Tasmania, while not extremely cold, has a much cooler climate than most of Australia. So what is the best heating in Tasmania if you want to stay warm? “Best” here is going to be the tricky part. What I think is best will be different to what someone else thinks. As I live in Tasmania I’ll try and answer this from the point of view of a Tasmanian. Most places in Tasmania don’t snow but it can be a cold and often wet and miserable place to live for many months of the year. Because of this the best heating in Tasmania is one that provides real heat, the kind of heat you only get from a fire.
Stop Reading Now
Yes, stop reading now if you only care about convenience. If all you want from a heater is ease and simplicity, then get a heat pump. Heat pumps are super easy to use and extremely efficient. Push a button and within minutes they can start heating but obviously they can also cool (not that we use that much in Tassie). There’s no firewood or other “fuel” you need to think about and none of the hassle that comes with managing that fuel, like stacking, splitting, drying or whatever. Pay your power bill every 3 months and that’s it.
I totally understand that “best” for many people means easy to use and/or the cheapest to run. Heat pumps tick both of these boxes. I personally hate the “heat” they put out (feels stuffy and unnatural to me) but I know many people love them. So, get a heat pump for your house if you don’t care what kind of heat keeps you warm and just want the absolute easiest and most efficient way to stay warm. Otherwise, read on to see what the best heating in Tasmania is.
Forget Wood Heaters
Now, I know straight away you read the word “fire” and you think wood heater. I don’t blame you. Wood heaters are extremely popular in Tasmania, especially in rural areas. I think there’s two reasons for this. First, and the most obvious is free or cheap firewood. Many people in rural areas have their own trees they can cut down and burn as firewood or they know someone who they can get firewood from cheap. You’ve still got to waste time splitting, stacking and drying the stuff but it either costs them nothing to buy or nearly nothing, other than their time spent handling it.
The other reason, something people from the mainland may not be aware of, is that a lot of houses in Tasmania, not just old houses, are poorly built. Now, you might say the same can be found in other states and that’s probably true, but the climate in other states is warmer, so you don’t notice the cold as much. During winter in Tasmania, the daily “high” temperatures are usually lower than the “low” temperatures in other states. Because of the many months of cold, wet winter days, houses feel like ice boxes. Furthermore, many houses are poorly insulated or built so long ago they are extremely draughty. Heat quickly escapes from these kinds of houses.
That’s why I think you’ll find wood heaters so popular in Tasmania. People have access to free or cheap firewood and because the days are cold and wet along with ice box houses, you need some kind of heating that can really warm things up. Why pay for electricity to run a heat pump if you’ve got free firewood? Also, heat pumps, especially in old, draughty houses and freezing winter mornings are not going to provide the kind of heat you need to warm up your bones. Gas heaters do but gas mains aren’t available everywhere and running an LPG heater is EXPENSIVE.
So What’s the Best Heating?
Pellet heaters are the best heating in Tasmania. Why? Well, Tasmanian houses aren’t insulated well enough considering how cool it can get here. In addition to a lack of insulation, many older houses in Tassie are draughty and let a lot of cold air in, which makes heating them properly difficult and expensive. Depending on where you live, there could be 6 months of the year that is cold and possibly wet or maybe even longer because “cold” is very subjective. Compared to most of Australia, Tasmania is colder, has wetter winters and coupled with poorly insulated and draughty houses it means you need a form of heating that works well with these conditions.
In addition to wood heaters as I mentioned above, gas is a popular choice and even though most of the population lives in Launceston and Hobart, gas mains are not available everywhere like you’ll find in other cities. You can use using a LPG heater but it is very expensive to use all the time, like a standard electric heater. Put simply, Tassie is a cold, wet and sometimes depressing place where houses can be freezing. As I said above, to live in this kind of place you need real heat and the only way you get that kind of heat is from a fire but not everyone wants to mess with firewood and not everywhere has natural gas.
This is why I think the best heating in Tasmania is from a pellet heater. Real heat without the hassle.
Never Heard of a Pellet Heater?
Pellet heaters (also called pellet fires) are a space heater, like a wood heater and heat pump, which create heat by burning wood pellets. Wood pellets are usually made from sawdust or other wood waste, making them an environmentally friendly, and come in 15kg bags. Pellet heaters are very efficient thanks to an exhaust fan which keeps the fire burning, so they do need electricity to run. As wood pellets come in bags, they are easy to handle and there’s no need to dry, split and stack them like you do firewood.
You can buy wood pellets today and burn them tonight in your pellet heater. Pellet heaters are fully automatic, so to start and stop them you just push a button and they can also heat your room to a desired temperature, say 22 degrees. I like to think of pellet heaters are a cross between a wood heater and heat pump. You get the convenience of both worlds, lovely natural heat like a wood heater and easy to use, like a heat pump. Read my what’s a pellet heater article if you’d like to learn more details of how they operate.
What Makes Pellet Heaters the Best Heating in Tasmania?
