Electric Fan Heaters, sometimes described as space heaters, can be a useful source of warmth in any area of the home where temporary or supplementary heat is required. Fan heaters function similarly to hair dryers and have the advantage of being cheap to buy; they are light in weight and easily portable. Fan heaters provide warmed air almost instantaneously but, unlike electric oil-filled radiators, do not retain warmth when the heating element is off.
Continual use of a fan heater will spike your electricity bills but better machines are fitted with a thermostat that turns off the heating elements when the ambient temperature reaches a pre-set level. Unfortunately, the sensor is somewhere on the heater where the temperature may not be representative of all areas of the room. Another possible disadvantage of these machines is the noise created by the fan and the draught of warm air which some users may find intrusive.
Modern electric fan heaters are all fitted with a thermal fuse for protection against overheating and are generally safe. However, there are some caveats: Fan heaters are unsealed appliances with live electric parts inside and are unsuitable for use in wet environments, such as bathrooms. Also, they should not be used with an extension lead: The heaters draw significant power and there is a risk of the cable and plug overheating.
Best Electric Fan Heaters
Warmlite WL 44004 Heater
The Warmlite WL 44004 can be used with the rectangular grille arranged for a flat or vertical air-stream. It has two simple, round controls: a thermostat, and a heating control with stops for on/off; fan only; 1kw heating power; and 2kw high heat. Safety protection includes an overheat cut-out and a tip-over switch. The unit is light in weight (3 lbs) and relatively small (10 inches square and 5 inches deep) making it easy to store when not in use. It is ‘budget-priced’ and a good choice to provide a temporary heating-assist in cold areas of the home. A two-guarantee is offered with the purchase.
Igenix 9010 Flat/Upright Heater
This heater can be operated in either an upright or flat position. There are two round control-knobs: a thermostat and a heater-switch offering ‘fan only’ and two levels of heating power. The maximum wattage is 2kw and, to prevent overheating, the unit is fitted with a red pop-up ‘thermal fuse’ located between the control knobs. The unit measures 9 x 9 x 5 inches and weighs 2.8 lbs; carrying handles are molded in the casing. This is a solid pick from a well-known brand at a very competitive price. The 9010 is offered with a 2-year warranty that can be registered online.
Igenix IG 9030 Ceramic Fan Heater
The IG 9030 uses a Positive Temperature Coefficient (TPC) ceramic material attached to metal fins to provide heat: The ceramic material is semi-conductive and when voltage is applied the power decreases quickly in inverse relation to the temperature, allowing the heating elements to be self-regulating. As with other fan heaters, air is blown over the heating elements to move warm air into the room.
The IG 9030 weighs 3.3 lbs but has a compact box shape measuring 7 x 6 inches (W x D) with an integral handle that takes the overall height to 26.5cm. Tip-over- and heat-protection are built-in. The Igenix IG 9030 reportedly ‘pumps out the heat’ and reviewers, in general, liked this machine. We like its compact size and rate this another good-value buy from a known brand. The IG 9030 is offered with a 2-year warranty that can be registered online.
Dimplex DFF20TSN Fan Heater
Dimplex is a well-known and reliable brand in the field of consumer heating appliances. The DFF20TSN fan heater has maximum 2kw power and delivers warm air through a horizontal grille. The external dimensions are approximately 10 inches square and 4.5 inches high. An integral carrying handle is molded into the casing and the unit weighs a relatively light 2.6 lbs. Two top-mounted knobs are used to adjust the thermostat and control the heat settings. As well as ‘off’ the heat control can be switched to high or low heat, or ‘Frost’. A red, indicator light is illuminated when mains power is connected. The manufacturer offers a three-year guarantee. Reviews are generally favorable and this is a better-quality fan heater that should provide reliable service over several years.
De’Longhi Horizontal Fan Heater
This De’Longhi heater is a powerful, 3kw, unit that can quickly heat a room. The rectangular front grille is arranged horizontally and measures approximately 9 x 4 inches; the heater’s overall dimensions are 11 inches square x 5.5 inches high and the unit weighs a sturdy 3.4 lbs. Two knobs control three heat settings plus ‘Frost’, and a variable thermostat; overheat protection is built in. Some reviewers have highlighted the fan as ‘noisy’ but, on ‘high heat’, a good blow is needed to carry hot air out from the heater. De’Longhi is a reputable manufacturer and provides a 3-year guarantee. This is a durable machine that will appeal to consumers seeking a more powerful space heater.