Infrared space heaters get their name from how they produce heat. Like the sun, they emit infrared light. The naked eye can’t see this light but it’s absorbed by people and objects in a room. Absorbing the light is what creates heat. As such, there are many advantages to choose an infrared heater over a different type of electric heater, some of which will be alluded to throughout these product reviews.
Here are some of the best infrared space heaters currently available on the market:
Top 10 Best Infrared Space Heaters
1. Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
The Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater DR-968 claims to deliver 60% more heat than other 1500 watt heaters. Most heaters use a 3-inch fan, but this one uses a state-of-the-art 7-inch blower. This generates higher pressure and moves more air at a lower speed. Thus, it is simultaneously quieter and more efficient than competing models.
Wattage is the amount of electricity needed to power a heater, so two 1500 watt heaters might have different heat outputs for the same amount of electricity. Thus, considering the heat output of different infrared heaters is a great way of assessing their relative efficiency.
This heater delivers an average of 250 degrees Fahrenheit at 3.5 m/s to a room versus competing heaters that deliver 155 degrees Fahrenheit at 2.2 m/s. Thus, this one is both warmer and faster, helping you to build up heat in a room quickly on those cold winter nights.
This unit uses a dual heating system to provide maximum comfort and deliver the fastest heat transfer rate possible, hence the impressive calculations.
- Delivers 60% more heat than other 1500 watt heaters
- Certified by UL USA and Canada
- Hot when in use
2. Lifesmart Corp Lifelux Series Infrared Deluxe Wood Cabinet
The Lifesmart Corp Lifelux Series Infrared Deluxe Wood Cabinet genuinely looks like a cabinet more than an infrared heater. You would be forgiven for thinking this little gadget is an end table instead of a heating device, and this is an intentional design element.
This has a Quakerstown oak stain wood finish all around the exterior, and the heating element and digital display are subtle additions to this thoughtfully crafted piece. As such, it looks a lot more modern and contemporary than other infrared heaters, which tend to look like they’re straight out of the seventies.
This model includes a digital thermostat control and remote control to make monitoring the temperature an absolute breeze for the consumer. You can change the settings and increase or decrease the temperature from a distance, without having to move from the comfort of your couch!
There are three different heat settings included with this infrared heater. One of these settings is the useful eco setting which has a twelve-hour start and stop timer, allowing you to modify your heating needs in accordance with your budget.
- Digital thermostat control
- Stylish wood finish
3. Trustech Portable Space Heater
The Trustech Portable Space Heater is a 1500 watt electric heater with three power modes. This allows the heater to blow warm air at different speeds. The high mode uses all 1500 watts of power, while the low mode uses 700 watts of power. The Eco mode will turn on and off in cycles to maintain a preset temperature. Thus, there are many ways you can potentially save money by using this heater.
You can select the high setting but only turn it on for short periods. This allows for a powerful blast of heat to take the chill from the air without draining your electricity. Alternatively, you can run it on the lower cycle for slightly longer periods, or simply keep it set to the eco mode, so you don’t have to monitor it.
This product offers convenience and luxury as it includes a timer setting, which can be adjusted from zero to twelve hours. This means you can both set it to come on and off, perfect for those times when you want to arrive home to a cozy room.
- Three power modes
- LED display and remote control
- Not aesthetically pleasing
4. Homegear 1500W Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater
The Homegear 1500W Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater can heat a medium to large size room quickly and efficiently. It uses a dual heating system composed of mica and quartz infrared heating tubes. Both of these are natural materials that are excellent heat conductors, so it’s clear that this unit has been thoughtfully designed.
It includes a LED display for easy monitoring and adjusting of temperature when desired. The blower fan is quiet and efficient, so you don’t have to worry about your heater rattling noisily while you’re trying to complete a quiet activity.
It is ETL listed, which is proof of it complying with North American safety standards, so you can have peace of mind that this product has been tested thoroughly.
There are some nice design features of this model worth mentioning. First, it is a sleek minimalist design that would complement homes that have a monochrome or minimalist design scheme. It wouldn’t fit so well in a home with many antique and vintage furnishings, however, so this should be considered before purchasing.
One particular design element that stands out is the unique brickwork pattern covering the dual heating elements. This is an aesthetically pleasing touch that is almost reminiscent of a fireplace.
- ETL listed
- LED display
- Boxy, minimalist design may not suit all interiors
5. Lifesmart 6 Element Quartz Infrared Heater
The Lifesmart 6 Element Quartz Infrared Heater can heat up to 1400 cubic feet, which equates to just over 125 square feet. The quartz heating element is housed in a wooden cabinet which makes it a lot safer to use. It prevents accidental burns from the exposed heating element, and the wooden casing is inevitably a lot cooler to the touch.
