Are you looking to get smart with your heating? Do you want to update your radiators so they’re fully equipped for the modern world?
They don’t come much smarter at the minute than smart electric radiators.
So much so that these innovative electric radiators could very well be the future of all home heating.
From Wifi radiators and voice control to motion detecting and energy monitoring, the world of smart electric radiators is a fascinating one.
I’ll walk you through all you need to know about smart radiators from my fully neutral and unbiased perspective to see if they’re worth the investment.
- What are smart electric radiators exactly?
- What makes them smart? How do they work?
- So are smart radiators the same as WiFi controlled radiators?
- Are smart radiators energy efficient?
- Do smart radiators use a lot of electricity?
- How much do electric radiators cost to run per hour?
- Benefits of electric smart radiators
- What are the downsides to smart radiators?
- How much do smart radiators cost?
- Can smart electric radiators revolutionise home heating?
- Where can I get a smart electric radiator from?
What are smart electric radiators exactly?
Smart electric radiators are an innovative type of home heating system. They help to warm up a room or space with electricity and the use of clever technology.
This is drastically different from the old school methods of burning fossil fuels or the use of traditional boilers and even biomass boilers.
By definition, smart electric radiators come equipped with advanced technology. This allows them to be controlled remotely and precisely. They can even learn patterns and self-programme to suit your needs and habits around the home.
In terms of looks, they appear very much like a modern radiator. The outer body tends to be made from ceramic or a type of metal such as aluminium.
But inside, electric radiators are very different to ‘wet’ radiators with hot water running through them. Instead, the electric variety are known as ‘dry radiators’.
What makes them smart? How do they work?
The main job of a smart electric radiator is to produce heat. There’s no point to a radiator if it’s not effective in heating a room or space. This doesn’t matter how smart it is!
Unlike most gas powered central heating systems and accompanying radiator systems, smart radiators use electricity which is then converted into heat energy.
This is usually through the heating up of a solid heating element (think like an electric kettle) or thermodynamic fluid (usually oil as it retains heat well). Interesting isn’t it? This is how all electric heaters and electric radiant heaters work.
So, what makes them smart?
Quite a few things actually. A smart electric radiator might not have all of the features listed below but they’ll certainly have one or two.
- WiFi or other wireless connection – Being able to communicate wirelessly gives you full control over the settings from your phone or other device. This can be done through a Wifi connection or Bluetooth.
- Voice control – Some smart radiators can be linked up to Google Home Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can turn them on and off with just your voice
- Smart sensors – Some radiators can measure a room’s temperature and adjust the temperature settings automatically (to a desired temperature you have set). They can also come equipped with motion detectors, which lets them know if someone just enters or leaves a room and adjust accordingly.
- Schedule learning – These clever radiators can learn your schedule from movement patterns. Sounds a little weird, but by doing this they know when to turn on and spring into action. It all helps with heating efficiency.
- Real time energy monitoring – Energy consumption is important to monitor at the minute. With real time monitoring you can manage radiator electricity consumption rather than getting an estimate.
So are smart radiators the same as WiFi controlled radiators?
Wifi controlled radiators are a type of smart radiators. In fact, they’re one of the best types of smart radiator.
Having a Wifi radiator is much different than a Bluetooth radiator.
With a Wifi radiator, it’s connected directly to your internet router. Sometimes this is done through a central gateway which the radiators are connected to or the slightly smarter and more reliable option is if your radiator has a direct Wifi module inside it. This is called Wifi Inside.
The short of it is this.
With a Wifi radiator you can control the settings from anywhere in the world as long as your home internet connection is working.
A Bluetooth radiator on the other hand isn’t quite as advanced. For Bluetooth to work you have to be in the vicinity of the device. If you aren’t nearby, you’re not going to be able to control your radiator.
For example, if you’re leaving work and want to warm the house up, you’ll be able to switch your Wifi radiators on. You can’t do this with a Bluetooth equipped radiator until you’re at home.
Are smart radiators energy efficient?
Yes, smart electric radiators can be very energy efficient.
You often see them labelled as 100% energy efficient because they can convert all of the electrical energy into heat energy.
Compared to traditional radiators, smart radiators can be controlled precisely and to your exact needs. If set up correctly this in itself makes them more energy efficient.
All smart electric radiators should be Lot 20 Compliant. This came into play for all new heaters manufactured after January 2018. Being Lot 20 compliant means a heater has hit efficient technology criteria as outlined in the EU directive.
