Everything You Need To Know About Infrared Heaters

When looking into a heater, there is a vast amount to choose from. You may be overwhelmed by it all, but then you come across infrared heaters, which are known to be economically friendly and for their high temperatures that transfer energy into your body with lower temperatures. So you may be wondering the very question of what you can use a portable infrared heater for. 

There are many uses of a portable infrared heater. Still, the main reason is saving energy and adding heat to the current space you want to be heated, such as insulated garages, open living areas, and family rooms. Not only that, but portable infrared heaters are safe and natural for our bodies, working very similarly to the sun.

Today we will be telling you all you need to know about infrared heaters, including what exactly it is and how they work, a comparison to infrared and convection heaters, and what types you need to look out for.

By the end of it, we are confident that you will know enough information to decide for yourself if these heaters are what you desire within your home. Now, let us dig into the details.

What Is An Infrared Heater?

Essentially an infrared heater is an invisible light that gives off heat very similar to the sun. The undetectable light is absorbed into our skin, clothes, and other objects nearby, which is how things will heat up near us. The heat also helps us feel warm and cozy as if it were a summer day. 

Infrared heaters have many health benefits as well. They are perfectly safe, making them one of the best portable heaters to have around.

This study shows how infrared radiation has therapeutic properties to help nerve cells, wound healing, cancer treatments, and neural stimulation.

However, this study also mentions that this healing includes irradiance, fluence, treatment timing and repetition, pulsing, and wavelength combined.

Not only does it have health benefits, but an infrared heater will only heat much warmer in the direct sunlight than shade due to the shade blocking out a lot of the light and only warms areas the heater faces.

It can be powered by propane, natural gas, or electricity. They also have different controls, designs, and other maximum output levels.

Infrared Vs. Convection Heaters: Which Is Better?

When it comes to heaters, there are many different types. One of them being conventional heaters, which have five different kinds: ceramic, oil, water, furnaces, and fan heaters. But when it comes to infrared, there are many differences between the two that we will be going over today. 

Infrared Heaters

These heaters produce heat through radiation, just like the run. The main difference is that they do not have UV rays light, which is very safe for our bodies, as we learned from above.

Not only that, but infrared heaters can be very similar to wall art, as they can be mounted on the walls, making it better to stay out of children’s reach.

Infrared heaters are much better for more extensive or small rooms, patios, bedrooms, and garages. 

ADVANTAGES:

  • Cheaper in the long-run: Infrared heaters will use fewer watts than a regular heater, which innately saves you money in the long run.
  • The heat that lasts: Infrared heaters work on heating objects, so even after you turn it off, the room will still be hot instead of getting cold more quickly. 
  • There are options for your wall: Other heaters are dangerous to be placed on walls, as they can cause an explosion, but infrared heaters are perfectly safe to do so.
  • Infrared heaters do not use fossil fuels like propane and kerosene, so they do not emit carbon monoxide into the air, which does not cause fires or explode due to an explosive source.
  • Creates instant heating: They heat up instantly but also with a gentle touch. When you turn them on, you will feel the heat immediately, but since it warms objects on, the air will not overwhelm you with warmth.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • It may not be the best idea to have near children because of how hot they can get. On the contrary, certain infrared heaters are okay to leave on the wall, and some come with being cool to touch on the exterior, so make sure you find one that suits your needs if you decide to go along with them. 
  • Infrared heaters are initially more expensive than regular heaters: Although infrared heaters will keep your electric bill much lower during the winter months, they can cost anywhere between $40 to $1000, depending on the brand and type you wish to get. 

Convection Heaters

These heaters heat the air, meaning they usually use a fan to heat the room. However, this may not come in handy if you have cool air circulating, making it harder for the room to remain warm.

On top of this, it is scarce to find a convection heater that can be mounted on the walls, which can cause explosions within the home, so make sure you keep the heater at least 3 feet apart from any objects including clothes, furniture, walls, etc.

