14 Major Pros and Cons of Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters work in a manner that is similar to the sun. This product emits infrared light that is invisible to the naked eye. The energy is then absorbed by the body and all of the other objects that are in the room. When you come into contact with the light, then you start to warm up – just like when you step outside into the sunshine.

The way that infrared heaters produce the heat involves a series of coils and a reflector to direct the light outward into the room. Depending on the temperature of the emitting body, the light wavelengths from infrared radiation can range from 780nm to 1mm. You don’t need to be in contact with the product to experience the energy transfer.

If you use this technology, then you will want to take care of your eyes because they are somewhat vulnerable to the light wavelengths. You can adversely impact your vision by being in a room where the heat is intense. Far-infrared rays are now to cause irritation with normal exposure times, and they also increase the risk of experiencing a corneal burn.

List of the Pros of Infrared Heaters

1. Infrared heaters provide instant heat.
Most heaters that you use in your home or outside work through the process of convection. That means they take the surrounding air, heat it up, and then distribute it back into the environment at a warmer temperature. When you use infrared technologies, then the wavelengths create instant warming in the coldest temperatures. It dispels the cold quickly whether you are active or sedentary, leading to a more comfortable situation.

2. This technology is surprisingly quiet.
Infrared heaters are remarkably quiet when you compare this technology to the standard space heater. The reason for this advantage is the lack of a fan. They radiate light energy instead, which is why it makes for the perfect addition to a bedroom or another room where noise pollution could be problematic. The coils wrap over the heat source so there is an even transfer while operating, creating a range of several yards that offers comfortable warmth to everyone in the room.

3. There are indoor environmental advantages to consider.
Infrared heaters might have some disadvantages to consider, but they don’t alter the indoor environment in the same way that other technologies do. You won’t experience a change in the humidity level of a room when you warm it up using this method. The oxygen content remains the same there as well. You won’t be stuck with inflamed sinuses or dry skin like other heaters can cause. There are fewer problems with static electricity when using an infrared heater too.

The power of a single infrared heater is something that cannot be ignored. Independent lab testing shows that a single heater can effectively warm up a space of up to 1,000 square feet. You can purchase larger models to handle even bigger spaces when necessary as well.

4. You get to enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight inside.
Infrared heaters produce the same kind of heat that you receive from the sun each day. That means you get to enjoy many of the advantages that natural sunlight provides without the issue of UV radiation to worry about each day. That means you can have better blood circulation with exposure, immediate warming benefits, and less dust wandering around the room that you breathe in because of the fans that most other heaters use.

The operational time for the standard infrared heater is over 20,000 hours, which means the infrared quartz heating elements will provide you with years of warmth.

5. It won’t add more pollutants to your room.
Infrared heaters provide another environmental advantage with the fact that they don’t add pollutants to the indoors when operating. You’ll receive zero carbon combustion and no toxic byproducts when operating this technology. There are no open flames to control or fuel lines that could be dangerous in specific conditions. You’re not taking anything from the air, and you aren’t adding anything to it either.

It is an energy-efficient technology as well, with some units only using 300w of electricity. Since almost 100% of the heat created by infrared heaters gets transferred to the room or outdoor environment, this option is an effective, low-cost, efficient heating solution.

6. There are minimal maintenance needs for infrared heaters.
The amount of maintenance that most infrared heaters require is minimal. This technology requires no moving parts, which means you don’t need to worry about a fan motor wearing out. You won’t have any air filters that you’ll need to replace. Lubrication is not necessary either. Your only job is to clean the reflectors every so often to ensure that the heat can reach its maximum range all of the time.

Since many of the heaters come in cabinets or other elegant designs, much of the work that you would normally perform is no longer necessary. Most units are very portable when compared to the traditional space heater as well, which makes them useful for some RVs, cabins, and small homes. You can even choose from different finishes with some manufacturers.

