The Best Electric Heating System Options for your House in the UK

What is Electric Central Heating System?

When you think of central heating you probably picture a gas-fired boiler and water filled radiators. This form of heating can be inefficient, difficult to programme and leave your house cold at the wrong moments. There is an alternative more suited to modern homes and modern life: electric central heating.

If you are one of the 5 million homes in the UK which does not have a mains gas supply then electric heating is your obvious alternative. However, many homeowners are choosing to switch from gas fired central heating to electric heating for the following reasons:

More efficient – with gas boilers around 10% of the heat generated is lost through the pipes and flue. In comparison, 100% of the electricity that’s drawn from the wall by an electric heater is converted to heat, with zero waste.

More control – electric heaters allow you to control the temperate in each room without needing to fire up the whole system.

Eco-friendly – when combined with solar panels, electric heating enables homeowners to heat their homes using renewable power sources.

Future proofed – gas is a finite resource and will one day run out.

Electric central heating can be two things – firstly, replacing your old gas fired boiler with an electricity-powered boiler or secondly, replacing your old radiators with smart new electric heaters.

This article will consider the different electric heaters you could choose for your home. These fall into five main types:

Electric Radiators – These are similar to a traditional wall radiators and work by heating an element such as water or oil in a metal structure which in turn radiates heat out into the room. Electric radiators are suitable for all day use throughout your home. They are efficient, reliable, and highly controllable and come in wall mounted or freestanding variations.

Electric Panel Heaters – Despite their similar appearance, electric panel heaters are not quite the same as electric radiators. While electric radiators are designed for all day use throughout your home, panel heaters are designed for occasional use as top-up heaters in spare rooms, home offices, and guest rooms. Panel heaters provide rapid heat when you need it most and come with attachable feet enabling you to stand your heater up as a portable unit wherever there’s a plug socket.

Infrared Panels – Infrared has the potential to be the most efficient heating system for your home. Unlike other electric heating systems, which warm the surrounding air to heat a room, infrared warms objects and people directly – transferring heat in straight lines from the heater to whatever’s in front of it. Without the need to transfer heat to the surrounding air, infrared heaters are inherently more efficient than any other heating system, electric or plumbed.

Electric Towel Rails – These are for dedicated bathroom heating and have the added benefit of drying your damp towels.

Storage Heaters – Storage heaters work by storing electricity at night, when the electricity tariffs are lower, then releasing it during the day.

10 Best Electric Heating Systems

In no particular order, here are 10 examples of efficient electric heating systems.

1Haverland Designer RC Wave Electric Radiators

Electric Radiator

  • Easy DIY installation
  • 24/7 digital programming
  • Remote control temperate management
  • Slimline
  • Lifetime warranty on radiator body

Buy Now

2Haverland SmartWave Self-Programming Electric Radiators

Electric Radiator

  • Easy DIY installation
  • WiFi programming
  • Alexa voice controlled temperate management
  • Lifetime warranty on radiator body

Buy Now

3Ecostrad Ecowärme Electric Radiators

Electric Radiator

  • Easy DIY installation
  • 24/7 programming
  • Traditional fluted design
  • 5-year warranty on radiator body

Buy Now

4Best Electric Slimline Curve Electric Radiators

Electric Radiator

  • Easy DIY installation
  • 24/7 digital programming
  • Slimline
  • Available in white and anthracite
  • 2-year warranty on electrical components & 10-year warranty on everything else

Buy Now

5Herschel Select Infrared Heating Panels

Infrared Panel

  • Easy DIY installation
  • Warms people and furnishings directly
  • Ultra-Slim design
  • WiFi and Thermostat compatible (sold separately)
  • 5-year warranty

Buy Now

6Technotherm ISP Frameless Infrared Heating Panels

Infrared Panel

  • Easy DIY Installation
  • Even heat distribution
  • Horizontal and vertical fitting
  • WiFi control with TPF-Eco interface & programmable with TFP-Eco thermostat
  • 5-year warranty (2 years on thermostat)

Buy Now

7Elnur Ecombi WiFi Controlled Storage Heaters

Storage Heater

  • Must be hardwired by a professional electrician
  • WiFi control
  • Uses off-peak electricity
  • 5-year warranty