These heaters are best to use for smaller rooms, bedrooms, and large rooms if you have a robust enough heater. Make sure never to leave the heater on overnight as you sleep for better protection as well.  

ADVANTAGES:

  • Many other manufacturers are producing the same thing, so a conventional heater’s price is much lower than an infrared heater, which is anywhere from $10 to $200, depending on the brand and type you wish to get. 
  • Warms the room up in a few minutes: Because many of these heaters use a fan, it can heat the area fairly quickly.
  • Many options to choose from: As we went over above, there are five options to choose from when it comes to conventional heating, making it a tremendous variety to choose from.

    Some homeowners may find it overwhelming to figure out the best heater for your home, whereas others love to do the research over which is best.
  • Relatively safe for children: Since these heaters make noise when they are on, children will know to steer further away from them. However, not all heaters make noise, so if that is the case, make sure you let them know it is hot, especially with younger children!  

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Loses heat more quickly: Once the heater is turned off, heat diminishes in the air fairly a lot faster.
  • Raises the electric bill: Portable conventional heaters raise the price by quite a lot. Although they are much cheaper to come by, they may be much more expensive as time goes on. 
  • Louder than infrared heaters: If you like white noise, these heaters should be of no issues to you, especially when you are trying to sleep, and even then, you cannot keep them on at night.

    However, some homeowners do not prefer the noise, so a heater that is not so loud may be the better option for you.
  • Does not allow for constant temperatures: If you have ever had a conventional portable heater, one might realize that you have to continuously change the climate, which can get somewhat annoying after a while.

    On the other hand, if the heater is in a small space, you can crack the door open, which allows the temperature not to be nearly as hot as if the doors were closed.
  • It is not so great if you have allergies: Because most convection heaters have a fan, dust can cause dust to build-up and make allergies act up. Make sure always to clean the interior (if you can) to try and avoid this issue. 

Two Main Types

When it comes to infrared heaters, there are two main types you should know about. We will be going over the differences between both of them, and you can decide for yourself which is better or not.

1. Luminous Or High Intensity

High or luminous heaters are specifically designed to emit heat evenly across a large space, such as homes or commercial buildings with large ceilings. They are also known as spot heaters, radiant heaters, ceramic heaters, and box heaters.

The surface in itself can reach temperatures as high as 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, and the high polished reflectors it has allows the temperatures to be anywhere heated is needed.

The high-intensity heaters that work on gas are very similar. They pass a gas-air mixture through a refractory material, such as ceramic, which allows the heat to distribute evenly across the generalized area.

Infrared Heater

2. Radiant Tube Heaters

This is what we have been mostly talking about. Where heat is needed, a flame catches on fire with a heat exchanger. The exchanger can go up to 1350 degrees Fahrenheit, which, in return, creates infrared energy.

The energy goes to the floor by reflectors, and the heat absorbs people and objects wherever the heater points.

There is a noticeable heat differential that exists along the entire length of the heat exchange. This is caused because the initial section of tubing on the combustion or burner end produces far greater heat than the other half of the tubing around the exhaust portion.

Optimized units are more structurally put together to mitigate this heat differentially, culminating in a more optimized product as a result.

What Infrared Heaters Come With (Their Features)

So what exactly DOES an infrared heater come with? Of course, all heaters are different, so they may not ALL have these specific features, but this is what to look for in a heater you wish to get.

Make sure to check each one’s description to ensure you are getting what you want at the price you budgeted out for.

  • A fan (this feature is useful if you wish to have the same.)
  • A built-in thermostat (easy-to-set controls. Some infrared heaters even come with remote control.)
  • A return policy.
  • Wheels that allow you to maneuver them around fairly easily.
  • Cool-to-touch exterior, which is essentially more safe for children.
  • Sturdy design that does not allow tipping to occur.
  • Heating will warm up the generalized area (some infrared heaters go up to 1000+ square feet.)
  • Automatic shut-off when it becomes too hot.
  • A quartz bulb (as this will keep the life long, and replacement bulbs are harder to find.)

