Electric Heaters vs. Oil-Filled Heaters [In-Depth Comparison]

Dominic Mitton
By Dominic  • Reviewed by Ben  • Updated:   October 26, 2023
Affiliate disclosure: When you buy a product via our links, we sometimes earn a referral fee. Learn more

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a warm and cozy atmosphere in the comfort of your own home.

Both electric and oil-filled heaters are fantastic solutions, but the question is which is better?

While electric heaters are more popular, oil heaters also have some advantages.

Let’s first mention the main difference between these two. Then, I’ll dive deep into the benefits and disadvantages of both.

Difference Between Electric and Oil Heaters

The most significant difference between oil-filled and electric heaters is in the efficiency and longevity of the heat.

Oil heaters are more efficient and provide long-lasting heat, but they take longer to heat the room.

On the other hand, electric heaters can provide instant heat, and they’re usually very lightweight, and it’s easy to carry them from one room to another.

Without any sugar coating, let’s talk about the pros and cons of each one.

Benefits of Oil-Filled Heaters

Efficient

Undoubtedly, oil heaters are more efficient and have lower power consumption than electric heaters. 

The main secret behind their efficiency is storing oil inside the radiator instead of using it as fuel.

When the heater reaches the desired temperature, it will maintain that temperature and stop “overheating” the room.

Long-lasting heat

Although it might take an oil heater a bit longer to heat up the whole room, it has what we call a “long-lasting” effect.

It has a great volume of air contact with the heat source, and that’s why it’s able to keep the room warm for a longer period.

Quiet

You won’t hear the oil heater running, even if you leave it turned on for a few days.

The main reason behind this is that oil-filled heaters don’t have fans, so there’s nothing that can produce noise.

This makes it the perfect option for your bedroom.

Safe

Oil heaters don’t have fans that can be blocked and cause fire, so it is a safe option in your living room.

They aren’t easy to knock down and less likely to cause any type of fire.

Accurate

Newer oil heaters have amazing thermostat technology, which is very accurate and works well.

Getting an oil heater with a thermostat is important as you’ll appreciate the constant “sweet spot” temperature.

Overall Best Oil Heater: PELONIS Oil-Filled Radiator

Our Pick
PELONIS Oil Filled Radiator Heater
$94.99 $79.99
Buy Now on Amazon Buy Now on Walmart
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/30/2024 12:29 pm GMT

The Downside of Oil-Filled Heaters

The most significant disadvantage of oil-filled heaters is that they’re a bit heavier and usually weigh more than 30lbs.

This makes it less portable.

Another thing that you might not like is that it takes more time to heat up the whole room. 

While it will provide long-lasting heat, it will take around 20 minutes before the room reaches the desired temperature.

Oil heaters are made for longevity, so that might be the reason why it takes a bit longer to heat.

Benefits of Electric Heaters

Quick heating

When I say electric heaters are very fast when it comes to heating the whole room, I mean very fast.

The electric heater takes around 5 minutes to heat the whole room – whether larger or smaller.

The quick-heat feature is similar to the electric fireplaces.

When you get home, you just have to turn it on and enjoy the warm, cozy feeling that electric heaters provide.

Lightweight & portable

It’s easy to carry electric heaters from one room to another. They even usually have a built-in handle for easier carrying.

They usually weigh less than 5 lbs, so even seniors can carry them.

Like space heaters, they’re perfect to carry with you even when traveling.

More options

There are thousands of different models of electric heaters on the market.

It’s easy to find the one that fits your needs, no matter the power, size, heating levels, etc.

Electric heaters are the most popular type of heaters.

Cheaper

They’re cheaper and don’t require a larger up-front investment than oil-filled heaters.

Many people are buying multiple electric heaters because of their low price point.

No wonder the Presto Heat Dish heater is one of the most popular options, considering the amazing features you get for such a small price.

Safe

Electric heaters are easy to knock down. However, kids and pets can’t get burned if they touch them.

Although oil heaters can only cause burns if you hold your hand on them for a longer period of time, electric heaters won’t burn you even if you place your hand on them for a couple of hours.

Overall Best Electric Heater: Lasko Electric Space Heater

Our Pick
Lasko Electric Space Heater for Indoor Use
$69.99
Buy Now on Amazon Buy Now on Walmart
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/29/2024 05:39 pm GMT

What You Might Not Like About Electric Heaters

While electric heaters are cheaper, they have higher power consumption, meaning you might experience a bit higher electricity bills.

Another thing to note is that electric heaters can get noisy if you’re using them for a couple of hours without turning them off.

It all depends from model to model as newer ones have ultra-quiet technology.

And the last thing worth mentioning here is that it doesn’t have long-lasting heat like oil heaters. It’s because they’re spreading through the air instead of walls.

Which One Is Better For You?

After all, it all depends on your needs and requirements.

If you have a tight budget and you’re looking for something you can easily carry from one room to another – I would advise you to go with electric heaters.

They’re lightweight, and they can quickly warm the whole room.

On the other hand, if you want something that will provide you with long-lasting heat while keeping the power consumption low – go with the oil-filled heaters.

From my experience, you won’t regret buying any of these two as both are great solutions for cold winter days.

FAQ

Do electric heaters dry the air out in rooms more than oil heaters?

It doesn’t. A room with an electric heater has exactly the same amount of moisture. It just feels dryer. Warm air can evaporate and hold more moisture than cold air. If you’re in a cold room, there isn’t much moisture in the air, but it’s not evaporating from your skin, eyes, sinuses, etc. If you warm the room up, there’s still not much moisture, but the warmer air dries you out much faster.

Hey there! I am Benas, the founder and content editor at Home Caprice. Thanks for reading the article. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for. I and my team are here to simplify heating and cooling for everyone. Please have a look at the About page for more details about our website and feel free to check out our editorial process.