(Shown: Homegear 1500W Infrared Space Heater)
Heating a large area, such as a family room, great room or basement, requires a space heater built for 1,ooo feet or more, and powered with at least 1500 W.
A highly rated, portable infrared space heater holds many advantages over conventional space heaters: they are silent, safer, more efficient, and don’t draw moisture out of the ambient air.
This article reviews today’s best portable infrared space heaters for large areas, and provides buyers tips to help you find the right unit for your home.
Why Choose an Infrared Space Heater?
Infrared heaters produce heat that is similar to the heat produced by the sun. The infrared rays emitted are easily absorbed by the items in your home, which gently increases the temperature of their surroundings.
As cool surfaces heat up, infrared heaters raise the ambient temperature of the room.
Besides warming up your home, infrared heaters provide many other benefits:
Infrared Heaters & Safety
When purchasing a space heater, safety is a main concern. The core temperature of infrared heaters never get as high as a conventional a heater’s temperature.
A protective metal sheath usually covers the heating elements as well. This means that animals and children can touch the surface of an infrared heater without being burned.
Nobody wants to be burdened with a bunch of maintenance tasks. Because infrared heaters have no moving parts, maintenance is minimal.
There are no motors to wear out, air filters to replace or lubrication required.
Your infrared heater will only need periodic cleaning of the reflectors and replacement of the heat source to ensure optimal performance. Many units have removable, washable filters, as well, which can be easily rinsed off in the sink.
Quick Heat Recovery
Some conventional space heaters require a long cool-down time between being turned off and being turned back on.
Infrared heaters will still provide the same strong, penetrating heat, no matter how long it’s been after being turned off.
Infrared Heaters Are Quiet
Noise-sensitive environments such as bedrooms or studies, require a quiet heater.
Infrared heaters are known for their super quiet heat delivery.
Comfortable, Gentle Heat
Infrared heaters can make you comfortable indoors no matter what the temperature is outdoors.
Inside the heater, a hot coil is wrapped into a circle so that all of the heat can be transferred evenly.
The heat produced is reflected by a special polished metal reflector, and the heat can be felt several yards in front of the heater.
Also, infrared heaters aren’t affected by drafts or wind.
Infrared Heaters Provide Efficient Heat
Instead of warming the air like conventional heaters, infrared heaters heat objects directly in their path.
Heating the air wastes energy and the benefits of the heat aren’t felt immediately. The rays produced by infrared heaters penetrate and warm you beneath the skin.
The infrared rays radiate outward, heating all nearby objects, producing a widespread effect. This all happens quickly, with no need for lengthy waiting for the heat to build up.
The benefit of any space heater is zone heating.
With an infrared heater, heating only the parts of your home that you’re using at any given time is possible.
Infrared heaters can save you up to 30-50% on heating costs.
Actual savings vary depending on your insulation, ceiling height, type of construction and other factors.
Traditional gas-powered furnaces heat by combustion, which creates waste products, such as incompletely burned hydrocarbons (these can be toxic if not vented).
Traditional heaters are therefore, constantly working at cross purposes with their mission; although they heat the air within an enclosed space, still they create pollution and require venting that wastes that precious heat.
Infrared heaters operate without any carbon combustion, therefore avoiding toxic by-products. There is no open flame, and no fuel lines to leak, and nothing is added or taken away from the air.
Infrared heaters use a substantially lower amount of energy than conventional heaters.
Some infrared heaters can operate on as low as 300 watts of electricity and 800 watts is enough power to provide heating to a small-medium room.
The reflective metal used in its design transfers almost 100 percent of the heat created.
No Dry Heat
Unlike conventional heaters, which draw moisture out of the air as a part of their heating process, infrared heaters don’t produce dry heat.
This way you can avoid uncomfortable side effects such as irritated eyes and scratchy throat.
