Oil Filled Radiator vs Ceramic Heater

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Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

Oil Filled Radiator vs Ceramic Heater – Which One Do You Need?

You might find yourself struggling during the winter to keep your house warm. A space heater is the quickest solution you need to protect yourself from the chilling weather inside your home.

Space heaters allow you to generate heat where you need it. As you can turn down the thermostat of your central heating system, they can help you save on your energy bills. It is important to understand that all space heaters are not the same.

There are two major types of space heaters, the ones with oil filled radiators and the other ones are the ceramic heaters. You must understand your needs before choosing between an oil filled radiator and a ceramic heater.

1. How Do Oil Filled Radiators work?

  • The oil-filled heaters use the radiant heat for heating up space around them. Every hot surface produces the radiant heat and the heat generated from the oil filled radiators is a perfect example of radiant heat in action. 
  • The oil filled space heaters have fins that are filled with the oil. The oil is heated using electric heating elements but never burnt. You don’t need to replace the oil as you don’t burn the oil, but only heat it up. 
  • The heated oil retains the heat for hours and keeps the radiator warm. This mechanism is very energy efficient as keeping the air as hot would consume far more energy. 
  • As the electric elements heat up the oil filled in the fins, the fins become hot. The air surrounding the fins becomes hot, it rises up and heats up space around the radiator. You might need to keep the heater on for some time before it starts heating your room. However, they produce intense heat and keep your room warm for a long time after they are turned off. 

Why are Oil Filled Radiators Good?

  • Safer To Use – You don’t have to worry about igniting things up with an oil-filter space heater. Also, most of the heaters come with an auto-shut feature. The heater turns itself off once it hits a certain temperature or if it gets bumped over. 
  • Emit Heat For A Long Duration – These heaters continue emitting heat radiations even after you turn them off. That’s why they are perfect to use in your bedroom during winters to keep the room warm. 
  • Durable – The oil filled space heaters have fewer moving parts. As they have fewer things to break down, they are highly durable. 
  • Low Noise – As there is no fan or a blower, oil filled heaters work silently. Low noise makes them suitable for use in your bedroom. 
  • Large Heating Surface Area – They take longer to heat the surroundings but they heat up a large area. The heat produced by these heaters is evenly distributed as they don’t direct the heat to a particular spot. 
  • Works With A Thermostat – Many heaters have an inbuilt feature to keep the room at a set temperature. Once the room heats up to the set temperature, the heater goes to the sleep mode. It automatically switches itself on once its sensors indicate that the temperature has fallen down. 

Why are Oil Filled Radiators Bad?

  • Take Longer To Heat – The oil filled heater needs time to heat up its surroundings. You will need at least 15-20 minutes to feel the difference in temperature. 
  • No Air Circulation – They don’t circulate the air around your room. Without the circulation, the heat takes longer to get evenly distributed across the room. 
  • Heavy – Many oil filled heaters are quite heavy and they are not built for moving around. You won’t like to move them around across different rooms in your house. 

2. How Do Ceramic Heaters Work?

  • checkMost of the ceramic heaters are convection heaters. Convection heat is dissipated through the air. An electric element is used to heat up the air surrounding the element. A fan is used to blow the heated air in the surroundings. That’s why convection heaters are also called fan heaters. 
  • checkThe heating element used in the ceramic heaters is constructed using the ceramic. The ceramic used in the heaters is highly durable and it conducts electricity very well. 
  • checkIn the radiant ceramic heaters, electricity heats up the ceramic plate and it radiates the heat in its surroundings. Convection heaters also have a blower or a fan to blow the heated air in the surroundings. 

Why are Ceramic Heaters Good?

  • Good Air Circulation – Ceramic space heater with a fan circulates the heated air in the surroundings. Good circulation distributes the heat evenly and quickly in the surroundings. 
  • Instant Heat – If you don’t want to wait for 10-15 minutes after turning on the heater and want to get some instant comfort, the ceramic space heater is for you. s a
  • Portability – Generally, the ceramic space heaters are lighter in weight and you can move them around pretty easily. 

Why are Ceramic Heaters Bad?

  • Heating Turns Off Instantly – They stop emitting heat radiations almost instantly after being turned off. They are not suitable for keeping a bedroom warm throughout the winter season. 
  • Noisy – Ceramic space heaters are quite noisy and not suitable for use in your bedroom when you want to fall asleep. 
  • Dust Problems – You will have to clean the dust inside the heater occasionally. Otherwise, it will blow dust in your room and start becoming noisier. 

Compare Oil Filled Radiators vs Ceramic Heaters

Size Of The Room

How big is the area that you want to heat? You should know the answer to this question before you go ahead and choose a space heater for yourself.

For a large room, oil filled heaters work the best if you want to spend some time in the room. If you want to warm up your room quickly, you can use a ceramic space heater but it does not heat up the surroundings efficiently in a large room.

Heating Needs

What type of heating do you want? Do you need just one area to be warm or want to heat up the entire surroundings?

Oil filled heaters heat up large areas and ceramic heaters with a fan can heat up a particular spot in your room pretty quickly.

Noise Levels

Oil filled space heaters work silently. They can keep your bedroom warm and cozy throughout the entire winters. You don’t want the space heater to be noisy in your bedroom.

You can use the ceramic space heaters in the area where you don’t need the noise levels to be too low.


Oil filled space heaters are heavier than the ceramic space heaters. You cannot move them around too often like ceramic heaters.

If you want to use your heater in more than area and move it around often, you should probably go for a ceramic space heater.

Thermostatic Control

If you want to maintain a particular temperature in your room, you can use an oil filled heater for that purpose. Ceramic space heaters are not suitable for thermostatic control.


Oil filled heaters are safer than the ceramic space heaters. However, with inbuilt protective features like auto-turn off, both kinds of heaters are generally safe to use inside your house.

Final Comparison

Oil filled heaters and ceramic space heaters are designed for different heating purposes. Both of them have certain advantages and disadvantages associated with them.

If you need a heater for your bedroom for winters and don’t want it to be noisy, you should go for an oil filled heater. If you want to move around your heater quite often, you probably need a ceramic space heater.

Understand your heating needs before you choose between an oil filled heater and a ceramic space heater.

Further reading

  • For those seeking a cozy addition to their bathroom, explore our comprehensive guide on the Best Portable Bathroom Heaters, where we delve into the most efficient models to keep you warm during the colder months.
smith brad omni

Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of OmniHomeIdeas.com. With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.