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Buying Guide: Heaters



Whether you live at the top or bottom of New Zealand,  we can all agree that our winters can be cold and harsh. Sure, when it comes to heating your home, your house must be well insulated. But, this often isn’t enough on its own to create a comfortable temperature during the colder months. Heaters are a vital piece of the puzzle, and winter weather often calls for as many heaters as you can muster. And, you want the most power-efficient heaters at the most affordable price. 

But what heaters should you choose? An oil heater? Cordless heater? A heater with a thermostat? There are so many options available at Briscoes that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled our expert knowledge on heaters and general heating into this comprehensive guide. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll be able to determine which option is the best bang for your buck. Here’s what we’ll explore:

Why a heater is a good option for general heating

Safety around using heaters

How to choose the right heater

The different types of heaters

The range of heaters at Briscoes

Let’s dive in!

Why a heater is a good option for general heating

When it comes to winter heating, there are many ways to heat your home, from fireplaces to large heat pumps. In saying that, heaters in rooms are often comparatively safer, easier to operate and very efficient. Many of our heaters, from panel heaters and oil heaters to our popular Goldair ceramic fan heaters and Delonghi slim style heaters, blend into your home. These options are usually small, sleek and subtle. Another key benefit to consider when weighing up your heating options is that many of our cordless heaters and smaller options are portable. This makes them handy to only be used in the room you're sitting in, so you don’t blow up your power bill heating your whole house.

Safety around using heaters

As with any electric background heater, safety must be top of mind. Heaters can be dangerous if you don’t look after them and use them with care. Yes, nowadays, heaters all have to pass safety tests and checks before going to market. However, many older heaters didn’t have to undergo this testing, and you still need to use modern heaters safely to avoid starting a fire. Safety considerations for nearly all heaters include:

  • Keep items and people at least a metre away
  • Maintain and clean heaters regularly to prevent dust from heating up
  • Be mindful of large heater placement as they can fall on small children
  • Don’t place your belongings on hot surfaces

Although these safety tips may seem basic, it’s easy to forget them. If you want to be extra cautious, choosing heaters with a thermostat may also be a good idea. 

How to choose the right heater

Once you have a solid understanding of safety, it’s time to grasp what to look for in a good heater. When choosing between electric background heaters, or weighing up a convector heater vs an oil heater in NZ, here are the primary considerations that may impact your choice. 


Money makes the world go round, and budget is a big factor when it comes to heating. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to buy the most efficient space heater. It may not be a good idea if you can’t afford the upfront cost. In saying that, it may be wise to spend a bit more from the off, as a more energy-efficient heating option may save you money in the long run. You often get what you pay for, which makes buying a new heater a balancing act. 

Where the heater will be used

Every home is different. When choosing between heaters that are portable or even a panel heater, you’ll want to consider the size of the rooms that they’ll be used in. For example, a panel heater is often seen as a good option for heating a smaller space, and an oil heater may be a good idea for use over long periods in a larger room.

Energy efficiency




We’ve already touched on how your budget plays a role in the type of heater you buy. An extension of this is, of course, how energy efficient it is. Yes, insulation has a big role to play, but you still want the most power-efficient heater possible. Most heaters will have an energy rating label to help you weigh your options. Some heaters are also more efficient for long periods but not so great for short bursts. 

Top tip: Using a heater and dehumidifier in tandem can also be a way to ensure more energy-efficient heating. A dehumidifier doesn’t take much power to run, and it can work to remove moisture from the air, which makes your heater work more effectively, as dry air is easier to heat than damp air. 

Your family

Families come in all different shapes and sizes. Your family makeup is definitely worth keeping in mind when it comes to picking a heating option. For example, a gas heater may not be the safest option if you have young kids or pets. Choosing heaters with a thermostat or cordless heaters that you can keep out of reach may be smart in these cases. 

The different types of heaters

Now that you have a better understanding of how to weigh up heaters, you need to match up your preferences to the different options available. At Briscoes, we stock a wide variety of heater styles.

Oil column heater


Oil heaters, or oil column heaters as they’re sometimes known, provide a gentle and long lasting heat as they don’t use a fan mechanism. These use electricity to heat oil within the casing, which provides steady and silent heat. Oil heaters are the most efficient and cost-effective electrical portable heaters for long-term use, as the oil continues to emit heat up to half an hour after the appliance is switched off. Oil heaters are recommended for larger rooms as they are more cost-effective and last longer after being switched off.

Panel heater


Panel heaters are a fantastic option for warming a big space. The large panel surface area of panel heaters radiates heat, and the fan distributes it throughout the room, creating fast and effective warmth. Models featuring a variety of technologies and controls are available, all with energy-saving and safety features to ensure your family's comfort. Panel heaters are recommended for heating small living areas, bedrooms or hallways as complementary support to a heat pump as they are quiet and safe.

Convector heaters


There’s nothing like the comfort you can expect from a convector heater. Convection heaters pass over an electrical element. As the hot air rises, it is replaced by colder air which is heated in turn. This convection circulation naturally warms the surrounding area. When weighing up a convector heater vs an oil heater in NZ, a convector heater is often seen as more lightweight and portable. They’re usually easy to operate quietly and are simple and clean in design.

Ceramic fan heaters


Options like our popular Goldair ceramic fan heaters provide safe and personal comfort. Ceramic heating technology uses a ceramic stone heating element. This cutting-edge technology responds quickly, delivering high-intensity heat. This compact and lightweight series is ideal for spot heating and offers the flexibility to move around the home. Ceramic fan heaters are the most efficient fan-based heaters and come in personal and tower versions.

Fan heaters


Fan heaters offer great warmth when you need it. These light and portable heaters are perfect for immediate and short bursts of heat. A powerful electric coil heats up quickly and provides instant heat to the immediate area. Fan heaters are recommended for smaller spaces such as your office or bedrooms, as it provides instant heat for smaller spaces. There’s nothing like a desk heater in NZ when working from home in winter.

The range of heaters at Briscoes

At Briscoes, we stock a wide range of heaters and heating solutions from the world’s top brands in comfort. Our Goldair heaters, including the Goldair 1500w panel heater, are a popular option. As well as that, our Delonghi heaters, like the Delonghi ceramic technology eco heaters, are also in hot demand. As well as that, we provide other leading heaters for rooms from brands like Sunbeam and Zip. With us, you can even shop by room for your convenience.

Top tip: Electric blankets are also very cost-effective options when it comes to heating. At Briscoes, we stock a wide range of electric blankets and heated throws. Read our electric blanket guide for more tips and advice. 

Time for a new heater?

Winter heating doesn’t need to be expensive. You can browse our wide selection of heaters, electric blankets and winter bedding online or at your local Briscoes store. When you shop with us, you can benefit from our fast delivery to your door and price promise. Read our winter heating guide for more tips on heating at home.