How Does Infrared Heating Work: Everything You Need to Know?

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Written By Stephane

If you’re thinking about getting an infrared space heater but you’re still on the fence, this blog post is for you. We will explain how infrared heating works.

What is Infrared Heating?

Infrared heating is the process of warming objects around you using infrared radiation. Electromagnetic waves in the infrared region transfer thermal energy directly to a body with a lower temperature without intermediate heating of the air around.

The best thing about heat not being transferred is making the heater more energy-efficient, convenient, and healthier than other heaters. The heated air is neither hot nor drying. Infrared heaters are powered by electrical energy or natural gas.

The electromagnetic waves in the infrared spectrum have a wide range of wavelengths. These waves start at 780 nanometers and go up to 1 micron. The shorter wavelengths have higher frequencies and associated energies, producing heat ranging from hundreds of degrees Celsius to 3,600C.

How does an infrared heater work?

Infrared heaters consists of a heating system and a reflector. The heating system transforms electrical or chemical energy from fuel sources into thermal energy, which is then transferred to the objects in its vicinity via the mirror.

Reflectors play a crucial role in how efficient an infrared heater is. They largely determine how much heat gets lost back into the system and how efficiently it’s stored. Less reflection means more waves are redirected outwards rather than being allowed to bounce around inside. The shape of the reflector also matters–a well-designed one can further reduce wasteful reflections. And finally, good glasses resist corrosion and moisture buildup. They’re also easy to clean.

The most well-known reflectors are aluminum, stainless steel, ceramics, and quartz. Some mirrors are gilded or ruthenium coated to make them more reflective and concentrate the heat around them.

Advantages of Infrared Heating

Infrared heaters are popular because they’re versatile, simple to use, and come in various shapes to fit our requirements. Infrared heating has many benefits, including the following:

They are energy-efficient

Infrared heaters warm the surrounding environment immediately. Because they do not use heat energy to heat the surrounding area, losses are reduced. As a result, energy expenses are decreased.

Infrared heaters kill mold and mildew by lowering their growth.

Infrared heaters stop the growth of microbes because they don’t move around as much. This means you won’t have a stuffy nose, wheezing, or itchy eyes and skin. It’s also suitable for places where food and medicine are handled, stored, and used.

Infrared heaters work instantly.

Traditional convection heaters transfer the heated air to objects after first heating them. Since the radiant heat is aimed at the surrounding bodies, they don’t have to spend time warming air and then transferring it to the items; that is how conventional electric heaters work. This characteristic comes in handy for drying applications.

Infrared heaters give off comfortable and more natural heat.

Infrared heaters give the same heat as sunlight (excluding ultraviolet rays). They don’t raise the humidity level or decrease the oxygen content in their environment, and they don’t evaporate moisture in the air. We feel invigorated when exposed to infrared heaters because they offer warmth and refreshment.

Infrared heaters operate silently.

Unlike convection heaters, which require fans or blowers to circulate the heated air, most infrared heaters don’t rely on these noisy auxiliaries.

Electric infrared heaters are environment-friendly.

On the other hand, infrared heaters with the FLIR series produce no gaseous pollutants, hazardous gases, or fine particles that harm the environment. They do not stir up the surrounding air, which is filled with dust and allergies.

Types of Portable Electric Infrared Heaters

Three portable electric infrared heaters are quartz, ceramic, and halogen.

Quartz

Quartz infrared heaters use a quartz element to produce infrared heat. They are the most common type of infrared heaters and are available in various sizes.

Ceramic

Ceramic infrared heaters use a ceramic heating element to produce infrared heat. They are more energy-efficient than quartz infrared heaters and can be used for heating larger areas.

Halogen

Halogen infrared heaters use a halogen bulb to produce infrared heat. They are more efficient than quartz and ceramic infrared heaters and can be used for heating smaller areas.

Features of Infrared Heaters

Features of infrared heaters include:

  • More energy-efficient than traditional heating methods.
  • They can be used to heat a variety of areas, including indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • They come in a variety of sizes to fit different needs.
  • They are safe to use and emit no harmful radiation.