Should I Leave My Portable Infrared Heater On All Night?

Most fires in the US during the winter months are typically caused by space heaters when we are not in the room, sleeping, or improperly used. Keeping that in mind, you may be wondering if your portable infrared heater is safe to leave on overnight

In short, electric infrared heaters are perfectly safe to leave on overnight. However, if they are powered with gas, it is unsafe to leave them unattended or during the night due to potential gas leakage. 

The safest heaters are the ones that tip-over and overheating protection. This ensures better safety. Remember to keep at least 3 feet of distance between the heater and other objects.

Tips & Care On Infrared Heaters

When using an infrared heater, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure the people’s safeties and allow the heater to last the longest time it can. So here are a few pro tips for usage:

  • The most modern models are cool to the touch exteriors, which are perfectly safe with children and pets if you have them.
  • Keep any objects away from the heater, such as clothes, paper, furniture, magazines, and never use them as a dryer for any reason.
  • Allow any objects to be roughly 3 feet away from the heater in itself.
  • Since infrared heaters are only meant to heat a small portion of your house, it is essential to note that they are never supposed to be the sole heating of your home but as an addition to the entirety of your central heating or furnace system. 
  • Remove any clutter from within the room that your portable heater is so that the heat can heat space efficiently. 
  • With larger units (1500 watts or more), it should be connected to a 30-amp outlet. If these heaters are connected to a 15-watt outlet, then the plug itself needs to be solely for the heater due to the circuits being too overloaded.
  • Place the heater in an area where it is less likely for someone to trip over, especially when you need to get up for those midnight bathrooms! 
  • Do not allow the heater to be placed directly below a socket outlet.
  • Make sure never to run or cover the cord underneath any carpets or rugs.
  • Avoid using an extension cord, as they tend to overheat and cause the risk of potential fires. 
  • Make sure the heater is on a hard surface instead of a soft surface, such as a bed or where the openings may be blocked.
  • It is essential never to block the heater opening with any objects, as this may cause a fire, electric shock, or potentially damage the heater as a whole. 

Best Infrared Space Heaters

There are many fantastic infrared space heaters, but some are more popular and better than others. Let us go over roughly three of them down below:

Overall Best: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

One of the best space heaters out there, Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, is one of the best options for your family. It uses up to 1500 watts of power and does an excellent job warming people and objects up. This heater also heats the generalized area, increasing the temperature of the room. 

Not only that, but this infrared space heater also has excellent safety features, such as an overheat protection sensor and a tip-over sensor, which makes it automatically shut off. Many buyers say this option helps them feel more secure about their purchase.

With the temperature ranging from 50 to 86 degrees, adjusting the temperature to your current needs is reasonably easy.

A significant feature that reviewers love for better energy use is that it comes with an auto mode, which holds the temperature and goes between 1000 to 1500-watts. 

Best For The Budget: COSTWAY Infrared Heater

COSTWAY Infrared Heater is an excellent option if you do not wish to spend more than $100 on a heater, which is entirely understandable, especially if you are on a tighter budget! Although it does not have many other infrared heaters’ features, many users say it is relatively quiet and reliable.

Not only this, but the heater in itself is 22-inches tall and produces a warm and gentle heating system, which is with quartz heating elements. It features low and higher operations with a dial to regulate which temperature you want.

Best Wall-Mount: Heat Storm Infrared Heater

Heat Storm Infrared Heater has Wi-Fi capabilities, meaning you can use your smartphone or another device to control the heater settings and specific schedules. I mean, who needs a remote when you have your phone, right? 

Not only that, but this wall-mount is not hot to the touch, which is perfect to have around for small children and animals and provides more than plenty of warmth to go around. Many users say that the room heats up reasonably quickly. 

Overview

All in all, infrared space heaters are an excellent choice to have within your home, primarily because it provides health benefits! If these heaters are for you, it is good to remember all of the safety precautions that come with them to ensure a better experience for you and your family for years to come. 

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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