Buy Now

8Ecostrad Fina-E Electric Towel Rail

Towel Rail

  • Must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • Basic manual operation
  • Traditional chrome finish
  • 5-year warranty

Buy Now

9Terma Alex ONE Designer Towel Rail

Towel Rail

  • Must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • Two temperate settings and two-hour timer function
  • Sophisticated design in matt grey finish
  • 8-year warranty

Buy Now

10Ecostrad iQ Glass Electric Panel Heater

Electric Panel Heater

  • Includes feet and wall mounting brackets
  • 24/7 programming
  • WiFi control and Alexa voice compatible
  • Quick and effective heat
  • 2-year guarantee

Buy Now

Haverland Designer RC Wave Electric Radiators

  • Easy DIY plug in and go installation
  • 24/7 digital programming
  • Remote control temperate management
  • Slimline
  • Lifetime warranty on radiator body

The Haverland Designer RC Wave provides energy efficient, responsive and attractive home heating. The tradition-breaking curved body adds a touch of individuality to your home and the digital controls allow you to set a 7-day heating schedule to suit your lifestyle, with different settings for every hour of every day of the week, if needed!

The Haverland Designer RC Wave has open window detection and adaptive start which help you slim down your heating bills without any user input. Adaptive start means this radiator will warm ahead of time, so your rooms are always the right temperate for your heating schedule. It’s even clever enough to detect an open window or door and will automatically pause to avoid wasting energy.

Installation is a straight-forward DIY task. Simply screw to the wall and plug in at the nearest socket. However, if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for an electrician.

Pros

  • 24/7 programming
  • Open window detection and adaptive start

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Haverland SmartWave Self-Programming Electric Radiators

haverland-smart-wave-electric-radiator

  • Easy DIY plug in and go installation
  • WiFi programming
  • Alexa voice controlled temperate management
  • Lifetime warranty on radiator body

The Haverland SmartWave radiators represent the next generation of smart heating, offering intuitive motion sensing technology that allows these electric radiators to manage themselves.

These radiators are fully programmable allowing you to fit your heating around your lifestyle, cutting down your energy usage to the minimum required. The SmartWave will also program itself based on your weekly routine. You don’t even have to stick to your routine to ensure your heating stays efficient; the motion sensor allows the SmartWave to adapt to any changes and prevents wasted energy if you’re unexpectedly out of the house.

The SmartWave can be WiFi controlled enabling you to programme your entire central heating system from your mobile, tablet or computer even when you are not in the house. The SmartWave is also compatible with Amazon Alexa for voice control.

Installation is a straight-forward DIY task. Simply screw to the wall and plug in at the nearest socket. However, if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for an electrician.

Pros

  • Self-programming
  • WiFi controlled and compatible with Amazon Alexa

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Ecostrad Ecowärme Electric Radiators

ecostrad-ecowarme-electric-radiator

  • Easy DIY plug in and go installation
  • 24/7 programming
  • Traditional fluted design
  • 5-year warranty on radiator body

Ecostrad produce high-quality German electric radiators offering impressive heat retention, precision temperature control, and a timeless aesthetic. The Ecowärme range utilises the perfect balance of convection and radiation, heating objects and people directly as well as the surrounding air. Its specially formulated ceramic heating bricks keep your rooms warmer for longer, retaining heat long after the radiator has stopped drawing power.

Using the control panel at the side of the radiator you can create a bespoke heating schedule, adjust your set temperatures, and programme the timer function. The Ecowärme also has open window detection and adaptive start to avoid wasting energy with unnecessary heating.

Installation is a straight-forward DIY task. Simply screw to the wall and plug in at the nearest socket. However, if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for an electrician.

Pros

  • 24/7 programming
  • Open window detection and adaptive start

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Best Electric Slimline Curve Electric Radiators

best-electric-slimline-curve-electric-radiator

  • Easy DIY plug in and go installation
  • 24/7 digital programming
  • Ultra-Slimline profile makes this ideal for any room where space is at a premium
  • Available in white and anthracite
  • 2-year warranty on electrical components & 10-year warranty on everything else

This radiator from Best Electric Radiators is extremely energy efficient with an ultra-slimline design and is available in either white or anthracite.

The Slimline Curve offers fully programmable heating. Choose between handy pre-set options or create your own custom programme.

