electric heating radiator in a living room

What’s the Difference Between Electric Radiators and Electric Panel Heaters?

It’s often said that the world of technology never stops moving. And while we all know that’s true of things like phones and computers, it’s also true for electric heating products. There are always new innovations being made, and you could be forgiven for being a bit confused! But by the end of this short guide to electric heating, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Radiation and Convection

Let’s start with the simple part. An electric radiator radiates heat stored within a heat-retaining medium, usually thermal fluid or ceramic. Think of it like how the sun radiates warmth; if you step into the shade and therefore out of the direct radiation, you feel less warmth.

By contrast, an electric panel heater or “convection heater”; heat the air circulating within an enclosed area. (If you can smell the heat, you’re likely experiencing convection heating. The smell exists because, just like a toaster, the panel heaters heating elements are exposed to the air, and so, burn the dust particles floating about in it.)

Just to Confuse You…

After having explained this difference to you, we’re going to confuse you a little. This is because an electric radiator and an electric heater both use a combination of radiated and convected heat. However, while an electric radiator has a thermal retention medium fitted (which is what stores the heat and redistributes it), an electric heater doesn’t.

But a lot of that might not matter to you. All you really want to know is which one you should buy. Well, it really depends on what you want to use it for.

Everyday Vs Occasional Use

The economic choice of electric radiator or electric panel heater for your room mostly comes down to deciding if the room is for everyday or occasional use.

Because electric radiators store heat, they are ideal for use as the primary source of heat in those rooms you use every day, or for long periods of time (e.g. a living room or bedroom). But electric panel heaters are ideal for those rooms that only get used occasionally (like a guest bedroom or conservatory), so don’t need continual heating.

In terms of upfront and running costs, electric radiators are cheaper to run but cost more to buy initially. Electric panel heaters are cheaper in the beginning, but cost more to run. This is because electric panel heaters don’t store heat, and so continually draw upon the power supply whilst they heat the air. By contrast, electric radiators require power only whilst they are heating up the storage medium. You can see our comparison on pricing here. At Electric Heating Expert, we provide a wide range of electric radiators to suit any room, any size and any budget. For more information, just take a look at our range or get in touch with us today.