Oil Heater vs Electric Heater

The choice between an oil filled radiator vs electric heater is a tricky and important question as those two heater types come with a lot of pros and cons. There are some similarities as well, like the fact that oil heaters are also powered by electricity because the oil inside them isn’t burned away but is simply heated so that it can radiate warmth.

So, essentially, when talking about “oil vs electric heat” we don’t mean what type of resource is being used but what the heating element is – in the case of oil heaters there’s oil in the radiator fins that gets heated up electrically and gives off that heat through the fins. This oil doesn’t expire and doesn’t need to be replaced – it just sits in the radiator and can be reheated as many times as you want.

In the case of electric heaters, on the other hand, there’s no liquid to be heated and the constant electric volts heat up the metal or ceramic surfaces directly and said heat is typically distributed throughout the room with the help of a fan.

So, how does the oil heater vs electric heater comparison look like?


Oil-filled heaters are bigger and more effective at heating bigger spaces. Electric space heaters are intended mostly for smaller rooms.


Electric heaters are more efficient in the sense that they start producing heat the moment you turn them on while oil heaters take a while to heat up. On the other hand, oil heaters keep producing heat for quite some time after being turned off.


Oil-filled radiators are quite large and cumbersome. They are hard to move around and are usually stationary. Electric heaters, on the other hand, are smaller and more portable – you can take them to work and then bring them back easily.


Because of their fan, electric heaters are quite noisy. Oil-filled heaters, on the other hand, produce little to no noise.


Oil-filled heaters can get very hot as they need to radiate heat so there’s a risk of getting burned if you touch them. Electric heaters, on the other hand, can cause accidents if they malfunction as they use higher voltages to run. Always be wary of where you’ve placed your electric heater and don’t leave it unattended.

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