Using the very latest advances in intelligent heat management, your ideal room temperature is dynamically maintained by simply topping up the heat as and when it’s needed. It’s even clever enough to sense a drop in temperature caused by an open window or door so that, rather than wasting money trying to heat an extra room, or even the street outside, power consumption is automatically paused to avoid wasting even the smallest amount of energy.

Installation is a straight-forward DIY task. Simply screw to the wall and plug in at the nearest socket. However, if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for a qualified electrician.

Pros

  • 24/7 programming
  • Open window detection and adaptive start

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Herschel Select Infrared Heating Panels

herschel-select-infrared-heating-panel

  • Easy DIY Installation
  • Warms people and furnishings directly
  • Ultra-Slim design
  • Thermostat controlled (sold separately)
  • Supports smart control (hub sold separately)
  • 5-year warranty

Herschel’s Select Infrared offer affordable and energy efficient infrared heating. The panels are white in a crisp white frame and are available in various sizes.

Infrared technology heats objects directly making it more efficient at heating a room than conventional convection heaters. The walls, ceiling, doors and windows absorb radiation keeping the ambient temperature more stable during the whole day, resulting in less heat loss and less money spent on electricity bills. Infrared heaters will help prevent mould from growing in your walls, as they primarily heat solid objects.

The Select range supports smart control when purchased with the IQ WiFi hub.

Herschel Infrared heaters can be installed as a DIY task by simply fitting a plug to the end of the wire. However, if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for a qualified electrician.

Pros

  • Extremely efficient heating (when used with thermostat)
  • Supports smart control

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Technotherm ISP Frameless Infrared Heating Panels

technotherm-frameless-infrared-heating-panel

  • Easy DIY Installation
  • Even heat distribution
  • Horizontal and vertical fitting
  • WiFi control with TPF-Eco interface & programmable with TFP-Eco thermostat (sold separately)
  • 5-year warranty (2 years on thermostat)

The Technotherm ISP range is a sleek high-quality interior infrared heating system. The panels are frameless and finished in white. Using the TFP-Eco thermostat (sold separately) you can create a detailed 24/7 heating schedule that caters to your every whim, helping you save energy by specifying exactly when, and to what extent, your rooms are heated. Using multiple thermostats, you can also zone your heating and assign different heating schedules to different areas of your home.

If you also purchase the TPF-Eco interface (WiFi) you can make alterations to your heating via WiFi using a smartphone or tablet.

Your Technotherm heating can be installed as a DIY task, however if you don’t have plug sockets in the right place or you want your radiators hard-wired (so you can’t see the wires) then you’ll need to pay for an electrician.

Pros

  • Extremely efficient heating (when used with thermostat)
  • Supports smart control

Cons

  • May need professional installation
Buy Now

Elnur Ecombi WiFi Controlled Storage Heaters

elnur-ecombi-wifi-controlled-storage-heater

  • Must be hardwired by a professional electrician
  • WiFi control
  • Uses off-peak electricity
  • 5-year warranty

This storage heater offers highly economical heating as it uses off-peak electricity (called Economy-7) to heat up special heat-retaining ceramic bricks. The heat is then released throughout the following day.

Unlike storage heaters of old, this heater offers precision heat management via its digital programming and optional WiFi distance control.

The digital programmer that allows you to assign comfort, economy, or anti-frost modes to hourly intervals throughout the day. You can make adjustments to your heating schedule on the go using the Elnur G Control Hub (sold separately).

If the heat provided isn’t enough to keep you warm, its backup heater can also be used to provide an additional boost and can even be programmed to run for a restricted period to avoid wasteful heating. This model also monitors the amount of heat used by its backup heater and adjusts its overnight charge accordingly to minimise any wasted energy.

The Elnur Ecombi heater comes with adaptive start and open window detection. The adaptive start feature ‘learns’ how long it takes the heater to reach a set temperature and pre-heats accordingly, ensuring your room is always the correct temperature at the correct time. Open window detection interrupts the backup heater when a rapid loss of temperature is detected, this prevents you from wasting money trying to heat an extra room, or even the street outside.

