When it comes to working on-site during cold weather, you want one thing above all else – to be warm, by any method possible.

It’s for that reason we stock over 50 models of heaters from industry-leading brands such as Rhino, Elite, Master and Silverline. But, when it comes to buying one, how do you know which type of heater is for you? When there are fan, super fan, ceramic, infrared, radiator, infrared oil, indirect oil and direct oil heaters on the market, how are you even supposed to know which to choose from?

That’s why we’ve put together this short guide on how each type of heater operates and the best places to utilise them. Let’s get started:


Electric Heater Types:


Fan heaters work, somewhat, like your toaster does. A current is passed through a heating element, generating heat. Unlike your toaster, however, fan heaters have a fan built in, which forces cold air over the heating elements and drives it outwards.

Fan heaters come in a wide variety of sizes and are superbly adept at quickly heating a space, although if you need to heat large or open spaces you will want to look at some other options.

Check out a range of fan heaters here.

Super Fan

Much like your traditional fan heater, a ‘super fan’ heater pushes cold air over heating elements. Unlike a normal fan heater though, super fan heaters feature significantly larger fans and heating elements, allowing them to generate significantly larger volumes of hot air per second, rapidly heating a space.

For this reason, super fan heaters like the Master B18EPR are excellent for industrial applications, like heating large rooms where whole teams are working.


Ceramic heaters get their name from the number of ceramic plates which are integral to their operation. By heating coils behind the plates, heat is transferred to the plates, where it is then distributed evenly in the air.

Ceramic heaters offer superb heat output relative to their size and operate almost noiselessly, utilising less energy in the process. On the downside, they often take longer to heat large spaces thanks to the lack of directed heat.


Completely different from the heaters mentioned above, infrared heaters warm a space not through convection (gradually heating air and letting it circulate), but by directly heating objects like walls and your floor. Infrared heaters emit a heat which is closer to that of the sun, emitting infrared heat light which gets absorbed by skin, clothes and other objects, rather than heating the air.

Infrared heaters work instantly and are totally silent. Unlike other heat sources, they don’t reduce humidity or oxygen content in the room, making a model like the Elite Heat Portable Heater ideal for drying paintwork or plaster quickly.


Just like in a central heating system, radiators can play a crucial role in heating a space. Electric radiators like the Oil Filled Radiator Heater work by heating oil within the radiator to a set temperature, which in turn heats a room.

Radiators are excellent at maintaining temperatures within a room, however, they tend to be slower at heating a space than other heaters.


Oil Heater Types:

Indirect Oil Heater

First things first – an indirect oil heater, like all oil heaters, burn oil in order to create vast quantities of heat in areas which might not have electricity. Within this category though you’ll find there are multiple types of oil heaters.

Indirect oil heaters are primarily designed to be used in areas which have either limited ventilation or where combustible materials are present. The diesel oil is injected into a combustion chamber where its ignited and burned at a regulated rate to create large volumes of clean, safe and dry heat. As such, they’re ideal for space heating applications or for disaster recovery after flooding.

Direct Oil Heater

Direct oil heaters use oil in a slightly different way, igniting the fuel and burning it before being expelled with the heat creating a larger volume of heat and an indirect oil heater.

Because of this though, these heaters are unsuitable for locations with combustible materials and limited ventilation. Ventilation is important with a direct oil heater because the heating process adds moisture to the air, making them unsuitable for drying applications.

Infrared Oil Heater

Offering all the benefits of a mains powered infrared heater with the sheer power of an oil heater, an infrared oil heater can deliver large amounts of infrared heat without any air movement.

That makes them ideal for drying walls or paints without dust build-up, defrosting machinery or pipelines and heating working areas. They also allow for significant energy efficiency boosts over other types of oil heaters, as they only work to heat objects and people in the room, not air which cools quickly.

We stock a wide range of infrared oil heaters, designed to suit every budget. Take a look at them here, or browse our whole heater range here.

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