Before starting your journey towards finding the best-infrared heater for your particular needs, it’s worth investigating some of the reasons why this form of heating can be more efficient, effective and economical than others.
To give you an idea of the potential cost savings you might enjoy if you use infrared heating, check out this study published by the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers.
This energy saving is clearly beneficial to your pocket but also to our planet, something many of us are becoming more conscious of these days. Read on to find out more about how infrared heating works and why it might be the smart choice for you.
How Do Infrared Heaters Work?
The simplest way to explain how infrared heaters work is to compare the heat they produce to the way we experience the heat of the sun, known as radiant heat. Infrared light isn’t visible to the human eye as it’s outside the spectrum that we can see.
Even though we can’t see it, that invisible light is absorbed by our skin, by our clothes and other objects all around us. Infrared heaters work in the same way. Popular home website The Spruce refers to this as ‘zone heating’ and we agree that it commands a more natural feeling of warmth. The infrared rays heat the objects in the home rather than simply heating the air in the way that traditional convection heaters do. In turn, these objects give off heat and effectively become a 360 degree radiator, heating the area around them.
The main benefit of infrared heaters is the more consistent and comfortable heat that they produce. This is because objects retain heat better than air, so residual energy maintains the temperature in the environment for longer. For example, if a door is opened to a colder room, the temperature won’t plummet. It’s often possible to set the thermostat to a lower air temperature because it is the environment that heats up first, not the air.
The warmth in your home is also more balanced and the air doesn’t become stuffy once the desired temperature is reached. One thing you may have noticed when you use conventional heating is that the room heats from the top down, so the ceiling gets the benefit of the warmth before you do. Infrared heat, on the other hand, spreads via the objects and surfaces in your home, so you’ll feel the benefits more quickly and the temperature of your floor and your ceiling are likely to be similar instead of vastly different. Gradually, as all of the walls and objects in your room begin to warm up, they’ll naturally release heat on their own. In no time you’ll be toasty warm.
Infrared heaters are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to heat their homes and workplaces during the colder times of the year. It’s definitely a heating option worth considering but there are so many different specifications of infrared heaters that it’s difficult to make generalizations about them. Different heaters will be controlled in different ways, have different maximum output levels depending on their purpose, and different designs.
We’ve done plenty of research to save you doing the hard yards, though, and we’ve reviewed a wide range of the best infrared heaters for many different purposes which should help to narrow down the choices for you.
Electric Vs Propane Vs Natural Gas
You’ll be able to find infrared heaters which are powered by these three different fuel sources. Electricity is the most likely to be available, but natural gas may also be an option where you are. Propane gas is a third alternative, especially in isolated locations or construction sites.
Different heaters have different maximum output levels, different controls, and different designs and therefore the running costs will vary according to the way they’re used.
When considering the differential in the cost of operation for each method, it’s not easy to make a comparison between these three fuel sources because they’re measured in different ways: Natural Gas is measured in cubic feet or hundred cubic feet (CCF) but it is sold by the therm; Propane Gas is sold by the gallon or weight; Electricity is sold by the Kilowatt-hour. With three such different ways of measuring and selling these types of energy, combined with the huge variations in sizes of heaters, calculating the comparative costs is difficult.
However, a US Department of Energy study from 2008 concluded that natural gas was the cheaper option by some margin, followed by propane gas and then electricity as the least economical option.
|Energy Type||In Common Therms||$ per million BTU
(British Thermal Unit)
|Electricity||10.8 cents per KWh||$31.65|
|Natural Gas||75.3 cents per therm||$13.28|
|Propane||2.42 dollars per gallon||$26.50|
Considerations Before Buying
Size Of The Area
It’s really helpful to know the size of the space you intend to heat before you buy. Most heaters are set with a maximum heating coverage area of 1000 sq ft. There are lower capacity heaters available, though, so if you have a much smaller room it could be more economical to choose one of those. There’s no point in using more energy than you need, after all, from either a planet-friendly or pocket-friendly perspective. If the space you’re wanting to heat is over 1000 sq ft, then be sure to choose a higher capacity infrared heater to ensure that your space is kept warm and toasty.