What to Avoid?

Be sure to avoid the following when purchasing an infrared heater:

  • Make sure not to buy an infrared heater that has a low-quality design and safety. The last thing you want is for your heater to break down after just a few months.
  • Avoid infrared heaters that are extremely expensive. You don’t require to spend a fortune on a heater when many affordable options are available.
  • Stay away from infrared heaters that produce a lot of noise. You’ll want to relax in your home without being disturbed by a loud machine.

Use and Care Tips

Infrared heaters are excellent for heating your home without using the furnace. They function by warming objects rather than the air. This might be a fantastic way to save money on your power bill. Here are some pointers on utilizing and maintaining your infrared heater:

  • Ensure your infrared heater is placed in an open area where people can safely gather.
  • Do not place anything in front of infrared heaters that could block the heat from reaching people or objects.
  • Keep furniture and other things at least three feet away from the heater.
  • Keep children and pets away from infrared heaters.
  • Always unplug your infrared heater when not in use.

5 best heaters you can buy today that uses infrared heating

There are many heating technologies available to keep you warm on those chilly days or nights. They all have benefits but infrared is one of the more effective and comfortable options. It is a bit like having warm sunshine whenever you need it. We look at the best infrared heaters. 

Choosing a winner is not always easy as we only review the very best products. One that stood out for us and we choose as our top pick is the Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove. It is a leading choice for many reasons. Not only does this heater look great with a natural fireplace look but it delivers exceptional heat with no hassle or fuss. It is reliable, dependable, and durable. 

We take an in-depth look at the very best infrared heaters. We review leading options, give you a few tips on what to look out for and answer a few questions that we came across frequently. 

Many people prefer an infrared heater over convection heaters. They warm objects, people included. This is unlike convection heaters that warm the air. Both are great at warming you but there is nothing like a warm convection glow. They are also a lot more economical to run. 

The 5 Best Infrared Heaters:

1. Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove

Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Dimensions13.07 x 24 x 23.4 inches
Weight28.6 pounds
BTU/Watts5,200 BTU
ColorBlack

This heater cannot help but impress. That is why it is one of the highers rated top-selling options on the market. It uses a 3D flame technology to deliver heat at 5,200 BTU. This will comfortably warm an area as large as 1000 square feet. 

While it keeps you and the family or guests warm and cozy, it also looks amazing. It looks like a real fireplace with none of the hassles that go with that. The flames and appearance are as realistic and natural as you will find on any heater. You can adjust the speed, color, and flames according to your needs and taste. 

It provides quartz infrared heat which retains the humidity in the room. This means that it does not dry the air. The result is comfortable healthy warmth and a stunning view. Another great feature is that is highly efficient. This makes it economical to run. The digital thermostat allows you to create the ideal warmth while also saving on running costs. 

It has all the right safety features such as overheat protection and, more importantly, a cool-touch exterior. This makes it safe for children as well as pets. 

The remote control makes it super-easy and convenient to operate. There is no need to get up to achieve the perfect comfort and warmth that you require. You can still enjoy the comforting flames without the heat on those nights when it is not that cold. 

2. ClassicFlame DFI030ARU Infrared Quartz Set Heater

ClassicFlame DFI030ARU Infrared Quartz Set Heater
Dimensions20.51 x 8.66 x 12.6 inches
Weight14 pounds
BTU/Watts5200 BTU
ColorBlack

There is something magical about a warm fire indoors but they can be hard work, messy, and difficult to clean. They need a constant supply of wood and the smell often lingers throughout the day. This model gives you the beauty and warmth of a fireplace with none of the hassles. 

The ClassicFlame DFI030ARU is a highly rated unit that is a top-seller. As with the above radiant heater, this one looks like a real fire. It is a quartz infrared heater so there is no mess, no fuss. It looks highly realistic. The functionality also helps to retain decent humidity in the air. 

It comes with a full-function remote control so you can set the heater according to your needs. With 5,200 watts it will keep a medium-sized area warm and cozy. It can also be used on a flame-only mode for ambiance even when heat is not needed. 

