As temperatures drop, our space heaters work harder than they should to regulate the room temperature. That directly translates to higher costs of electricity or natural gas bills.
It’s relatively difficult to keep the bills under control as the weather gets chillier and frostier. But one way to make that happen is to invest in oil-filled space heaters.
Oil-filled heaters, as their name suggests, are space heaters that use oil to operate. Contrary to popular perception, the oil doesn’t power the unit but instead acts as a heat reservoir. That means it never gets depleted.
Also known as oil-filled radiators, these heaters are useful in offering the soothing warmth during frigid weather, without raking up your utility bills. But the cost-effectiveness of oil-filled heaters doesn’t only manifest during its use. These heaters are also some of the most affordable, and investing in one is a prudent economic decision.
Besides their affordability, oil-filled heaters are popular for their single-zone heating as well as ease of operation. Read on for a comprehensive guide on oil-filled heaters, while you also explore some of the popular product recommendations out there.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Picks: Best Oil Filled Heaters Comparison
- 2 What Do Oil-filled Heaters Look Like?
- 3 How Do Oil-filled Heaters Work?
- 4 Advantages of Oil-Filled Heaters
- 5 Features of the Best Oil-filled Heaters
- 6 Best Oil Filled Heater Reviews
- 7 Final Thoughts on Oil Filled Heaters
Quick Picks: Best Oil Filled Heaters Comparison
What Do Oil-filled Heaters Look Like?
An oil-filled heater looks like the traditional radiator, only that it’s a lot smaller. Oil-filled radiators are made of a series of interconnected fins or columns, usually with open spaces between them. The columns are attached at the base of the heater with their front area featuring a control panel. You may also come across oil-filled heaters that come in single-panel constructions.
The bodies and fins of these heaters have diathermic oil. And as we’ve already mentioned, the oil never gets used up; hence it cannot be replaced. As you use the heater, the oil simply circulates around it.
Another feature that distinguishes oil-filled heaters from traditional heaters is their high mobility. The radiators come with an ordinary wall plug that allows them to connect to any household electricity. That makes them ideal for use both at home and in the office.
To enhance mobility, most of these heaters are constructed with carrying handles. Larger models that are bulkier and heavier to lift often feature wheels for ease of transportation and re-positioning.
How Do Oil-filled Heaters Work?
Oil-filled radiators are constructed with basic heating technology that makes them excellent for single-zone heating.
The following is a short guide on how the heating process works;
1. Thermal Convection
Oil-based space heaters use thermal convection and radiant heating technology to warm the ambient air by pulling in cooler air into the oil-filled fins. To make that happen, the equipment pushes out warmer air. The warm air rises up the room, displacing cooler air down where the heater is so that it can be sucked in and warmed. The process continues until the entire room is heated up, after which the device cycles on and off.
2. Internal Resistor
Oil-filled radiators are made of internal resistors that convert electrical energy into heat energy. The heat then warms the diathermic oil that’s located inside the heater fans.
3. Diathermic Oil
As the oil is heated, it spreads uniformly throughout the outer fins of the heater. By covering the fins, the oil acts as a heat reservoir, retaining maximum heat generated by the resistor. That explains why the heater will feel warm for a couple after minutes of switching off the unit. The oil never gets used up as it has a high heating capacity.
Advantages of Oil-Filled Heaters
Oil-filled heaters come with a host of advantages compared to traditional heaters.
The following are some of the benefits of investing in oil-filled radiators.
1. Reduced noise levels
Most traditional space heaters feature exposed heating elements that use fans to blow hot air from the unit into the room. That comes with significant noise levels. However, oil-filled heaters are remarkably quiet, with the only noise coming from the clicking sounds made when the thermostat adjusts itself.
2. Doesn’t dry the air
As oil-filled space heaters don’t have a fan, they do not dry out the air in your room. That makes them the go-to space heaters if you care about maintaining air quality. With these heaters, you won’t need a whole-house humidifier.
3. Non-scorching surfaces
The metallic surfaces and components of an oil-filled radiator may get warm. But compared to traditional heaters, they won’t burn you if you brush against them. And unlike conventional space heaters, the heating elements in an oil-filled heater are sealed inside and not exposed. That feature makes these space heaters excellent for use even around flammable substances.