Pellet heaters work by burning wood pellets in a fire. That’s the first and hopefully the most obviously reason why I think they are the best heating option in Tasmania. The kind of heat you get from a pellet heater is very similar to the natural warmth you get from a wood heater. It’ll warm you to your bones in the middle of winter when you need it the most. So what, you might say, I can get the same if not better heat from a wood heater. While that’s true, the next reason is pellet heaters are ideal for those living in cities or towns.
Many years ago the city of Launceston had a major problem with air pollution. Basically, the air was so bad it was affecting people’s health. As a result people were encouraged to either swap their wood heaters for more efficient ones or install heat pumps. Wood heaters are heavy polluters. They put out three times more pollution than pellet heaters. Pellet heaters burn clean and there’s no smoke once the heater is running. Because of this you won’t get the same kind of air pollution in a built up residential area as you do from wood heaters. If you care about the air you breathe and don’t want smoke filling your neighbours yard, then the answer is a pellet heater.
Also, living in a town or city most people have limited space. They don’t have acres of land they can dump piles of firewood on while it dries out. Pellet heaters solve this problem. Wood pellets come in 15kg bags and are ready to burn the day you buy them. Pellets are easy to store, stack and transport, unlike firewood. This makes wood pellets and pellet heaters, in my opinion, the best heating option for those living in urban areas in Tasmania. There’s no need to fill your backyard with unsightly piles of firewood and you can buy pellets as you need them.
Pellet Heater Models and Heat Output
Another great reason to consider a pellet heater is that you get a range of style, designs and sizes. If you live in a big house and need a lot of heat, then there are plenty of pellet heaters to pick from. Likewise, if you only need a small heater because you live in a tiny house or just don’t have a big area to heat, then there’s plenty of small to medium models. This means you can save money by only buying a pellet heater that suits your needs, small models typically cost less and larger models cost more.
If design is important then there’s also plenty to choose from. There are a range of European brands, such as Piazzetta pellet heaters and Palazzetti pellet heaters, that are made in Europe and absolutely beautiful. They are extremely high quality and some people consider they are almost a piece of art. While it’s true you will pay top dollar for these heaters, my point is you don’t have to have a black, boring box of a heater, which many wood heaters look like. If you’d rather something more affordable then you can also go with Chinese pellet heaters and save money.
If you’d like to see some pellet heaters in person, then visit a local retailer. If you are in Tasmania we have Pellet Fires Tasmania, Bass Pellet Heaters and Tas Energy & Heating. If you live outside of Tasmania, then check my best pellet heaters in Australia article as I list and link some of the top pellet heaters outside of Australia to retailers and where you can buy them. We’re lucky in Tasmania as of 2023 there’s at least 6 retailers in this small state selling many models and brands. However, on the mainland most retailers sell European heaters like Piazzetta, so expect to have limited choice and pay more if you aren’t in Tasmania.
Pellet Heaters and New Houses?
So what, you might say. You’ve built yourself a new house, it’s not draughty and well insulated. Why buy a pellet heater when a heat pump will do you fine. That’s great but nothing beats the warmth from a fire on a wet, winter day and pellet heaters actually work better in newer, well insulated houses than wood heaters. The biggest problem people face from wood heaters in new houses is they get TOO hot. You have very little control over the heat put out by a wood heater, at least compared to a pellet heater. What this means is some new houses get too hot, even when the wood heater is running on low.
Pellet heaters, on the other hand, are great for new, well insulated houses because you can switch them on and off as you need, just like a heat pump, but still get real heat from a real fire. Pellet heaters can heat a room to a specific temperature then either switch off or go into “low” heating mode. Because they are convection heaters, they quickly heat up areas, especially well insulated ones. So, switch the heater off when you go out and switch it back on using Wifi or when you get home and your house will be warm in no time. You have total control over the heat output meaning you won’t turn your new house into an oven.
Already Have a Heat Pump?
Finally, pellet heaters work well with other types of heaters, like heat pumps, which is another reason why I think they are the best heating in Tasmania. I have two heat pumps but I also have a pellet heater. Why? Because heat pumps are good for “cool” days where I don’t need a lot of heat especially if I know in an hour or two the sun will come up and warm everything up. As I mentioned above, heat pumps are great, they are convenient and quick to heat, but I find the heat is only good for cool days and not the middle of winter.
That’s where my pellet heater comes in. I mainly use my pellet hater during the middle of winter where I know it’s going to be cold all day and I want some real heat to stay warm. This way I get the best of both worlds and can stay warm and save money. Heat pump when you just want to warm up a little and pellet heater when it’s super cold. Plus, you get real heat from a fire in a pellet heater and don’t need a backyard full of wood or have to worry about finding a reliable firewood seller.
Summary of the Best Heating in Tasmania
I get it. Everyone is different. Wood heaters are extremely popular in Tasmania but I genuinely don’t think they are the best heating in Tasmania. With the long, cold winter months fire is needed to keep warm. For me that rules out a heat pump and even where I live there are no gas mains. Pellet heaters have none of the hassle of a wood heater and all of the convenience you get from a heat pump. Push a button and a fire starts within minutes. Pellet heaters can also be used with other heaters. Doing this you’ve got all bases covered and will be warm no matter the weather.
Launceston air pollution study