Pros

  • Uses cheap overnight electricity
  • Adaptive start and open window detection

Cons

  • Not as programmable as standard electric radiators
Buy Now

Ecostrad Fina-E Electric Towel Rail

  • Must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • Basic manual operation
  • Traditional chrome finish
  • 5-year warranty

This towel rail is an excellent choose for both modern and traditional bathrooms. Not only will it heat the room but it’s sleek straight bars will also dry your towels. The Fina-E is filled with heat-retentive thermal fluid that stays warmer for longer, which means that it uses less energy to maintain its heat levels.

This is a basic on/off towel rail that does not come with integrated controls. However, it is possible to purchase an additional controller for more heat management options.

As with all electric towel rails, it must be hardwired into a fused spur by a qualified electrician. However, this is usually a straight-forward task with no lengthy call outs required.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Good value

Cons

  • Basic on/off function only
Buy Now

Terma Alex ONE Designer Towel Rail

  • Must be installed by a qualified electrician
  • Two temperate settings and two-hour timer function
  • Sophisticated design in matt grey finish
  • 8-year warranty

The Terma Alex ONE designer towel rail provide an independent heat source for your bathroom as well as drying your towels. With gently rounded bars and in a soft grey finished the Alex will add a designer contemporary look to your bathroom. Simple and easy to programme and comes with a 2-hour timer function.

The simple push-button controls have two temperature settings as well as a timer function that can be used to set the rails to turn off after a period of 2 hours.

Thermodynamic Oil Element which stays warmer for longer, using less energy to maintain its heat levels.

Like all electric towel rails, it must be hardwired into a fused spur by a qualified electrician. However, this is usually a straight-forward task with no lengthy call outs required.

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Two temperature settings and timer function

Cons

  • Expensive
Buy Now

Ecostrad iQ Glass Electric Panel Heater

  • Includes feet and wall mounting brackets
  • 24/7 programming
  • Remote control temperature management
  • Quick and effective heat
  • 2-year guarantee

This is an excellent choice for heating infrequently used spaces such as guest rooms or home offices. It is lightweight, compact and easily portable. You can use it as a free standing or wall mounted heater.

The Ecostrad iQ Glass heater quickly warms spaces with convection heating, its open window feature means that the heater will stop heating when a sudden drop in temperature is detected. Keeping your energy bills to a minimum.

It is easy to control and comes with 24/7 programming as well as WiFi control.

The Ecostad iQ glass electric panel heater is also compatible with Amazon Alexa so you can control your heater by your voice.

Pros

  • 24/7 programming
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa

Cons

  • Expensive to run
Buy Now

Is Electric Heating Any Good?

The short answer is ‘yes’. Modern electric radiators work just like gas central heating radiators, using convection and radiated heat which means that they are just as effective at heating your home as gas.

They come in various designs and sizes from the modern to traditional so you will find something that fits your home.

The technology in electric radiators is extremely sophisticated and designed to maximise the amount of useful heat you get from each Watt of electricity. They are nothing like the old storage heaters or cheap electric heaters you may have used as a stop-gap over the years.

What is the Cheapest Form of Electric Heating?

The cheapest form of electric heating is night-time storage heaters as you’ll usually power these using a special electricity tariff that offers cheaper rates of electricity at night. These tariffs are known as Economy-7, as they give you 7 hours of cheaper overnight electricity.

Econmy-10 works in the same way but also gives you 3 hours of cheap electricity, usually in the middle of the afternoon.

However, once the heat runs out in your storage heater you will need to use its backup heater which will be charged on normal day-time tariffs.

Is Electric Heating Expensive?

In the UK electricity is more expensive than gas and until our energy infrastructure changes (and gas starts to run out) this will probably not change.

According to Which?, the average annual running costs for heating and hot water using electricity in the UK is around £776 per year if you use around 4,200 kWh of electricity and are on a standard single-rate tariff. That’s around £200 more per year than gas heating.

This is just a guide as if your heating uses cheaper over-night rates (Economy-7) then your bills will be lower. Also, there are a number of other factors affecting your heating bills, the size of your property, how well it is insulated, how much you use your heating and the efficiency of the heaters you have chosen.

One of the best ways to cut down the amount you spend on energy is to use less of it, and electric radiators are much better adapted for this than gas central heating. Electric heaters operate independently so you don’t need to waste money heating empty rooms. Each individual radiator has its own thermostat so it can switch itself off when the set temperature has been reached. This is more efficient than a traditional gas system where a single thermostat controls all the radiators and the whole system must powered up if you want to heat a room.