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TikTok heater explosion warning

TikTok heater explosion warning
Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Electric heaters sold on TikTok and Temu could explode, cause electric shocks or start house fires, according to Which?

The consumer champion bought and tested eight electric heaters from TikTok Shop and Temu and found that six of the eight products were electrically unsafe.

Dozens of listings for these products have been removed by the marketplaces since Which? flagged them to the relevant platforms, but its research suggests that thousands of these dangerous heaters have already been sold.

Which? searched ‘electric heaters’ on TikTok and uncovered five videos, out of the first 100 results, promoting the fire-risk heaters that were marked ‘paid partnership’ or ‘commission paid’. The videos had more than 100,000 views between them.

Which? said this latest investigation is further evidence for why online marketplaces must take responsibility for unsafe and illegal products sold to consumers through their platforms.

New online marketplaces such as TikTok and Temu have become popular shopping apps, with hundreds of millions of downloads, yet they can currently avoid responsibility and pass the buck to sellers who are beyond the reach of UK regulations.

Thousands of sales

Tests found that the XH-1201 1200W portable electric heater which costs just £7.20 bought from TikTok was a fire hazard while also posing an explosion threat, and could also cause electric shocks. Which? found 16 sellers listing this dangerous heater on TikTok when it checked, quoting 223 sales.

An identical portable space heater at £16.98 purchased from Temu could similarly give users an electric shock, cause a fire or explode. Researchers found it was far too easy to prise open and gain access to the working parts inside, and the electrical connections were poor.

On the Temu listing for the seller Which? bought from, it stated that 2,100 of these dangerous heaters had been sold. When researchers looked for other Temu-based sellers, they found another claiming 6,700 sales.

Another heater, the X7 Portable space heater sold for £14.99 on Temu, had not been properly assembled and the live parts were easy to access, running the risk of electric shock.

The seller that Which? bought from had sold 353 of these dangerous heaters, but researchers found two more sellers listing identical products and claiming 8,900 sales between them.

Recent Which? research found that about 2.8 million UK consumers made a purchase through TikTok in 2023, while 8.2 million UK consumers bought through Temu last year.

Overall, three of the five heaters bought through TikTok for Which? tests were dangerously unsafe and the instructions for a fourth were lacking key safety warnings. All three heaters bought through Temu presented a danger to anyone using them.

Which? reported its findings to TikTok and Temu, identifying 34 listings for heaters that it bought, tested and that failed its tests or that were identical to those that failed its tests.

Both TikTok and Temu have removed all seven heaters that failed its tests along with 27 listings for identical dangerous heaters. However, Which? found that more similar listings have since appeared in their place, which it said proved “the futility of this reactive approach”.

Government action ‘vital’

Sue Davies, Which? head of consumer protection policy, said: “Cheap electric heaters are a tempting purchase for consumers struggling during the cold winter months, but our latest tests have revealed that models sold on TikTok and Temu are a serious safety risk and must be avoided at all costs.

“It’s vital that the Government urgently gives greater legal responsibility to online marketplaces for unsafe products so that they are forced to take action to prevent dangerous products ending up in people’s homes.”

Last year, Which? reported on dangerous carbon monoxide alarms being sold by online marketplaces.