Free guide to electric storage heaters

About storage heaters

Storage heaters are a good option for households not connected to the gas grid and need to use electricity as a heat source. Storage heaters work by drawing electricity (effectively, ‘charging’ like a very large rechargeable battery) and gradually releasing that stored electricity as heat.

They are designed to take advantage of cheaper, off-peak electricity available on certain tariffs during the night in order to heat a home during the day.

There are different types of storage heater. Some of which are no longer manufactured.

Basic storage heaters that have two controls; an input so you can control how much heat it stores and an output to control how fast the heat escapes (the equivalent of temperature control). These are the least efficient type of storage heater and are no longer manufactured in the UK.

Fan-assisted storage heaters that distribute heat further into the room by blowing warm air from the bottom of the heater.

Combination storage heaters combine a storage heater and a traditional electric convection heater. You can switch on the convection heater anytime to give an instant boost of heat. Combination storage heaters are usually installed in large rooms where a storage heater alone isn’t sufficient.

Automatic storage heaters or “High heat retention heaters” are the modern version of the inefficient storages of the past. They have a sensor built in to monitor the temperature in the room. This type of heater should automatically adjust its charge to meet your requirements. This is an efficient type of storage heater, especially as an upgrade from a basic storage heater. It will help save you money in the long-run.

Modern storage heaters are to 27% cheaper to run than a standard storage heater system and up to 47% compared to an electric convector heater

Lot 20 and the modernisation of all new storage heaters

From 1 January 2018, all new storage heaters need to have certain features so that they comply with Lot 20. This is part of the European Ecodesign Directive. The Ecodesign Directive provides consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of domestic products, including electric heating.

This essentially means that all storage heaters you can buy essentially work in the same way and the days of basic storage heaters are over.

All new electric storage heaters must meet a minimum energy efficiency rating of 38% for a heat output above 250W. The result is that you will find nearly all new storage heaters include the following features:

  • Digital programmers
  • Open window sensors
  • Electronic room temperature controls

How do storage heaters work?

Unlike a rechargeable battery that will retain the majority of its charge, a storage heater will begin to release heat almost immediately. Typically, a storage heater will lose most of its stored heat over 12 hours. But you can control when the heat is released by selecting a tariff and adjusting the storage heater’s controls.


The most efficient tariff for your storage heaters is Economy 7 (‘Domestic Economy’ in Scotland).

You get one meter which has two rates. One meter records all energy used during the day, and the other meter records energy used overnight. You pay normal prices during the day, but cheaper rates for seven hours during the night (usually 12pm-7am). 

By using primarily off-peak energy, it is expected that 90% of your heating requirements using storage heaters will be met with low cost energy

See our tariffs guide for more information

How much do storage heaters cost?

Like any kind of heater or radiator, the cost depends on how much heat you need – and that depends on the size of your room. If your room is large, the storage heater needs to be bigger so it will be more expensive to buy and use. However, a small heater in a large room will not be able to heat the room effectively and ultimately won’t be efficient.

Cost to buy

The best storage heaters cost to buy more initially but will save you money over time because they will be more efficient. A storage heater can cost from around £400 to over £1000 to buy and install, depending on the heat output required.

Some example features you’ll find on the best storage heaters available today:

  • Dynamically storing just the right amount of energy to heat a room so no electricity is wasted
  • Fan-assisted to quickly, quietly and more effectively distribute heat
  • Programmable room temperatures with timer profiles to save different settings for different days
  • Holiday mode to avoid spending money on heating empty rooms
  • LCD displays to make programming easy

Browse our range of storage heaters

Switch to a modern storage heater and save up to 27% on traditional storage heaters

Cost to run

The cost of running a storage heater depends on a range of different factors, including:

  • The size of your room
  • The insulation in your home
  • The size and number of windows in the room
  • The type of glazing in the windows
  • The age of your windows and what they are made from
  • The temperature you are comfortable with
  • The severity of the weather in your area

We have a heat calculator you can use to give you an idea of the amount of heat you need for your rooms in your area:

Tips for running your storage heater efficiently

Cold weather

In colder weather, set the input or timer profile to a higher setting to get more heat.

Warmer weather

In mild weather, set your input to low to make the most of the opportunity to save some money. Make sure the output switch is turned down or off during the night.

Going on holiday

If you have a storage heater with input and output controls, set the output switch to down or off while you are away to avoid wasting heat.

If you have a newer storage heater with timer profiles, you should be able to program a holiday mode setting that will help you avoid spending money on heating empty rooms.


  • Never cover any air vents on your storage heaters
  • Avoid placing anything flammable near your storage heater
  • Ensure a gap of at least 16cm exists between your curtains and the top of your heater
  • Install a storage heater guard to protect children
  • Make sure your storage heaters are installed by a qualified electrician (we offer an installation service)

Our storage heaters