Disadvantages of Infrared Heaters
The one disadvantage the infrareds may have over other heaters is that the quartz infrared heating elements used have a limited lifespan, and must be replaced every so often (typically after 20,000 hours of use although some can last over 60,000 hours).
However, some people may not call this a disadvantage at all; it’s really just the reality of all electronic devices and appliances which require part replacement and maintenance after so many hours of use.
Take the ubiquitous oil-filled space heater for example: the oil inside of them will slowly evaporate over the years and/or it will begin to leak oil after a period of time and use.
Central heating furnaces also have numerous electronic components that are very costly to replace if one gives out (and they typically do).
Infrared heaters aren’t perfect, but when you weigh the pros and cons of the infrareds against other types of heaters, it’s obvious that they’re generally the best, and often, the only option for people who require energy-efficient supplemental heating.
Infrared Space Heaters Buyer’s Tips
Infrared heaters are currently extremely popular: they’re efficient, quiet, and they help folks save on their energy bill.
However, there are some important things to keep in mind when considering infrared heaters.
When purchasing your infrared heater, check for a small sticker that says “UL Certified.” This sticker ensures that your new infrared heater is up to the safety standards and regulations of the United States government.
All of the heaters recommended in this article are UL Certified.
There may also be additional safety features such as an automatic shut off trigger. This trigger acts as a fail-safe just in case your infrared heater is tipped over or overheats due to blockages or mechanical failings.
With most infrared heaters, their wattage directly correlates to the amount of heat they put out. Typically, your common infrared heater requires somewhere between 750 and 1,500 watts.
For comparison, your average hair dryer requires around 1,500 watts to run with efficiency. Typically, the size of the room you wish to heat will correspond with the wattage required in your infrared heater.
Infrared heaters should come with some basic amenities that ensure your appliance is both safe and comfortable to use.
Most high quality models will have be manufactured to stay cool to the touch. This is a good safety feature which is common to the units recommended below.
An infrared heater should also come with a cord long enough to position it where you need it. A cord with adequate length will also prevent the need for an extension cord, which can be problematic in itself.
Some infrared heaters are more bare bones than others. While you may see a built in thermostat on a more advanced model, a more basic infrared heater may be lacking this component.
Look for a newer model to avoid overheating and risk of fire. Most models these days have an auto-off feature to protect against overheating.
A timer is a convenient feature to have, and so is a remote control.
Best Infrared Heaters For Large Rooms
Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater
This 1500W Portable Cabinet Space Heater from Dr. Infrared is a super quiet, energy-saving unit.
While some competing heaters use a 3-inch fan, the Dr. Infrared Heater uses a state-of-the-art 7-inch blower that generates higher pressure and moves larger air volume at a lower speed, for ultra-quiet operation.
The cabinet-style design (on castors) fits nicely with other furniture, and you can easily roll it into any area which need extra heat. It will heat up to 1,000 square feet.
Dr. Heater Delivers 60% more heat than other 1500-watt heaters.
Dr. Infrared Heater’s high-efficiency blower enables greater heat production, delivering an average of 250°F at 3.5m/s to your room versus some competing heaters that can do only 155°F at 2.2m/s.
So while the Dr. Infrared Heater and competing heaters both use 1500 watts of electricity, many of those competing heaters were not built with high-efficiency blowers to deliver heat in the same effective way as Dr. Infrared.
Nice features include an automatic shut-off timer which can be set for up to 12 hours, a built-in thermostat, and a handy remote control.
This heater is UL listed, engineered and designed in the USA, and uses 12.5 amps of power. It measures 13 x 11 x 16 inches.
According to the manufacturer, this heater is built to last up to 80,000 hours in operation, and Dr. Infrared offers a no hassle lifetime free replacement guarantee.
Heat Storm Smithfield Deluxe Space Heater
This handsome cabinet style Smithfield Deluxe Portable Infrared Heater from Heat Storm will heat up to 1,000 square feet with its 1500W, 5200 BTU output.
A fine oak finish matches just about any room, and a compact design makes it easy to blend in.
