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Storage Heaters Vs Electric Radiators: What's the Difference?

Five decades ago, many homes used Economy 7's lower nighttime electricity rates with the assistance of storage heaters.

While they were cost-effective back then, these heaters often made homes too hot in the morning and inadequately warm at night, prompting many to turn them on during peak electricity rates.

In the debate of storage heaters vs electric radiators, the latter clearly stands out today. Electric radiators not only offer energy-saving features but also deliver consistent heat throughout the day, reduce energy bills, and come with modern aesthetics, making them the preferred choice in contemporary homes.

However, let us learn about the differences between the two with their pros and cons.

Storage Heaters

Storage heaters are sizable electric heaters made of aluminium, containing a core of ceramic or clay bricks and a heating element. Their primary function is to consume power during nighttime, leveraging the off-peak electricity rate known as Economy 7.

What is Economy 7?

Economy 7 refers to an electricity tariff that is typically more affordable. Since most people are asleep by midnight, electricity rates drop during this period due to decreased demand.

Storage heaters capitalise on this by heating their internal bricks between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m., taking advantage of this lower rate. However, there's a catch: outside of these hours, the 'Economy' rate is often significantly higher than the standard tariff.

How Do Storage Heaters Work?

The bricks within storage heaters efficiently retain the heat produced, allowing it, in principle, to be disseminated slowly throughout the following day, eliminating the need to tap into the costlier daytime electricity rates.

Storage heaters employ the principle of convection for heat distribution. The process involves heating the air through contact with a hot surface, in this instance, the heater's heating element and its internal bricks.

As is commonly known, warm air ascends while cooler air descends. Once the cooler air comes into contact with the heater, it warms up, leading to a continuous circulation known as a convection current, where the room's air consistently moves up and down around the heating source.

Electric Radiators?

Electric radiators represent the newer evolution in heating solutions. They are available in various sizes, designs, and styles, ensuring they are sleek, inconspicuous, and harmonise effortlessly with contemporary interiors.

Unlike storage heaters, electric radiators are connected directly to a home's primary energy source and are intended to be switched on as needed and turned off otherwise. While they don't operate on an economy tariff like storage heaters, their superior control capabilities guarantee efficient energy usage.

How Do Electric Radiators Work?

In the debate of electric radiators vs storage heaters, it's notable that electric radiators utilise both convection and radiant warmth. Radiant warmth is a safe radiation type that efficiently heats individuals and objects directly in its path.

The fusion of convection and radiant warmth ensures that electric radiators deliver a heat that's not only quick to respond but also enduring, making rooms thoroughly cosy from corner to corner.

What Are The Different Types Of Electric Radiators?

The following are the three different types of electric radiators:

Dry Thermal

Dry thermal electric radiators utilise a single solid-state heating element, enabling them to heat spaces both rapidly and efficiently. Their design allows for swift heating and cooling responses.


Employing thermodynamic gels and liquids for heat retention, oil-filled electric radiators guarantee a uniform heat spread across rooms, irrespective of their size, and have the advantage of extended cool-down durations.

Dry Stone

Featuring a heating element embedded within ceramic stones, these electric radiators capture and retain heat at their centre. They offer enhanced radiant warmth, making them especially suited for spaces typically challenging to heat.

Electric Radiators Vs Storage Heaters: What Are The Differences?

1: Installation

When considering storage heaters vs electric radiators in terms of installation, both offer uncomplicated installation processes, especially when compared to gas systems.

While storage heaters require wall-mounting with a stable base and a connection to a particular off-peak circuit, a task easily handled by an electrician, electric radiators follow suit.

Oil-filled electric radiators particularly require professional hardwiring. However, some variants, like the iQ Ceramic, can be directly plugged into conventional 3-pin sockets, enabling a hassle-free, appointment-free transition.

Verdict: Electric radiators slightly edge out due to their DIY-friendly options.

2: Controls

Traditional storage heaters lag behind electric radiators in the arena of technological advancement and control. Storage heaters' mechanism of warming up at night to release heat during the day often results in unnecessary early morning warmth. Plus, they demand foresight, meaning wrong estimates can lead to chilly days.

