Oil filled radiator buying guide

Oil filled radiator buying guide

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Oil filled radiators are highly efficient devices that work perfectly alongside a main heating system. Ranging from 500 to 2500 W in power and equipped with timers or thermostats to adjust to your room temperature, these traditional radiators now come in a variety of simple and elegant designs.

Important features

  • Heating power
  • Thermostat and programming
  • Shape and size
  • Safety features
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Oil filled radiators: how do they work?

Thermal fluid technology in a space heater


Oil filled radiators are portable electric radiators that function using thermal fluid technology. They feature a metal body, which is usually made of cast iron, and contain a heating element that is held within a special heat transfer fluid. The fluid usually consists of a type of oil which is where these radiators get their name.

Most oil filled radiators are equipped with castors for easy movement; this is a particularly useful feature as they can be quite heavy. Unlike central heating radiators, these devices are mains-powered and are therefore really easy to set up – simply plug them into a power outlet and you're good to go!

The heat transfer fluid contained within the radiator stores heat and releases it gradually meaning that the radiator will continue to release heat even after it is switched off.

Traditional design for a greater heating surface


Oil filled radiators feature a distinctive design. They are equipped with a number of curved columns (known as fins) alongside cavities which provide a larger surface area. This increased surface area allows more air to come into contact with the radiator for optimal thermal transfer and heating power.

Oil filled radiators work by both convection and radiation to release a fairly gentle form of heating which provides a very comfortable ambient temperature.

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Oil filled radiators

How to use an oil filled radiator

Additional heating devices


While they do generate a pleasant heat, oil filled radiators are quite energy-intensive. As such, it is generally recommended that you use them space heaters rather than a sole heating source.

For example, these radiators can be used in small rooms such as offices, spare rooms and bathrooms. They are also ideal for occasional use alongside your main heating system – for example, when the weather is particularly cold.

Portable radiators


Most models feature a carry handle and wheels making them excellent portable heating devices.

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Oil filled radiators design and power ratings

Radiator size and heating surface


Oil filled radiators are designed to be portable and can be moved from one room to another as required. These compact devices don’t take up a lot of room and can therefore be a great alternative to larger radiator system.

Nonetheless, the greater the surface area, the more heat the radiator will release regardless of the power rating of the device. Basically, the larger the radiator, the more contact it has with the ambient air and the more efficient the device will be. As such, larger radiators will always perform better in more spacious rooms.

However, manufacturers are now trying to get around this issue by offering compact radiators with high power ratings of up to 2500 W. These models are designed to easily heat up large rooms despite their modest size, but do use up a lot of energy.

Power rating


In order to choose the right wattage, you can follow a simple formula based on the size of the room or rooms you want to heat:

  • 100 W / m² or 0.4 kW / m3 (for well-insulated homes).

  • 60 W / m² or 0.24 kW / m3 (for very well-insulated homes).

Oil-filled radiator features and accessories


  • Wheels: As these radiators have been designed to be moved around, there’s no need to set up a fixed position for your radiator – simply select a model equipped with castors!

  • Carrying handle: allows for easy handling; this is especially important as these radiators can be quite heavy.

  • Tilt protection: a safety features that limits the risk of your radiator falling over.

  • Adjustable heating power: some models offer you the option to adjust the heating power.

  • Overheat protection: a safety feature that ensures your radiator automatically switches off if it gets too hot.

  • Screen display: very useful for changing modes and settings with ease.

  • Control lock: child safety device.

  • Programming: several programming options (depending on model).

  • Electric thermostat: provides more precision than electromechanical devices.

  • Humidity control: allows you to adjust the level of moisture in the air (convection heating does tend to dry the air slightly).

  • Cable tidy: very useful for discreetly winding up your power cables.

  • Extension cable: a longer cable will make life easier!

  • Timer: especially useful for night time use, timers can be used to switch off your radiator at set times (can also be replaced by a programmer).

  • Design: the traditional shape of oil filled radiators remains more or less unchanged. However, some manufacturers now offer more streamlined designs with various modern colour and material options.

Oil filled radiators: warranties, maintenance and prices

Quality commitment


Oil filled radiators are sturdy devices. That is why most radiators come with a fairly long warranty as standard. A long warranty period serves as a guarantee of a reliable product but technology is immune to failure. It's important to watch out for any changes to your system and to act accordingly.



Oil filled radiators require next to no upkeep as the heat transfer oil is concealed within a sealed system. However, if you notice any signs of leakage you must turn off the radiator immediately and contact your manufacturer so as not to take any risks (for example, a rise in pressure). That being said, this is an extremely rare occurrence.

Once a month, you should dust your radiator in order keep your radiator running efficiently as dust may lead to energy loss and unpleasant odours.



Oil filled radiators are very reasonably priced and feature among the most inexpensive heating devices on the market with prices starting from just £25. These radiators are very cost-effective meaning you can look for a model with specific features to suit your needs. Setting out your own requirements before investing will help you make the right choice.

More information

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Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergolas, huts, pavements, fences, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or the improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.

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