This Amazon Basics oil-filled radiator is bringing the heat on a budget

The Amazon Basics Portable Radiator is a bare-bones radiant oil heater that can warm a room without all the fancy features

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater
(Image credit: Amazon)
T3 Verdict

The Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater is about the cheapest radiant oil heater you can get. You don’t get features like timers or a thermostat, but you do get decent heating power and silent running.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Low cost

  • +

    Decent heating power

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No timer

  • -

    No automatic power off

  • -

    No true thermostat control

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator – key specs

Output power: 1500W
Controls: Two power levels, power output dial
Other controls: None

There are a world of choices when it comes to picking a space heater but they generally fall into one of three categories: fan heaters, ceramic heaters and oil-filled radiators. Each has their own pros and cons but if you’re looking to warm a large area affordably, an oil-filled heater should be on your list. While the best space heaters will all cope with larger spaces, oil-filled radiators, like the ones found in some homes, powered by gas heating, provide an efficient and gentler heat. 

As part of the Amazon Basics range, the Portable Radiator Heater is a no frills product. It is designed to be functional and affordable. With this in mind, I put the device to the test to see if it could stand up to some of the more established branded models. 

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator heater review: price and availability 

The manual version of the Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater Review 1500W that I reviewed is available now for $59.44. This model is only available in the US, however, the slightly more advanced version with a digital display and remote is available both in the US and UK for $65.12/£50.67. 

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator heater review: design and build

Everything about the Amazon Basics Portable Radiator is simple: it is a metal, oil-filled heater with seven grilles or fins, as Amazon calls them, that radiate the heat. These fins are wavy to distribute the heat faster and more efficiently. On the top are the two controls: a three-position switch for the power level (off, 1 element and 2 elements) and a power output dial. There is a single LED on one side that shows when it is plugged in, but that’s your lot: no temperature indicator, no timer, no eco mode and no other controls. 

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator heater review: performance

This heater may be bare-bones when it comes to controls, but it has it where it counts, with 1500 Watts of output power. Turn on both elements and set the dial to maximum, and it heats up pretty quickly, with the top of the radiators reaching a rather toasty maximum of 185ºF (just under 85 degrees Celsius) within 10 minutes. That means that it can heat a room quite quickly when needed. 

But, while it did a decent job of heating the room, it lacks the finesse to keep it at a constant temperature. You can only control the temperature indirectly by turning the output power dial, but this is not a thermostat in the traditional sense. It does allow you set it to a low power though for longer periods of time. 

There is also no timer, so you can’t set the heater to automatically turn off at a certain time. It is very easy to leave a mostly silent heater like this on when you leave the room or fall asleep, which could result in big electric bills. However, if you want the added digital timer and thermostat, the upgraded model is only $6 more. 

Although this is a radiant heater without a fan, it isn’t completely quiet: when the heater is warming up, it makes a series of popping noises, presumably as the oil is heated inside the radiator. Run it at full power and this sounds like light rain on the window until the heater is warmed up when it becomes silent again.  

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator heater review: verdict

The Amazon Basics Portable Radiator is a simple, straightforward radiant oil heater that does the job. There are no frills here, though, which means there is no timer, thermostat or other way to control the output over time. However, if all you need is the basics, for a low cost, then this ticks the boxes.

Amazon Basics Portable Radiator Heater

(Image credit: Amazon)

Richard Baguley has been writing about technology since the 1990s, when he left a promising career in high finance to work on Amiga Format magazine for Future. It has been downhill for him ever since, writing for publications such as PC World, Wired and Reviewed.com. He has tested gadgets as diverse as 3D printers to washing machines. For T3, he covers laptops, smartphones, and many other topics. He lives near Boston in the USA with his wife, one dog, and an indeterminate number of cats.