The Most Energy Efficient Portable Heaters in Australia

The Most Energy Efficient Portable Heaters in Australia

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As the months get colder, many Australian households look for solutions to take a bit of chill out of the air.

Portable heaters can be a great way to heat up a small space, and can also offer a great alternative to central heating, but they can also be big electricity users.

In this article we discuss some of the most efficient portable heaters on the market in Australia and also include a buyer’s guide so you know what to look out for when making your selection.

1. Delonghi 2400w Dragon Oil Heater (Best Overall)

An Australian household favourite, the Dragon range from De’Longhi provide long-lasting warmth. Offering very similar benefits to a convection panel heater, this electric oil column space heater is efficient and silent.

Traditionally, the key difference between an oil and the panel heater is that the oil heater would take longer to heat up and cool down, which may be inefficient in some circumstances.

However, in their Dragon range, Delonghi have utilised a large radiant heat surface, meaning these heaters get up to temperature very quickly.

Importantly, these heaters come with a new feature called “Eco-Plus”, which ensures the correct level of comfort by regulating power flow and temperature levels.

Optimising energy use reduces energy consumption and results in smaller electricity bills.

This heater comes with a 7 year manufacturer’s warranty.

What We Like:

  • Oil and radiant heat
  • Fast heat up
  • Eco-Plus feature
  • 7 year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Larger than a panel heater

2. Noirot 2000W Panel Heater (Best for Large Spaces)

Utilising natural convection heating, this slim-line panel heater is reliable and effective. Given there is no fan, it is also completely silent, as well as being safe for allergy sufferers.

Designed specifically for large living spaces, this heater circulates heat gently and efficiently throughout the room, making it one of the best large-room options, even for those with high ceilings.

A precision thermostat maintains temperatures within 0.1 degree celsius, preventing overheating and energy wastage. 

It has all the safety features and childproof settings you would expect from a high-end heater. It also comes with an impressive lifetime warranty.

What We Like:

  • Efficient for large spaces
  • Precision thermostat
  • Slim design
  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

3. Dyson AM09 HotCool Portable Heater (Best for Quick heat)

The Dyson AM09 is the innovative company’s latest offering and likely the most efficient fan heater on the market.

This is a great option for if you want to quickly and efficiently heat up the space you are using. It’s also great looking and has a very small footprint, making it perfect for smaller rooms – this is well and truly a space heater!

The most notable upgrade to previous models is the integration of something known as the Coandă effect.

This bends airflow around the edge of the loop and out at an angle, meaning that the AM09 is much more effective at heating up larger spaces than its predecessors. 

Users can utilise this technology by selecting “diffused mode” for wide airflow projection to heat a room quickly and evenly, or alternatively “personal mode” for directed long-range powerful airflow.

Another big plus is that this device also has cool modes, so you can use it as a portable cooling device in the summer months.

It also comes with a thermostat, a timer, and a 2 years manufacturer’s warranty.

What We Like:

  • Hot and cool
  • Safe – no visible heat or blades
  • Diffused and personal modes
  • 2 year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

4. Delonghi 2400W Convection Heater (Best Value)

This panel heater from Delonghi incorporates fan power to heat up large spaces faster. The manufacturer states it is suitable for spaces up to 60m squared.

It is a great-looking heater with a modern design and has the option of being wall mounted.

It also comes with safety features such as automatic shut-down if tipped, as well as a thermostat, 6 power levels, fan speed settings, and 24 hour timer.

What We Like:

  • Good for large spaces
  • Double fan system means fast to heat up

What We Don’t Like:

  • Fans can use more electricity

5. Delonghi 2000W Convection Heater (Best Budget Option)

De'Longhi, Portable Convection Heater, 2000W, HCM2030, White

A more traditional convection heater, this is a great value option from Delonghi, suitable for heating up small to medium sized spaces.

Free standing or wall mountable, the HCM2030 has an adjustable thermostat as well as a tip over switch safety system.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Heats up fast

What We Don’t Like:

  • No timer
  • Exterior gets quite hot

Energy Efficient Portable Heater Buyer’s Guide

Understanding The Different Types Of Portable Heaters

Before making a purchase, it’s important to understand the different types of portable heaters available and the pros and cons of each.

