Gas Central Heating vs Electric Radiators

Ecostrad Allora electric radiator on wall

Gas central heating is one of the most popular central heating systems in the country, used in the majority of homes across the UK. However, in the last few decades electric heating technology has developed at such a rate that energy efficient electric radiators now offer an economical alternative. Innovative new thermal elements, fast and effective electrical components and state-of-the-art heating control features allow you to trim down your energy usage like never before – giving you the potential to significantly reduce your heating costs. But how to know whether gas central heating or energy efficient electric radiators will prove the most economical choice for your property? Check out our point-by-point comparison guide and see if our electric radiators could be the right choice for you…

Comparing gas with electric radiators

System Losses:

Gas system: significant

Gas central heating systems waste energy through the pipe system. As hot water makes its journey through the house towards the radiators, heat will radiate out from the pipes, needlessly heating the walls – a red flag for inefficiency. Another drawback with a piped heating system is that the entire system must be activated to use a single radiator – so you’ll be sending heat through the whole house even if you just want to heat your bedroom.

Electric radiators: none

With a short cable in place of the gas central heating pipe system, the radiators engage as soon as they are switched on, with no heat loss between the power source and the heat output itself.


Gas system: centralised

Gas central heating systems normally use a universal thermostat fitted in a central location. The problem with this is that the central thermostat will provide an unrepresentative temperature reading for the rest of the house. Temperatures will naturally vary across your home – it will always be harder to heat a draughty high-ceilinged living room than it will be to heat a well-insulated kitchen where you’re busy cooking. If you have a thermostat set to 20 ˚C in your living room, your gas central heating will work to heat the whole house whenever the temperature drops in this room – regardless of the temperature in other rooms. In the kitchen, it may already by 22 ˚C – so by engaging the heating system your thermostat is overheating the room and wasting energy and money.

Electric radiators: multiple

Our electric radiators each include a high precision thermostat built into the body of the radiator. These thermostats provide accurate temperature readings for each room and control each room separately – so the radiators in a draughty sitting room might be switching on whilst the radiators in the next door kitchen are switching off to maintain comfortable levels of heat. The high precision thermostats, accurate to half a degree or better, minimise the degree to which the heat can fluctuate – preventing the radiators working hard to top up the heating after significant drops in temperature.

Haverland SmartWave electric radiator

Heating Programming:

Gas system: limited

Most gas central heating systems can be pre-programmed to a heating schedule which suits your lifestyle. However, you cannot control different rooms separately with standard valves. This limits the energy you can save. Gas central heating systems allow you to save money by switching the heating off in the day when you’re at work and activating it just before you return. However, once you return your gas central heating system will be heating the whole house again – wasting energy heating bedrooms when perhaps you stay downstairs for the majority of the evening. Unless you physically switch off the upstairs radiators a gas central heating will always waste energy in this way.

Electric radiators: sophisticated

Sophisticated digital programmers allow you to set up a heating program tailored to your individual lifestyle which controls the heat across the different rooms in your house. You can program the radiators in your bedroom to wait until 10pm to switch on; program your bathroom radiators to switch on first thing in the morning and in mid-evening; and program the radiators in that spare room to operate at an anti-freeze level. You can even control your radiators from your favourite chair with a programming remote control. This gives you endless scope to reduce your energy consumption and cut down your heating bills.

Heat Transfer:

Gas system: convection & radiation

Both gas central heating radiators and electric radiators transfer heat in the same way: through a mixture of convected and radiated heat. In a gas central heating radiator, hot water from the pipes warms the surface of the radiator to radiate heat into the room. Cold air naturally moves through the radiator channels and is heated by the hot pipes, sending warm air around the room to heat by convection. This provides a comfortable and efficient balance of heat. However the time it takes for water to travel from the boiler to the radiators may mean it takes longer for your rooms to heat up.

Electric radiators: convection & radiation

Both gas central heating radiators and electric radiators transfer heat in the same way: through a mixture of convected and radiated heat. In our Haverland RC Wave electric radiators, aluminium elements heat up quickly and warm the surface of the radiator to radiate heat into the room. Cold air naturally moves through the radiator channels and is heated by the hot elements, sending warm air around the room to heat by convection. This provides a comfortable and efficient balance of heat which feels just like a gas central heating system – but with much faster start-up times.

Technoherm KS TDI electric radiator on wall


Gas system: significant

Does your central heating system keep you up all night? Gurgling pipes and hissing radiators can be an irritating quirk of gas central heating systems.

