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Beware of buying these dodgy electric heaters, says Choice

Kmart selling dodgy electric heaters
Choice has blasted Kmart for selling cheap but ineffective electric heaters. Photo: AAP
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It’s nearly July. The winter blues are hitting us – and so, too, the realisation it might finally be time to fork out for a heater.

Before you put your hard-earned in the hands of a sales guy who insists he’s got the hottest deal in town, it pays to do your homework.

Be aware that popular retail stores are selling dodgy electric heaters that have failed crucial safety and performance tests.

In a recent review of 13 electric heaters being sold at Kmart and Bunnings, consumer advocacy group Choice found not one met all the necessary standards.

For Choice to recommend a heater, the product must score at least 70 per cent overall, 70 per cent for heating performance, and pass all of the group’s safety tests.

Every single heater under review failed.

Kmart cutting corners

One of the worst heaters tested was the Kmart Anko Ceramic Fan Heater, which scored just 53 per cent, Choice spokesman Ashley Iredale said.

It was the third year in a row that Kmart had produced “yet another dismally performing heater”, he said.

“The Anko heater struggled to raise the temperature of the test room by 10 degrees, which is concerning,” Mr Iredale said.

“The fan in this heater is also not very effective. The thermal profile of the room shows that most of the heat will go straight up to the ceiling.”

Mr Iredale went a step further and urged Australians who have bought a Kmart heater in the past few years to double check that it’s not one of the store’s poor-performing products. 

In 2019, the Kmart Anko HD904-11 heater scored just 48 per cent.

In 2020, the Anko DL03L performed even more poorly, receiving a score of 45 per cent.

“Some of the poorest-performing electric heaters we’ve ever seen at Choice have come from Kmart,” said Matthew Steen, Choice’s director of testing and reviews.

“Being cheap doesn’t have to mean poor performance … so it’s disappointing that Kmart continues to deliver inferior products in this category.”

Bunnings blunder

Beware of buying stylish, retro heaters from Bunnings over quality ones.

Retro products are back in fashion, but they’re bringing retro performance with them,” Mr Iredale said.

“Bunnings and Mistral will give you a fashionable paperweight for your home, but not much of a heater.”

The latest heaters to avoid

Mistral MCAL-11T – Bunnings

Mistral MCAL-11T – Bunnings

  • Choice expert rating: 49 per cent
  • Heating score: 38 per cent
  • Price: $119

This heater received one of the lowest scores for heating performance.

That’s because it failed to reach 5 degrees Celsius over two hours, compared to best performing heaters that manage to do this in just seven minutes.

Noirot DM7358.5.FJEZ – The Good Guys

Noirot DM7358.5FJEZ – The Good Guys

  • CHOICE expert rating: 52 per cent
  • Price: $379

Anko FH121S – Kmart

Anko FH121S – Kmart

  • Choice expert rating: 53 per cent
  • Price: $29

Features to look for when buying a new heater

  • Look for one with a long cord as you don’t want to be using an extension lead
  • Try to get one with a timer so the heater will switch off by itself after a couple of hours
  • Consider a smaller model so it’s easy to store during summer
  • Never put clothes over an electric heater, as it’s a fire risk.