A Comparison: Hot Air Heating vs. Radiators

Updated on April 8, 2019

Having lived in houses with radiator central heating for the last 25 years, I made the assumption that radiators were in fact the best way to heat a home. In fact I knew of no other existing way of heating a common household. It was only when I bought a property that consisted of hot air heating that I really began to compare them against each other. I still have hot air heating and strongly recommend it. I find that it heats the house quicker in general and I have not seen much change in my gas bills! It comes down to being a personal preference and consideration to what you want. Each to their own.

Large Air Vent
Large Air Vent


Warm air heating is becoming more popular throughout the world, and many newer homes are built with the air vent systems, especially in the USA and also in some parts of Europe. However, it can be quite hard to find out useful information about the benefits, the advantages and the disadvantages of hot air heating when compared with the more traditional radiator central heating systems. This hub will give you some food for thought and should have you ready to make the decision on what it better for you.

Common Question - Difference in Cost?

The most common question when heating systems are discussed are regarding cost. Does it cost more to run hot air heating, or more for radiator central heating? There are a few factors to take into consideration before answering this question...

It depends how good your system is to start with and how often and effeciently you use it. For example if you have thick radiator covers on every radiator in the house, then you will lose lots of heat, and will use more gas to heat up your house. Equally if your vent system is not working to its full potential then you will also experience extra costs. Putting that to one side and assuming that both systems are being used effeciently - it is fair to say that there is very little difference in cost. Both use gas to heat your house, and neither one if necessary more efficient than the other. So therefore what else could sway our minds to investing in a new heating system? Lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both systems.

Hot Air Systems - Advantages

  • Heats the house very quickly.
  • Smaller and take up less space than radiators.
  • Can easily shut and open vents to heat necessary areas only.
  • No pipework showing.
  • Can be hidden and you will still feel the warm circulating.
  • Humidifiers available.
  • You can lower the temperature as well as higher it, so therefore works as an air conditioning unit also. (Applys to most new systems).
  • Great for drying clothes on a horse above the vents.

Hot Air Systems - Disadvantages

  • Vents should be cleaned.
  • Air can be dry - you may experience dry lips when first using these systems.
  • Perception is that these are not tidy looking.
  • Fitted into ceilings.
  • Should get serviced yearly to ensure system working well.
  • Some older systems produce some light noise.

Radiator Systems - Advantages

  • Not a dry heat.
  • Easy to switch certain radiators off, to heat only the necessary rooms.
  • More common, and easier to replace.
  • Radiator covers can add comfort to a room.
  • Good for placing towels, wet clothes on etc.
  • Good common perception.
  • Quiet.

Radiator Systems - Disadvantages

  • Larger, bulkier and take up more space.
  • Radiator covers stop full potential and not cost efficient.
  • Can be a messy job to clean out a radiator.
  • Awkward to decorate around.
  • Lose a lot of heat if not positioned in the right place.
  • Pipework showing in some cases.

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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      8 months ago

      As a child we had radiators and the house was always abit chilly.

      Ive been in a house fortge past 25 years with warm air and i love it ,its instant warms rooms brilliantly im going to up date my old system or new (seen as its 40 years old and still going strong ) just looks dated but i love it

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I am very cold natured. Love radiator heat. Not dry, forced air!


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