Electric or Gas Heater? We’ve found which is better!

POSTED ON September 24, 2018 BY


Last Updated on

The choice between an electric heater or a gas heater is a dilemma thousands of Australian homes face every winter.

Previously, we’ve taken a careful look at why Australians are overpaying on power and just how much home appliances are beefing up your electricity bill.

Consider the climate, operating costs and safety before choosing between electric and gas heaters.

You must be eagerly awaiting to see how this battle unfolds and which device comes out on top. The answer may surprise you.

Round 1: The Room

Do you have a large study or area that requires heating? Or is your heating space limited to an average-sized room?

Electric heaters may be more economical in small rooms as they are more energy efficient.

A 2014 study claimed that electric heaters only use about a fifth of the energy used by gas heaters to produce the same amount of heat.

The speed of gas heating makes it more suitable for warming up large spaces quicker.

Does your home not have a chimney or air vents? Then a gas heater might not be for you, and an electric heater might be a better option.

Ventilation is necessary for gas heating to remove unburnt fumes or stop mould forming due to excess water vapour.

Round 2: Installation Costs

A gas heater burns gas and creates pollutants that need to be safely let out of your home.

This burning requires installing vents or air ducts all over your room or home.

A gas heater in itself is quite a large device that may require professional help for installing.

An electric heater is usually small and portable, requiring no further installation as they typically need no extra components.

Round 3: Running Costs

As gas heaters and electric heaters use different sources of energy, it can be difficult to differentiate between their costs.

For example, to heat up the same room, electric heaters use only about 15-20% of the energy used by gas heaters. However, the gas prices per unit in Australia are much lower than electricity prices per unit.

So to compare fairly, we looked at the monthly costs to run an average electric and gas heater for 5 hours a day, in inner Melbourne.

What we found was, on average, an electric heater is 12% more expensive to run than a gas heater.

Another point we discovered is that the ideal temperature to maintain a room, to be most efficient, is 18-20°C.  

Read More: Here are 14 other ways that you could be saving energy costs this winter.  

Final Round: Safety

Gas heaters that make use of radiation technology concentrates heating and creates a risk of ignition.

The potential of fire increases when high temperatures remain in the same area and don’t spread.

Malfunctioning gas heaters pose a severe health risk, with dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide remaining unburnt.

Any home that chooses a gas heater must also install a detector for these dangerous gases.

Maintenance costs are higher for a gas heater to make sure they are safe for your property.

Electric heaters excessively remove water vapour from the room’s atmosphere, causing dry skin conditions such as eczema.

High wattage electrical equipment, such as electric heaters, could start an electrical fire.

And the winner is…

You could be better off in the long run with a gas heater if usage charges per unit in Australia remain much cheaper than electricity.

Not keen on making a sizeable upfront investment for gas heating?

An electric heater is easily set up and may save you more in the long run, as energy conversion to heat is nearly seven times better than gas heaters.

Ultimately, the winner of electric heaters vs gas heaters depends on the needs of your home and your affordability concerns.

Still unsure? Have a conversation with Electricity Monster and see how our 100% Free Service of comparing electricity plans, can help you!

* We do not compare all energy providers


We looked at the “dual fuel” plans provided in inner Melbourne by the “big 3” retailers – AGL, EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy. For our calculations, we assume that the electric heater has a wattage of 1500 watts. We presume the gas heater uses 15 megajoules/hour. Estimates are accurate as of February 15, 2019, for electricity plans under the Citipower network and gas plans under the Australian Gas Networks Central Distribution Zone.

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* We do not compare all energy providers