Affordable Home Heating Solutions | Reverse Cycle Split Systems vs Electric Heaters

Find out the cheapest ways to heat your home this Winter!

When winter arrives and the mornings grow colder, finding affordable home heating solutions is a top priority. With the ongoing increases to the cost of living, it's more important to find energy-saving heaters that not only keep you warm but to also save you money.

Make sure you read this comprehensive guide before you add to cart your next heater! We're here to help you find the most cost effective heating appliance for your needs, while ensuring a cosy and comfortable winter in 2023.

Reverse Cycle Split System Air Conditioners: Efficient and Versatile

Reverse Cycle split system air conditioners heat your home by extracting heat from the outdoor air and transferring it indoors. This process consumes less electricity than traditional heaters. They require installation by a qualified electrician, and they are a safe and reliable option for heating your home.

With precise temperature control, split system air conditioners will turn off automatically once they’ve reached temperature. This reduces any risks of overheating the room and also ensures it’s using minimum energy.

The ability to turn your reverse cycle air conditioner on and off on a room-by-room basis means you can heat each area of your room . That means less energy wastage. Their timer functions allow you to plan ahead and have your bedroom toasty right before you wake up and right before you go to sleep.

Reverse cycle split system air conditioners offer heating and cooling functions, making them versatile for year round use. Large units can heat and cool open plan homes, while the smaller units are perfect for individual rooms. No more single season appliances!

The biggest drawback with these units are the upfront costs. You must buy the unit and have it professionally installed in your home. The running costs of these energy efficient reverse cycle air conditioners is low compared to other heaters.

Another bonus is they don't need to be moved around or put away when the season ends. They're there for you whenever you need them for ultimate convenience.

How Energy Efficient Are they?

Reverse cycle split system air conditioners are one of the best choices for affordable home heating. While they come with greater upfront costs, they are the most energy efficient way to heat your home. This means you’ll have lower energy bills compared to using other heating methods.

It's important to get the right sized air conditioner for your space. An air conditioner that's too large for the space is a needless expense. One that's too small will use more power than necessary and not heat or cool the room effectively.

You should always refer to the energy rating label to determine how energy efficient your reverse cycle air conditioner is. The higher the number of stars, the better the energy efficiency rating.

In Australia air conditioners must display a zoned energy rating label. This label will help you to understand if the unit you are buying is suitable for where you live. It will give you a more accurate understanding of your model's energy rating based on the region you live in.

You can refer to this website for more information on energy labels and how to understand what the labels mean.

What does it cost?

Split system air conditioners generally cost upwards of $400, this varies depending on the size of the room you’re heating. The next cost you need to consider is for installation, which could be another $400 or more. This price changes based on the complexity of the installation. For example, if you're installing the air conditioner on the second storey of your home, expect a higher installation cost.

The biggest advantage of the reverse cycle air conditioners are their running costs. The running costs of a reverse cycle air conditioner for a whole year is usually less than running an oil or panel heater for the winter season alone.

The best part about reverse cycle air conditioners is that they can also cool your home through the hotter months. They are the cheapest home heating and cooling appliance to run year round! You can see our range of reverse cycle split system air conditioners right here!

Electric Heaters, Panel Heaters and Oil Column Heaters: Compact and Cost-Effective

Electric, panel and oil panel heaters are compact, portable, and efficient heating solutions for your home. They are suitable for small to medium-sized rooms and offer effective heat distribution. These heaters come with thermostats for precise temperature control and prevention of energy waste. These heaters are usually easily moved around the home to provide heat where it's needed most. We recommend these for smaller spaces.

How Safe Are they?

Electric and oil column heaters are both safe and reliable. Oil column heaters operate using electricity to heat oil-filled columns that radiate warmth into the room. Panel heaters operate in a similar way, however they don’t have oil filled panels. These heaters provide a gradual and consistent heat output, maintaining a comfortable temperature without overheating. As long as you follow the safety precautions stated on the product, they are completely safe to use.

How Energy Efficient are they?

When it comes to energy efficiency, oil column heaters perform moderately well. They have the advantage of retaining heat even after being turned off, reducing the need for continuous power usage. Using the timer function controls your energy usage on these appliances.

However, these are not the most energy efficient heating appliances. Using them consistently throughout winter will cause a noticeable spike in your electricity bill.

Despite not being the most energy efficient, electric and oil panel heaters are the most affordable to purchase upfront, which makes them a popular choice for a short term heating solution. If you live somewhere where it is only cold for a few weeks a year, this could be a good option for you.

To increase their energy efficiency, make sure you use their timer functions and position them wisely. Use their energy efficiency features and you can stay warm and keep your energy bills under control.

Click here to view the range of electric heaters we have on offer now!

General Tips

To increase the energy efficiency of any heater, consider closing doors and windows to keep the heat in. The room will be warm faster and stay warm longer, and you can turn the heater off sooner and save power.

If you have ceiling fans, turn them to reverse in winter to create an updraft and circulate warm air around the room. Turn the ceiling fan to low when using your heater to create a comfortable, even temperature.

Having the fan on will also prevent heat layers from forming. You'll be able to tell if heat layers have formed if your hands are still cold but your face is toasty warm.

Safety Tips

Here's a few general safety tips when using a heater:

  • Only put a portable space heater on the floor - not up on a table.
  • Only use heaters (and any appliance) according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep your space heater at least a metre away from curtains and other obstructions.
  • Look up to make sure nothing can fall on your space heater.
  • Never leave a running space heater unattended.
  • Don't allow small children to play with or operate a space heater, running or not.


Based on their energy efficiency ratings and potential long-term savings, the reverse cycle split system air conditioner is the cheapest long-term solution for heating your home.

They provide both heating and cooling functions, temperature control, and zoning options. This gives you the most control over energy waste. If you own your home and can afford to invest in a long term heating and cooling solution, this is the best option.

Electric heaters, panel heaters and oil column heaters are not as energy efficient. However they do have the lowest outright costs to buy. They have the added benefits of being portable and are a great option for those renting homes.

By selecting the right heating appliance for your needs, you can maximise energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills! Were you as surprised as we were when you found out that split system air conditioners were actually cheaper to run than the smaller eclectic heaters?