It includes a large remote control and raised buttons on the digital display located on the actual machine itself. This enables you to set the temperature and monitor the environment with relative ease. It also features a washable lifetime filter which helps to filter the air in the environment.
It is energy efficient, so you can maintain a comfortable indoor environment without worrying about the high cost of heating an entire home. There are three energy saving settings that include an Eco setting which will help you save more money and be even more energy efficient. The Eco setting can heat a smaller area using only 500 watts, perfect for times when someone is alone in the house, or only one small room is in use.
- Includes a remote control
- Features a washable lifetime filter
- Looks quite dated
6. Lifesmart Medium Room Infrared Heater
The Lifesmart Medium Room Infrared Heater provides heat for a medium sized room using infrared light emissions. It has three heat settings, one of which is an energy efficient eco setting that uses only 500 watts of power to heat a small area.
It includes a 12-hour start and stop timer for greater peace of mind, knowing that the machine will shut itself off after a certain period even if you forget to turn it off manually.
Its compact design means that you can move this heater pretty easily from room to room, depending on where you intend to spend your time. It won’t take a lot of strength or effort to move it, so you can have portable comfort and heat that’s convenient.
Its digital thermostat makes it easy to control the temperature and monitor the environment in accordance with your budget and heating needs.
- Three heat settings
- 12-hour start and stop timer
- Design lacks aesthetic appeal
7. Edenpure Gen2 Pure Infrared Heater A5095
The Edenpure Gen2 Pure Infrared Heater A5095 is a unique design comprised of a black casing partially finished with a cherry wood tone surrounding the element. It also has a cylindrical shape and delicate brickwork that makes the unit look somewhat like a mini fireplace.
It includes a two-year warranty which is quite a competitive warranty for this kind of product, so it has obviously been designed and tested thoroughly. It is constructed in a high-quality fashion and includes built-in carry handles so you can move it easily from room to room.
There is the option to upgrade this heater and purchase an air purification kit that can be installed as an accessory to the main heater, so you can potentially have a device that keeps the environment warm and free of allergens at the same time.
It includes a remote control, so you never have to leave the comfort of where you’re relaxing to adjust the settings or temperature. You can simply turn it on or off, or increase or decrease the temperature while relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine.
- Includes 2-year warranty
- Built-in handles for easy transport from room to room
- No auto shutoff feature
8. Dr. Infrared DR-988 Garage Shop Heater
The Dr. Infrared Heater DR-900 can heat up to 600 square feet, so it’s capable of heating very large spaces indeed. As such, it could potentially be used for small business purposes and specifically designed with this in mind.
It uses a special power cord and requires a higher voltage than standard outlets. It’s also not suitable for general residential or household use and cannot be mounted on the ceiling.
Thus, this is more of a commercial or industrial heater than a residential one, so this will factor in quite heavily to your decision regarding which infrared heater to choose.
The temperature range of this unit is impressive and spans a range of 50 degrees, from 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. We all have different preferences where the temperature of our environment is concerned, so this caters to a wide variety of tastes regarding cooler and warmer temperatures.
- Heats up to 600 square feet
- Generous temperature range of 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Not for general residential or household use
9. Heat Storm Deluxe Infrared Wall Heater
The Heat Storm Deluxe Infrared Wall Heater has a safe touch grill and uses only 1000 watts of power so it won’t run up your electricity bills.
Lower watts doesn’t necessarily amount to lower heat capacity, and this unit can heat up to 500 square feet when used as a supplemental heating system.
As such, it should not generally be relied upon as your primary source of heat, but used in a complementary manner alongside your central unit. This helps you save money because you can turn down the thermostat on your main system and only heat the room you’re actually in.
This is a unit designed to be mounted on a wall, so it won’t take up precious floor space. However, you also have to decide if you like the idea of a heater being constantly affixed to your wall. It includes a built-in thermostat with a modern LED display for ease and convenience.
- Safe to the touch grill
- Heats up to 500 square feet
- Wall mount only
10. Optimus H-5511 Infrared Quartz Radiant Heater
The Optimus H-5511 Infrared Quartz Radiant Heater can help save you money on your utility bills as it includes energy savings settings of 400 or 800 watts. This ensures a comfortable environment on a tight budget.
This unit has cool touch housing for added safety when pets or children accidentally get too close to the device. It also runs very quietly, so it won’t add unwanted background noise to your room and won’t interfere with any activities which require peace and quiet.
It also has a tip-over safety switch in order to avoid electrical accidents, as well as an overheat thermal cut-off safety device.