4. Energy efficiency
Oil-filled electric heaters are nearly 100% efficient. The unit converts all the energy supplied into heat energy, which reduces wastage and translates to lower utility bills. Remember, oil-filled heaters are designed to cycle on and off automatically once the space achieves a comfortable temperature. Without continuous heating, the room doesn’t overheat, and you save on energy costs.
And the fact that oil-filled radiators don’t provide power for a motor makes them all the more energy-efficient. What’s more – the oil acts as a reservoir that keeps radiating heat even after turning off the power supply. Not to mention, you’ll never need to replenish it.
5. Adjustable thermostats
With adjustable thermostats, you can customize your heating preferences. You can even program the timer in advance to allow it to shut-off at the designated time.
Most oil-filled heaters come with carrying handles for ease of carriage and transportation. Larger models have caster wheels that make for excellent manoeuvrability.
7. Ease of maintenance
As oil-filled radiators have no grilles or vents, you’ll never have to worry about dust and debris getting trapped inside the unit. That makes these devices easy to clean and maintain. Besides, the apparent lack of vents reduces the risks of poking your hands through exposed vents.
Oil-filled heaters don’t burn oil or gas, which means they do not give off fumes. That makes them completely safe for indoor use. Also, various models pack overheat protection and tilt-switch features, which automatically shut down the unit in the event of a malfunction.
Features of the Best Oil-filled Heaters
The space heater market is awash with thousands of products, with each manufacturer keen on touting their offerings as ‘the real deal.’ Sifting through the long lists of recommendations may not be easy unless you understand the factors to consider when shopping for these devices.
The following are some of the primary considerations before purchasing an oil-filled radiator:
1. Heating Capacity Vs. The Size of Your Room
Every oil-filled radiator comes with its unique heating capacity, depending on the size of the heater and the wattage output. Before buying the product, determine the size of the room where you’ll be using the heater. Generally, insist on larger heaters with higher wattages if your room is reasonably big, and vice versa for smaller rooms.
2. Heat Settings
Modern oil-filled radiators come with numerous heating settings. These controls enable you to adjust the temperature to your preferred levels and have better control of the heat output.
It’s prudent to consider heaters with many heating settings while keeping an eye out for models that come with eco-friendly heating modes.
3. Power and Wattage
Most high-end oil-filled heaters have a wattage range between 700 and 1500 watts. You can go for appliances with higher wattage if you’re looking for more power. For smaller rooms, you’re better off with 700-watt heaters.
And while you check the wattage, also consider the British Thermal Unit of the device. BTU is a unit for measuring the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by two degrees Fahrenheit. Higher BTU rating translates to better heating performance of an oil-filled radiator.
4. Noise Level
You’ll likely be using your oil-filled heater in the office, library, at night, or in other places that demand total silence. The good news is that the noise emitted by most oil-filled radiators is almost imperceptible.
But for some users, the feeble noise produced when the thermostat clicks or the electrical elements kick on may be unsettling. As such, you might want to consider models that come with efficient sound insulation.
5. Energy Efficiency
Oil-filled heaters are generally more energy-efficient than traditional exposed-element heaters. But if you care so much about your energy bills, you’ll want to invest in an appliance that guarantees higher energy-efficiency, as well as one that’s eco-friendly. That will help to keep your utility bills lower even during winter.
But remember, lower-wattage models consume less energy compared to higher-wattage models. So, if wattage and energy efficiency happen to be top on the list of your considerations, then you’ll need to do some balancing act.
6. Safety Features
This is an area that most shoppers often ignore. But as you’ll be using your oil-filled heater indoors, it pays to go for models that come with additional safety specifications. If you have kids and pets, always insist on heaters whose exteriors are cool-to-touch.
Besides, check for safety switches that will shut the system down in the event of accidents, such as tip-overs. Another safety spec to look out for is a timer that allows you to shut down the device after a given amount of time. Even better if the timer works by remote control.
