a door.
Heating a garage is much different from heating a bathroom, especially in terms of safety. Many oil-filled heaters are not meant to be used in damp areas with poor ventilation, so always consider this during the heater placement process.
If you do need a bathroom heating solution, find one that is specifically designed for this.
Instructions for Use
Once you have found the ideal placement for your electric oil heater, understanding how to properly use it is the next step. Yet again, safety is key, so follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions for use. Installation is usually as simple as plugging in the heater to a power source and turning the “On” button. Heaters with lots of settings can be more difficult to use at first, but the control panels are fairly self-explanatory.
Oil Filled Heater Safety Tips
Here’s a quick rundown of oil-filled heater safety guidelines:
- Never use a power cord that cannot handle the heater’s power output
- Only use the heater’s built-in thermostat – never use an external thermostat tool
- Place the heater in a secure place away from your home’s foot traffic
- Keep the heater away from combustible materials
- Teach your children that the heater is not something to be played with
- Avoid placing the heater in a damp or poorly-ventilated area
- Choose a heater that comes equipped with overheat protection (an automatic turn-off switch)
Common Oil Heater Issues
A huge perk of choosing an oil heater is that it requires very little maintenance compared to other heating solutions. This, however, does not mean that things can’t go wrong. The most common oil heater issues have to do with electrical problems, like faulty wiring or a bad power switch. Unless you are comfortable fixing home electrical issues, you might have to call a professional electrician for fixing the power source.
Newair says that “sometimes, people hear noises coming from these otherwise silent heaters. Popping and crackling noises are normal – this happens as the oil and metal warm-up.”
If you hear a gurgling sound, it is likely because the heater is positioned upside-down. To fix this, simply turn the heater off and place it right-side-up. Wait for the oil to settle back into its reservoir before turning the heater on again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are oil-filled heaters environmentally friendly & energy efficient?
Absolutely. In fact, this is the biggest advantage of choosing an oil-based heating solution over another type of heater. Oil-filled heaters have been proven to be over 99% efficient when it comes to heating a space.
How much time does an oil heater take to heat a room?
This depends on the size of the room, as well as the power of your heater. A source on Quora provides us with some insight on the time to heat a room with an oil heater:
“For a room having area 120–150 square feet, a 9 fin oil filled heater can typically take 15 minutes to sufficiently warm the room.”
Do I need to refill the oil in an oil-filled heater?
No. Remember that this oil is not actually being burned as fuel to create heat. It is simply being heated up to raise the temperature of a room. The oil goes through a continuous cycle of heating and cooling, so there is no need to refill or replace the liquid.
Is it safe to leave them on overnight or when not at home?
It is completely safe to leave an oil heater running overnight. Most modern oil-filled heaters come with an automatic shut-off mechanism if the unit overheats to an unsafe temperature. As far as leaving the house, it is also safe but not recommended.
Is it safe to sleep with an oil-filled heater on?
Yes, leaving this heater on overnight while you get some shut-eye is totally fine. If you intend to leave a heater on all night, just remember the safety tips mentioned above. Keep the heater away from combustible material, only plug into an appropriate power source, and use a heater with an automatic safety shut-shut off.
What is the expected cost of my energy bill?
Heating costs associated with an oil-filled heater depend on how often you use it as well as its power output. You can expect a 1500W heater to cost more to run than a 700W heater.
Hunker says that “if you pay the average nationwide electricity rate of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, you pay $0.18 for every hour the element is running at maximum power and about $0.10 per hour at the lowest setting.”
How long do oil-filled heaters last?
Know the Flo says that the life expectancy of an oil-filled heater
“is directly proportional to the internal temperature of the heating element…If the coil temperature remains between 750-1000 W throughout its operation, then the heater can last anywhere from 16-20 years.”
Where is the best place to buy these oil-filled radiator heaters?
Where is the best place to buy anything these days? Amazon! Amazon offers a variety of oil-filled heaters, and always at the best prices. Just be sure that your Amazon purchase comes with the original manufacturer’s warranty.
After all is said and done, our top pick for the best oil-filled space heater is still the Insignia HTRFBK6. This heating device is highly efficient without lacking in heating power in any way.
If you’re in need of heating a large room but hoping to do it in an eco-friendly way, the Insignia can help. The only downside is the lofty price tag, so if you’re looking for something more affordable, go with the Pelonis Electic Heater instead.
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