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Radiant Heaters

Updated on August 19, 2014

Radiant Heaters: Keeping You Warm Without Breaking Your Budget

If you have a small space that needs heat, a radiant heater may be a good choice. The small portable ones aren't ideal for dealing with large areas, but they are perfect in a number of situations and can save a lot of money on utility bills while assuring you stay comfortable even in the coldest weather.

On this page you can learn a bit more about radiant heaters, how they operate, how they are best used, and some things to consider when choosing one.

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About Radiant Heaters

Radiant heaters operate differently from the forced air type models that many of us are accustomed to having in our home or office. The typical ceramic space heater for instance forces out hot air and must heat an entire room before the people that occupy it begin to feel warm. This is fine of course, if the temperature isn't terribly low to begin with, if you need to warm the entire room anyway, and if you don't mind waiting for a while for the temperature to rise. Of course these device can dry out the air, disturb and circulate dust and allergens, and increase your utility bill significantly.

Radiant heaters on the other hand send out infrared radiation. They do not heat the air. When the infrared waves contact a person, the heat is directly absorbed. For this reason, warming up is almost instantaneous. You don't have to wait for the entire room or space to warm up. In addition, the air is not disturbed. They are also much more energy efficient.

These devices are ideal outdoors and in garages where you probably won't attempt to heat the entire space, but want something to warm a person or small group of people who are staying in one location. They can be good indoors as well of course, as long as you aren't trying to warm an entire room, but just a small localized area. They are used very effective in offices for example where people will be sitting much of the day.

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Buying Tips

A radiant heater is a good choice when you want spot heating. For instance they are ideal for using under a desk to keep feet and legs warm or near a drafty window. They can also be great in a workshop, garage, and in some cases out on a screened in porch or deck. When choosing these devices there are a few points to consider:

Size and Heating Capability

First you'll need to know where you want to use the heater. In some cases, the physical dimensions of the unit will matter. For instance, if it will be used under a desk, the space it will need to occupy will be limited. Where and how it will be used will also determine how much warmth you'll really need it to generate. For under a desk 400W may be sufficient, but if it will be used in a garage or on a screened in porch in cold weather you'll probably need more, 800W minimum.

Safety

Space heaters of any type can be hazardous; a fire risk. The safest models do not have exposed heating elements, they are encased in a cabinet or have a cool-to-the-touch cover. In addition, they should have safety features like an auto-shut off in case they are tipped over or begin to overheat.

Controls

Most of these devices will offer temperature controls. Some have just a high and low setting, others may have multiple settings. Some will add in a thermostat or timer, giving you the ability to set a temperature and allow the heater to automatically make adjustments to maintain that temperature. Some may also provide a remote control.

Another thing to consider when choosing one of these devices is light. Those that have visible heating elements will emit light, sometimes quite a lot of light. Encased models like the flat panels and full cabinet models can eliminate that light. For some applications, the light is undesirable, in others, the visible glow isn't a problem.

Buy a Radiant Heater

Delonghi TRD0715T Safe Heat Oil-Filled Radiator
Delonghi TRD0715T Safe Heat Oil-Filled Radiator

This is an oil-filled model which is permanently sealed and safe for in-home use. It's made with rustproof metal and operates at wattages of 600, 900, and 1500. It features an adjustable room thermostat, a 24-hour programmable timer for 96 program variations (temperature, duration, activation time, etc.), auto-power shut off in the event of tipping, and wheels for easily relocating it where you need it. It comes with a limited 1-year warranty

 
Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt
Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater, 1500-Watt

This Dr. Heater provides radiant heat plus a high pressure, low noise AC blower. It uses infrared tubes and PTC (ceramic) to warm quickly. This dual system device can run at 1,500W on high or 1,000W on low and unlike a purely radiant model, is capable of heating an entire large room.

It can be controlled with push buttons on the front panel or with the included remote control The Auto Energy Saving Mode allows the unit to cycle on and off to maintain the desired temperature. It has caster wheels which make it easy to relocate as needed. There are no exposed heating elements so that it's safe even around pets and kids. This unit has a filter which can be cleaned with a vacuum or by washing in water. It measures 16"H x 13" W x 14" D.

 

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Electric infrared radiant heaters are manufactured by companies such as TPI/Fostoria, Radiant Electric Heat, Tri Lite, Calorique, and others. These and other companies use distributors to get the heaters out to the end users. End users can be individuals, or businesses who intend to add heat to a specific area indoors or outdoors. The application of electric infrared radiant heaters include industrial whole area heating, commercial applications, indoor/outdoor uses, snow and ice melt solutions, residential use, portable space heaters, foot warmers, and the ability to provide heat to almost any place a person or organization would want it. The types of heaters are quartz tube, flat ceramic panel, fan-forced & radiant combo, and we can even supply natural gas steel tube radiant.

      garage heater

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      Gail47 6 years ago

      Great information - the videos and the detailed info will certainly help people make their own decisions.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Safety is really important with radiant heaters. I have a newer one that works well, but they've changed drastically since the old quartz heaters of the 70's and 80's to include a lot more safety measures. Best tip: keep it as far away as possible from furniture and anything that could ignite!

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      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      May need to pick this Soleus Oscillating Radiant Heater for the RV