Reviewed: Which is the best, budget-friendly IR heater for 2018?
As the temperature dips, we look for ways to stay comfortable. Energy isn’t cheap, and heat is one of the biggest power drains.
Aside from collecting firewood, what can we do to lower that power bill?
Infrared heat is awesome. It’s capable of almost instantaneous warmth, and we use it primarily to cook.
Infrared heaters also happen to be exceptional for keeping warm. They offer on-demand heat with high efficiency. They come in all shapes and sizes, from little IR little spot heaters to big units capable of warming an entire apartment.
We’ve written this article to highlight and review some good, energy saving infrared heaters, including quartz and heat lamp styles. Read on!
What makes an infrared / IR quartz heater so awesome?
What sets IR heaters apart from other electric options?
The minute you turn it on, infrared heaters offer nearly instant warmth.
Unlike others, which rely on atmospheric convection, IR uses electromagnetic radiation to transfer energy. It’ll even keep you warm in a vacuum.
In real terms, an IR heater is highly energy efficient. Around 86% of the electrical input is radiated as heat. The nearly instant heat often means you can cycle the heater less frequently, and for shorter periods of time.
Even better, the energy that doesn’t hit you directly also heats your home via convection.
1) Dr. Infrared: Energy-efficient quartz infrared heater with good reviews
- Pros: Safe to touch, remote controlled, good energy-efficient automatic setting that doesn’t cycle too often.
- Cons: Square foot heating claims are exaggerated, unit is small but not tiny.
The popular Dr. Infrared quartz IR heater is one of the best offerings on the market (though you’ll find similar models.)
It’s a dual purpose heater, and it takes advantage of every bit of the thermal energy produced by infrared.
First, there is a large quartz infrared element for almost instant, direct heat. Secondly, the unit uses a low speed fan to take advantage of convection heat, which increases the ambient temperature of the space.
In other words, it’s the best of both worlds.
The manufacturer claims this highly efficient IR convection heater can warm up to 1,000 square feet. Truthfully, I think the heater would struggle with that, but it should have no problem with 600 sq/ft or fewer.
It’s also pretty safe, as the outside housing will never get too hot to touch.
It has three settings: auto, low (1,000W) and high (1,500W). Auto is best, allowing you to select a temperature preset and letting the heater use the optimal wattage, saving energy.
With lots of rave customer reviews, it’s among the best energy efficient infrared heaters for the money.
2) Lifesmart Fireplace: Attractive, well-reviewed, energy-saving
- Pros: Fireplace-like glow and warmth on your skin, easy to install, safe for kids and pets
- Cons: Not super portable
Nothing says cozy like curling up next to a fire in the cold winter months. Unfortunately, not everyone has a fireplace.
Lifesmart’s awesome infrared fireplace heater might be the next best thing. When it comes to replicating that warm glow of a fire, IR is a great substitute. And unlike a real fireplace, you don’t need to worry about venting.
It plugs into a standard 110 volt outlet, and uses 1,500 watts with a low-speed fan. You can adjust it to the exact temperature you want. It’s capable of warming a room of at least 500 square feet.
Like a fireplace, this heater emits a warm glow. At 31 inches wide and 25 inches high it’s not exactly small, but it comes equipped with rolling casters to make moving it fairly easy.
Lifesmart has made a good looking, energy efficient infrared space heater, and customer reviews are very positive.
3) HM & DX: Reflective, oscillating infrared space heater, portable & cheap
- Pros: Good reviews, spot infrared heat, portable size, low price tag
- Cons: Not powerful enough to heat a room, no convection.
Tired of buffeting air and dry eyes? Most personal-sized space heaters rely on forced air convection, which basically blasts hot air at you.
Not so with IR. This small reflective infrared space heater oscillates, projecting infrared heat in a cone.
The heater has a safety grill to avoid burns, and a tip-over cutoff. The housing doesn’t get too hot either.
It’s a lower powered unit intended for smaller spaces, with two settings, low at 400 watts and high at 800w. Because it has no fan, it consumes a lot less energy than a similarly rated forced air heater.
It’s not nearly as efficient at warming large spaces as, say, the Dr. Infrared, but it’s a perfect companion for a chilly office or winter garage project. Your cat will love it too.
4) Air Commander: An oscillating, energy efficient IR tower heater
- Pros: Slim design is easy to incorporate into your space, eco setting reduces costs
- Cons: Smaller coverage
Marrying good looks and energy efficiency, the Element, by Lifesmart, is a subtly powerful unit.
It has a few features that set it apart from most other quartz infrared space heaters on the market. First, rather than being squat, this one is thin, meaning it fits into nooks more easily.
Another significant trait is the integrated quiet fan which moves air around the room.
It was clearly developed with economy in mind. The lower-powered 1000w Eco mode doesn’t seem to cycle very often. This is a smaller unit intended to heat around 150 square feet.
With subtle good looks, a small footprint and a slim design, this is one of the best infrared space heaters for energy savings in a smaller space.
Keeping It Cozy:
Keep in mind that all of the above are electric space heaters. They are no competition for central air. That said, these inexpensive alternatives can save money on your energy bill, especially if you don’t need to heat every room in your house.
Did I miss any great infrared models? Want more information on the technology? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom.