Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Radiators are the mobile heaters for quickly providing warmth. In classic radiator to mural design, hollow inside or filled with oil, it heats the surroundings. This distinguishes it from the convector, which reheats the cold room air. Various additional functions make it easy to operate and provide maximum protection.

Depending on the required heating power, there is a wide range of devices that can be easily placed in the cellar, garden shed or campsite thanks to 4 castors. With our big radiator test 2020, you get the most important information in a compact way to quickly find the best radiator for you. We have summarised the most important functions for a radiator with and without oil and with all the advantages and disadvantages for you. After reading this article, you will be able to make the right purchase decision yourself.




Summary

  • By purchasing a radiator, you have the possibility to heat rooms without a fixed standard heating system.
  • The radiators (term taken from the English for radiators) can be purchased as electric heaters with or without oil have a weight of between 5 and 20 kilograms, depending on the model.
  • Additional equipment with thermostat, timer, automatic for under- and overheating, as well as fan are helpful functions so that the radiator works efficiently and can be used without continuous control.

The Best Radiator: Our Choices

Radiators: Buying and evaluation criteria

There are a lot of criteria to evaluate our favourites and your possible search results. Since there is a large number of radiators on the market, we would like to explain a few features below so that you can make an easier decision.

We have filtered out 5 criteria that you should pay special attention to.

Tap changer and thermostat

Your radiator should have a tap changer and a thermostat. With the step switch, you can set the different heating levels. The heating levels are set by the unit and are usually 500 watts apart, for example 500 watts / 1000 watts / 1500 watts. Most units also have a thermostat.

This allows you to measure the air temperature and set the minimum or maximum temperature so that you don't have to check the radiator all the time.

Timer / timer switch

If you are not always at home and still want to have it nice and warm, you should buy a unit with a timer or time switch so that you can set the times of day and night for operation. If possible, you could also use the night time to heat the room.

Most electricity providers offer cheaper tariffs at night so that the power plants can also be operated at night when there is little demand for electricity.

Safety functions

In terms of safety, some units also offer functions for maximum security. To protect against overheating and frost, most radiators have integrated automatic functions that automatically switch off the unit if it overheats or if there is a risk of frost.

In addition, your unit should also have an anti-tip function so that the radiator automatically switches itself off if it tips over. If you have a radiator with oil, you should immediately check that the unit is not leaking oil to prevent further damage.

Information about the room size

Radiators have different heating capacities. These are given in watts and most units reach a maximum of 2,500 watts. In addition, you should also pay attention to the specifications for maximum room size. Every heater has a specification for heating the maximum room size. This is measured in cubic metres. You should therefore measure the desired "heating room" in advance so that your future purchase is also designed for this room size.

You should know the room size before you buy.

As a tip, it makes sense to buy a radiator that can handle a little more cubic metres than required.

For example, if you have a room with 50 cubic metres and buy a radiator with the specification "up to 50 cubic metres", on the one hand you will always have to operate the unit at "full throttle" and on the other hand you may never reach the desired temperature due to poor insulation, as heat is constantly escaping.

Fan

Another important criterion is that your radiator has a fan. This allows your room to warm up more quickly. The radiator gives off heat through its fins and heats the various bodies in the room. If your radiator has a fan, it can also stimulate the air circulation and distribute the heat produced in the room.

Radiator: Frequently asked questions and answers

In this section, we answer the most important questions about radiators. After reading this section, you will have gained the most important knowledge about radiators in order to be able to make an assessment of the various offers on the market.

What is a radiator?

A radiator is the English term for a heating element. It is usually used as a supplementary heating system for rooms. Basically, a radiator is a hollow body.

Materials that conduct heat well and a large surface area, usually in the form of fins, give off heat and warm the surroundings.

Radiator

Slim design, easy to use and neat cable storage (Image source: AlexLMX / shutterstock)

Because a radiator is a mobile device, it can be used in environments such as garden sheds, attics, basements or campsites where there is no fixed heating system.

Who is a radiator suitable for?

A radiator is suitable for anyone who needs supplementary heating in certain rooms. It should be noted that radiators are powered by electricity.

With a radiator, the electricity costs should be kept in mind.

If your device has a rating of, for example, 2,000 watts (= 2 kilowatts KW), this means that at full power in one hour, it consumes 2,000 watts. At an average price of 31.47 cents (as of July 2020) per kilowatt hour (kWh), your appliance would therefore cost 62.97 cents per hour.