Thus, you can rest assured that this product is very safe for general use in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines.
- Energy saving settings
- Cool touch housing
- Dated design: not aesthetically pleasing
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING AN INFRARED SPACE HEATER
If this is your first time shopping for an infrared heater, there are a couple of things you need to know. These include; types of infrared heaters, how the heaters work, benefits of infrared heaters, and whether they are safer than other home heating alternatives. This guide discusses these and many other considerations in detail.
What is an Infrared Space Heater?
The first thing you need to know about infrared is that it forms part of the electromagnetic spectrum – the most basic form of heat we know. As such, infrared is also 100% natural.
Indeed, we absorb and radiate infrared. Whenever you bask in the sun to soak a bit of heat, you’re merely enjoying infrared radiation. The same applies whenever people sit around an open fire. These fires mostly comprise infrared heat. Above all, if you’re sitting next to a friend and can feel some warmth from their bodies, that’s also infrared radiation.
Infrared heat was first discovered by German-British astronomer, Sir William Herschel, in 1800. After years of research, Herschel determined that infrared light had the highest degree of temperature change in the light spectrum. From then on, scientists everywhere have made use of this red light in many applications.
Among others, infrared was initially used in metal finishing, especially in the curing and drying of paints. It was not until the 1920s that the first infrared heat lamps were designed.
How Does Infrared Heating Work?
As we mentioned earlier, infrared forms part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared is, therefore, a form of light. The heat from infrared heaters comes from this invisible light.
Like in any other heater, infrared heat is generated by a heating element (filament) within the heating appliance. When energy passes through the filament, it generates heat. The heat it then passed across your rooms through radiation.
There’s a significant difference in the heating process, though. Unlike other home heating systems, infrared doesn’t heat air. It passes through the air, but air particles cannot absorb heat directly from infrared light – only solid objects, including you, your furniture, the walls, etc., can absorb the heat. What usually happens, therefore, is that objects first absorb the heat and then radiate some of the heat to the surrounding air.
In most infrared heaters, the filament is made from tungsten wire. The wire is coiled to increase its surface area. A larger surface area means more heat is radiated at any given time. Low-temperature alternatives for tungsten include carbon and alloys of iron, chromium, and aluminum. Carbon filaments are more fickle to produce, but the material heats up more quickly than comparable medium-wave materials.
Since light is sometimes not required during the heating process, different technologies have been designed to eliminate light from infrared heaters. Ceramic infrared heaters, for example, emit little or no light at all. Featuring eight meters of coiled alloy resistance wire, infrared heaters emit uniform heat across the entire surface of the radiator, with the ceramic material absorbing up to 90% of the radiation and releasing up to 90% of the absorbed radiation in the form of heat.
Some infrared heaters feature gold coating on the quartz tube to reflect infrared radiation and direct the heat towards the product being heated. The reason gold is used is that it has a very high oxidation resistance and reflects nearly 95% of infrared radiation. As a result, a gold coating can almost double the infrared radiation impinging on the product being heated.
Types of Infrared Space Heaters
There are two main ways to categorize infrared heaters; by wavelength and by the power source. Here’s what you need to know;
Categorization by Energy Source
Infrared heaters can use one of three energy sources – electricity, propane gas, and natural gas. Each energy source has its advantages and drawbacks.
Electricity: Most garage and industrial infrared heaters are hardwired to work where gas might not be available. These heaters mostly use electric power. The electric heater is placed strategically within the room and can be used to warm large areas such as warehouses. You may need more than one heater if warming an unusually large area. Or you can check our review for the best space heaters for large rooms.
Propane: Also known as top tank heaters, propane-powered infrared heaters are great for portability, especially on job sites where heat is needed. They are best suited to the outdoors as they provide excellent spot heating. Most of the outdoor heaters are also specially designed to withstand harsh working conditions and typically feature thermostats and tip-over protection. The heaters are easy to assemble and very efficient.
Natural Gas: Finally, infrared heaters can also run on natural gas. Nearly all-natural gas infrared heaters are used for outdoor applications because of their excellent heat dispersion abilities. Feature such as burners, automatic ignition, adjustable heat, and ceiling/wall mounts make them practical for restaurant decks and outdoor patios. Professional installation is recommended.
Categorization by Wavelength
With regards to wavelength, infrared heaters can be divided into three subcategories; near-infrared, medium infrared, and far-infrared.
Also known as Short Wave or IRA heaters, near-infrared heaters operate between 0.75 to 1.4 microns and emit temperatures of 1,300⁰C or more. They also emit visible red light. The heaters are made of quartz and feature a reflector to concentrate heat in a particular direction.