This unit measures 14.6 x 12.2 x 16.1 inches, making it a convenient size to provide heat wherever you need it.
With its built-in thermostat and energy efficient mode, you can reduce wattage use from 1500 to 750 for energy savings.
The LED display shows the ambient temperature, and the included remote control allows you to monitor and maintain your desired temperature.
Its balanced heating method keeps the temperature between the floor and ceiling the same within 2-3 degrees F. This avoids hot and cold spots around your room.
Additionally, its efficient infrared quartz bulb system is known for adding smooth heat across entire rooms.
Heat Storm’s patented heat exchanger combines with the humidity in the room to provide soft, comfortable heat (without reducing oxygen or drying out the air).
One satisfied purchaser reported:
“What a great heater this is! We purchased it to heat our family room on those extra chilly days. With it’s built in thermostat to shut it off when it warms the space it is a real handy appliance! It looks nice too!”
The Smithfield Deluxe comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.
HeatWorX Portable Infrared Heater
The HeatWorX Portable Infrared Heater is a highly versatile indoor infrared heater will warm up any room in the house or office up to 1,000 square feet.
You can carry or push around the HeatWorX heater with you to any room with its light, compact design and four built-in wheels.
The HeatWorX uses a Positive Thermal Coefficient (PTC) heating element to produce an output of 5,200 BTUs with two heating modes:
- High Heat uses a maximum of 1,500 watts
- Low Heat uses 1,000 watts
There is no need to mess around with any expensive quartz bulbs. This incredible heater is engineered to increase airflow with its specially designed fan assembly. It offers quiet operation and improved heating efficiency (up to 25 percent compared to some competitive models).
- 24-hour programmable timer
- Lightweight and compact
- Simple, intuitive controls for ease operation
- Remote control included
- Memory mode recalls settings and resumes operation, even after power outages
- Master power switch on the rear for added safety
- Displays temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius
- Digital temperature sensor
- Lifetime washable air filter
- Eliminates dry, uncomfortable air
- Overheat and Tip-Over safety shut-offs
Reviews for the HeatWorX are excellent!
The manufacturer offers a 2 year warranty of parts and labor, and it measures 13 x 15 x 16 inches.
Dr. Infrared Nightstand Design Infrared Heater
This Nightstand Heater from Dr. Infrared is perfect for heating your large master suite bedroom, or as an extra table in your living or family room.
Its unobtrusive design will fit in nicely with your furniture, and allow you to save money by reducing your home’s central thermostat.
Its 1500W advanced dual heating system produces high heat and airflow rate, and can efficiently heat an area up to 1,000 square feet.
The built-in thermostat allows you to set the temperature as desired, and use the timer to control how long the heater remains on. A remote control is also included.
This is a quiet unit; users say it makes a low fan noise, and that it’s easy to forget that it’s on. The cabinet stays cool to the touch, so you can put items on the top if you like.
The Nightstand Heater measures 13 x 12.5 x 16.5 inches (perfect as a night or side table).
This heater has excellent reviews, with purchasers praising it as a reliable, money-saving supplementary home heater.
One reviewer was disappointed in its 5 foot cord, but solved the problem with an extension cord.
One verified purchaser reported:
“We purchased this heater for our three bedroom apartment back towards the end of February. We had planned on moving our furniture around and needed to block our wall heater which always ran but didn’t feel like it warmed up the living room much…I like that it is on rollers, easy to move around. Super easy to figure out.
We keep in on the energy saving mode. I set the temp and that’s it. It’s quiet, but effective.
I just got my energy bill, and it compares your previous months usage. It was a drastic difference.
Again, we are very happy with this purchase and feel safe with it around our 9 month old who will start to crawl soon.”
Homegear Infrared Space Heater
Combining mica and quartz infrared heating tubes, the Infrared Space Heater from Homegear quickly and easily heats up to 1500 square feet (depending on ambient temperature and your level of room insulation).
