The best infrared heater
Space heaters can save you money by heating only the areas you use frequently, and few are more efficient than infrared heaters. Unlike other heaters which work by heating air and then blowing it about the room, infrared heaters work by transferring heat via electromagnetic radiation to objects and people within the room.
Infrared heaters are available in a variety of types and with differing feature sets. Whether you're in search of a heater to take the chill out of a garage or workshop, or one like our top pick, the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace, which adds ambiance to any room in your house, this guide will help you choose the best model for you.
Considerations when choosing infrared heaters
Infrared heater types
Infrared heaters meant for interior use are available in three main types:
Fireplaces: Infrared heaters that resemble fireplaces use a flame effect to create ambiance. This type of heater is usually for larger family areas.
Traditional space heaters: Depending on the model, these can mount on walls or stand alone, with or without wheels. They usually offer less power and are effective for offices and other rooms with less square feet.
Garage/shop heaters: These can heat more spacious open areas.
Any infrared heater you are considering should be ruggedly built, with a housing that will not heat up when it is in use. If you plan to move it around much, be sure it isn't too heavy or bulky. On the other hand, too light a build will leave it susceptible to tip-overs. Some units feature a choice of colors.
A general rule of thumb here: the more BTUs the heater can produce (or the higher the wattage), the more square feet it can heat.
Wheels: Wheels (or casters) are helpful to have if you plan to move the heater frequently between rooms. You are likely to find these on larger heaters.
Controls: Infrared heater controls will vary from model to model and can either be manual or digital. Outside of some way to turn the heater on and off, the primary control here will be temperature. This ranges from simple low-medium-high settings to the ability to "dial" the heater to specific degrees.
Remote control: Some infrared heaters feature a remote control, which lets you control it from across the room or while sitting on the couch. Some are simply on/off switches, while others provide you with full control of the heater. Less common is smartphone/WiFi control, but we expect this will soon be more standard.
Timer: If the heater has a timer, you can set it to either shut off or turn on at a certain time, for example, just before you return home from work.
Thermostat: With a thermostat, you can set the heater to maintain a specific temperature.
Infrared heater prices
Prices for infrared heaters start out at under $100 and can reach up to $200 or more. Expect few frills at the lower end of the price spectrum, while higher-priced units will tend to feature more power, a sturdier and more attractive build, and special features such as WiFi compatibility.
Q. What kind of safety features do infrared heaters have?
A. While these can vary by model, some common infrared heater safety features include protection against overheating and accidental tip-overs, and an auto-shutoff feature in case you forget to turn the heater off.
Q. How are these heaters powered?
A. Like other types of heaters, infrared heaters can be powered by a variety of sources, including natural gas, propane, and electricity. The latter is the likeliest in consumer infrared space heaters like the ones we've listed here.
Infrared heaters we recommend
Best of the best: Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace
Our take: A powerful infrared heater that brings much ambiance to a family room.
What we like: 5200 BTU, which can heat up to 1000 square feet. Available in a variety of colors. Attractive design that stays cool to the touch when in use. Overheat protection.
What we dislike: The remote is limited. Can run a little noisy.
Best bang for your buck: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
Our take: Dual infrared/convection heat system lets you efficiently heat a room with no cold or hot spots.
What we like: Utilizes both infrared and convection heat. Caster wheels for easy moving. Decent price. Features tip-over and overheat protection. Quiet running.
What we dislike: Reports that both the plug and metal grate can overheat on this model.
Choice 3: Heat Storm WiFi Infrared Heater
Our take: This thin-profile heater can be wall-mounted and controlled with your smartphone.
What we like: Smartphone control. 1500 watts of power. Wall-mounting can save space. Great for use with kids, as the exterior does not heat up.
What we dislike: Some had issues with the WiFi. Some reports of this heater not working right out of the box.
Rich Gray is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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