Again, if it were to run at full capacity every day, it would cost €15.10 to run and €452.88 to run every month for 30 days. Therefore, you should only consider a radiator as an emergency, transitional or hourly supplementary heater.

Depending on the model, the radiators weigh between 5 kilograms and 20 kilograms. However, castors on the underside of the unit make it easy to move the mobile radiators to the right place, so they do not require much effort.

What types of radiators are there?

Before we come to the types of radiators, we would like to briefly mention here that in the case of electric heaters, a basic distinction is made between the type of convector and the radiator: "Convectors" heat the room with the principle of convection. A flow movement is set in motion, which generates warm air from cold air and thus heats the room.

Devices called radiators heat solid and liquid matter in the room.

The radiator contains oil or water as storage material, which is heated by an electric heating unit. As a result, heat is released and a desired temperature is reached. Basically, there are 2 different groups of radiators:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Electric radiator without oil environmentally friendly Short heating time Noiseless and odourless Usually higher power consumption Lower after-heating effect after switch-off
Electric radiator with oil Easier heating of larger rooms Longer heating time and oil loss possible

In addition to these basic types of radiators, radiators can have a wide variety of criteria that need to be met, such as:

  • Radiator with ventilation
  • Radiator for caravan or summer house
  • Radiator with fan
  • Radiator with remote control

In the same way, there are also radiators in the design of a fireplace

What does a radiator cost?

The purchase of a radiator is quite affordable in normal design. While small convectors are already available for between 10 and 20 euros, radiators start at around 40 euros and better devices are already available in the 100 euro range.

Radiator

Radiators in the design of a fireplace create cosy warmth and are odourless and noiseless (Image source: Michael Shannon / unsplah)

For people with an eye for room design, radiators are also available in a wide variety of designs and are often very creatively hidden.

In the form of a fireplace, a television or a painting, these devices then cost several thousand euros. Below is a brief overview of models and their price.

Type Price
Convector from 12 euros
Electric radiator without oil approx. 80 euros
Electric radiator with oil approx. 100 euros
Radiator with fan approx. 120 euros

It can be argued here that every additional investment contains a certain added value, i.e. our tip is to invest more from 120 euros.

What alternatives are there to radiators?

In addition to the convectors mentioned, there are also infrared heaters or the conventional central heating systems with radiators as alternatives.
Alternative Description
Convector Heats the cold air and generates pleasant warmth only in the immediate vicinity
Infrared heating heats solid bodies in the room instead of air
Fan heater Fan heater only for very small rooms

The infrared heaters have less heat loss than convectors and the infrared heaters heat other bodies through their rays. They also have the advantage that you need less electricity and the air dries out less.

How do I set up a radiator correctly?

Well, just put the unit down, plug it in and off you go, quite, but it's (not) nearly as simple as that.

  1. Preparation: Determine beforehand what temperature you want in the room. On the one hand, you should take into account that it needs a certain amount of warmth for people, but also that it does not need too much or too little for certain things in the room.
  2. Align the radiator correctly: Especially if your radiator has a fan, you should aim it at the place that needs to get warm relatively quickly.
  3. Set the desired minimum temperature and operating time. Remember that you will still have some heat available after the radiator has been switched off. Switch on the unit and you will soon have cosy warmth.

Whether and to what extent you will be satisfied with the work of your radiator will also depend heavily on the insulation of your room. Don't expect your 100 Euro radiator to warm up "Alcatraz" to a cosy 20 degrees.

Why and how do I clean radiators?

You should clean your radiator regularly as it will make your room look cleaner. If dust covers your radiator, less heat can be radiated and therefore the room is less warm.

Clean your radiator and save up to 30% on heating costs.

Vacuum your radiator first and then use a damp cloth to wipe it down. If there are stubborn stains, you can also use a steam cleaner to remove the dirt. Take care of each heating fin so that you have a clean radiator inside and out.

Conclusion

There are a variety of possible heating systems if an alternative or supplementary heating system to conventional heating is needed. If you need warmer air in the room quickly, you will reach your goal faster with a convector. However, if you want a warm environment in your house, hut or when camping, you should buy a radiator. Radiators can simply heat electrically operated cavities or heat matter such as water and oil, which in turn release heat into the environment.

The small convector for heating the big toe, for example, can be purchased for as little as 10 euros, while radiators in the design of a radiator are available from 40 euros. The additional functions create maximum safety and the device can heat independently without your constant control. As a fixed artistic element in your living room, a radiator can enhance your rooms, with costs of up to several thousand euros.

Image source: Iakov Filimonov / 123rf

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