We can broadly split home heaters up into electric and gas. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on electric heaters, given the restrictions gas heaters have on portability, and recent changes in legislation in Victoria due to health and safety concerns. 

Electric heaters usually require a fairly small initial investment, but depending on the model they can cost you a lot in electricity down the line. 

Electric heaters are all considered to be 100% efficient, as they convert all energy consumed into heat.

However, depending on the wattage, some varieties will use more energy than others meaning they will cost you more per hour of use. They also vary in their suitability for heating different types of spaces.

The main varieties of electric heaters are as follows:

Panel and Convection HeatersEfficient for large spaces, good controlSlower to heat up
Oil Column HeatersEfficient for large spacesHeavy, slow to heat up
Fan HeatersGenerally cheap, Heat small areas quicklyCan be noisy
Radiant HeatersFast to heat up e.g. HalogenHeat one area only, can be a fire risk

The most efficient heater for your home will depend on your space and intended use. The below explanation from CSE sums it up nicely:

Heating a whole room for a few hours or more:
For this, you should use a convector heater. These work by warming the air immediately next to them which then naturally circulates relatively evenly around the room. Convector heaters are a good choice if you need a supplementary heating source to warm up a room for a few hours at a time. They take a little longer to work, but this type of heater can be easily controlled with a timer and thermostat, so you don’t overheat the room and you save money. You can get both electric and gas convector heaters, and oil filled radiators are also a type of convector heater.

Heating a room for a short period of time:
For a quick blast of warmth, or for more directional heating, you should use radiant or fan heaters. These work quickly and are useful if you want to warm up only part of a room for a short period. Unlike convector heaters, they don’t achieve an even level of heat throughout the room, so don’t bring the same level of comfort. They rarely have thermostats or timers which is likely to make them a more expensive option over time.


How Much Does It Cost To Run An Electric Heater?

The cost to run any type of electric heater can be calculated using the specifications of your heater, along with your local electricity cost per kilowatt hour.

The current average in most of Australia is around 30 cents per kWh. 

If we use our the Noirot 2000W Spot Plus Panel Heater as an example, we can see from its specifications that it runs at 2,000 watts. We can divide by 1,000 to convert watts to  kilowatts: 2,000/1,000 = 2.

We can then multiply this by our electricity cost per kWh to determine the hourly running cost of the heater:

2 x $0.30 = $0.60 per hour

Using a ceiling fan to circulate heat

If you’re looking for ways to heat your home more effectively, consider using a ceiling fan on reverse.

Most ceiling fans have an option to run in reverse so you should be able to switch this on fairly easily. As hot air rises, a lot of the warm air created while running your heating moves to the top of the room. By running your ceiling fan on reverse, instead of the usual sucking of air upwards and distributing throughout the room to cool, it will now force the hot air downwards.

Portable Gas Heaters

Gas heaters come in both flued and unflued varieties. 

Flued varieties need to be connected to a chimney/flue making them more of a fixed option.

Unflued heaters, however, offer one of the most efficient and cost effective portable heating solutions available. They can include both heaters that utilise a LPG tank, as well as those that connect to a natural gas outlet in the home.

The downsides relate to the fact that these heaters release combustion gases and water vapour into the home, because without a flue they cannot discard these externally. The water vapour can result in condensation, while the gases can irritate allergies, even at safe levels.

Unflued gas heaters are permitted only for use in large rooms with adequate ventilation. In fact they are illegal to use in small or badly ventilated rooms, as well as bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Be sure to check with your local state regulator before using gas in your home:

If you are interested in purchasing a portable gas heater, Rinnai are considered the best in the business so we recommend you check them out.


What is the cheapest heater to run?

The cost of running a heater relates directly to the wattage, regardless of the type of heater. It is important to choose a heater that is suitable for the type of space you want to heat up. Some heaters work well in small rooms while others are more suitable for larger spaces. Consider also using a thermostat or timer to ensure your heater is only operating when you need it.

This article was written by Cara Holmes

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