Size (Wattage Or BTU’s)
The terms Watts and BTUs can be confusing for some people. To keep it simple, the higher each number is will mean the more heat output the system will produce. The most common wattage of infrared heaters is 1500 Watts, although the Edenpure Gen32 (#2 on our list) will work at a maximum of 1000 Watts. BTUs vary greatly depending on the type of power source the heater uses. On the low end of the scale, the Heat Storm (product #8) emits approx. 5000 BTUs while larger propane heaters (such as product #5) will radiate upwards of 35000 BTUs. This just means more heat and greater chances of warming a bigger area.
As with any form of heating, thermostatic control is essential to ensure efficiency and economy. Most heaters allow a temperature setting of 50 to 86 degrees. This means you can adjust the temperature to your particular needs at any particular time, without overheating your space and using expensive energy unnecessarily.
Naturally, these will vary according to each unit, according to its specification. Fire is a risk with any type of heater, however, so it’s advisable to choose one which offers protection against overheating, so that the heater automatically shuts off before it becomes too hot. This is an essential feature if the heater is going to be left on when the space is unoccupied and especially at night.
This is such a useful feature, allowing you to target heat exactly where and when you need it around your home, in the workshop or the garage. Some heaters are more easily maneuvered than others and you need to consider the weight of the unit if you’re planning to move it from place to place. Always be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions and always switch the heater off before moving it anywhere for safety’s sake.
One of the key features of infrared heating is that it is silent but some are fitted with a blower to speed up delivery of warmth to all areas of the room and ensure it’s evenly distributed to avoid any hot and cold spots in the room. It’s worth checking the noise levels of these blowers. If you’re keen to benefit from this feature but don’t want unnecessary ‘white’ noise in your home, look for a noise level of around 39 decibels which is super quiet.
Design & Features
As with any appliance for your home, this is always a matter of personal choice and depends on what purpose you need the heater for. With the vast range of styles and types of infrared heaters, designed for a multitude of purposes around the home – everything from traditional fireplace heaters to sauna heating systems – the number of special features and options available is almost limitless.
The lifespan of the quartz bulb in an infrared heater will vary from unit to unit, so it’s not possible to give an accurate length of useful life. Do bear in mind that replacement bulbs can be costly, so the best value heater will have the longest lasting bulb.
Most infrared heaters will be sold with some form of warranty but they will vary from product to product and manufacturer to manufacturer. The rule of thumb is that if the manufacturer is confident in their product, they’ll be back this up with a satisfactory policy for refunds/returns and a longer warranty.
9 Best Infrared Heaters Reviewed
Best Portable Infrared Space Heater – Dr Infrared Heater
- Triple Power Settings (Auto, 1000W, 1500W)
- Remote control
- LCD control panel
- Overheating shutoff safety feature
- Tip-over shutoff safety feature
- High pressure/low noise (39 dB) blower
- 3 year warranty
If you’re looking for a mid-range product, then I suggest checking out the Dr Infrared Heater 1500W portable space heater. It’s a compact, multi-purpose space heater that provides supplemental warmth for any room in your home.
The wood veneer casing, in either walnut or cherry finish, is attractive and decorative and will blend in with your existing décor seamlessly. Its powerful eco-friendly infrared quartz tube radiates heat and allows you to maintain room temperature with less power and better efficiency. One user on the home depot website stated that his purchase was ‘Quiet, powerful, yet efficient. Keeps me warm all night.’
This heater features a high pressure, low noise fan which circulates the heat effectively. You can control it remotely from the comfort of your sofa. The concealed smooth-rolling casters allow you to move it safely and easily to wherever heat is needed.
Don’t be put off by all the technical details, with this heater you can rest assured that what you’re getting is an efficient and attractive source of warmth for your home. It is lightweight, offers excellent value for money & is one of the most efficient heaters for home use.
Best Small Electric Infrared Heater – Edenpure GEN32
- 2 Heat settings (500W - 1000W)
- Space-saving design
- No bulbs to burn out
- Cooling fan for summer
- Tip over shutoffProtection
- 2 year warranty
EdenPURE GEN32 SuperBuddy small electric infrared heater is a great choice if you’re limited on space. Its space-saving design and reduced weight make it easy to move and its contemporary styling blends easily into your home design and décor. It’ll also do a great job heating under your desk, in a college dorm or virtually anywhere you need the immediate comfort of extra heat. The GEN32 also has a functioning fan for blowing cool air in warmer conditions. Don’t expect large amounts of cooling relief as this product is definitely built for the winter months.