Although most near-infrared heaters use electricity, some use natural gas and propane. These gas-burning heaters feature a venturi to heat the steel tube, which glows sufficiently hot to produce near-infrared radiation.
Owing to their high temperatures, near-infrared heaters are best suited to high-intensity applications such as cooking and welding rather than house heating. What’s more, shortwave radiation, when compared to longwave radiation is poorly absorbed by the skin and tends to penetrate deep into the body, which can cause health problems.
Near-infrared heaters can also burn the human skin if the heater is placed too close to the body. Extended exposure to these heaters is also risky. Eye damage, Baker’s Arm, and Glass-blowers face are just a few examples of reported side effects.
For these reasons, consumers are advised against buying near infrared heaters for comfort purposes. Instead, choose from medium and long-wave heaters.
Also known as Medium Wave or IRB heaters, medium infrared heaters operated between 1.4 and 3 microns. They emit temperatures in the 500 to 800⁰C region and also produce a deep red light.
Medium infrared is found naturally in smelting and glass-blowing processes and is the same radiation used in heat-seeking military missiles. The missiles track the exhaust signatures of the identified aircraft.
Medium wave infrared heaters mostly come in quartz or ceramic. Quartz heaters consist of a wire coil in a quartz glass tube. The quartz glass tubes are typically supported in a metallic frame.
Ceramic heaters, meanwhile, emit infrared at 2 microns but frequently peak in the Far Infrared at 3 microns. This makes them some of the best medium wave infrared heaters, partly explaining why they are common in commercial space heating. At the required installation distance required for these heaters, they are more energy-efficient and safer than tungsten/halogen heaters and have longer lives too. If you want to check other options, we have reviewed some of the most energy efficient space heaters.
Finally, Far Infrared, also known as Long Wave or IRS heaters or sometimes even as Dark Radiators operate in the wavelengths above 3 microns. The heaters emit much lower temperatures, in the region of 100⁰C. This makes them ideal for space/home heating. Far Infrared heaters don’t emit visible light.
Studies show that human and animal skins absorb Far Infrared radiation exceptionally well. One reason for this is that infrared is 80% water. Far Infrared radiation is also commonly used in saunas.
Advantages of Infrared Space Heaters
From the above discussion, you can tell that infrared radiation is, without doubt, one of the best home heating options.
Far Infrared heaters, in particular, are perfect for space heating. They emit just enough heat to warm up our homes without burning anything and, being 80% water, are biologically compatible with our bodies.
Other benefits of infrared heaters are as follows;
- Instant heat: Infrared heaters give off radiation right away. If, after switching ON the heater, you find yourself waiting for more than a minute for the house to warm up, there could be a problem with the heater.
- Lower costs: Compared to the cost of running electrical heaters, infrared heaters are a lot cheaper. A 600-watt infrared panel, for example, provides the same level of comfort as a 1,500watt convection heater.
- Minor temperature differentials: One major problem with convection heaters is that the difference between floor-level temperatures and temperatures around the ceiling can be rather high, up to 10⁰C+, often resulting in inefficient heating. Infrared heaters guarantee near-even temperatures throughout the home. If there’s any difference in temperatures, it’ll be 3⁰C at most. More even heating means greater heating efficiency.
- Helps with mold: If your home is prone to mold, that’s another reason to opt for an infrared heater. Since infrared radiation heats solid objects but leaves the surrounding air dry, any mold will dry up in no time.
- Suitable for people with allergies: The fact that infrared heaters don’t blow air around is also a significant advantage for people with allergies. You don’t have to worry about dust and allergens flying around.
- Excellent for whole-home heating: Most radiant heaters can only be used in small spaces and are rarely recommended for whole-home heating. Infrared heaters are different. Not only are they perfect for large areas, but they can also be used for whole-home heating. We especially prefer radiant floor heating systems that are quiet and energy efficient.
Is Infrared Heating Safe?
Absolutely! Often, when people hear the word radiation, they get scared. Throw “infrared” in there, and some people may feel that the heaters are dangerous.
Conversely, infrared heaters are some of the safest space heaters out there. First off, although infrared is also a form of radiation, it’s not in the same category as ultraviolet rays and X-rays, which are dangerous. Instead, infrared is more comparable to visible light (what we see with our eyes), and much like visible light, it’s 100% safe.
Secondly, only medium-wave and long-wave (Far) Infrared is used in home heating appliances. Indeed, the majority of manufacturers only use Long Wave or Far Infrared, which is pretty much harmless to humans, biologically or otherwise.
