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All About Infrared Heaters: What Are They & How Do They Work?

Infrared heating technology has been around for decades. With the winter weather approaching, one needs an efficient heating system to keep oneself warm. All areas should be well-equipped with heating facilities from houses to garages to warehouses and offices. Nowadays, there is a wide range of heaters available in the market. Electric fans, quartz, ceramic, and infrared heaters are some of the choices for buyers. Here, we will be discussing in detail about how do infrared heaters work and their advantages.

What is a Infrared Heater?

As the name suggests, an infrared heater works on the principle of infrared heating. It usually consists of one or more rods that radiate infrared light. This light is absorbed by our bodies and produces heat. Infrared heaters are the most cost-effective and widely used heaters in households nowadays. In these heaters, infrared radiation that is a non-visible light is reflected by the rods of the heater, which we and our surroundings absorb. This differs from a regular heater as it heats our bodies and not the air around us.

Types of Infrared Heaters

They are available in various types like:

  1. Space Heaters: These are big radiant space heaters used to warm up large places and areas. Infrared space heaters can be installed in buildings and garages, and even warehouses to keep them warm.
  2. Patio Heaters: They are comparatively smaller and used for a smaller space. They can either be electric or gas-filled. These are normally used at outdoor spaces like yard, bar, restaurant, etc. Some top rated patio infrared heaters works well for both indoors and outdoors.
  3. Portable Heaters: These are small heaters which are usually gas-filled. They can be taken anywhere and placed anywhere on floor.
  4. Electric Infrared Heaters: They work on electricity and can easily switch on and off. They do not require gas to heat up and are eco-friendly. This type of infrared heaters are usually used for ceilings.

How Do Infrared Heaters Work?

Infrared heaters work on the principle of infrared heating. Think of the sun, it is a radiant heater. It radiates the heat to the surface as everything it touches heats up. The infrared heater indoor or outdoor works analogously. Instead of heating the air in the room, it warms the surrounding objects. This means that the room’s temperature remains the same, but you feel warm. But why does this happen? Infrared light is an invisible light that lies beyond the visible spectrum. We cannot see this light, but the objects around us absorb and reflect this light. An infrared heater throws infrared light, which is then absorbed by our skin, which provides heat.

This can be understood with a simple example. Imagine you are on a glacier or a snowy mountain. The temperature is extremely low. You might be feeling very cold, but you will feel warm as soon as the sun comes up. The temperature remains the same, but the sunlight is getting absorbed by your skin, providing heat to your body.

Infrared radiation can be of three types:

  1. Short Waved: (0.78 to 1.5 microns) This is the shortest yet the most intense radiation. It has a prominent red-orange hue and is most suitable for short-range yet powerful heaters. E.g., patio heaters.
  2. Medium Waved: (1.5 to 3 microns) This infrared radiation is identified by its dark red color. It works well for medium ranges like bathrooms and saunas. It is also used in some patio heaters for living rooms.
  3. Long Waved: (3 to 1000 microns) It has no visible light and is beyond the visible light spectrum. This is the main heating unit as the body best absorbs this light. It is used in infrared panels for heating the entire room.

Advantages of Infrared Heating

But why an infrared heater? Here are some of the advantages:

  • Instant Working: Unlike normal heaters, which work via convection, these heaters work through radiation. These heaters are quick as they throw a powerful light beam invisible to our eyes. This light is directly absorbed by our skin which makes us feel warm instantly.
  • Silent: The usual fan heaters are very loud and noisy. An infrared heater, on the other hand, is super quiet. It works on the transmission and absorption of light, a very silent process. This results in a night of better sleep and less hassle. Therefore, making them good for noise-sensitive areas like bedrooms.
  • Healthy: These are extremely healthy as the air does not get warm, but our body absorbs the heat. We can enjoy sunlight without experiencing the harmful UV rays of the sun. It also does not dry out the air, which means no more dry skin. Infrared heaters also promote a healthy blood flow.
  • Environment Friendly: They work without the combustion of carbon. This means that no pollutants are given out during the process of heating. Most electric-based heaters do not use fuel to light fires and provide warmth.
  • Cost Effective: Since infrared heating focuses on heating the body, less energy is consumed. The room feels hotter in less time which saves electricity. Infrared heaters are also cheaper and budget-friendly.
  • Low Maintenance: An infrared heater does not have lubricants. It does not require motors in the machine, making them easier to clean. It does not heat air and does not have an air filter. No pollutants are evolved, which have to be cleaned separately.
  • Stylish: they come in diverse designs and types. Ranging from a room heater to a bathroom heater, infrared heaters can be treated as a part of your home d├ęcor. Their bodies have unique styles like wood and ceramic.

Is Infrared Heating Efficient?

Infrared heating is ideal for warehouses, garages, and other operations where full space heating is costly and impractical. Easily installed in new buildings or retrofits, infrared heaters deliver several benefits from lower energy costs to a higher comfort level. The big advantage is comfort for employees. You are heating the space that they are working in. In most cases, the old technology heats the airspace above their heads which they were not working in.

Infrared heaters do not use forced air fans or blowers. So, they are extremely quiet, and they do not require a pilot light, so they help reduce natural gas consumption. Not only this, as an infrared heater does not heat the air, it takes up only 50% of the energy required by a normal room heater. Therefore, they cause no heat loss as they use up all of the heat they produce. For example, an infrared heater of 650 watts will provide the same warmth produced by a convection heater of around 1600 watts. This makes it 60% more efficient. An infrared heater also has a higher life expectancy and a greater shelf life.

Infrared vs Radiant Heat

Both infrared and radiant heat are same. The heat that is generated with radiation is what we call ‘Radiant Heat’ and ‘Infrared’ is the kind of radiation that generates heat. So, simply Infrared heat is nothing but the Radiant heat.


To sum up, infrared heaters are one of the many types of heaters available in the market nowadays. The demand for infrared heating is increasing due to its advantages. This cost-effective and environment-friendly method is efficient and quiet. With an infrared heater, you will feel as if you are sitting in the direct sun. If you want a room heater or a heating facility, infrared heating is the ideal choice for you. Have a warm and cozy winter!

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