This small heater is also whisper quiet, which is a real benefit as some supplemental heaters can add unnecessary noise. Despite being pint-sized, it will easily heat an area such as a bedroom or office with 2 settings allowing temperature regulation. Its safety features include tip-over protection so it will automatically switch off if it’s knocked over for any reason.
Even though it’s one of the smallest on the market, this heater is cleverly designed to heat more efficiently than the cumbersome old-style infrared heaters. We love the EdenPURE for close proximity heating and believe it is best-used 1-on-1 at an office desk or in a loungeroom.
Best Infrared Garage Heater – Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX
- Integrated Piezo igniter (Propane Fuel)
- 4000 & 9000 BTU settings
- Fuel Consumption @ 4000 BTU = 0.044 Gal/Hr
- Fuel Consumption @ 9000 BTU = 0.099 Gal/Hr
- Safety features include tip-over and low-oxygen shut-off
- Easy LP cylinder & hose installation
If you’re looking for a solution to the common problem of bringing some comforting heat to your work area, then a wise choice is the Mr Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy. This small-but-mighty heater has 2 heat settings: 4000 BTU and 9000 BTU, so you can choose what feels right at any given time and you won’t be wasting valuable energy on creating heat that you don’t really need.
The large durable porcelain-coated heating surface directs radiant heat over a wider area, so you’ll get the maximum benefit of its warmth. This compact and portable heat system has several safety features. A high-temperature wire guard so direct contact with the radiant heat. The automatic shutoff works if low-oxygen is present, the system tips-over or when the pilot light goes out. These features help make this device one of the safest propane fuelled devices on the market.
Whether you’re looking for an LP heating solution for your garage or workshop or even for a tent, this product will meet your needs and quite possibly exceed your expectations. We love this product by Mr Heater because its small, portable and powered by propane,
Searching for the best of the best? I recommend the Dyna-Glo IR30PMDG-1 30,000 BTU Liquid Propane Infrared Vent Free Wall Heater.
Searching for a cheaper model? I recommend the TPI Corporation H474TMC474 Series Dual Wattage Portable Heater.
Best Infrared Fireplace Heater – PuraFlame 26″
- 1500/750W settings
- Heats up to 400 sq.ft.
- Energy saving LED technology
- Adjustable brightness/flame effects
- Flame-only setting
- 1 year warranty
My top pick for a fireplace heater is the PuraFlame 26″ Western Electric Fireplace insert, which will create a warm and inviting focal point in your lounge all year round at the flick of a switch. Carrying a heavy log basket and having to clean up the ash each morning will be a thing of the past – convenience is certainly something to celebrate!
It’s also vent and smoke free and can be safely installed in any room – just plug it into the wall cutout and you’re done. It’s 26” wide (also available in 30″ & 33″), so big enough to make a real statement, and it can provide supplemental zone heating in a room up to 400 sq.ft.
The life-like resin logs, ember bed and flames have adjustable brightness/flame settings, so you can achieve different effects in your room depending on your mood. Better yet, if you just want to create a warm ambiance without heat, there’s a flame-only setting.
Generally, the temperature settings will range from 60 °F to 84 °F although this will be affected by the size and shape of the room. Other factors will include your insulation, ceiling height and of course outside temperature. We love the design of the Puraflame as it is sure to impress visitors in your home.
Best Propane Infrared Heater – Mr. Heater MH35LP
- 35,000 BTU
- Heats up to 875 sq ft
- Requires 20-pound propane cylinder (not included)
- Measures approximately 12 x 10 x 34 inches
- Tip over safety switch
- Comes with wheels for easy rolling
- 1 year limited warranty
If you’re looking for a propane infrared heater for somewhere such as a garage or construction site, or workshop, then the Mr. Heater MH35LP 35,000 Btu portable propane radiant heater is a great choice. It targeted heat means that warmth is where it’s needed rather than heating all the surrounding air. This efficient approach using a 20-pound propane cylinder will give up to 12 hours of use.
It’s easy to hook up to the gas cylinder with the included 10ft hose and regulator and easy to light using the convenient Piezo push-button igniter. You’ll find it includes handy jobsite features like a folding handle and transport wheels. Its rugged steel construction means that it’s sturdy and durable.
