What is the best oil-filled heater? An oil-filled heater is the best choice for small rooms, however, you can make some calculations to make sure that the unit you are going to buy will suit your needs. Just measure the width and length of the room and multiply the results together. Then, check the product's description to see what size of the room it is able to warm up. Another essential factor to consider is the output, which will tell you how powerful the appliance actually is. The wattage should not be less than 600W, but the best options have an output of 1500W and over. That said, we do not recommend buying heaters with more than 2000W power as they are not energy-efficient. A user-friendly digital display, timer, thermostat, and multiple output settings are must-have features for a modern oil-filled heater. We believe that the NewAir Electric Oil-Filled Space Heater fits these criteria best.
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
What to Look For When Buying an Oil-Filled Heater
There’s not much to really say here that isn’t common sense, hence we’re not spending much time on this. We’ll discuss the limitations of these at more length in the next section, but you will want to consider a few key points.
How big is your room you wish to heat? This will impact the size, the BTU output, and whether or not you want one with a blower. See, letting heat naturally spread and fill a room does happen, but it needs some force behind it if you want some real speed. Just letting it spread on its own is a process called “diffusion”, which is the movement of high-energy particles to low-energy spaces (or particles from places where there are many, to places where there are few).
You also need to be aware of wattage/amperage/voltage concerns, as these can overload circuits and cause electrical fires if they run too hard.
Winter isn’t far away, and while the area in which I live has mild winters to say the least, even here it can get chilly enough to need some heat. There are a whole host of technologies that can be employed to generate heat, so you’re left with quite a variety of choices at the end of the day, so it can seem like a bit of a hassle to figure out which approach is right for you.
Today, we’re going to talk about oil heaters, which again, does span the gamut of both “heater oil” and kerosene, with the latter being the more common. In fact, these two fuel sources are more or less interchangeable to a degree, with many heaters being able to deal with them both. Kerosene is actually a bit more volatile, though, so you will want to be sure your heater is rated to handle something this refined, but we’ll get into that.
What we’re talking about today, though, isn’t an oil-burning heater, but rather an oil-filled heater, which is a very different kind of technology. Yeah, this may feel like a little bit of a fake-out to you initially, but I wanted to discuss traditional oil heaters first, so when I pointed the difference out, you’d see why these oil-filled ones are different.
What are they? Well, they’re basically portable electric radiators. They don’t use steam nor compressed hot air pumped into them from a central line, but rather heated oil pumped into radiator pipes, which then heats the air around them. Some of them also have a mild blower fan to move the air more quickly.
These are electric-powered, which has its disadvantages compared to oil-burning heaters, as we’ll see in a moment.
So, I said we’d touch on some of the limits and disadvantages to these, but there are advantages as well. First, let’s touch on the benefits.
One benefit of this type of heater is it’s almost entirely free of fire risks if you use it properly. The oil could cause injuries if you were exposed to it when heated, which is call for being absolutely certain you watch the pressure, and keep an eye on the integrity, but accidents like this are rare.
This is, again, the safest approach to electric heating, as no red hot elements nor ceramics are present to start fires nor spark. Being portable and simple, they’re very convenient and suitable for just about any kind of environment, with exceptions where the room is entirely too big for something like this.
Cons are the aforementioned volume primarily. These heaters aren’t made to heat gigantic rooms, so if you want to do so, you may find yourself needing multiple heaters, and this brings back the problem of electricity still being somewhat inefficient as I said in the opening of this piece. However, with heaters like this that just use thermal radiation, it’s more efficient than in other cases.
The problem behind their electric nature really shows in that infrastructure versus harsh winter thing I mentioned. See, winters in the north and in the Midwest do have the occasional (or frequent depending on where you are) tendency to knock power out. Combustion heat works fine in light of this, but if you’re depending on electricity, you may have a problem. You’ll need a generator to stand up to this kind of problem, which can be a whole set of problems itself, and we’ll probably look at generators at some point – we need them down here often enough due to hurricanes being a menace to modern electric living.
These are really the only problems these have, and their safety, simplicity and portability make up for it in many cases.
So, when are these the most called for to use? Well, let’s look at a few cases.
- Heating an attic or basement when it’s exceptionally cold can be easily done with one of these heaters, and safely at that.
- Heating a smaller garage can be effectively done with one of these as well.
- Heating a guest house or shed are often done with these if it’s to be a temporary situation.
- Small workshops are sometimes heated with these.
- These make for good emergency heaters in the event central heat fails or you run out of fuel before your tanks can be refilled. No need to freeze while waiting for the gas man!
TOP Best Oil-Filled Heaters
Below, you will find the two most popular oil-filled heaters on the market from ones of the most trusted brands — DeLonghi and NewAir. These products come at a price of about $70 but do not have many distinctions between each other. However, the second one is more lightweight, has a better interface and a longer cord.
DeLonghi EW7707CB Comfort Temp Radiant Heater
DeLonghi is a respected producer of heaters and other utility devices like this. So, you know you’re getting something with some reliable, decent build quality. They’ve been pioneers in oil-filled radiator heating, so you’re getting something of the latest technologies with this as well.
If I had one nitpick, it’s something common to many of these heaters, I don’t like wheels like these. They’re the same swivel wheels that office chairs use, and they’re a menace. The cord is also kind of short as well.
- Voltage: 110v (US).
- Power Supply: Corded electric.
- Weight: 24lbs.
- Blower: No.
- Color: Black.
The lack of a passive blower makes this kind of slow, but overall, it works quite well. As I said, the big problem is how short the cord is, and I can’t be the only one who finds wheels like this annoying. I know it’s mean to make moving it around easy, but at 24lbs, it’s not very heavy.
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DeLonghi: Check the current price
NewAir Electric Oil-Filled Space Heater
This is almost identical in every way to the DeLonghi, but I’d say the interface is vastly better, and it has a much longer cord, both of which are big improvements. The downside is that it too has those annoying wheels, which seem to be a common trend with this technology alas.
- Voltage: 110v (US).
- Power Supply: Corded electric.
- Weight: 19lbs.
- Blower: No.
- Color: Black and gray.
This performs pretty much just as well as the other one, really the big differences are in the nice, longer cord and the better interface. This is a more updated exterior design and form factor, which is surprising given that DeLonghi is usually known for their modern sensibilities.
Of the two on this list, I like this one a little bit more, despite the fact NewAir isn’t as vetted of a brand, though man, those wheels. I’ve had one of these go rolling across a room from just a house settling before, so I advise you to remove the wheels, or just not add them when you unbox these.
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NewAir: Check the current price
15 Best-Selling Oil-filled Heaters Comparative Table
Why You Should Use Oil-Filled Heaters
I know that here in Florida, a lot of people simply refuse to turn their heat on in the winter because it’s “not cold enough to run the bill up”. That’s a thing with electric heat, which is the primary way people heat their homes down here. Electric heat is probably the safest way to do it these days (though there’s no such thing as 100% safe), but this comes at the expense of using a lot of electricity to generate heat. Electric heat is not very efficient, compared to combustion, which is obviously the oldest way to generate heat.
Combustion can be achieved through a few ways, because lots of substances burn very hot, but have a sufficiently low flash point to be practical. Among these are natural gas, propane, butane, and oil. Now, oil can actually refer to a specific grade of actual heater oil, but it often is also shorthand for kerosene.
This isn’t very practical in the southern part of the United States, because we don’t need that kind of heat, and winter weather just isn’t the threat to our infrastructure as it is in the north and the Midwest.
If you do live in one of these areas, where winters can be pretty severe, unless you have a generator, you will probably not want to depend on electricity to heat your home.