Heat pumps vs electric heaters! These two popular heating systems may be on your winter list for consideration. But what option is best for you?

Deciding on what heating solution to invest in whether it’s for your home or commercial space, can be overwhelming with many questions to consider.

For instance; is a heat pump more energy efficient than an electric heater?

Which one is cheaper to run?

What are the benefits of a heat pump vs electric heaters?

Let’s dive in and get some of your questions answered so you and your family can stay warm all winter.

Heating with electric heaters

Electric heaters use electricity to run and include portable and fixed options.

Examples include:

  • Panel heaters (low heat output, can be useful for bedrooms)
  • Oil heaters (heat mostly air rather than surfaces)
  • Electric floor heaters
  • Bar element radiant heaters and fan heaters

Electric heaters generally provide targeted heat with low upfront costs but higher running costs. For families, safety concerns, such as exposure to heat and tipping can be hazardous, as is the lack of a thermostat to control heat level and power use.

Heating with heat pumps

A heat pump is a versatile, efficient cooling and heating system. Thanks to a reversing valve, a heat pump can change the flow of refrigerant and either heat or cool your home all year round. There’s no need to buy two units when you can buy one that does both.

Many types of heat pump systems available on the market can cater to your unique needs and spaces. Examples include:

  • High Wall mounted heat pumps
  • Multi-room heat pumps
  • Floor consoles
  • Central heating
  • Ceiling concealed cassette heat pumps

Although heat pumps use electricity, heat pumps work differently from standard electric heaters, moving hot air around, using an evaporator coil to extract warmth from the air outside and transferring it to the inside, generating a lower energy output.

Unlike the electric heater, the upfront cost of a heat pump will require a bigger investment. However, the heat pump running costs are far more efficient and cost less to run.

heat pumps vs electric heaters

Heat pump vs electric heaters – which costs less to run?

Research confirms that heat pumps are the most cost-efficient solution for heating homes across New Zealand.

The energy efficiency of a heat pump and its ability to cope with your local climate can make hundreds of dollars difference.

Energywise has an online calculator that estimates if you use a heat pump for 6 hours per day for 6 months of the year with an energy output of 6KwH it will cost around $400 per year to run (based on a 5-star energy rating).

Using a heat pump instead of an electric heater in your living space can save you around $500 a year.

The graph below via Gen Less, the government-supported website responsible for helping Kiwis reduce their energy use, compares heater running costs based on per unit of heat delivered.

Actual running costs may differ and depend on room size, heater model, outside temperature and the chosen thermostat setting.

heat pumps vs electric heaters.

Image credit genless.govt.nz

Heat pumps are the most cost-effective option overall, and they provide maximum power output and use less electricity than an electric heater.

Although the initial cost of a heat pump may be more than an electric heater, if you plan on using a heat pump for more than five years, then a heat pump can provide long-term savings over electric heaters while you get the benefits of a heat pump that other heating solutions don’t have.

What are the benefits of a heat pump?

Endorsed by government agencies and consumer advocacy groups, heat pumps are known to be one of the most efficient forms of heating available. Here are some of the reasons why:

Air filtration

A key benefit of a heat pump is the ability to filter the air, eliminating nasty allergens.

Important for asthma and allergy sufferers, most heat pumps are fitted with advanced filtration systems to provide optimal air quality by filtering and deodorising the air. These two functions work together to remove even the tiniest airborne particles and break them down or neutralise them.

Unobtrusive  heating

Whisper quiet technology that can be placed discreetly on a wall.

Environmental sustainability

Heat pumps do not burn anything to provide heat energy, so besides the very small amount of electrical energy required for the compressor to operate, there are no additional carbon emissions. Compare this to the combustion process of wood burners which cause fumes, soot and smoke, creating a major burden on the environment in terms of its carbon emissions.


When choosing a heating appliance you should consider one that is low maintenance, easy to use and able to provide heat at the touch of a button ensuring you never have to compromise on comfort.


The New Zealand Fire Service recommends clothing, furniture and children are at least a metre away from heaters and fires. Unlike gas burners or electric heaters, heat pumps are safe as they have no flames or hot surfaces that children can touch and burn themselves with.

Energy efficiency

Ability to provide 3-4kW of heat energy for every 1kW used.

Dehumidifying mode

Certain heat pumps come equipped with a dehumidifying mode which can offer even more effective moisture reduction.

A heat pump will pull moisture from the air circulating within your home. Keeping moisture and condensation under control will protect your home and help prevent mould, providing healthier air that you and your family breathe in.

heat pumps vs electric heaters

Is a heat pump the right choice for you?

If you have chosen to invest in a heat pump over an electric heater, you can be confident you have made the right choice.

As heat pump specialists we have chosen to work with the best brand on the market Mitsubishi Electric because we know they deliver premium quality products.

Choosing the right model will depend on your budget, the size of your space, and the technology you require.

A good heat pump installer will take you through the options and advise on what models are most suitable for you.

We offer a no-obligation quote that will ensure you are investing your money in the right place.

Stay warm this winter and cool down in summer with our range of heat pumps that will add comfort to your home, save money, help the environment, and last the distance.

Call us today to find out more!