Informational Guide

Do Infrared Heaters Use Much Electricity?

Infrared heaters are more efficient than other heating methods and can save you money. We explain how…

by Josh M

Infrared heaters offer many benefits, and they’re a really effective way to heat your home. However, as with any type of heater, it pays to understand the impact on your electricity bill so you can budget effectively.

In this guide, we’ll explain whether infrared heaters use a lot of electricity and how much they cost to run.

Inside an Infrared Heater

To establish the cost of your infrared heater, you need to understand how much electricity is being used. You’ll be able to find the wattage on the size of your unit or the power cord, and from there, you need to convert it to kilowatts so you can establish the kilowatts per hour. The larger the room, the more electricity you’ll need to power the unit and heat the space.

We’ve given a breakdown of the common infrared wattages below based on the fact that electricity, on average, costs $0.15 per kilowatt in the US.

400 Watts

To work out how much it will cost to run this infrared heater, we need to convert this to

kilowatts per hour. 400 / 1000 = 0.4 kilowatts per hour.

Kilowatts per hour x Cost per kilowatt-hour = Cost per hour (dollars)

0.4 x 0.15 = $0.06

It therefore costs $0.06 to run this infrared heater for an hour.

To work out the daily cost, we can multiply this by the number of hours it will run per day. For this example, we’ve said it will run on average for 10 hours.

Cost per hour x Number of hours = Cost per day (dollars)

0.06 x 10 = $0.6

It therefore costs $0.6 to run this device for a day.

The monthly cost is the daily cost multiplied by 30. Then the yearly cost is the monthly cost multiplied by 12. Worked example below:

0.6 x 30 = $18 to run a month

18 x 12 = $216 to run a year

700 Watts

We can now compare this to a slightly more powerful infrared heater which uses 700 watts of electricity. 700 watts is equivalent to 0.7 kilowatts per hour. Again, we use the below equation to determine the cost per hour.

Kilowatts per hour x Cost per kilowatt-hour = Cost per hour (dollars)

0.7 x 0.15 = $0.10 per hour to run

The cost per day in this example is based on it running for 10 hours a day.

0.1 x 10 = $1.00 a day to run.

The cost per month is this figure multiplied by 30, and then the yearly cost is multiplied by 12.

1 x 30 = $30 per month to run

30 x 12 = $360 per year to run

1000 Watts

A 1000 watt machine is definitely more powerful, and this infrared heater would be used in a larger space. First, we need to convert it, and 1000 Watts is equivalent to 1 kilowatt per hour. Using the same equation as above, we can figure out the cost per hour.

Kilowatts per hour x Cost per kilowatt-hour = Cost per hour (dollars)

1 x 0.15 = $0.15 per hour to run

Again, for this example, we are saying it will run for 10 hours a day. We follow the same process to determine the monthly and yearly figures.

0.15 x 10 = $1.5 to run a day

1.5 x 30 = $45 a month to run

45 x 12 = $540 a year to run

1500 Watts

Finally, we’ve given a breakdown of the average cost for a large infrared heater which is used when you need a bit of extra power. 1500 Watts is the equivalent of 1.5 kilowatts per hour, and we use the same process for hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly figures.

1.5 x 0.15 = $0.23 per hour to run

0.23 x 10 = $2.3 per day to run

2.3 x 30 = $69 per month to run

69 x 12 = $828 per year to run

Further down in this article, we’ve given a breakdown of when you would use different sized infrared heaters and the average cost per year so you can see the direct comparison.

How Much Electricity Does Infrared Heaters Use?

The energy used by an infrared heater is measured in watts which is the amount of electricity that is converted into energy to power your machine. You’ll usually be able to find this figure on the side of the machine or the packaging, but don’t be fooled by the look or size of your model; it all comes down to the wattage.

We’ve given a table below which helps explain what type of infrared heater you might need for different sized rooms and the wattage required to power it. From this, we’ve worked out the approximate cost per year.