7. Other Considerations
- Aesthetic appeal, especially in relation to your home décor
- Cost of purchase and transportation
- Shipping and return policy
- Warranty terms
Best Oil Filled Heater Reviews
1. Insignia HTRFBK6
Insignia HTRFBK6 is a 1500-watts oil-filled heater that can heat up a space of about 144-square feet within ten minutes or less. The heater comes with a remote-controlled operation that allows the user to adjust the controls from the other side of the room.
An in-built safety tip-over switch causes the appliance to shut off automatically if the machine is tilted or otherwise removed from its upright position. There’s an LED display on the heater’s front that contains all the controls, including the temperature and timer settings.
- At 1500 watts, Insignia HTRFBK6 is among the most powerful heaters
- Three heat settings
- Safety tip switch included
- Remote control for convenience
- Relatively costly
2. DeLonghi Oil-Filled Heaters
One of the best selling features of this oil-filled heater is its ability to heat up to 450 square feet. It works at a temperature range of between 41 and 82 degrees F, delivering up to 1500 watts.
After programming your desired temperature, the heater’s RadiaS Technology ensures uniform distribution of warmth throughout the room, until it meets the present temperature.
An eco-friendly mode, the ECO mode, enables you to conserve maximum energy. The ComforTemp specification sets the ideal temperature, depending on where you place the heater while the Economiser button regulates the output of heating based on the power supply.
- Includes the eco-friendly ECO mode
- RadiaS Technology distributes heat evenly throughout the room
- Wheels are included
- Comes with a timer and programmable thermostat
- Relatively costly
3. Pelonis Electric Heater
Pelonis Electric Heater is famous for its remarkable portability. The 1500-watt machine delivers efficient and eco-friendly heating at a reasonably affordable cost. The appliance includes three heating options, namely 900W, 1500W, and eco mode.
You also get up to five temperature settings to experiment with, ranging from 65 to 85 degrees F, in increments of 5. That gives you more flexibility when setting your ideal temperature. For convenience, the controls, as well as an LED screen, timer settings, and programmable thermostat, are located on the front side of the heater. You can set the timer from 2 to 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours.
- Many custom settings
- Larger room coverage
- Three heating options
- Fairly affordable
- Caster wheels included for portability
- Thermostat somewhat inaccurate
- Not whisper-quiet
4. NewAir Electric Oil-Filled Space Heater
The NewAir Electric Oil-Filled Space Heater is mostly recommended for bedrooms, thanks to its super silent functions. The 1500-watt machine can heat up an area of 150 square feet, and its 7-fin design enables it to warm your bedroom in a matter of minutes.
Controls are easy to operate, as all it takes is turning the appliance on and choosing your preferred temperature setting, which ranges from 65 to 85 degrees F. Besides the temperature settings, you can also adjust the power output to Hi for high, Lo for low, and Eco for the eco-friendly mode. The appliance comes with carrying handles that make it easier to carry the heater from room to room.
- Tip-over safety switch
- Automatic shut-off function when temperatures exceed the preset level
- Super-silent operations
- Energy-saving timer
- Hi mode is too powerful
- Low-quality remote
5. Costway Oil-Filled Radiator Heater
Costway Oil-Filled Radiator Heater is another special recommendation for smaller spaces. The oil-filled heater comes with a maximum power output of 700 watts, making it remarkably energy-efficient. The heater is also famous for its portability, thanks to the included carrying handles.
With just 700 watts as the maximum power, Costway Oil-Filled Radiator Heater is one of the whisper-quiet models out there. You can also adjust the temperature to your ideal setting, ranging from minimum to maximum. And compared to many oil-filled radiators, this Costway heater is reasonably affordable.
- Overheating protection feature
- Compact and portable
- Super quiet operation
- The thermostat is easy to adjust
- Comparatively cheaper
- Only ideal for smaller rooms
Final Thoughts on Oil Filled Heaters
While there are numerous high-end oil-filled heater models out there, it’s imprudent to go shopping without outlining what you’re looking for. Remember that what works for your neighbor next door may not necessarily work for you.
And while scouting for the best product, dig up some background information about a company before ordering from them. If their past clients are happy, then you know their products likely deliver on their claims.