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Five things to consider when buying a portable heater

Portable heaters are great for keeping the chill off a room in the warmer seasons when it's not quite cold enough to put on your heating, or are ideal to use in a pinch if your heating starts playing up in the depths of winter. But considering what type of heater to purchase can quickly become overwhelming. This handy guide will help eliminate the jargon and help you decide what heater is best for you and your family. 

1. Where are you going to use it?

Where you are planning on using your portable heater will determine which type to purchase. For example, if you intend to use it in a garage or workshop, you will require a robust metal casing and dust filters like those incorporated in the Twin Turbo; for caravans, a compact heater like the Eco Chico is ideal. If you’re after a heater for general use in living areas, you have a wide choice of all around heaters: fan and ceramic, convectors, radiators and slimline heaters.


room set with small portable heater

portable heater on the floor


2. What type of heat do you want?

There are two main types of heat produced from portable heaters: radiant and convected. Radiant heaters create rays of energy that convert to heat once it hits and is absorbed by the body or object, similar to the warmth you feel from the sun, whereas convector heaters heat up the air around you and push it out into the room. The optimum heat type for human comfort is actually a blend of 80% convected and 20% radiant heat, so look for a heater that features a mixture of both technologies like our range of oil free eco portable radiators.


types of heat

3. What types of heaters are there?

room set with little portable heater

Electric radiators

These stylish heaters use a balance of radiant and convected heat to provide optimum comfort. They also come in oil-free eco versions for better performance with a lower carbon footprint.

Small fan heater

Fan and ceramic heaters

These are perfect for instant top-up heating with super-fast heat up and a range of styles. Ceramic heaters give off a mixture of radiant and convected heat for enhanced comfort and are easily portable.

ML2CE roomset

Convector heaters

Convectors are ultra-lightweight and ideal for heating larger rooms. They feature near silent operation, super-fast heat up and a range of control options.

small heater in room

Slimline heaters

Sleek and discreet, these heaters are ideal for keeping the chill off small to medium sized rooms and are lightweight and easily portable.


Multi-purpose heaters

These versatile heaters provide low level localised heating and frost protection for use in lofts, greenhouses, workshops and sheds.

4. How much do they cost to run?

Generally, the higher the power (kW) the more energy the heater will use, but often a higher powered heater will warm the room up faster, meaning you will have it on for a shorter time period. A good way of getting an indication of the running cost of a heater would be to do the following calculation: Energy input (kW) x pence per kWh*= running cost. But don't fret, many Dimplex portable heaters come with the latest thermostatic controls which can help reduce running costs by as much as 30%.


money saving


Depending on how you use them, portable heaters can actually work out to be more economical than using your central heating to take the chill off a room, as you are only heating the space you need. You can also use them in conjunction with central heating by setting the thermostat on low and then using a portable heater to supplement this, keeping the room you’re in cosy and warm while maintaining other rooms at a comfortable temperature.

*You can get the cost of your electricity per pence from your electricity bill.

5. What controls would you like?

With such a variety of heater styles comes a wide choice of control options. Some models come with simple on/off controls, wheras others feature Bluetooth enabling you to control your heater from your smartphone or tablet using our Dimplex Remo app. Another option many people find useful is the 24-hour timer control, which allows you to set when your heater comes on and off over a 24 hour period.

Many of our electric heaters also feature 'thermostatic controls' which means the heater will stop operating when the desired temperature is reached and will cycle on and off to maintain the set temperature. This ensures you are not wasting energy and the heater will run more efficiently.