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How do I Choose the Best Infrared Space Heater?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

To choose the best infrared space heater, consumers should purchase a model that heats by use of quartz bulbs, is equipped with a programmable thermostat, and has a manufacturer's warranty which covers all working parts of the machine. Quartz bulbs are both efficient in heating and cost effective to replce. A programmable thermostat allows the user to set the temperature at which the machine operates and choose what time of day it turns on and off. The manufacturer's warranty should guarantee not only the internal heating elements, but also the infrared light by which the radiant heat is created.

An infrared space heater works by utilizing radiant heat to warm the objects in a room, rather than the air of the room itself. The heater directs a beam of infrared light, which is past the spectrum of light visible to the human eye, into a room, similarly to the sun, and the objects are able to absorb that light. Traditional space heaters, which rely on ceramic inserts, warm the air around them and use a small, motorized fan to circulate that warmed air. An infrared heater can target the objects in a room, whether people, furniture, or pets, and warm them individually. These units do not overheat internally and are safe for use around children and pets.

The most common type of heating element found in infrared heaters is made from quartz.
The most common type of heating element found in infrared heaters is made from quartz.

The infrared space heater is typically powered by electricity or natural gas. Consumers who are searching for an economical and environmentally safe way to heat their homes may wish to purchase an electric unit. This type of heater does not cause any harmful fumes to vent into the air of the home, consume any limited resources, or need to be hooked to any internal pipe works.

The internal heating element is typically made from quartz, copper, stainless steel, or ceramic. The most widely available type of infrared space heater uses internal ceramic stones, also known as positive temperature coefficient (PTC) elements. These stones are designed to stop heating when they reach a certain pre-set temperature, and do not allow users to constantly adjust this temperature as needed. They can also be difficult and costly to replace if they are damaged.

The safest and most economical form of heat is the use of quartz bulbs. Quartz heating elements are more expensive to purchase in terms of up front cost, but they are cheap and easy to replace should the internal elements become damaged at a later time. These bulbs may be combined with internal stainless steel and copper tubing, which are used to create a heating chamber and increase the overall efficiency of the machine.

Consumers who want maximum heat control may wish to invest in an infrared space heater with an internal thermostat, which may be used in conjunction with quartz bulbs. Some inexpensive models are only equipped with low and high heat settings. Higher priced models come with built in electric thermostats that shut off when the desired temperature is reached. Users can also program these models to switch on and off during particular hours of the day, such as when family members are home, so that the unit is not working to warm an empty room.

High quality units are equipped with a manufacturer's life expectancy of 20,000 hours or longer on all working parts of the machinery. Consumers should carefully read the product labeling of the infrared space heater to determine which parts are covered by the warranty and life expectancy guarantee. Some models only ensure the expected usage of the heating elements, and do not cover the infrared light portion of the unit as well. This limits the model's ability to create a uniform temperature throughout the room by means of radiant heating over time.

Discussion Comments

Programmable thermostats are great for controlling the heating/cooling of your home, and definitely help reduce energy costs. I didn't know that space heaters came with programmable thermostats!

In terms of how the infrared space heater works, can it possibly damage furniture, such as plastic or wood furniture, with overheating?

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    • The most common type of heating element found in infrared heaters is made from quartz.
      By: siimsepp
      The most common type of heating element found in infrared heaters is made from quartz.