Heating & Cooling

Cost Guide For Running Infrared Heaters (Not What You Think)

infrared heater lg

When it comes to keeping you and your family warm when your central heating system is not cutting, purchasing space heaters might be your first go-to option.

There are many types of space heaters out there, but you may like infrared heaters. But how much do they cost to run?

Infrared heaters use less energy than other types of space heaters. They use 100 percent of the heat they generate, resulting in virtually no heat transfer loss to zone heat at a low cost.

Unlike most secondary heating devices, infrared heaters do not heat the air but instead emit infrared radiation that only warms the surface the radiation reaches. The mechanics are close to how sunlight warms objects, so an infrared space heater has a natural feel.

We at Heaterspace will answer many of your questions as we continue with this article. Along with this, we will discuss the pros and cons of infrared heaters, the general cost of the heaters themselves, and how they work.

Other topics will be on how much you can expect to pay for running these heaters, along with some examples of highly rated infrared heaters you can buy right now.

Is Portable Infrared Heaters Expensive To Run?

Asking if infrared heaters are relatively expensive will entirely depend on a few things. Firstly let us look at the standard for most space heaters. Most heaters operate with 2 or 3 settings, but the highest setting will likely be 1500 watts.

This is the typical maximum power output for space heaters, which is no exception for infrared heaters. However, there are a few options you can look for that will help you save on electricity when using infrared heaters to heat your home. 

Get A Heater With Multiple Settings (ECO Mode)

Getting an infrared heater with the aforementioned multiple settings will save you on electricity, provided you do not only use the highest 1500-watt setting.

Another thing to look for on your infrared heater of choice is an ECO mode. This mode will accurately gauge its surroundings to get an accurate temperature.

Suppose that temperature is over a predetermined setting. In that case, the device will shut off its heating elements until the sensors see that the room’s average temperature is below a certain point, which will turn back on.

This saves money in pretty much an obvious way, Not using electricity all the time.

Three Determining Factors Of Saving Energy

So above anything else, the amount of energy an infrared space heater, or any space heater for that matter, saves depends primarily on three things:

  1. How you use it
  2. How often do you use it
  3. How the manufacturers made the space heater

How Much Does It Cost To Use An Infrared Space Heater?

Energy savings would be a top priority if you think your power costs too much for convenience. Space heaters are an ideal alternative to centralized heating as long as they are used at the appropriate times and in the proper rooms for you and your neighbors.

When determining how much your space heaters will cost to operate, you can use this simple formula to determine how much it will take. Most electric and gas utilities would bill between 0.15 cents and 0.33 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Kilowatts are the broader unit of measurement for watts. One kilowatt equals 1000 watts. However, most space heaters operate at 600, 900, or 1500 watts, translating to 0.75 to 1.5 kilowatts. 

Assume the heater is 1500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts, and you use it at least 10 hours a day. 1.5 is obtained by dividing 1500 by 1000. Then add 1.5 by 10 to get 15 kilowatt-hours. So at $0.15 per kW the heater would cost about $2.25 to run 10 hours daily. (electricity use calculator)

If you run multiple heaters, you can multiply or add the total cost by repeating the same steps with each heater. Using 1 or 2 space heaters to keep your family warm is usually less expensive than running your centralized heater all day.

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How Do Infrared Space Heaters Work?

Infrared space heaters work vastly different than all of the other heaters on the market. Instead of heating the air directly, they convert electricity into infrared radiation, spread out over the entire area facing the heater.

This radiation is not harmful, mind you, but it is not strong enough to harm you. Infrared is a form of electromagnetic radiation.

The heat feels similar to the winter sun’s warmth on your skin and the heat of a coal burner. It is even the same kind of heat as your own body emits. It is the most basic form of healing known to humankind.

Infrared heat transfer is the direct transfer of heat from the heater to the source (you and the surrounding environment) without heating the air.

This is the same heat we experience from a sun-heated area, the wavelength most easily consumed by the body. It is healthy and natural; the only dangerous thing is UV light from the sun, not infrared.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Infrared Space Heaters

Below, we have created a chart to help you better understand the pros and cons of infrared space heaters.

1. They are generally cheap to run and are the most affordable to run most of the time. 1. You cannot actively regulate the temperature. It is usually on or off, with just two or three power settings. This can make it difficult if you’re looking for the ideal room temperature.
2. Infrared heaters generally use fewer watts and don’t need to work extra hard if the space is draughty. Since there are no moving parts, they are also super low maintenance.2. When on full power, these things get extremely hot. Be cautious whether you have children or curious dogs. A perfect solution is to hang them on the wall, where they are out of sight of curious hands or paws.
3. Infrared heaters are silent. Besides the noise from starting the heater up, you will not hear anything from these heaters. This especially makes them perfect for bedrooms and office areas.3. Your body may suffer water loss.
4. The heat lasts a long time because infrared heaters heat you and the other objects in the room. Opening a door and letting in a cool breeze will not lose all of that heat the heater worked so hard for in the first place.4. Infrared heaters only provide targeted heating.
5. Infrared heaters are fast and gentle. When you turn them on, you instantly feel the sun, but it doesn’t get too hot because the materials, not the air, are warm.
6. Offers heat without any risks associated with other types of heaters.
7. There are no moving parts, fuel lines, or open fires. Particularly with modern safety features such as tip-over security and auto shut-off.

How To Use Infrared Space Heaters Safely?

This is a general guide for not only infrared space heaters but all space heaters. 