7. Infrared heaters allow you to save money through zonal heating.
When you use a zone heating strategy with an infrared heater, then you can turn down the thermostat in your home by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit because of this supplemental heating source. Warming the rooms where you are can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs each year. If you spend most of your time in an open space, this savings can be even higher. Since the price of most heaters is less than $100, you can have your preferred unit pay for itself in 12-24 months. Even larger models for big homes are often priced less than $400. That’s why it is such a cost-effective option to consider.

List of the Cons of Infrared Heaters

1. There are some safety issues that you’ll want to consider.
When the coils of an infrared heater begin to distribute warmth, they can get exceptionally hot. You will want to keep your pets and kids away from the unit while it is operating to avoid a contact injury. Companies are manufacturing products that attempt to minimize this disadvantage, including the inclusion of cool-touch cabinets, but then the heat must disperse through the use of a fan – limiting many of the advantages you would experience with this technology otherwise.

Look for a model that offers an emergency tip-over switch and an automatic shutoff to have the safest possible experience.

2. There is the color issue to consider with infrared heaters.
Infrared heaters always emit an orange color as they distribute heat to your environment. The goal of this color is to encourage people to avoid touching the product, but it can offer some side effects. Small spaces will experience a lighting effect that can make the space brighter than normal. If you need to sleep in the dark to get the most rest, then you’ll want to avoid using this technology in the bedroom. You can avoid some of this problem by purchasing a cabinet instead of a stand-alone unit, but it is a disadvantage that comes with every heater – even the ones that attempt to replicate flames.

3. You lose the heat the moment the unit turns off.
An infrared heater might work instantly when you turn on the product, but it will stop radiating heat the moment you turn it off as well. You’re not warming the air in the room with this technology, so you’ll lose the comfortable temperature quickly. That’s why an oil-filled heater is sometimes a better option since the unit will radiate heat for some time after the product is no longer operating. You’ll use less overall energy, but the heater needs to stay on all of the time to continue benefitting from the technology.

4. There can be some skin health problems to consider.
Most people are not going to stay in a room with infrared heat waves long enough to experience a burn. When you use this technology repetitively, it can cause some skin health problems that might be bothersome. When people spend a long time in front of a natural fireplace, then there can be blotchiness that develops on the exposed areas. This disadvantage occurs when using heaters like this as well. Skin cells open to release pigments to create this issue, which is why it can be so challenging to reverse it.

5. Your body can suffer from water loss with infrared heaters.
Have you ever stood outside in the sunlight and started to sweat? This effect creates water loss if it continues over time. Skin swells to relieve the heat, causing it to lose water. There is a significant risk of dehydration if you already have low water content in your body. If you start to sweat, you must replace the water in your body. Allowing your skin to dry out will create cracking and chaffing like you can experience with other types of heaters as well.

6. It only provides targeted heating.
When you use a wave heating system, then you’ll receive warmth only when you come into the wavelengths that were distributed into the room. This disadvantage is similar to what you would experience when moving from direct sunlight to the shade. You feel cooler when sitting under a tree because there is less energy making its way to your body. That means you need to be in the line of sight for the heater to maximize the heating benefits that the unit can provide.

7. Some units only provide a limited warranty.
Some manufacturers place a limited lifetime warranty on their infrared heaters, but this benefit is becoming harder to find in the industry today. Most systems that are built in the United States will come with a 5-year warranty. You’ll want to read the terms carefully to see if any labor or shipping costs are covered during this period. Some models, like the lifesmart® infrared quartz heaters that you can purchase today, only come with a one-year limited warranty. You need to be careful when using two of them at once as well. If you blow out a circuit and that damages a unit, it could void your guarantee.


The pros and cons of infrared heaters are essential to consider if you are looking for a new way to heat your home or business. It is cheaper to use this technology, and the results are instantaneous. You will also have some disadvantages to consider when using this technology to ensure that it can be used safely when it feels a little cold inside.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.