Oil Column Heaters Buying Guide


Looking to beat the winter chills without spending big bucks? If you’re low on cash, but still want to keep things hot at home, an oil column heater may be just what you need.

This is one of the cheapest and most convenient options in the world of portable heaters. But, what exactly is an oil heater and should you get one? We answer your burning questions in this article.

What is an oil column heater?

buy oil column heater

An oil-filled column heater is a type of portable electric heater which uses electricity to warm up oil contained inside the columns (otherwise known as fins) to generate heat which is then transferred to the exterior metal column casings and then warms your home via air convection and thermal radiation.

Do oil column heaters use a lot of electricity?

Oil-filled column heaters have been praised for their energy efficiency compared with other types of heaters since they largely transform energy into heat and don’t require power for a fan motor. The small portion of electricity which isn’t converted is alternatively used to power other features, such as LED displays, timers or different heating modes.

Are oil heaters expensive to run?

Oil-filled column heaters are generally the cheapest type of electric portable heater to run. But they’re certainly not as affordable as using reverse cycle air conditioners, especially those designed for small to medium sized areas, or radiant-convection gas heaters.

Electric heaters tend to have higher running costs because they take longer to warm up compared to gas heaters, for example, which can heat large areas much quicker. That’s why many brands such as Goldair recommend certain oil heaters for larger spaces, compared to less open or spacious rooms where a reverse cycle air conditioner might be more cost effective in the long run.

6 good reasons to get an oil column heater

If you’re still on the fence about buying an oil column heater, here are some benefits to consider:

  1. Low upfront cost: Oil column heaters aren’t expensive to buy, with options starting from just $15 and reaching up to $400 for high end models.
  2. No gas or fumes: The process of converting energy into heat doesn’t actually involve burning oil (and clearly not gas or other fumes in other types of units).
  3. Keeps you warm for longer: Oil is great at retaining heat longer than other types of fluids, which is why column heaters are better at ensuring you stay cozy.
  4. Less noise: If the sound of the washing machine and dryer already drives you crazy, don’t worry. Column heaters are known to be quiet performers.
  5. Portable: Oil column heaters come in various sizes and styles. Many are pre-assembled, or at least have a handle, cord storage and castor wheels to help you easily move around the house.
  6. Safer to touch: We’re not suggesting you should run to an oil heater and give it a big hug, but the surfaces you might accidentally bump into are unlikely to get as hot compared to other types of electric heaters. Plus, there’s less risk of anything catching on fire if it comes into contact with the unit since the heating element is sealed inside. All oil-filled column heaters also come with a safety tip over switch and overheat protection.

Check Heater Prices Online^

Some disadvantages of oil column heaters

There’s always two sides to every story. Here’s why it might not be the best idea to pour your money into an oil heater.

  • Uneven heat distribution: Column heaters don’t have a fan to make sure heat is spread evenly throughout the room.
  • Bulky: While column heaters are technically portable, it’s not uncommon for them to weigh around the 7kg mark or be spread out with more than five fins.
  • Slow to start: While oil heaters are great for long-term use, they need a fair amount of time to prepare. This is because the oil needs to be heated up before it’s transferred into the columns, which themselves also take time to warm up.
  • High running costs: Oil-filled column heaters aren’t the most affordable to run, so whether this factor is a pro or a con depends on how you plan on using your unit. If you’re thinking of using a model with 11 fins in a small room for two or three hours a day, then it might not be worth it.

Why not to buy oil column heaters

Cheapest oil column heaters in Australia

To help you warm up this winter without burning a hole in your wallet, we’ve listed a few budget friendly options and where you can get them. Here are some brands you might want to check out:

Model Retailer Price
Kmart 5 Fin Oil Heater Kmart $35*
Arlec 5 Fin Oil Column Heater Bunnings $35*
ALDI 9 Fin Oil Column Heater 2200W ALDI $59.99*
Goldair 1500W Oil Heater 7 Fin Officeworks $69.95
Kmart 11 Fin Oil Heater Kmart $80*
Kambrook 7 Fin Oil Column Heater Big W $99*
DeLonghi Radia S Oil Column Heater 1000W DeLonghi $119*
Goldair 11 Fin Retro Oil Column Heater Kogan $139*
DeLonghi Radia S 2000W Oil Column Heater JB Hi-Fi $149*
Dimplex 15000W Oil Column Heater with Timer & Fan Harvey Norman $149.95*

*Prices taken from respective retailers, Appliances Online and Kogan, and correct as of May 2020.

Kmart 5 Fin Oil Heater – $35*

Buy Kmart column heaterKmart is constantly surprising Aussies with affordable alternatives to usually pricey appliances, such as coffee machines and microwave ovens. And let’s not forget about cult favourites like the pie maker and homemaker vacuum (otherwise known as the Dyson dupe). When it comes to oil heaters, the retailer currently has three options available ranging between $35 and $80. The cheapest model is the Kmart 5 Fin Oil Heater, which has three heat settings and a maximum power of 1000W. It includes a 12-month warranty and standard features such as:

  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Safety tip over switch
  • Overheat protection

Check Heater Prices Online^

Arlec 5 Fin Oil Column Heater – $35*

Buy Bunnings column heater Who knew, snags aren’t the only things sizzling at Bunnings. Turns out the retailer is also on fire when it comes to sales and offering oil heaters from just $35. The Arlec 5 Fin Oil Column Heater features three power settings ranging between 450W and 1000W. Similar to other pricier options on the market, this portable appliance comes with castor wheels and cord storage. Other features include:

  • Power settings: 450W, 550W and 1000W
  • Overheat protection
  • Tip over safety switch
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Assembly required