As with any gas heater with a naked flame, you need to take care when operating but the factory-installed safety features – including tip-over safety switch and a thermoelectric safety valve – give peace of mind and it’s backed by CSA certification.
This large heater blasts out 35000 BTU and is suited to warming up to approximately 900 sq.ft. As we stated before, an ideal option for workshops, bigger garages, and construction sites because of its power and maneuverability.
Searching for the best of the best? I recommend the Mr Heater 40,000 BTU Propane Heater.
Searching for a cheaper model? I recommend the Dura Heat TT-360 Propane(LP) 360 Degree Tank Top Heater.
Best Natural Gas Infrared Heater – Mr. Heater MH25NG
- Wall mounted heater
- 25,000 BTU output
- ‘How to’ video included
- Propane model also available
- Thermostat provided
- Metal construction
If you’re on the hunt for a powerful and efficient wall-mounted natural gas heater, then take a look at this product: Mr. Heater MH25NG. It offers an effective heating solution and the fact that it’s powered by natural gas makes it ideal in situations where electricity supply is frequently affected by power outages or where no supply is hooked up.
It’s clean, quiet and odorless as well as being thermostatically controlled so you won’t waste gas unnecessarily. This heater is powerful enough to heat a 625 sq ft area which equates to the size of a large double garage. The Mr. Heater MH25NG is made of sturdy metal construction with a steel grid and reflector to boost the warming glow you get from this heater.
Wherever you use this heater you’ll need to make sure you have ventilation to prevent build up of carbon monoxide but it will do a great job at heating any garage or external workspace. Once again, it is to be wall mounted and powered by natural gas so if that’s what you need then this is a great option for you.
Best Infrared Patio Heater – Ener-G+ Freestanding
- Plugs into standard 120V outlet
- Silent operation
- Zero carbon monoxide emissions
- LED light
- cETL certified
- 2 meter power cord
If you’ve ever enjoyed the delight of sitting ‘al fresco’, outside a restaurant or bar, enjoying the welcome warmth of an exterior heater, you’ll know just how pleasant this can be. Did you know that it’s less expensive that you might think to enjoy the same sensation at home, thus extending the season when you can enjoy sitting outside on your own terrace or patio?
This freestanding electric patio heater from Ener-G+ not only does its job really well but, with its LED light and tempered glass bistro-style tabletop, it looks super-cool too. Its heat source is a 5000-hour carbon filament lamp and it’s environmentally respectful with no carbon monoxide emissions. It plugs into a standard 120V power outlet, so you don’t need to pay a professional to install it. All these reasons make this product an excellent choice when sitting outdoors.
This tabletop heater is good for small areas such as heating an outdoor table for a family dinner or keeping warm when having a drink as the sun sets. I would not recommend it for large patio areas. If you need a bigger patio heater then visit this page.
Best Wall Mounted Infrared Heater – Heat Storm Phoenix
- Wall-mounted or freestanding
- Thermostatic control with LED display
- Safe to touch
- 1500W and 750W output options
- 5200 BTU maximum output
- ETL safety certified
- 1 year warranty
You’ll find that the Heat Storm Pheonix is a great solution if you need to heat a small room where there isn’t much floor space. This is a flexible heating option as its feet are removable meaning this heater can be wall hung or freestanding.
Its 1500 Watt output will make your space toasty warm in no time but if you’d like to reduce the output to save energy, it also has a 750 Watt setting. It also features an LED temperature display, so you can easily check the ambient temperature and adjust accordingly for comfort and economy. This product is also designed with safety in mind and it’s safe to touch, even on the grill, which makes it a great choice if you have kids running about.
We like this home heater because of the detachable feet allowing it to become freestanding rather than wall-mounted. It’s lightweight and easy to move around your home or workspace. Therefore you can target heat exactly where you need it when you need it.
Best Infrared Tower Heater – ChimneyFree
- 30” tall
- Real wood veneer finish
- Automatic shut off timer and digital thermostat
- Supplemental heat for up to 1000 sq ft
- Remote control
You can warm up any room in your home with this stylishly designed 30-inch tall infrared quartz tower heater. It’s constructed from real wood veneer so it will naturally blend with most styles of home décor. This infrared tower heater provides heating for up to 1,000 sq ft. Of course, other factors will play a part in the heating ability so we suggest a maximum of around 700 sq.ft.
