The heating of our homes is often a contentious topic, bringing up questions like:

  • “When should the heating go on?”
  • “What’s the optimal temperature for everyone?”
  • “Would it be more cost-efficient to just pop on an extra layer?”

But a question that’s becoming more and more relevant as we all try to choose greener alternatives is “Are electric radiators expensive to run?” And, are they truly a viable option compared to other heating systems, like traditional gas radiators?

It’s a debate not just for homeowners but also for sparkies sizing up their next installation. Here, we explore this issue in detail, covering electric radiator running costs, comparing other heating systems, and sharing why claims about energy efficiency can sometimes be exaggerated.

How to Calculate the Cost of an Electric Radiator

Understanding the costs associated with running an electric radiator or heater is the first step in understanding whether they’re a viable alternative for you, or too expensive. This will include the initial cost of the radiator, which will vary between makes, and, if you’re a homeowner, installation costs. You can read our electric radiator product price guide for more info.

While we can’t predict the exact cost of running one of our radiators (as this is influenced by several factors, covered in more detail below), you can estimate electric heating running costs with the below equation:


(Radiator output (kW) x hours in use) x pence per Kw hour = daily cost of radiator (p)


Of course, one of the reasons you might wonder if electric radiators are expensive to run is because of the soaring costs of electricity that happened in 2021. According to Ofgem, in the UK in 2024, you will pay an average of 24.50p per kilowatt hour (kWh) if on a standard variable tariff and paying by Direct Debit.

What Factors Affect Electric Radiator Running Costs?

There are a few factors which affect the running costs of electric radiators, making the calculation unique to each dwelling:

  • The electricity tariff in use at the property
  • The thermostat setting
  • The nature of usage (i.e. on/off or continuous)
  • The heat loss of the rooms and the property

The quality of the thermostat and timing controls can also have an effect by ensuring only the desired heat is produced at the required times. For example, our ranges have electronic thermostats with an accuracy of +/- 0.2°C.



How Expensive Are Electric Radiators to Run: An Example

Suppose we were to assume a cost of 25p per kWh – a 1kw radiator would cost 25p per hour to run if heating at full power for the whole hour. From here, it can get a little tricky to calculate!

If the thermostat is set to 20°C, for example, once the room reaches this target temperature, the thermostat will turn power off to the radiator. From this point onwards, the thermostat will ensure that the only heat emitted is enough heat to counteract the heat loss of the room and therefore keep the room at a constant 20°C.

For example, if the room has a heat loss of 200 watts per hour, the 1kw radiator will only produce 200 watts of heat in that hour. That would mean only being on intermittently for a total of 12 minutes in each hour. At an electricity tariff of 25p per kWh, this would cost 5p per hour.

Keeping Your Electric Radiator Costs in Check

It will always take more energy to heat a room to temperature than it will to maintain a room at a set temperature. Therefore, on/off usage patterns will be more costly than maintaining a constant temperature or using ‘set back’ or ‘economy’ temperature settings rather than switching off completely when the room is not occupied.

In common with all heating systems, the thermostat setting affects how expensive it is to run your electric radiators, so rooms which are not occupied should be set to lower temperatures. According to the Carbon Trust, your heating cost will rise by 8% for every 1 degree the thermostat setting is increased above 19°C.

What Are the Cost Benefits of Electric Radiators?

While electric radiators and heaters are, on paper, considered to be slightly more expensive to run than gas central heating, there are several advantages to consider which may justify the costs for you and lower long-term expenses. These include:

Heat Energy Efficiency:
Electric radiators convert all the electricity they use into heat, ensuring minimal energy is wasted. There is also no wasted heat through pipework which makes them more cost-effective, in addition.

Consistent Heat Distribution:
Electric radiators provide a steady heat that does not fluctuate, maintaining a comfortable environment and reducing the need to adjust the settings frequently.

Precise Thermostat Controls:
High thermostat accuracy allows for better temperature management and control, reducing energy wastage by heating rooms only to the desired temperature.

Programmable Settings:
All Lot20-compliant models come with timers and programmable settings that adjust the heating to your schedule, reducing unnecessary costs. Additional settings, such as open window detection, intuitively save energy where possible.

Easy Installation:
Electric radiators are generally easier and less costly to install compared to many other heating systems as they don’t require pipework.

Low Maintenance Costs:
These radiators typically require less maintenance over their lifetime, avoiding the regular servicing costs associated with systems like gas boilers.

Long Lifespan:
The simplicity of their design and lack of moving parts contribute to a longer lifespan, which means less frequent replacements and better cost management over time.

These advantages highlight how electric radiators can indeed be a cost-effective choice for heating, particularly when considering long-term benefits and operational costs.