Check Heater Prices Online^

ALDI 9 Fin Oil Column Heater 2200W – $59.99*

Buy ALDI column heater Available for a limited time only, or until stocks last, the ALDI 9 Fin Oil Column 2200W features three heat settings which allow you to operate at 900W, 1300W or 2200W. Plus, there’s onboard storage and castor wheels to make this portable heater convenient to use and move around the home. Other features include:

  • 24-hour on and off schedule
  • Overheat production and a tip over safety switch

Check Heater Prices Online^

Goldair 1500W Oil Heater 7 Fin – $69.99*

Buy column heater GoldairIf you’ve been searching the web for a cheap oil heater, or any portable heater, there’s a good chance that Goldair has popped up. The brand offers a decent variety of affordable items, specifically designed for the Australasian lifestyle, including kettles, lighting appliances and even BBQs. The Goldair 1500W Oil Heater 7 Fin is available from Officeworks and includes a two-year warranty. You can expect to find these standard features:

  • Three heat settings
  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Safety tilt switch
  • Overheat protection

Check Heater Prices Online^

Kmart 11 Fin Oil Heater – $80*

Kmart model of column heaterThe most expensive, but still relatively budget friendly oil-filled column heater from Kmart, is the 11 Fin Digital Oil Heater. The most unique feature of this model is its three modes: fast-heating, energy-saving and anti-freeze. Other functions include:

  • Temperature setting range between 5℃ and 35℃
  • 24 hours automatic on/off timer
  • Multi-function remote control
  • LED display
  • Overheating protection and safety tip over switch

Check Heater Prices Online^

Kambrook 7 Fin Oil Column Heater – $99.95*

Buy Kambrook column heaterKambrook is one of the biggest household names when it comes to appliances, and you can typically find a decent deal for a heater from most places like Kmart, Target, Big W, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys as well as online retailers such as Kogan and Appliances Online. The Kambrook 7 Fin Oil Column Heater is described as being a safe and efficient alternative for heating. Ideal for bigger rooms, the model offers a maximum of 1500W and contains common features including:

  • Three power settings
  • Variable thermostat control
  • Safety tip over switch
  • Overheat protection

Check Heater Prices Online^

DeLonghi Radia S Oil Column Heater – $119*


Buy DeLonghi column heaterWhen DeLonghi isn’t busy brewing up its hot range of coffee machines, it’s producing a variety of other appliances such as portable heaters. The DeLonghi Radia S Oil Column Heater is one of the brand’s lower priced models and is described as being ideal for rooms up to 30m3.It has five fins and provides up to 1000W heating power and comes with pre-assembled folding castors, making it convenient and simple to move all around the house. The DeLonghi oil-filled column heater apparently operates with minimal noise and includes features like:

  • Anti-frost function
  • 24-hour timer
  • Room thermostat
  • Safety thermostat

DeLonghi oil column heaters usually range between $119 and $319. If you’re thinking of purchasing through the website, the brand is currently offering free delivery for all orders.

Check Delonghi Prices Online^

Goldair 11 Fin Retro Oil Column Heater – $139*

Buy Goldair column heater With the design of many oil column heaters looking like a copy and paste job, it’s refreshing to see a few models like the Goldair 2400W 11 Fin Retro Oil Column Heater give us something different to look at. Aside from its trendy mid-century inspired design, this model offers a higher heat setting than most oil heaters and can operate at a maximum of 2400W. It also provides a large heating surface, with 11 fins, plus the usual functions you can expect such as:

  • Three heat settings
  • Safety tilt switch
  • Overheat protection
  • Adjustable thermostat

This Goldair oil column heater comes with a two-year warranty and is available from Kogan and Harvey Norman.

Check Heater Prices Online^

DeLonghi Radia S 2000W Oil Column Heater – $149*

Delonghi model column heaterDeLonghi tries to address one of the biggest criticisms surrounding column heaters, with its DeLonghi Radia S 2000W Oil Column Heater. This model is claimed to provide even longer-lasting and more even heat distribution, mainly thanks to its larger fins. The DeLonghi column heater is described as being ideal for rooms no bigger than 60m3 and includes:

  • Nine fins
  • Pre-assembled folding castors
  • 24-hour programmable timer
  • Adjustable power settings and room thermostat

Check Delonghi Prices Online^

Dimplex 1500W Oil Column Heater with Timer & Fan – $149.95*

Buy Dimplex column heaterDimplex is one of the most searched brands for column heaters. One of its models, the Dimplex 15000W Oil Column Heater with Timer & Fan uniquely features frost protection and an electronic timer. Other functions include:

  • Two heat settings
  • 24-month warranty

Check Dimplex Prices Online^

Is it worth getting an oil-filled column heater?

The beauty of oil-filled column heaters is they’re available at all different price points, ranging between $15 and $400. As a general rule, a model priced at under $200 should still do the job, unless you live somewhere particularly cold. Most brands offer a two-year warranty on oil column heaters, with certain manufacturers, including DeLonghi, offering a seven-year warranty on some models.

But keep in mind scoring a good deal isn’t just about finding the cheapest heater on sale. Your budget needs to take into account how much you’re willing to spend upfront, plus in the long run. Do you prefer to leave your heater on overnight? Oil column heaters are likely to be more useful and cost effective if you’re planning on leaving the appliance on for longer periods, instead of just a couple of hours while you’re watching TV. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty bill shock! The other downside to oil column heaters is that you’ll probably be waiting a while for it to heat up too.

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Picture credits: New Africa / Shutterstock.com, AlexLMX / Shutterstock.com, voffka23 / Shuttestock.com.

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