Also Read:   The 5 Best Propane Heaters of 2022

If you need to warm a space up to 1,000 square feet and still enjoy the ambiance of a fire with no detriment to the air humidity, this is certainly a model to consider. 

3. Air Choice Portable Radiant Heater

Air Choice Portable Radiant Heater
Dimensions11.4 x 3.5 x 15.2 inches
Weight2.67 lbs
BTU/Watts500 Watt 
ColorBlack

This is a light compact unit that is ideal if you are looking for a radiant heater that is portable. You will not have to wait too long to warm up as this model delivers heat quickly. Turn it on, which is quick and easy, and you should feel instant heat. You can control the heat to your needs thanks to the two elements, both are quartz radiating elements. 

Safety is assured thanks to the tip-over protection as well as overheat protection. You can use this heater safely in all environments. 

It does not make a noise so will not disturb you when you need quiet gentle warmth. There is no fan to make excess noise to the heat that is produced is silent and radiant. As you would expect from radiant heat, it does not dry out the air which is a big plus. 

It is economical to run and will warm the space efficiently. Due to the radiant heat, it is highly effective and delivers rapid warmth with minimal wastage. 

The small and light design means that you can easily move it to wherever heat is needed. Within minutes the room will be warm and cozy. It can even be used outdoors if necessary. This makes it highly versatile and gives you additional value for money. 

4. Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
Dimensions13 x 11 x 16 in
Weight19 Pounds 
BTU/Watts1,500 Watt
ColorWoodgrain sides with black front 

This heater from Dr. Infrared is a safe, effective, and economical way to heat a room. The design is stylish and should fit in with most spaces in your home. What is important is that it delivers decent heat quickly and efficiently. 

The IR remote makes control simple and easy. It is also a very silent heater which is what you want. There is nothing worse than a noisy heater that drowns out conversation or the TV. Another benefit is that it has Auto Energy Saving so is economical to run. You can choose between low and high mode depending on the size of the room and how much heat you want. 

Safety features include overheating protection as well as tip-over protection. It also has a handy shut-off timer that will turn the unit off after up to 12 hours. You can program it for the duration you require. This is great if you fall asleep or go out and cannot remember if you turned the heater off. Having said that, you should never leave any heater unattended. 

The 1500 watt heater will warm a medium to large-sized room quickly and comfortably. It is light and small making it a breeze to move wherever you need instant heat. 

The unit is easy to clean and maintain. It has a removable filter that is hassle-free to replace. 

5. BLACK+DECKER BHTI06 Infrared Quartz Tower Heater

BLACK+DECKER BHTI06 Infrared Quartz Tower Heater
Dimensions12.2 x 8.5 x 23 inches
Weight5.06 pounds
BTU1,500 Watt
ColorBlack 

Who says you cannot have perfect comfort and complete reliability and safety on a tight budget? If you are looking for portable radiant heat without spending a fortune, this is one to consider. BLACK+DECKER is a trusted household name. They make affordable products that are well-built from quality materials. Despite the low price of this heater, you can look forward to many years of warmth. 

It has a tower design that makes it extremely compact and portable and takes up very little space. It is great for the home, dorm room, office, garage, or even on RV adventures. 

Heat is delivered quickly and you can adjust it from 750 watts on low heat or 1500 watts on full heat. The thermostat is manual but effective and easy to use. The integrated fan makes very little noise and ensures that comforting heat is evenly and quickly dispersed throughout the space. 

It is safe with all the usual safety features and comes with a 1-year warranty. It comes with a 6-foot power cord. 

What to look for when buying an infrared heater

There are several important factors to consider before you purchase an Infrared heater. We take a look at the most important points to think about. 

Heat output

The main reason that you would invest in a heater is to keep warm. It makes sense, therefore, that you buy one that has enough heat output for the room you want to warm. The heat output is generally measured in watts. A 1500 watt heater will warm the average-sized room. If you want to heat a larger area you might need a more powerful heater. 

