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Get Hot and Cozy With a UFO Infrared Heater

Updated on November 18, 2010

If the winter chill is putting a cramp in one’s lifestyle, a UFO infrared heater may be an elegant and affordable solution. We have a large, uninsulated garage where we keep our fitness equipment that gets very cold when the temperature drops outside. Last year, that cold persuaded us to avoid our daily workouts so often that we abandoned our routine entirely. I didn’t want that to happen again this year, so I went in search of a safe, efficient, and economical way to heat up our workout space. Remodeling the garage to add insulation may be a good long-term goal, but as winter had already started to creep in, I needed a faster, less intrusive solution. We had tried space heaters with fans in the past, but they were noisy and the thermostat hardly budged, even when they were operating at maximum capacity. I didn’t want to mess with the fumes and inconvenience of propane or kerosene. I found several varieties of in-floor and panel heaters that may be suited to our application, but they were outside my budget and time constraints. (The lack of insulation would also inhibit their efficiency.) Finally, I came across the UFO electric infrared heater, a silent, portable, easy to use solution to my problem. We have been working out in comfort ever since.

Turn Up the Heat

The UFO company makes heaters for both residential and industrial applications, and they have been very successful in Europe for several years before introducing their products to the American market. They offer consumer-grade models that use either 1,500 watts or 3,000 watts of electricity, depending on the amount of heat needed. Although I have a gigantic space to heat, I chose the smaller model because I needed warmth only in the part of the garage I would be using for a workout. One of the great advantages of infrared heating is that, like the sun, it heats objects and people instead of air. Knowing that, I figured I could aim the heater directly at the space where I wanted to maintain a comfortable temperature. It was a good decision, as the 1,500 watt model spreads its warm glow over a space big enough to accommodate two people exercising on a 6 foot by 8 foot floor mat, a treadmill, and an exercise bike with no problem.

How Does the UFO Heater Work?

Electric Infrared heaters work on the same principle as sun lamps. UFO units use a replaceable filament tube that should last about 9,000 hours before needing to be changed. From my own experience, they get extremely hot very quickly, reaching their maximum temperature in about half a minute. They produce a bright orange glow that is hardly noticeable in a well-lit room and their warmth feels natural and pleasant to the skin. Depending on the desired location and use, one may choose either a model with a manual dial and power button on the unit itself, or one with a digital readout and remote control. The remote can also be programmed to operate the heater automatically with a set schedule for people who will be using it at a certain time on a regular basis. As one might expect, the manual model is a little cheaper. I chose to forego the remote despite its convenience and high-tech appeal, since I am perhaps a bit overly cautious when it comes to any kind of space heater. I don’t want it operating without someone nearby. However, this feature may be perfect in other situations, and may it be the factor that persuades some buyers into deciding on the UFO.

This Video Shows the UFO in Action

Shown with optional stand
Shown with optional stand

UFO Heaters Go Anywhere

The versatility of this heater makes it the perfect solution for many temperature regulating scenarios. Designed for use either indoors or out, it can be positioned to raise the comfort level of living rooms, patios, sheds, porches, and yes, large, cinder block garages that lack insulation. They come with mounting brackets for permanent installation on a wall or ceiling, and the manufacturer also offers a sturdy stand for portability that they sell separately. Intrigued by the idea of using the UFO as both a workout warmer and a way to extend the season of our screened-in back porch, I opted to buy the stand, as well.

Safe, Non-Polluting, and Efficient

While electricity may not be the least expensive power source, having the ability to spot heat just the area needed is an added benefit. The UFO heater’s lack of harmful emissions or fumes is especially important for people with sensitivities to air quality. Since radiant heaters don’t push air around, they also refrain from raising dust. The manufacturer touts the efficiency of these units -- stating that they are 80% more efficient that traditional methods -- since more of the energy used is converted to consumable heat. These heaters also come with the standard safety shut-off, a necessary feature in any application. Compared to other types of heating systems, the UFO’s infrared technology is a clean, quiet alternative.


What can’t these heaters do? Well, they need to be positioned correctly to ensure a proper comfort zone. They will heat any person or object directly in the path of the glow, but nothing outside of it. The stand and mounting brackets allow for sufficient height and tilting angles needed for wide coverage, but the direct warmth can only reach so far. The heating unit itself is 31 inches wide, so one should not expect to cover an exorbitant amount of square footage with it. The 1,500 watt model is rated to heat 193 square feet of space. The optional stand may present challenges for some, as it is not as adjustable as it may appear. While some retailers call it a “telescoping” stand, my unit will not go lower than about six feet. (Advertisements show the heaters positioned at lower heights, so perhaps my stand is defective.) Another issue some people have voiced about these heaters is the orange glow. While unobtrusive in a lighted room, it may lend an unwanted ambiance to an intimate, candlelit evening on the patio. It is certainly bright enough to interfere with star gazing. That said, I personally have not been bothered by the light coming from this heater. While it can be bright on its highest setting, it reminds me of the glow of a fireplace. Living in a region that boasts gray, rainy winters, I credit the glow with helping to maintain my spirits and acting as a nice reminder of the sunshine that will return in the spring.

A Great Heating Solution

Anyone looking for a way to reclaim a hard-to-heat space for year-round use would benefit from taking a look at the UFO infrared heater. They are available from several online retailers and come ready to mount on a wall or optional floor stand. They use a standard grounded electrical outlet, pulling 13.6 amps at one phase. The sleek, European styling makes them more attractive than many other heating choices, and I can easily credit this heater with helping me stay fit through the cold winter months.


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    • sumnerman profile image


      8 years ago

      That UFO heater look cool :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is Excellent

    • cmuckley profile image


      8 years ago

      Great info! I'm going to look into this.


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