Oil Pan Heater vs. Block Heater: Which One is Better?

Heater is a common gadget for cars in the North. It is a daily routine for every car-owner in the Northern Cities of America and Canada to plug in their cars at the end of the day.

The extreme cold winter freezes people in the cold countries. Cars feel the same way as humans as the temperature can drop down to -30° F. As a result, the oil in the engine becomes thicker and cannot function properly.

It can lead to engine start-up problems and stress the engine to permanent damage. To avoid these problems, car-owners seek to purchase an effective engine heater, known as Oil Pan Heater or Block Heater.

Oil Pan Heater and  Block Heater are two types of engine heater which help the engine to function properly in extremely cold condition. There are some differences between the two types. So, the car owners often get confused which one is better. For this reason, we are here to compare Oil Pan Heater vs. Block Heater: Which One is Better?

Oil Pan Heater vs. Block Heater – Comparison Chart

There are various types of engine heater available in the market. Though they work differently, their purposes are the same.

Oil Pan Heater is a small heating pad that heats the oil directly. On the other hand, Block Heater, also known as Engine Block Heater, heats the coolant system of the engine. Let’s take a sneak peek at the comparison chart of Oil Pan Heater and Block Heater right below.

Oil Pan HeaterBlock Heater
Oil Pan Heater sits on the oil pan, or submerges into the oil.The Block Heater sits on the engine block or engine coolant system.
Oil Pan Heater submerges into the engine oil and heats the engine oil directly.The Block Heater sits on the exterior of the engine. It heats the engine coolant system.
Oil Pan Heater needs professional installation.You can install an engine block heater on your own. 
It has a 110 or 120 Volts plug-in cord.Similarly, Block Heater has 110 or 120 Volts plug-in cord.
Your car needs 4 hours of charging with an Oil Pan Heater.Likewise, a Block Heater also requires 4 hours of charging to run your car properly.
Some Oil Pan Heaters come with charging timer technology.Likewise, some Block Heaters come with charging timer technology.
Oil Pan Heater is a budget friendly gadget.Engine Block Heater is also a budget friendly gadget.

Difference Between Oil Pan Heater and Block Heater:

From the comparison chart, we have known that there are some differences, advantages and disadvantages, between these two engine heaters. Here we will discuss them to understand which one is better, and suits you best to purchase.

Function

There can be two types of Oil Pan Heater in terms of sitting position. One type sits on the Oil Pan and heats the engine oil directly. The other type submerges into the engine oil and heats the oil directly. 

So, an Oil Pan Heater focuses on heating the engine oil. Due to the cold temperature, the engine oil becomes thicker. The viscosity of the oil increases. As a result, the oil cannot reach every corner of the engine. The lack of lubrication forces the engine to permanent damage. The Oil Pan Heater heats and transforms the oil into its normal state. For this reason, car-owners equip their cars with the Oil Pan Heater for a quick-start and for keeping the engines in good condition.

One the other hand, a Block Heater does not heat the oil directly. It sits in the engine block or the engine coolant system. A Block Heater heats the engine coolant passages and provides an optimal temperature for the engine. So, in the next morning, when a car-owner starts their car, they get a first-time start because the Block Heater keeps the engine overnight.

Installation

An Oil Pan Heater is a difficult gadget to install. Particularly the type that submerges into the engine oil. So, it would be better if you took professional help for installing the Oil Pan Heater.

On the other hand, the Block Heater is a bit easier to install as it sits on the exterior of the engine. So, you can install a Block Heater on your own. But we recommend you to install this gadget with the help of a professional hand. Any mistake in installation can lead to the coolant system leakage.  

Charging

You have already guessed that the Oil Pan Heater and the Block Heater use electrical power to heat up the engine or oil. Both the types use 110 or 120 Volts plug-in cord to provide the necessary electrical power.

So, ultimately, a cord comes out of your car equipped with any of these gadgets, and goes into the electrical outlet. In other words, you need to charge your car at night to get a warm-start at the beginning of the day.

Both the gadgets require about 4 hours of charging to warm up the oil or the engine of your car. So, plug in your car and have a sweet dream if you reside in an extremely cold country.

For the charging-timer technology, both of the heaters offer this technology. It allows you to set up a timer for starting the charging process. So, set the timer according to your day-routine of starting the car, and have a good-night sleep. Your car will charge-up and roar before your ride.

Budget

The Oil Pan Heater and the Block Heater are, surprisingly, inexpensive. There is no big difference between the prices of these two gadgets. These effective and must-needed gadgets are budget friendly.

Oil Pan Heater vs. Block Heater: Drawbacks

The Oil Pan Heater and the Block Heater are very effective and essential additions to the cars of the North. But there are some drawbacks of these gadgets. Let’s take a quick look down below.

Oil Pan Heater Drawbacks

  • As it heats the oil directly, many claim that it can burn the oil due to overheating.
  • It is difficult to install.

Block Heater Drawbacks 

  • As it does not heat the oil directly, oil does not heat up to a normal state. The oil remains thicker.
  • Sometimes, it can lead to coolant leakage.

Oil Pan Heater vs. Block Heater: Which one to Purchase?

If you have read this far, you know that the purposes of Oil Pan Heater and Block Heater are the same. It is to keep the temperature of the engine oil to an optimal level so that the engine functions well in a cold winter.

Both the gadgets carry their responsibility properly. So, you do not necessarily choose the better between the two. Any one of them will do its work perfectly. If you want to heat the engine oil, then go for the Oil Pan Heater. And you can purchase the Block Heater, if you like to heat up the coolant system.

For the cost, the prices are identical to these gadgets. So, you can purchase any one of them at an attractive price.

Similarly, in terms of charging, there is not much to talk about. Both of them require about 4 hours of charging. They come with the charging-timer feature.

The Oil Pan Heater is more difficult to install than the Block Heater. Though it would be better if you took help of a professional hand for installing the gadget.

Finally, the Oil Pan Heater and the Block Heater are two identical equipment for the cars. They also serve the same purpose. So, feel free to purchase any one of them and protect your cars from the evil of winter.