Room Room Size Required Wattage Cost Per Year Based On 10 hours Per Day (approx.)
Bedroom 132 square feet 594 $320
Living Room 330 square feet 2310 $1250
Bathroom 160 square feet 1490 $815
Closed Porch/Patio 200 square feet 1860 $1000
Open Outdoor Patio 288 square feet 8000-16000 $4000-8000

Different Types of Infrared Heaters & the Electricity They Use?

To determine a more accurate gauge of the electricity consumption, you need to understand the differences between each of the different types of infrared heaters. We’ve given a breakdown of the main 3 types:

Infrared Heating Panel

Infrared heating panels are probably the most common type of heater and are available in various sizes and wattages. They’re best suited for small and mid-sized rooms and are very efficient, typically using about 0.1 watt for every square cm of heating. The trick is finding the right size for your area and making sure you don’t get something that’s too big or small.

Living Room with Main Aluminium Theme
Portable Infrared Heaters

Infrared Heater Sample

Portable infrared heaters are generally only available with a few different settings.

They’re designed to heat medium and larger rooms but don’t offer many options to reduce or increase as needed.

They are typically about 1500-watt machines and are reasonably energy efficient.

Only use this type of infrared heater if you need quick heat, or it may cost you more than you need to pay.

Outdoor Infrared Patio Heaters

Outdoor heaters need a lot more power because they need to battle against the elements, but they work much better than your standard heaters. You’ll often see these types of heaters outside bars or restaurants, and they use a lot of power, typically 30-60 watts per square foot. You’ll pay more to run this type of patio heater but make sure it’s big enough to heat the area it’s set up in.

Outdoor Infrared Heater in the Garden

How To Efficiently Use Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters are considerably more efficient than standard convection-based heaters. Typically, a convection heater will use 10 watts to heat 1 square foot, whereas an infrared heater will only use 7 watts to heat the same space. This makes them about 30% more efficient, which can translate into a significant saving in your electricity bills.

However, there are a few ways to make your infrared heater even more efficient and save you more money:

  • Improve Your Insulation
    Buildings with stronger insulation store heat for longer, and therefore you don’t need to use your heater as much. Windows are one of the main ways heat can escape from your home, so make sure it’s all properly sealed and double glazed if possible.
  • Get The Right Size Heater
    Your infrared heater needs to be appropriately sized for the room it’s in. If you get one too small, it’ll need to work much harder to heat the room and use more electricity. If you get one that’s too big, you’ll be wasting money powering it. Make sure you measure your room and find a heater that suits you.
  • Install In The Right Place
    To get the most from an infrared heater, you need to place it correctly. Don’t put it behind anything as you’ll inhibit the electromagnetic waves, and try to put it in the center of the room so it can heat the space evenly.
  • Get A Good Heating Control System
    You can fit your infrared heater with a thermostat and a control so that it stays on until it reaches a specific temperature. This will allow you to use it more efficiently and only when it’s needed. It’s worth establishing what your ideal temperature for the room is first. Somewhere between 68 and 74 degrees is usually about right.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

How energy efficient are infrared Quartz Heaters?

Quartz infrared heaters are generally just as efficient as other infrared heaters, but some models are slightly more efficient and will offer some cost savings.

How many watts do the infrared heaters use compared to conventional heaters?

Infrared heaters typically use about 30% less electricity to run, making them noticeably more efficient.

Can I leave the infrared heater on all the time?

Yes, most models can be left on all the time, but try to turn it off when going out to avoid any risk of fire. The more you use the unit, the less time the machine will last.

How long do infrared heaters last?

Typically, infrared heaters will last for about 10,000 hours, so it entirely depends on how much usage it gets.


Infrared heaters are much more efficient than other conventional heating methods and can save you a great deal of money over a few years. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how much they cost so you can find an efficient heater for your home.

Last Updated on November 20, 2021

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.