Beware of Short Wave/Near Infrared, though
Short wave infrared isn’t just hotter than medium and Far-infrared; it’s also more penetrating. Prolonged exposure to near-infrared can cause thermal burns and aging effects on the surface of the skin. When shopping for infrared heaters for home heating, check each product carefully to ensure that you’re not carrying home a near-infrared appliance.
The following are several other tips to help keep you, your loved ones, and your home safe;
- Install the heater safely: Most infrared heaters are designed to be installed on the wall or ceiling, both for safety and efficiency purposes. Let a professional do the installation.
- Ensure enough clearance: In addition to safe installation, it’s advisable to stay at least 12-18 feet away from the heater, no matter the temperature settings.
- Check for anti-tip-over features: Anti tip-over means that if the heater tips over, it automatically shuts OFF. Check if the heater you’re buying has this feature.
- Be extra careful with gas heaters: First and foremost, gas heaters can release harmful by-products into the home. Secondly, the gas itself is a fire risk. Take the necessary precautions to prevent any hazards.
- Check for safety controls: Additional features such as; a built-in thermostat, wheels that swivel, a stable design that resists tipping and a cool-to-touch exterior would go a long way in making the heater safer.
Infrared vs. Electric Heaters
If you’re split between buying an infrared heater or a pure home electric heater, the following points should help you make an informed decision.
- Power source: The most significant difference between the two heaters is the source of power. Whereas infrared heaters can be heated by electricity, natural gas, or propane gas, pure electric heaters only use electricity.
- Radiation vs. convection: In infrared heating, the heat will reach you directly from the heating element, through radiation. Most electric heaters, meanwhile, heat air then blow the warm air around the house through convection.
- Fewer cold spots: Infrared heaters guarantee more even heating with fewer cold spots. Electric heating, however, is more uneven, often resulting in multiple cold spots around the home.
- Human safety: Both infrared and electric heaters come with a few safety concerns. For example, both come with the risk of getting burned. This risk is, however, higher in pure electric heaters.
- Environmental safety: Both infrared and electric heaters are also safe for the environment, with electric heaters being slightly more environmentally friendly given that some infrared heaters use gas and therefore emit toxic by-products.
Can Infrared Space Heaters Heat an Entire House?
Yes, infrared heaters can be used for whole-home heating. As long as you purchase a sufficiently powerful infrared heater, you can rest assured of generating enough heat to warm all your rooms.
The main reason this is possible is that infrared only heats solid objects. The heat isn’t wasted warming air or liquids. Instead, all the energy is absorbed by solid objects nearby.
These objects then radiate the heat back into the surrounding air. Your walls, after absorbing the heat, will, therefore, emit some of the heat into adjacent rooms.
This way of heating is exceptionally effective because heat particles can carry the heat throughout the room and into adjacent rooms without losing too much heat to surrounding air. It means that even if the heater is located in the living room, there will be a great deal of heat reaching your bedrooms.
The best part is that, since infrared heaters don’t employ convection, loss of heat through openings is significantly reduced.
Do Infrared Space Heaters Save Money?
Yes! And here is how to calculate the amount of electricity a heater uses.
Take a 4 x 4 meters room (16 square meters), for example. If using infrared heating, you’d only need a 1kW radiator. However, if using a convective electric heater, you’d need at least 2.4kW.
To find out exactly how much you’d save (in dollars), all you need is the price per kilowatt-hour. Assuming that you pay at the current national average of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, you’d be spending 12 cents per hour for the infrared heater and 28.8 cents per hour for a conventional electric heater.
Over just one month (30 days), assuming you warm the home for five hours daily, you’d spend $18 for infrared heating and $43.2 for a traditional electric heater, a difference of $25.2!
Are Infrared Space Heaters Safe to Leave on Overnight?
No! Never leave an infrared heater, or any other home heater, ON overnight. The following are a few reasons why;
- Heaters can breakdown: Something can go wrong with the heater; it happens all the time. Electronic appliance failures are a huge risk when you’re asleep as you won’t be around to diagnose the problem or switch off the heater to prevent a fire hazard.
- Risk of CO poisoning: Infrared heaters that use gas are even more dangerous as they produce carbon monoxide as a by-product. Carbon monoxide is a very poisonous gas that can kill without warning. Sleeping with carbon monoxide floating around is, therefore, too big a risk to take.
Infrared space heaters offer instantaneous heat for humans and objects in a room because they emit infrared light as soon as they are switched on. Therefore, if you want a quick way to get warm this coming winter, choosing what infrared space heater to buy will be a much easier process after considering our product reviews.
Jesse Pinkman is a passionate HVAC professional writer who grew up repairing any home appliance on which he could lay his hands. He is responsible for ensuring that every article we publish is SPOT ON. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys hiking, watching football, and spending time with his family.