Electric radiators: minimal

Our electric radiators are significantly quieter and products like the Technotherm KS are even built with hand-welded bodies to minimise noise from heat expansion.


Gas system: expensive & disruptive

Installing a gas central heating system is a big job. It can take several weeks for a professional plumber to fit new pipes and radiators, a messy job which involves lifted floor boards, damage to walls and sometimes several weeks with limited hot water and heating. To make it worse, at the end of the process you’ll find a hefty plumber’s bill waiting for you.

Electric radiators: quick & easy

Many of our electric radiators are suitable for DIY installation, a quick and easy process that only takes 10 minutes – so if you're fitting one or two radiators in your home, you can have it done in well under an hour. They simply screw to the wall and plug into the nearest socket. If you are having your whole home refitted, getting an electrician to install your radiators is still a very quick job with nothing like the costs of installing gas central heating.

Installation tools


Gas system: expensive

Because gas central heating systems burn fuel within your home, there is always a risk of carbon monoxide production – which is why you’ll need to organise and pay for a visit from the gasman each year. Monthly boiler cover can also quickly add up, making what appears to be a cost-effective heat source significantly less appealing.

Electric radiators: none

Electric radiators are not powered by combustion within the home so they require no maintenance. All you have to do is keep them clean.


Gas system: rapid

A top-of-the-range gas boiler only remains at peak efficiency for a short time because the efficiency decreases substantially each year. Experts recommend replacing a gas central heating boiler every 5 years to avoid wasting energy and money.

Electric radiators: negligible

The efficiency of our electric radiators remains almost unchanged throughout the lifetime of the radiator. Manufactured to a high standard, our electric radiators have much longer lifespans than gas boilers. Our best-selling RC Wave range even comes with a lifetime guarantee on the radiator body.

Pile of coins

Running Costs:

Gas system: increasing

While gas is usually available more cheaply than electricity, the losses made from the inherent inefficiencies of central heating and the costs involved in installation and maintenance quickly accumulate. For many people, this can mean gas central heating works out more expensive than electric heating. The cost of gas, a fossil fuel, will also increase as limited supplies become scarcer.

Electric radiators: low

Even though electricity tariffs can be more expensive than gas tariffs, the many opportunities electric radiators give you to reduce your energy usage can help you cut your heating bills to an absolute minimum – to the point where electricity may work out cheaper than gas. With precision thermostats which can reduce radiator operating periods down to a third, and sophisticated programming schedules which can halve the amount of power used in your home at any one time, your energy usage will be reduced to a fraction of original costs – you do the maths! If you have the opportunity to run radiators off self-generated electricity, or electricity generated and shared as part of a local co-operative, electric heating will become both very cheap and very eco-friendly.


Gas system: bad

Gas burning central heating systems produce damaging carbon emissions. A gradual shift from fossil fuel burning appliances to sustainably fuelled systems could see gas systems becoming obsolete as early as 2030.

Electric radiators: green potential

Our Haverland designer electric radiators are made from recycled aluminium which is itself recyclable. The radiators produce no carbon emissions, and when powered by electricity generated from renewable resources offer one of the few truly green heating solutions currently available. This is the fundamental quality which makes electric heating the heating solution of the future.

Leaking faucet


Gas system: potentially damaging

The pipes in a central heating system leave you at risk of leaks and require constant vigilance to make sure that no drips or seepage occurs over time. In a worst-case scenario, it has the potential to cause extensive water damage to your property, requiring expensive remedial work to fix. This can be a common problem during winter when pipes burst; or when the property is unoccupied, leaving large-scale leaks to run unchecked.

Electric radiators: no risk of leaks

Our dry thermal electric radiators have no fluid inside so you have total peace of mind knowing that your heating won't leak, drip or cause water damage to your property. Even our oil-filled radiators have minimal risk of leakage because they're sealed, self-contained units that don't need pipework to be installed around your property.

In many cases, the savings made possible with energy efficient electric heating technology, state-of-the-art energy management systems and maintenance-free care can make our electric radiators a cheaper way to heat your home than gas central heating systems. If you don’t want or need to replace your whole home heating system, replacing individual heaters with electric radiators is a great way to make your home heating more controllable at low cost. This is ideal in bathrooms, bedrooms, conservatories and home offices where you may want heat at very different times to the rest of the house. Check your energy tariff or speak to our expert advisors to find out if electric central heating could be an economical alternative for you. Call us today on 0330 300 4444.