Which is Better: Panel Heater or Oil Heater? A Comprehensive Guide

Living somewhere with cold winters means you need something to keep you warm. Among the most popular heating options are panel heaters and oil-filled heaters.

While oil-filled radiators and electric panel heaters both use electricity, they’re a little different.

Not sure which to get? The guide below will help you figure out which is right for you.

Panel Heater vs Oil Heater: What’s the Difference?

Electric Panel Heaters

Because of how they heat up, electric panel heaters are sometimes called convection heaters. 

There’s a heating element inside an electric panel heater that heats to a set temperature – usually ceramic or another heat-conducting material. A small fan circulates the heat from this heating element around the room, warming the air for a cosy feel. 

Most panel heaters are slim and can be wall-mounted or freestanding.

Oil Filled Radiators

The oil in oil-filled radiators acts as a heating element because it’s thermally conductive. 

You get more radiant heat this way, instead of convective heat that warms the air around you. In oil-filled radiators, the oil is only used to conduct heat, so it won’t need to be changed. 

They make good portable heaters because they’re small and light.

Which is Better: Panel Heater or Oil Heater?

Electric panel heaters are great if:

  • You want a heater that you can wall-mount or leave free-standing
  • You need something that warms up quickly
  • If you want to heat different rooms for a few hours

Consider an oil-filled radiator if:

  • You want something portable and light
  • You need an overnight heater
  • Energy-efficient is really critical to you, but you don’t mind a slightly slower heat-up time

Are Panel Heaters Energy Efficient?

Compared to combustion heaters, panel heaters are generally more efficient. 

It’s very energy-efficient to burn fuel to create heat. Toxic fumes and ashes are left behind, though. 

Panel heaters are great because they don’t require combustion to heat your house. Electric heaters don’t emit toxic fumes or ash. Electricity almost never pollutes. Although panel heaters are efficient, they’re not perfect. 

Panel heaters lose 80% of their energy as heat. Electricity makes up the rest.

Are Oil-Filled Heaters Cheaper to Run Than Electric?

You’ll probably notice a big difference between oil-filled heaters and panel heaters if you compare prices. 

Due to the fact that panel heaters don’t require any maintenance, they’re usually cheaper than oil-filled heaters. There’s no need to change the oil, and it’s safe to use. 

Compared to oil-filled heaters, electric panel heaters use less power. So if cost is your only concern, panel heaters are definitely the better deal. However, if you live in a dry climate, panel heaters might not be the right choice.

The Takeaway

Investing in a heater for the winter isn’t something you should take lightly. Each type has pros and cons, and I hope I’ve helped you figure out which type is right for you.

Don’t worry too much if you’re still comparing electric and oil-filled heaters. You can’t go wrong with either type of heater. Besides being portable and easy to use (they just need to be plugged in), they also heat small spaces extra well. Over the course of a year, either of these will save you hundreds of dollars over using your whole-house heating system. It’s a no-brainer!

Also read: Are Oil Heaters Better Than Electric?