Plug-in heater scam – don’t be fooled!

Posted by Andi

What are they?

Due to the ongoing energy crisis causing record-high energy prices, there has been an influx of ‘alternative’ heating methods with the most recent being a plug-in heater. 


They are small devices, generally around 350W-500W which are wireless and plugged directly into the socket. They are being marketed as ultra-efficient heating devices with the capability of being able to heat up a room quickly. They are being sold at a very high markup and taking advantage of people who are looking for genuine ways to save money on their bills.

Do they work?

The simple answer is no, they do not work and will not be able to heat up a room as they are being described. It is not possible for a small device with low wattage to be able to provide anywhere near enough heat to heat up a room as a traditional radiator would. 

At best, they may be able to provide a small amount of warmth directly near where it is plugged in.

Many of these sites have fake reviews that have an affiliate link where people get paid to advertise these inefficient heating devices so it’s best to check out some of the genuine reviews that show that these can often cost more to run than a traditional home heating method.

What is the cheapest way to heat your home?

The plug-in heater is described as being 99.8% efficient whereas an Air Source Heat Pump is around 300% efficient. An average Air Source Heat Pump has a coefficient of performance of around 3 which means that for every 1kW of electricity it consumes, it generates the equivalent of 3kW’s of thermal energy. In comparison, a modern gas boiler is only around 90% efficient.

For this reason, an Air Source Heat Pump is cheaper to run than a traditional gas boiler or any type of electric heater such as a plug-in heater sold under many brands such as HeatPal and Alpha Heater. The latest calculations based on the October 2022 price cap make an Air Source Heat Pump £100 to £500 a year cheaper to run compared to a gas boiler. 

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