Investing in one of the best heaters for your home is always a worthwhile investment because, as easy as it is to forget, Australia can actually get cold during winter.
But while curling up in front of a heater with a good book or your favourite TV series can be bliss, finding the right heater can be difficult, with so many options to choose from.
Portable heaters can warm a room on the coldest nights, then roll out of the way and be stored when not in use. They use electricity to heat the room, so you don’t need to worry about fumes or open flames. Instead, you get cheap, safe, and controllable warmth that you can use when you need it.
To top it off, most Aussies are finding that their energy bills are rising, so rather than watching your power bill skyrocket with the use of things like ducted heating; choosing the right portable heater to keep you warm during the cooler months could be a wise investment for your hip pocket too.
How to buy the best heater
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Not all heaters are as effective as you’d think. Some might be powerful but loud, others consume way too much energy or barely heat your freezing tootsies. This means that it’s important to shop around and find yourself a heater that does what you need it to do.
There are several things to consider when looking for a heater. Do you need a heater that warms you instantly for small periods of time? Then a fan heater might be your best bet. Looking for something to warm you up slowly for a longer period of time? Then an oil heater could be your match.
There are vast differences between the way heaters function too. Some use spinning blades, others let the heat radiate and some use airflow to pump hot air around. Some are controlled by a button, but these days, you can also find ‘smart heaters’ that can be controlled with your smartphone using your home Wi-Fi. Can you imagine turning your heater on 10 minutes before you get home, so you step into euphoric warmth when you open the front door?
To help you find the best heater for your personal needs, we’ve rounded up some of the best heaters currently on the market, so you can say goodbye to the cold winter blues and hello to a toasty season in hibernation.
The best heaters in 2023
Dyson's fans offer air circulation that borders on silent thanks to their lack of blades. They oscillate very elegantly, too, in this case up to an extremely useful 350˚ of wraparound warmth. This particular model sits at the top of Dyson's range, boasting three standout features – it’s a fan heater, it’s a cooling fan and it has arguably the most comprehensive air purification system that money can buy.
Let’s take a look at the heating aspect first because that's the whole point of this guide, after all. Via the reliable Dyson Link app you can set a preferred temperature, even when you're out of the house, and it will maintain that heat with minimum fuss. There's also a neat little magnetic remote (it attaches to the fan to help prevent you mislaying it) that provides most of the same functionality, albeit at closer range.
It should be noted that the heat output doesn’t feel as hot as a ceramic fan but in return, it feels much more natural. And besides, its oscillation feature and 10-speed fan will distribute the warm air over a much wider arc. The thermostat-controlled temperature range goes up in one degree increments from around 21˚C to a very cosy 37˚C. The beauty of this system is that all the same functions also apply to the cooling feature, so come summer time, simply tap the blue button and it will deliver a nice cool breeze instead.
Of course, this fan doesn’t just keep you warm or cool you down, it purifies the air too. In fact it seems to clear the air of pretty much everything, including formaldehyde – a nasty gas that’s emitted by most wooden flooring, cigarettes and a variety of household products. The Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde (opens in new tab) uses a HEPA air filtration system and a bank of sensors to measure air quality, adjusting its air intake speed response accordingly. The filter will need changing about once a year or so, but so you don't need to mark a date in your calendar, the app and the unit’s LCD screen will tell you when it's time.
Granted, over AU$1,000 is a lot of cash for a blow heater but then this model is so much more than just a heater. It’s a do-it-all, year-round air treatment solution that just happens to look amazingly stylish, too. If you have the funds to spare, you might not find a more technologically adept fan heater anywhere else on the market.
Oil (or column) heaters are renowned for being the most cost-effective portable heaters around, producing radiant heat to keep you warm. DeLonghi’s Dragon 4 Oil Column Heater produces fast heat and is a great budget-friendly option to heat up your abode.
Its Eco Plus Function allows you to heat your room relatively quickly (as compared to some other oil heaters) without the annoying sounds that some competitors make; all this while also optimising energy consumption.
DeLonghi’s Dragon 4 Oil Column Heater has a manual control panel that allows you to adjust heat settings to your fancy, plus it also comes with a 24-hour timer and a thermal cut-off function to prevent anything happening should the unit overheat.
It can be rather heavy to lift and move around, so DeLonghi has given it wheels, making it easily portable in case you want to move the heater to other rooms in your home.
Ideal for rooms up to 70 square metres, this heater could be a great option for your living room or home office, offering long-lasting warmth that is virtually silent.
Compact in size, yet powerful in functionality, Breville’s The AirRounder Connect boasts a heap of smart features controlled via Wi-Fi and the Breville Home Connect app.
The AirRounder Connect has both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, so you can turn it on or off with just a simple voice command. Like its Dyson rival, it can heat and cool you as needed, plus it boasts a three-stage air purification system to remove up to 99.97% of particulate matter and allergens. So you can use this year-round and it's ideal for eliminating smoke, odours and pet dander.
The embedded thermostat control uses pretty clever technology to report room temperature by controlling the heating, so it automatically stops when the set temperature is reached. Paired with the smart night mode that dims the devices lights as soon as its bedtime, you have yourself one pretty intuitive little heater.