Beyond cost-efficiency, a key benefit of electric heating systems remains their eco-friendliness, able to reduce the carbon footprint of a household or commercial space and be paired with renewable energy sources, such as solar panels.

Understanding Energy Efficiency and Electric Radiator Costs

When considering the costs of installing an electric radiator, energy efficiency is a key factor for those monitoring their energy and heating bills. Specifically, whether certain models and makes can offer greater energy efficiency and reduce running costs as you heat your home.

Their efficiency is one of the key advantages of electric radiators over other heating systems, but the truth is that all models will produce the same amount of heat for the same amount of electricity used – making them all 100% energy-efficient. This efficiency applies to all types of electric radiators, including electric oil-filled radiators and ceramic electric radiators, no matter what large claims others may make about cost savings!


The Science Behind 100% Energy Efficiency: Joule’s Law

All electric radiators and heaters produce heat in the same way, by passing electricity through a resistance element. Joule’s law and the law of conservation of energy in physics determine that this method of producing heat, known as “Joule heating”, produces heat with 100% efficiency.

The preparatory study for local room heating products, written on behalf of the European Commission, documents this saying:

“Efficiency of electric heaters is determined by the Joule effect where all electricity is converted into heat. In practical terms, the product efficiency in electric heaters is 100%.”

SAP 2012

The fact that all electric radiators and heaters produce the same amount of heat for the same amount of electricity used – meaning there is no difference in operating costs – is also supported by the UK government’s “Standard Assessment Procedure for Energy Rating of Dwellings” (SAP 2012).

This paper was published on behalf of the Department of Energy & Climate Change by Building Research Establishment (BRE), the body responsible for writing energy efficiency standards for the government. It was designed to evaluate the energy performance of every aspect of a dwelling and is used in the production of official Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for properties.

Regarding heating and electric heaters, SAP 2012 recognises that all direct acting electric heaters are 100% energy efficient and supports that the running cost and energy use will be the same across all models. The document doesn’t identify any specific electric radiator or heater.

Our Research Into Energy Efficiency

To further prove that one electric heater cannot be more efficient than another, we instructed an accredited domestic energy assessor to evaluate the energy efficiency of a property heated via electricity by following the SAP 2012 standard.

Using Aeroflow and another German electric radiator make, the EPCs showed that the estimated yearly energy consumption and running costs for both were the same. Similarly, the overall efficiency rating of the property remained the same with both heating systems.

Our research shows that this would be the result for any electric radiator or heater from any manufacturer – all would have the same energy efficiency of 100%.

Insights from BRE

In conducting our research, we were also able to get a statement from BRE on the subject. BRE stated that:

“The energy consumption for all electric heaters and electric radiators is the same, primarily because all electric heating is 100% efficient. All electric heaters (except heat pumps) have an output of 1 kWh of heat when provided with 1 kWh of electricity.

“This is a long-established basic physics and was the reason why SAP 2012 did not require the input of test data on the efficiency of electric heating systems (except heat pumps).

“There are differences in the controllability of different electric heating products, which could affect energy use. Because of this, SAP 2012 differentiated between those electric heaters which had thermostatic control and those which did not.

“However, in practice, all new electric heaters have such a mechanism and therefore the energy consumption for all electric heaters would be the same.”

While it’s true that a thermostat’s accuracy will serve to produce better comfort by maintaining a more accurate room temperature, it will not change the efficiency of the electrical heating appliance.


Further Studies Into the Topic

As proof of the equal energy efficiency of different electric radiators and heaters, there are a number of further studies.

One study, Running Costs of Conventional Electric Space Heating Systems written by Professor John Counsell, says the following:

“In the study, three types of 100% efficient electric heating systems have been modelled using SAP 2012… In SAP modelling, all these heaters have the same responsiveness and controllability and there is NO variation in running cost predictions in SAP 2012 between these systems….”

The Energy Saving Trust report – Domestic Heating By Electricity – which promotes energy efficiency says the following:

“…conversion efficiency of delivered to useful energy is very high for electric heating, and can normally be taken as 100 percent irrespective of the type or make of appliance used.”

Are Electric Radiators the Right Choice for You?

As we’ve explored above, the costs associated with running electric radiators can vary from property to property. While 100% energy efficiency is possible across all models, the true cost depends on your usage, electricity tariff and property insulation.

Ultimately, electric radiators are an excellent choice for those seeking a modern, efficient heating solution with full controllability that aligns with a sustainable lifestyle. So, when making your decision, consider how these radiators fit into your home’s design and daily routine. Evaluate your current energy costs and think about how features like programmable settings and smart thermostats can optimise your energy usage.

If you have any questions about electric radiators and whether they are expensive to run,  our team is ready to help you make an informed choice. You can contact us on 0113 274 6799, via email, or through our contact form for personalised advice and guidance on our products.