[Update May 2020] RadFan have been in touch unhappy with my comparisons. For clarification I have not used RadFan, I have not used their product, but when I reviewed the SpeedComfort, RadFan appeared to be the best-known name in the business. They are also the only company to do anything close proving the energy-saving claims.
My one comment that states the RadFan may not be as good as the SpeedComfort was due to the airflow, overall cost and reviews (at the time). The RadFan uses a different design which pushes air at a 90% agree, so it is possible that even with lower airflow (as reported on Amazon) the RadFan could still outperform the SpeedComfort.
Living in an old brick-built house up north can get a bit chilly and heating can be expensive. Improving insulation within the home will always be the best way to reduce heating costs and increase energy efficiency, however in some homes, there is only so much you can do.
I have been a big fan of zoned heating from the likes of Genius, but this doesn’t help the performance of the radiator in each room.
SpeedComfort, a radiator fan, claims to improve the radiator heating power by 20% reducing the warm-up time by 50% and reducing bills by 22%.
Speedcomfort is a radiator fan that promotes convection of warm air from your radiator around your home.
SpeedComfort increases the heat output from your radiator by a factor of two and is so energy efficient that it only uses around 0.9kWh of electricity per year, that’s less than £0.15p in real money. Due to the faster heat output, your thermostat can be switched off earlier and the temperature of your boiler lowered. With a shorter heating time and greater heat capacity, you can use your energy more efficiently and significantly reduce your heating costs.
The smart thermosensor switches your SpeedComfort on when your radiator surface temperature reaches 28°C (82°F) and off again at 25°C (77°F). Once you have installed your SpeedComfort you can forget all about it and enjoy the benefits, it will look after itself.
I use double panel type 22 radiators, so they are thick with two panels and fins. With this design, fitting the SpeedComfort is incredibly easy, the fan unit has various magnets on it, and I just placed the SpeedComfort in the gap between the panels and the magnets auto slid into place.
For small radiators or electric radiators, there are various attachments that allow this to work with almost any option.
You then need to attach the power cable and the temperature sensor. No app or Wi-Fi set up required.
Reduced Heating Costs
Speedcomfort and many competing brands claim energy saving costs, in this case, SpeedComfort claims up to a 22% improvement.
I can’t confirm or deny such improvements, and I was sceptical, with my belief being it requires the same amount of energy to heat a space regardless of how quick or slow you do it. In fact, modern boilers with weather compensation reduce the heat because heating a slower for longer is more efficient.
There does however appear to be some evidence to suggest heat savings are possible. Competing brand, Radfan, and the Salford university tested a similar system and found that there was a 5% energy reduction.
RadFan works a little differently because it blows the warm hair horizontally into the room, with the aim to avoid it cooling as the air passes over the cold window. However, Speedcomfort claim one of the reasons for low efficiency is that warm air will become trapped at ceiling level only dropping down to the living level as it cools. The Speedcomfort improve the air circulation in your home pushing that warm air around the room.
Having reduced convection, especially with a radiator below a window increases the time it is exposed to a poorly insulated part home.
Boilers also work more efficiently the cooler the return temperature, so by extracting as much heat as possible from your radiator will help them with this.
Furthermore, I assume there will be moderate heat loss as the water moves around the pipes in your home, so extracting as much heat as possible where needed will help.
So it would seem that the claims are at least partially true. This ideally needs to be combined with other ways to improve heating efficiency. In particular, one thing that has fallen out of fashion is thick curtains (which do not cover the radiator), this helps the warm air rise without touching the cold spots of your windows.
I can’t comment on actual efficiency performance, it would take months of testing, but as far as heating performance goes, there is definitely an improvement. We live in a traditional brick-built semi-detached house up north. The rooms are large, questionable insulation and a cold climate, so warming up the rooms can be a slow process.
I have found them to be particularly useful in my office, the heating doesn’t come on until I get up, and my office is often 13-degree following a cold winter night, so the first 30+minutes of work can be a bit unpleasant. These have helped bring the temperature up much faster.
Fan noise is low, the run at up to 52.8CFM/ 89.7cubic m/hr which is a moderate amount of airflow, comparable to high-performance PC fans. Therefore they are not inaudible, but a light background hum when up close and that easily diminishes with other ambient noise. SpeedComfort claims a sub 20 dB noise level which is below most ambient noise and with the quietest PC fans on the market being from Noctua which run at 18.1dB.
Price and Competition
Radfan is the biggest competitor, and they have had many more reviews on Amazon with over 1300 reviews and an average score of 3.7 out of 5 which isn’t amazing. People seem to have an issue with the performance of the fans themselves, being too small to move a decent amount of air.
In terms of pricing, the Radfan small is £40 and 51cm long with an airflow capacity of 25 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
SpeedComfort costs £45.99 covering 40cm but with over double the airflow with 52CFM.
While I have not used the Radfan, it would appear that SpeedComfort has the superior specification. With its shorter body but higher airflow, you can also daisy chain them together for considerably more airflow.
While I don't retract the above statement, the design differences mean the specification comparison may not be 100% accurate.
In general, I like these fans, they are certainly good for big old homes that struggle to heat up a room. I am not 100% convinced by the energy-saving claims, but they appear to be at least partially true and the moving the hot air from ceiling level to living level does sound like an accurate explanation. How long it will take to pay back the investment of the SpeedComfort is unknown, but at least your rooms will be much more comfortable during the cold winters.
The easy install design and the discrete mounting location is also positive that some other brands don’t offer.
Overall, I had low expectations here, but the fans performed better than expected. At under £50 these are definitely worth considering if you live in an older house or feel that you need to improve your heating efficiency and performance.
In my title, I did pose the question is the SpeedFan better than RadFan? That I can not answer for certain, to the best of my knowledge the main benefit will come round pomoting airflow around the radiator, so whicher moves the most air for the least amount of money is the product I would personally choose.
SpeedComfort Radiator Fan Review Rating
Overall - 85%
An easy to install almost completely discrete radiator fan that runs quiet enough to be inaudible from a moderate distance. There is a noticeable improvement in the room warm-up times, but it is too early to tell how accurate the efficiency claims are.
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API