1. Make Sure You Have The Right Heater

When purchasing a space heater for your house, make sure you have the right heater for the job, such as a small electric or infrared heater for small rooms or a powerful electric or permanent gas-burning heater for large rooms.

2. Automatic Shut-off Button

Another thing to look for in a space heater is an intelligent sensor that can immediately switch off the device if it is tipped over or begins to overheat.

3. Make Sure It Has Certifications

When you choose the right heater for your needs, make sure the CPSC hasn’t recalled it. Look for one of the three marks mentioned below: the ETL label from Intertek, the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, or the CSA International endorsement.

Use your best judgment when setting up your space heater; if something seems wrong, don’t use it; return it if applicable and get a new one.

4. Place It On A Firm Surface

A few considerations must be made when installing a space heater. Allow enough space for the heater, position it on a firm flat surface, and keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable, such as curtains, chairs, or bedding.

5. Do Not Put The Heater On Furniture Or Cover It Up

Avoid putting the heater on top of the furniture or covering it with something which would raise the chance of a burn. Often, avoid placing it near heavy traffic places in the space you choose to heat up, such as doors or hallways, to avoid tipping the heater over while passing by.

6. Plug It Directly Into The Outlet

When plugging in the heaters, ensure they are plugged directly into the outlet; using an extension cord or power box may cause overheating and fires. Even before plugging in your space heater, ensure the cable is not in a place where it can be stepped on or tripped over, nor should it be dragged under any rugs or furniture.

7. Keep Liquids Away

Keep all liquids away from your space heater to avoid getting damp while operating it because it will shock you while also placing the heater itself at risk of shorting out and sparking a burn.

8. Check The Plugs

Check whether the plug, cable, wall socket, or space heater faceplate is hot when using the space heater. If it is, unplug it and stop using it right away.

A hot cord is the most harmful because it indicates that the cable is broken or unreliable and could ignite and trigger fire at any time while in operation.

9. Only Use It To Heat The Room

Space heaters should only be used for heating; you should not use them to steam the bed, cook or thaw food, dry clothing, or thaw out frozen pipes. Use heaters for brief periods as needed; DO NOT USE THEM 24 HOURS A DAY.

Space heaters should not be used in an unattended environment or in a child’s room where they might tip it over or break it.

Are Infrared Heaters Safe To Leave On Overnight?

Infrared heaters are generally safe to leave on overnight. They are not finicky, and any new heater worth its cost comes with safety shut-off switches if it overheats or tips over. However, you can exercise caution if you leave one on while sleeping or out.

It would be best if you used any timer functions to switch off the heat automatically after a certain time. This is useful if you like the space to be a little colder when you sleep.

Second, ensure the heater is not covered, particularly by something explosive, and is in good working order. Examine the heater for any particular disruption or fraying of the power cord.

Do Infrared Heaters Cause Cancer?

Cancer is not caused by infrared radiation. While infrared heat functions similarly to solar heat, it lacks the ultraviolet portion that the sun does. This means no tan, no sunburn, and, most importantly, no cancer. Aside from heaters’ usual hazards, such as getting too close to contact, infrared heat is risk-free.

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What Are Some Highly Rated And Safe Infrared Space Heaters?

This section will talk about a few of the best-rated infrared heaters on the market. They will range in price, but they all will function the same way and come with the typical overheat protection, tip-over protection, and auto shut-off timers.

Best For Small Workshops
Comfort Zone Fan-Assisted Tower Radiant Quartz Heater
$64.69 $61.45

The Comfort Zone Fan-Assisted Tower Radiant Quartz Heater has a dual quartz tube that produces instant heat and a fan-assisted design to warm the surrounding area. The remote control allows you to adjust the temperature across the room.

Two top-mounted control knobs allow you to switch between high and low-temperature settings. The overheat protection automatically shuts off the unit.

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03/11/2024 03:44 am GMT

The CCC Comfort Zone Radiant Quartz Tower from Comfort Zone is first on the list of infrared space heaters. At $42.99, this model is one of the most affordable on the list.

This practical radiant heater efficiently and thoroughly warms people and objects in its path. The dual quartz tubes automatically switch on when activated and emit a warm light.

A stay-cool molded handle, metal housing, a tip-over switch, and an overheat security mechanism are among the additional safety features. Like most others on this list, this heater has the same safety features to ensure your comfort during the night.

This model’s other valuable features include a top-mounted control center with knobs that enable you to rapidly and effortlessly adjust the thermostat to switch between high and low levels. With this heater’s fan-assisted heat, your room will be warm.

Best Infrared Heater
Dr Infrared Heater Carbon Infrared Indoor/Outdoor Heater
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03/10/2024 02:23 pm GMT

This Dr. Infrared Heater DR-978 is more costly than the other heaters on the list, costing slightly more than $85 for this model. The Dr. has a one-of-a-kind hybrid dual heating system with a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) and infrared radiation, resulting in a much higher heat generation.

The Dr. includes all of the typical safety features listed in this post. Included are helpful features such as tip-over safety, overheat protection, and an auto-off timer when the appliance is left running for more than 12 hours.

Dr. Infrared is also UL and cUL approved, ensuring that the safety features protect you and your family.

The thermostat controls the radiator and cycles it on and off to keep the temperature between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, three settings are available: High, Low, and ECO. Overall, it is an outstanding option for a heater for your home. Not to mention quite fashionable!

Final Thoughts

Infrared heaters are among the most popular, and for a good reason. They can save you electricity depending on the model you buy, how you use it, and how often. Hopefully, this article has answered all of your pertinent questions and helped you determine if infrared heaters are the best for you and your family.


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.