You also want to be able to adjust the heat so that once the space is warm you can turn it down for more comfort and lower running costs. A thermostat is a good option to have. 

Before making your purchase make sure that it has enough power to heat the space you intend to use it in. 

Size

You might have a special room that you intend to use the heater in but it is handy if it can be moved from room to room when necessary. You might decide to relax in a different space. A light compact portable heater will come in handy in this case. 

Size is also important because you do not want the unit to dominate the room. Sometimes space is limited and a heater is there to warm the room, not take up a lot of space. While the more powerful heaters are often larger, there are many compact options that will keep you cozy without taking up a huge amount of space. 

Appearance

Unless your heater is for outdoor use, a garage, or other applications the look is important. If it is to be used in your home or office, you want one that looks good and goes well with the style of the room.

One look that is popular is the natural fireplace appearance. This gives you that comforting glow without the hassle of an actual fireplace. Many also allow you to use the “flames” without heat to create a cozy ambiance all year round. 

Consider the space you intend to use the heater in and make sure it fits the style. Some are sleek and modern, others more traditional, and some look rather industrial. Find the one that works with your décor. 

Safety

With anything designed to produce heat, safety always has to be a concern. When used according to instructions infrared heating is safe. The basic features you need are tip-over protection and overheat protection. A timer is also handy to have. 

Remote control

This is not a must-have feature but is a great convenience. If you are snuggled up and comfortable you do not want to jump up and adjust the heater. Remote control makes this a breeze. 

Noise output

The point of a heater is to keep you warm so that you can be comfortable and relaxed. A noisy heater will be irritating and ruin the experience. Look for one with a low noise output. This is especially important if it is used in a living room or a bedroom. Some designs and models are relatively silent while some are somewhat noisy. Choose wisely. 

Durability

This really comes down to the materials that have been used and how well the heater is made. A well-established brand is always a good thing. A warranty is also a good sign as it gives you some peace of mind. 

Price

If you are on a tight budget there are many great heaters that perform well without breaking the bank. Some of the more advanced options can be quite costly but they are normally well-built from quality materials so will not only work well but also last many years. 

Try to avoid the bargain-basement models from unknown brands as these are often poorly made and will not last terribly long. 

FAQs

Here are the answers to some questions many people had about infrared heaters. 

What exactly are infrared heaters?

They send out heat in waves in much the same way as the sun does. They heat up people and objects. This makes them fast and effective. It also means that they are more efficient and economical to run. 

What are the benefits of an infrared heater?

A: This heating technology provides several benefits. It is an economical and eco-friendly way to heat. It generally uses less energy to deliver warmth.
 
Many people find it to be a more natural and pleasant warmth. They are also normally quiet and compact. They do not need a large cabinet or housing as is seen on some other types of heaters. 

Another massive advantage is they will start to warm you up much faster than most other styles of heaters. You will feel the radiant warmth shortly after starting the device. 

Yet another advantage is that the design of the radiant heater is often a lot more durable than alternatives. This means that investing in a decent model should last you many years. They are also safe to use and present a very little risk when used correctly. 

Is it expensive to run an infrared heater?

It all depends on the watts used. Naturally, on a higher setting, you will use more electricity than on a lower setting. Infrared heat is often a bit more efficient than other types of heaters but it depends on the environment and how it is used. Some designs are more efficient than others and a good thermostat will help to keep costs down. 

Can I use my infrared heater outdoors?

Most models are quite versatile and can be used indoors and outdoors. Some are specifically designed for this option. Some models are recommended for indoor use only. Check on this feature if you want the versatility of this option.

Do infrared heaters dry the air?

While they might dry the air to some extent they certainly do this less so than most other heating technologies. Because they heat people and objects, not the air, they retain the humidity of the room very well. 

Final thoughts

If you have been considering an infrared heater, you now have all the information you need for the perfect selection. Take the time to consider the points in the buyer’s guide, think about your needs and your budget and you will find the ideal model. 

Infrared heaters are safe and economical and a good choice in most environments. We have covered the five best infrared heaters and there is something for everyone. 

Keep warm. 

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