Suited to rooms up to 25 square metres, this multipurpose appliance could be a great option for if you want a smart heating and cooling device that doesn’t cost as much as a Dyson, but boasts many of the same features.
Read our in-depth Breville AirRounder Plus Connect review.
The heat generated by this compact little heater belies its size – it can pack a punch when it comes to keeping you warm. Ultra-portable, this ceramic heater is perfect for spot heating and ideal for fast heating in smaller rooms, like bedrooms, home offices or smaller living rooms.
With four heating modes, the ceramic heater distributes heat evenly throughout the room using an oscillating feature, so you can literally set it and forget it and let the timer switch it off for you. It comes with a remote control and has enhanced safety with overheat protection and a tip-over switch.
Lightweight, affordable and simple to use, the Omega Altise Portable Ceramic Heater will do the trick without any unnecessary bells and whistles that other, more expensive heaters might have.
With a sleek black finish, it will blend seamlessly with most modern home decor and is a great choice for Aussies looking for true heating portability around the home.
The Dimplex Oil Free Column Heater looks a lot like any other column heater on the market, but with its oil-free design, you’ll be able to heat a room eight times faster than a regular oil heater as you won’t need to wait for any oil to heat.
While seemingly large, it is actually quite light for its size, making it a great candidate for portable heating around the home. Set on convenient castors you can roll your way to winter warmth and enjoy the quiet bliss that the heater has to offer.
The modern black aesthetics will compliment most modern homes or discreetly blend into your home furnishings and, even though the heater only comes with two heat settings, you’ll be surprised at just how well this unit works.
The seven-year manufacturer’s warranty will tell you that this heater is built to last. And with quite a reasonable price tag to its name, the Dimplex Oil Free Column Heater could be your answer to chilly winters without breaking the bank.
We couldn’t go past rating the best heaters on the Aussie market without looking at an outdoor heater. Summer may be the season for the all-Australian barbecue, but you’d be surprised to find just how many of us love to entertain outdoors, even through the cooler months.
The Gasmate Electric Heater will make your outdoor gatherings a lot warmer with its 2000W of radiant warmth. Ideal for balconies, patios and alfresco areas, this stylishly sleek heater runs on electricity, so you won’t have to worry about refilling gas bottles every few months.
The Gasmate heater is height adjustable from 1.6-1.8m and features heat settings that let you customise the warmth to your needs. The generous 4m power cord means you won’t have to run extension leads to power it and the black powder coated steel design will be durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions. For added security, there is a tip-over safety switch and a weight base to combat those pesky winter breezes.
All in all, if you love to entertain all year round or can’t resist a good sausage sizzle, even in winter, then the Gasmate Electric Patio Heater could be just what you’ve been looking for.
The Russell Hobbs 1.5kW Retro PTC Heater is perfect if you're looking to heat a fairly localised area. It can deliver warmth to around 15 square meters of space, which makes it ideal if you're working from home a lot more these days.
There's retro styling, which might not be to everyone's taste, but the unit is pretty dinky anyway so it's hardly an issue. You get the benefit of two heat settings, 750W or 1500W, or a fan-only option, plus a variable thermostat that helps to maintain a steady temperature.
Crucially for such a small portable heater there's overheat and tip over protection, with the unit switching off automatically if it gets knocked over. The cool touch design also means you won't toast your fingers if you need to move the heater at any point. As a small option that'll take the edge off a cold snap this makes a great option.
Paul is an adaptive heater, which means that like the Dysons, it adjusts its output to maintain whatever temperature you choose, in much the same way the heating and cooling system in your car does. It’s accurate to plus or minus one degree and has eight heat settings that you can control remotely or from the integrated control panel.
One of the main benefits of the Paul heater is that it’s very, very quiet even at the higher airflow settings, wafting the air around rather than blowing it in your face. It works as a fan in the summer too, circulating air around even large rooms.
Although it’s more of a premium model, it’s cheap compared to a Dyson, and well engineered. It's also smaller than it looks, pumping out up to 2,000W of heat from a relatively restrained, 18cm footprint. You can get no-name knock-offs that are much cheaper, but they’re also less efficient and a lot more noisy.
How do I use a heater safely?
All forms of room heaters need to be used with caution. Any of them can cause a fire, a serious burn, or other injuries. To use them safely, always do the following.
Plug them into the wall socket. Never plug them into an extension cable or power strip, as they can easily overload these devices and start an electrical fire.
Don’t use more than one. It may be tempting to plug a couple in to warm a cold room, but you could overload the electrical wiring and cause a fire. Only use one device on each fused circuit and make sure your wiring is capable of handling it. Consult an electrician if you aren’t sure, as older wiring may not be capable of handling the amount of power they draw.
Give them space. All heaters are potential fire risks, so stay safe by making sure there is at least a three feet gap between the heater and furniture or other fittings. They have safety features built-in, but they can still start fires. So, only run them when you are there and awake to watch and turn them off if a problem develops. Don’t run heaters overnight: they need to be watched while in use.
Keep the kids away. Little fingers can fit between the grills that keep the hot parts safely tucked away, but children have smaller fingers that can fit into the gaps in these grills.