Do smart radiators use a lot of electricity?
Smart electric radiators are available in a range of sizes with different electricity inputs and heat outputs.
On the smaller end, you can get electric radiators starting with a low wattage of 330W. The larger electric radiator models can go up to 2,500W.
So, is this a lot of electricity?
Not particularly, but it’s all relative.
A close relative of an electric radiator is the electric fire. In my blog on do electric fires use a lot of electricity, I concluded that they tend to be low wattage appliances and relatively inexpensive.
To compare to other household electric appliances, a standard kettle is usually around 3,000W, but is only on for a few minutes at a time. A good energy efficient TV will only consume between 50-300W.
At the other end of the spectrum, let’s take a tumble dryer. A standard condenser tumble dryes is expensive to run and can use over 5,000W per cycle!
The amount of electricity an electric radiator uses will depend on its size and power input requirements.
How much do electric radiators cost to run per hour?
Calculating the cost per hour of an electric radiator is a simple task. All you need to know is the power input required for the radiator and the cost per unit.
Currently, UK electricity costs 34p per kW (1,000W).
So, let’s take a few examples:
- 500W electric radiator will cost 17p to run per hour
- 1,000W electric radiator will cost 34p to run per hour
- 1,500W electric radiator will cost 51p to run per hour
With electricity costs currently very high, these figures can quickly mount up. Especially when you have multiple electric radiators.
For example, if you use a 1,000W for 3 hours a day that’s just over £1. Multiple that up to a week and you’ll be paying £7.14.
However, when you start to add in other electric radiators you have a fairly big cost. For example, 4 x 1,000W electric radiators run for 3 hours a day will cost you over £100 a month.
Benefits of electric smart radiators
There are plenty of benefits to having smart electric radiators for home.
Let’s look at the main positive:
- Fast heat up time
- Run off electricity
- Compatible with solar panels and renewable energy sources
- 24/7 remote temperature control
- Some can detect motion to turn on
- Can use historical data to activate heat delivery at the right time
- Efficient consumption where the temperature is kept topped up
- Energy efficient conversion of electricity to heat
- Prevents energy wastage
- Directional vents at the top
- Quick and simple installation
- Don’t need regular maintenance and no bleeding
- No noise when in use
What are the downsides to smart radiators?
Ok, let’s take a look at some of the cons of smart radiators to give you the full picture.
First of all is the cost per radiator unit. Smart electric radiators start from around £200 and can go up to £700.
If you have a number of smart radiators you want to buy, this could add up quite quickly.
The other cost is the running cost.
As mentioned above, although electric radiators are highly energy efficient, it doesn’t mean they’re cheap to run.
Even on a good day when electricity was cheaper, smart electric radiators could be costly. But now with the current sky high cost of electricity, smart radiators are in the expensive category.
How much do smart radiators cost?
The cost of a smart electric radiator depends on a number of factors.
Factored into the cost is the style, materials used, special features and the brand who’s manufactured it.
That being said, you can get an estimate of the costs from the wattage of the radiator. Here are some ball park estimates to give you an idea:
- Low wattage (330-500W) – around £200-300
- Medium wattage (500W-1250W) – around £300-500
- High wattage (1500W and over) – around £450-£700
Can smart electric radiators revolutionise home heating?
In my view, yes smart electric radiators can revolutionise home heating.
We all know power generation is moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. Well, at least is should be!
Most renewable energy sources are used to generate electricity. Think photovoltaic panels. So, electricity is the way forward.
Another thing that is here to stay and will only become more prominent in our homes is smart technology. Unless you intend to opt out and live a simple life!
Smart technology, including appliances like smart radiators, can very much help to save energy and prevent waste. This is all about smart energy consumption, which is why smart radiators can revolutionise heating.
The main issue at the minute is the price of mains electricity. If you can generate electricity yourself through solar panels, then you could be on to a winner.
Where can I get a smart electric radiator from?
Here are some of the best places online you get get smart electric radiators from. Please make sure you do your own research before you decide to purchase.
- Electric Radiant Heaters: Full Guide To Understanding Radiant Heaters 2023
- Do Electric Fires Use A Lot Of Electricity? [Running Costs 2023]
- How Much Does It Cost to Run a Gas Fire 2023? [Numbers Crunched]
Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.