The infrared quartz heat helps to maintain the natural humidity within the air. You won’t have to struggle off the sofa to adjust the temperature as it’s controlled remotely (or manually, if you prefer). The digital thermostat ensures that you won’t use any more energy than is needed to keep your room at your chosen temperature.
You’ll be surprised how efficient and effective this elegant tower heater is – it’s worlds apart from the old-fashioned electric heaters of bygone days. Rest assured that the manufacturers haven’t sacrificed efficiency for style and that is why we rate this our best-infrared tower heater.
***The dark expresso model on Amazon is not the only option. The black metal heater has similar specs except it is short and wider than the tower model.
Searching for the best of the best? I recommend the Duraflame 5HM7000-PO78 Portable Electric Infrared Quartz Oscillating Tower Heater.
Searching for a cheaper model? I recommend the Unbrand2 Infrared Electric Quartz Tower Heater.
Types Of Infrared Heaters
Small & Portable Space Heaters
Whether powered by gas or electricity, depending on the intended purpose, the location and the available power source, there are a wide range of options when it comes to small and portable infrared space heaters. Each one has a different specification and operational features designed to target warmth where it is needed on demand. They can be particularly useful as an additional heat source to top up heat where the conventional heating system is insufficient or has failed for some reason. Being portable, they can be used wherever and whenever they’re needed.
Imagine being able to heat your garage or workshop in the winter months so that DIY or craft projects become a pleasure instead of a pain? Infrared heaters, whether electric or propane gas-powered, provide a fast-working, efficient source of heat, targeted exactly where you need it.
Better yet, if you’re working on a project with wood, for example, infrared heaters won’t raise dust or keep dust airborne. To save you wasting energy and your hard-earned cash, if you plan on heating your garage this way our tip is to make sure your garage walls and ceiling are insulated (minimum of 4” thick in the walls, 6” thick in the ceiling). We have researched the top rated garage heater brands in a separate article here.
If you’re aiming for a traditional look and want to retain the idea of the hearth being the centre of the home or the focal point of your living room, you won’t be short of infrared options to choose from. Depending on the style you have in mind, there’s everything from classic coal or wood effect fireplaces to highly contemporary funky wall-mounted flame effect heaters.
We’re all familiar with these patio heaters which are often found outside cafés and bars and bring comforting warmth during the cooler months. But why not consider having one at home, extending the season for using your outdoor space? Your patio could become an attractive, warm and comfortable place for entertaining all year round. We have reviewed and rated all the top brands here.
Ceiling & Wall Mounted Heaters
There are many types of ceiling and wall-mounted heaters available which perform really well in a wide range of environments. To take one example, there are super-slim infrared panel heaters which are to all intents and purposes invisible – a heat source hidden in plain sight. They can blend in perfectly in a kitchen or bathroom environment, adding heat without space being taken up by a bulky radiator or an inefficient portable heater.
Infrared saunas are rapidly replacing traditional saunas (hot rock and steam saunas) for several reasons: efficiency, comfort, safety, durability, ease of maintenance and economy. There is considerable evidence, gathered over the past 30 years, that an infrared heat source offers health benefits which exceed those associated with using a traditional sauna.
Where Can I Use These Heaters?
These heaters are effective in a variety of spaces around the home, office or workshop. As we have discussed above, different models will be better depending on the area. These are just some of the places you can use an infrared heater.
- Industrial Buildings
Frequently Asked Questions
Are infrared heaters safe to leave unattended or overnight?
For safety reasons, it’s not advisable to leave any supplemental heater unattended, whether infrared or otherwise. If you choose infrared heating, though, this shouldn’t be a problem since one of its most significant benefits is how quickly it warms the environment when it’s switched on. You’ll feel the warmth and comfort within minutes of walking into a room and flicking the switch on the heater.
You’ll save a lot of expensive energy too, by not heating an empty room. To avoid inadvertently leaving the heater on when you go out or go to sleep, it’s worth considering a heater with an automatic shut-off timer to ensure that the heater isn’t left on when it’s not needed.
How efficient are infrared space heaters?