On the flip side, electric radiators are crafted for on-demand use throughout the day, fitting snugly with contemporary lifestyles:

  • Precision Thermostats: Electric radiators have precision thermostats, ensuring consistent temperature. The TRIAC precision thermostats, silent in operation, are known for their exceptional temperature accuracy.

  • 24/7 Programming: Electric radiators let you schedule heating tailored to your daily routine.

  • WiFi Control: This feature enables control from a smart device, making adjustments a breeze.

Verdict: Electric radiators clearly dominate with their modern control mechanisms, smart features, and tailored heating schedules, leaving storage heaters trailing.

3: Heating Mechanism

Discussing storage heaters vs electric radiators in heating technology, storage heaters rely solely on convection. This makes them vulnerable to warmth loss due to drafts or open portals, affecting efficiency and expenses.

The convection approach also stirs dust, potentially aggravating allergies and respiratory issues.

In contrast, electric radiators merge both convection and radiation. About a third (rising to half for ceramic models like Ecowarme) of their heat is via radiation.

This radiant heat directly warms objects without affecting the air, circumventing convection-related challenges and providing a more wholesome heating experience.

Verdict: Electric radiators' dual heating approach creates an encompassing warmth, outshining storage heaters.

4: Design

In the aesthetic battle of storage heaters vs electric radiators, storage heaters are often perceived as bulky, protruding units with a limited colour palette of dull greys and faded whites. They tend to take up more space, with depths around 200mm.

On the other hand, electric radiators flaunt various colours and designs, from shiny whites and chic anthracites to unique shades like copper and mocha.

Their horizontal and vertical options offer flexibility in placement, and their average depth of around 100mm ensures they're less intrusive in rooms.

Verdict: Electric radiators, with their contemporary designs and versatile options, overshadow the old-fashioned look of storage heaters.

Pros And Cons Of Electric Radiators


  • More cost-effective operation than traditional electric heaters, thanks to integrated energy management systems.

  • High-precision temperature regulation, accurate to 0.5 degrees, ensures optimal comfort with minimal energy wastage.

  • Hassle-free DIY set-up – mounts easily to walls and requires a plug connection.

  • Minimal to zero upkeep is needed.

  • Eco-friendly as it doesn't rely on burning fossil fuels.

  • Sleek, modern, and subtle design to blend seamlessly into any property.

  • Customizable 24/7 heating schedules tailored to individual routines.

  • Environmentally conscious – for instance, our Haverland RC Wave radiators are crafted from premium recycled aluminium and are fully recyclable.

  • Enclosed heating components prevent unsightly marks or stains on walls.


  • Operates on standard electricity price plans.

Pros And Cons Of Storage Heaters


  • Benefits from cost-saving off-peak electricity rates at night.

  • Ensures the home remains warm during nighttime hours.

  • Installation is relatively budget-friendly.

  • Minimal maintenance is needed.

  • It is environmentally friendly as it avoids the burning of fossil fuels.


  • Bulky and heavy, taking up significant space.

  • Inefficient energy use - heat starts dissipating immediately, potentially warming the house unnecessarily during the night.

  • Limited flexibility - heating adjustments need to be made a day ahead.

  • Unexpected cold weather can catch you off guard; adjustments today affect heating only tomorrow.

  • Energy wastage can occur if the weather turns warmer than anticipated.

  • On particularly cold days, heaters might deplete their stored heat by early evening.

  • Controls can be complex and confusing.

  • Risk of causing unsightly stains on walls.

  • Under the Economy 7 pricing scheme, daytime electricity, including supplementary heating, can be costly.

The Final Verdict

When comparing storage heaters and electric radiators, each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Storage heaters can benefit those primarily utilizing off-peak electricity, offering warmth throughout the night and requiring minimal maintenance.

However, their limitations in flexibility, energy efficiency, and bulky design can be considerable drawbacks for many homeowners.

On the other hand, electric radiators offer modern advantages like precision temperature control, sleek design, and easy installation, all while ensuring energy-efficient operation.

Their adaptability to fluctuating weather conditions and user-friendly controls present a more convenient and contemporary heating solution.

Read more: Boost Energy Efficiency with Internal Solid Wall Insulation: 5 Powerful Tips

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