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Updated September 2022
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Buying guide for Best infrared heaters

Conventional space heaters take a while to warm up, and they can be noisy and temperamental. Infrared heaters, on the other hand, work almost immediately because they heat the objects and the people inside the room instead of just the air itself. This makes them more efficient and also much quieter than traditional space heaters.

That doesn’t mean that all infrared heaters are better than all traditional space heaters, however. The worth of a good infrared heater largely comes down to the quality of the workmanship, the features, and the price.

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Infrared heaters are extremely efficient, with almost 100% of their energy being converted into usable heat.

Safety first

Infrared heater coils become very hot, and this can be dangerous, especially in households with small children and pets who may not know to stay away from the heater. Fortunately, some newer infrared heaters are built within a cool-touch casing that doesn’t transfer heat. Many also include an auto-shutoff feature that activates after a certain amount of time and a tip-over switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it falls over. If you plan to use your infrared heater often, it’s worth investing in a quality unit with these safety features.

Fuel source

If you plan to use your infrared heater indoors, you’ll want an electric heater. There are also propane and natural gas infrared heaters; these are not ideal for indoor use. However, they may be the more economical choice if you plan to use the heater on a patio or in a well-ventilated garage.

Heating power

You can get a sense of how powerful an infrared heater is by checking its wattage. Infrared heaters range from about 300 watts on the low end to about 1,500 watts on the high end, with a higher number indicating a more powerful heater. It may be tempting to purchase a really powerful unit, but in addition to the higher price tag, you must also account for the higher electric bill that will accompany it. If you’re concerned about operational costs, stick with a unit that is just powerful enough for your needs and no more.

Other features

Adjustable thermostat

Some infrared heaters have an adjustable thermostat so you can decide precisely how warm you want the room to be. The heater automatically detects when the room has fallen below your target temperature and starts up accordingly. When it reaches your preferred temperature, it shuts off again.


Wheels are especially important if you’re purchasing a larger infrared heater because they make it easier to move the heater. Swiveling wheels usually work the best because they can quickly move in any direction.

Air purification

Some infrared heaters double as air purifiers. They remove dust, bacteria, and other debris from the air and return clean air to the room. A multifunctional heater is a great choice if you are also considering an air purifier, but take note that there may be additional maintenance requirements for these units in order to keep the air purifier working properly.


A few infrared heaters also claim to function as humidifiers, though these do not always work as well as some customers had hoped. If humidification is important to you, do your research on infrared heater/humidifier combos to verify that the model you’re interested in can do the job. Otherwise, you may want to purchase a separate humidifier.

Infrared heater prices

Infrared heaters can cost as little as $40 for a small, portable unit and as much as $200 (or more) for a high-end model that covers a large room. Cost varies depending on heat output and other features. For a simple model with no bells and whistles, you could probably get by spending less than $100.

On the other hand, if you want a top-of-the-line infrared heater that doubles as an air purifier and humidifier, you should expect to pay at least $150. A dependable mid-range model will run between about $100 and $150. These may not have all of the extras that high-end models do, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one with an adjustable thermostat and solid safety features.


  • Don’t plug your infrared heater into an extension cord. This is a fire hazard. Instead, plug the unit directly into an outlet.

  • Some larger infrared heaters may overload standard 15-amp circuits. Read the owner’s manual to see if your heater has any specific power requirements.

  • Clear the area around your infrared heater so the heat disperses evenly throughout the space. Keep items a fair distance from the heater, too — this applies to flammable items in particular. The heat generated by an infrared heater could cause these items to combust.

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Some infrared heaters are designed to resemble fireplaces so they blend in well with the rest of your decor.


Q. Can I plug an infrared heater into a power strip?

A. No. Infrared heaters should never be plugged into power strips or extension cords. Instead, plug yours directly into a grounded outlet. Check your owner’s manual for details on specific power requirements for your heater.

Q. What kind of maintenance does my infrared heater require?

A. Infrared heaters don’t require a lot of maintenance, but if yours doubles as an air purifier, you may need to periodically change or wash the filters in order to keep the purifier functioning at an optimal level. See your owner’s manual for more details.

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