This 1500W unit has a quiet blower fan, a built-in thermostat and timer for efficient heat control, and includes a handy remote control.
You can program a wide range of temperature settings, and choose among low, high, or economy settings.
As with all the other heaters mentioned, this unit is UL certified, and stays cool to the touch (except for the small heat grill in the front). It also has an auto shut-off which activates if the unit tips over.
Users say the fan is quiet and unobtrusive.
The reviews are good for this heater.
One satisfied purchaser said:
“This is only infrared heater that actually does what it claims and I have tried many?? Took 6 element lifesmart back to home depot when received this Homegear Pro–does twice the job of heating.
This is in Montana and it actually heats kitchen,dining,living room and bathroom without running constantly like others.
Electric baseboard heaters were on constantly,now they aren’t needed. Would be 24 by 26 ft area with partial wall of kitchen between, bath down hallway. At times below 0.
The Homegear Infrared Heater measures 12 x 13 x 17 inches, with a 71 inch cord; the manufacturer recommends against using an extension cord with this heater.
Answers among purchasers were mixed as to whether this unit comes with a manufacturer’s warranty (so, assume there’s none).
Duraflame Oscillating Infrared Tower Heater
The Oscillating Infrared Tower Heater from Duraflame Electric provides a nice style option, with it’s tower design and hard wood exterior.
This 1500W, 5200 BTU heater provides good supplemental heating for up to 1,000 square feet.
There is a built-in thermostat, and a remote control is included.
This heater features a tip over safety switch, and overheat protection shuts off the unit before overheating. Importantly, its stay cool cabinet is safe around kids and pets.
This heater measures 8 x 11 x 22.8 inches, and offers a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty.
The reviews are generally good for this heater (3.9/5 at publishing time). Some reviewers report a short-lived unpleasant smell upon first use.
One purchaser notes:
“I have owned three EdenPure heaters and decided to try another brand. Boy am I glad I did. This it the second of one of these I bought in the last two weeks. I love how quiet it is and the thermostat is has and the way it distributes the warm air. Best heater ever. It does need to run a bit to get rid of the new smell, I cracked the door for fresh air on my first use. I highly recommend and picked due to all the great reviews I read and made a great choice.”
This heater measures 8 x 11 x 22.8 inches, and offers a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Why Supplement Your Home Heating?
Supplemental heating is the process of using additional heat sources (rather than just your main furnace) to heat individual rooms or spaces in your home.
By only heating the room you are currently occupying, you can more efficiently and effectively control the temperature and stay comfortable.
With rising energy costs and a increasing concern for energy efficiency, many people look to supplemental heating as a smart alternative.
Eliminating Energy Waste
It is common for one, if not several, rooms in a home to be unoccupied most of the time (this is certainly the case in our home!).
Whether your dining room, guest bedroom, office, or laundry room, heating these unused spaces along with the rest of your home can cause an exorbitant amount wasted energy (which translates to higher bills).
Adding supplemental heating in the most commonly used areas in your home is more conducive to your spatial requirements.
Improved Heating Control
Using a traditional system to heat your entire home can be a slow process. Larger spaces require more time and money to meet your level of comfort; and even then, it may prove difficult to maintain the desired temperature.
Supplemental heating allows you to add extra heat as needed in rooms that tend to be cooler, without making other rooms too warm.
Eliminate Pushing Air Throughout Your Entire Home
A commonly overlooked waste of money and energy is the use of a traditional HVAC system to push air throughout your entire home.
Your blower systems’ entire job is to evenly disburse heated air into every room.
Using supplemental heating through mobile units is the easiest way to combat this unnecessary cost and add heated air just to the areas where it is needed.
When it comes to supplementing the heat in a large room, it makes sense to choose a quiet, efficient infrared space heater.
Utilizing a localized heating source allows you to add warmth to specific areas of your home, without turning up your central heat.
Infrared space heaters are both a comfortable and an economical option.
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