This ultimately comes down to the size of the heater you’re using, its wattage, the size of the area that you’re heating and the way you move around in and use the space. On the whole, they’re more efficient than traditional convection heaters because of the way that infrared waves heat objects rather than heating the air.
This warmed air is easily lost when people open and close doors to the outside, whereas the heated objects (including walls, floor, and furniture) have absorbed heat and act a little like radiators, continuing to warm the space around them, without the heat being lost to the great outdoors.
Remember that the efficiency of any form of heating is affected by factors such as the level of insulation, ceiling height, and type of construction.
Will an infrared heater save me money?
The answer to this question greatly depends on the heater that you choose. Before browsing the options, it’s important to calculate the size of the space you’re heating and choose a heater with a sufficient output to heat it. If the heater is under-powered for the space, you’ll never feel the complete benefit of its warmth. The flip side of that is to make sure that you don’t buy an infrared heater which is too powerful for the smallest space you’re planning to heat, or you’ll be wasting valuable and expensive energy.
On the whole, having an infrared heater is great for saving energy, as the infrared waves that are used to warm the atmosphere don’t rely on convection currents like other heaters do. With convection heating, the warmed air naturally rises and circulates around the room, potentially escaping through air ventilation and open doors and windows and resulting in your ceiling being a lot warmer than the rest of the space. Infrared, on the other hand, warms up objects and people rather than the air, so the warmth can’t simply escape out of the window. Various studies have shown that this can save you up to 50% on energy bills.
Are infrared heaters bad for your health?
Infrared heating can in fact be more beneficial to health than other forms of heating. Remember that human skin is designed to receive heat in the form of infrared waves from the sun, so this kind of heat feels more natural and more comfortable to the human body. Infrared waves gently heat your body as opposed to heating the air around you and there is evidence that this type of warmth can boost blood circulation which is of particular importance in the elderly or the less mobile.
Furthermore, growth of indoor mold, which can cause significant health problems, is deterred by infrared heating. This is because the walls themselves are heated by the infrared waves (objects get warm, not the air) which reduces the chance of harmful mold developing. Lastly, infrared heaters don’t dry the air in the way that other forms of heating tend to do. This is a benefit since dry air has been found to exacerbate some health conditions such as bronchitis and sinusitis.
Do infrared heaters dry out air?
No, they don’t dry the air in your home and they maintain the natural humidity so there are no detrimental effects to your skin or respiratory system. In fact, some people do prefer a little more humidity in their environment, especially in more arid areas. To answer this need some infrared heaters come with a built-in humidifier to increase humidity for added comfort.
Is infrared heater better than ceramic?
The way that infrared heating functions, by heating objects such as people, furniture, walls, and ceiling, means that it’s a great way to get fast, targeted heating. Ceramic convection heaters, on the other hand, have a ceramic core which is heated by electricity or gas and a built-in fan to blow the warm air around the room. They both perform their function in completely different ways, therefore.
In a situation where you are constantly moving from one position to another, or in a large room with multiple people who all need to benefit from the heat, a ceramic convection heater may be the most suitable option. Where you require targeted heat, then an infrared heater has the edge.
Can infrared heaters heat a house?
This would depend on the size of the home you’re proposing to heat. If you live in a small apartment, where you don’t move around so much from room to room and need heat targeted in particular zones, then infrared can be a practical option. You just need to position your heater carefully where you’ll get the most benefit from its warming rays or invest in a portable infrared heater which you can move from room to room.
If you live in a larger property with a number of rooms, you’d need to have a number of infrared heaters targeting heat in different zones to ensure that your whole house is comfortably warm.
On the whole, infrared heaters for home use are intended to be additional to a central heating system, to target extra warmth in a particular area rather than having to adjust the thermostat for the whole house in order to increase the heat in just one room.
If you’re looking for efficient, effective, economical and safe heat for your home or workspace, especially to top up existing heating, then an infrared heater could be just what you need. They’re particularly effective where you need targeted, supplemental heat.
The most significant difference between convection and infrared heating is that the first heats the air and the second heats objects. If you want targeted warmth delivered quickly and consistently, then an infrared heater could be the answer. Be sure to check out our top pick from all the products we’ve reviewed: the Ivation Portable Electric Space Heater.
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