Jamey Powell is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. Previously the senior market editor at Healthline.com, she has years of experience scouring endless product reviews and testing out the latest and greatest products in the sleep, fitness, and nutrition markets.
November 18, 2022
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There’s a lot to love about infrared heaters. The energy-efficient heating method doesn’t suck the humidity from your space—and it has a great reputation with home experts for being safe and relatively inexpensive to use. Whether you’re looking to up your electric fireplace game or keep your home office toasty while you work, you’re bound to find the right option for you with our selection of the best infrared heaters.
The best infrared heaters of 2022:
Who should buy an infrared heater?
Anyone looking for an energy-efficient way to stay warm should consider an infrared heater.
“Infrared heaters are a type of space heater that uses infrared radiation to heat an area,” explains HVAC expert David Sheppard. Unlike traditional heaters that warm the air, this safe form of radiation heats objects (or your body) directly through infrared light waves. “Infrared heaters are often used as an alternative to traditional space heaters, as they are more energy efficient and can heat an area more evenly,” he adds.
And according to home expert and host of My Southern Home, Kimberly Greenwell, there are more advantages than disadvantages to infrared heaters, including a safer, less obtrusive design.
The pros of infrared heaters include:
- Unobtrusive. “The units are extremely quiet and don’t affect a home’s humidity or oxygen levels,” says Greenwell.
- Safe. “Infrared heaters are a lot safer than traditional heaters as they do not rely on open flames or hot coils,” says Sheppard. “Additionally, infrared heaters do not emit any harmful chemicals or fumes, making them a safer option for use in homes and businesses.”
- Energy efficient. Infrared heaters are more cost effective as they heat objects, not the air. “This means that the heat generated by an infrared heater is more efficient and evenly distributed than the heat generated by a traditional heater,” says Sheppard. “They’re also a lot lower maintenance, as they do not have any moving parts or require regular maintenance like traditional heaters.”
A few considerations:
While infrared heaters are typically safer than electric heaters, Greenwell says there are still some safety concerns to note. “The units can get extremely hot,” she warns. “You’ll want to keep them away from children and make sure the unit has an emergency safety switch in case it accidentally gets knocked over. Also, the infrared light waves can cause eye damage if you stare directly into the unit. You have to be extremely close to the unit for this to cause problems, but it is something to be aware of if you have animals or small kids.”
Greenwell also notes that infrared heaters may be more expensive upfront than electric or convection heaters, but says those traditional methods can lead to higher energy bills in the long run. “Electric and convection heaters take more energy to run,” she says. “If the room has windows or doorways that are not sealed properly, the air escapes from the room quickly causing the unit to run longer, using more energy.”
On Greenwell’s last point, it’s important to remember the limitations of infrared heaters. As previously mentioned, they’re intended to heat objects and people rather than the air. For that reason, we mainly avoided referencing square footage in this article and instead leaned on anecdotal reports from customers to learn how effective they are at keeping folks warm.
How we picked:
We kept our expert’s recommendations in mind and ensured that all of these picks have an emergency safety switch and are low risk to any pets or children you may have in your home.
We read hundreds of reviews on these heaters—both positive and negative—to see if they lived up to the hype. Reviews were also the best way to gauge the distance these heaters can actually cover (compared to the often exaggerated square footage listed on the product description).
Infrared heaters may be more expensive upfront than other space heaters, per Greenwell. Still we managed to find quality products at a variety of price points to suit different budgets.
We stuck with trusted brands that are Intertek ETL listed, which means they’ve been third party tested for safety.
mbg’s picks of the best infrared heaters:
Best for indoors: Heat Storm HS-1500-PHX-WIFI
- Wall-mount option saves space
- Safer setup for pets & kids
- Smart controls for temperature
- Smaller than it looks
- App can be buggy
Wattage: 750 W1,500 W
Square footage: Up to 300 to 400 square feet
This super versatile pick from Heat Storm covers a lot of bases. Not only can you choose between a wall-mounted or floor-friendly option, but there are a couple of color choices as well. Whether you decide to mount this heater or use the attachable feet (double check the model before you buy!), you can control the temperature through WiFi using the Heat Storm app, or through voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home. It also has an auto-shutoff mode, a washable filter, dimmable LED display, and eco-mode option (which dials this heater back to 750 watts).
What users say:
This heater gets pretty great ratings wherever it’s sold. One Amazon shopper used the heater for more than two years and found that the heat made a noticeable difference without impacting their energy bill—and the smart app means they no longer enter a chilly house. A few negative reviews flag that this heater is really best for smaller areas, as the device is smaller than it looks.
Best for outdoors: Dr. Infrared DR-238
- Great for patios & decks
- Included remote & timer options
- Shorter cord
- Less aesthetic design
Wattage: 1,500 W or 3,000 W
While this heater from Dr. Heater can certainly be used indoors, it’s an especially great option for patios, decks, or even the garage. Available as a wall-mounted or free-standing design, the heater comes in both a 1,500 and 3,000 watt options. While not the most aesthetically pleasing, the DR-238 does give you three heat settings (900W, 1200W, and 1500W), as well as a timer and remote to control the temperature from afar.
We named this option our top pick for outdoor use due to the waterproof aluminum exterior, which protects the internal heating component. It’s also designed to maximize the reach of the infrared heating rays thanks to a mirrored aluminum interior that’s super reflective. What’s more, the product is ETL-listed for safety, so you won’t have to fret about hanging it outdoor once the temperature drops.
What users say:
Despite accumulating more than 3,500 ratings on Amazon, this heater still boasts an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars. Some testers actually lounged outdoors in the dead of winter thanks to the design, however other shoppers found one big flaw: the 6-foot cord. It’s not long enough to reach every plug, and the device shouldn’t be used with an extension cord, so it may not be suitable for every space.
Most energy-efficient: Heat Storm HS-1500-ILODB
- Auto eco-mode and dim feature
- 3 color options
- Mixed reviews about fan volume
- Mixed reviews about coverage
Wattage: 750 W1,500 W
If you’re looking to lower your energy output by opting for a heater with a thermostat, this is another great pick from Heat Storm for you. Along with a washable air filter, it boasts an eco-mode setting that reduces the wattage from 1,500 to 750 to save power whenever possible.
Like the Dr. Infrared heater above, it has optional casters to roll it around your space (although some reviews suggest it’s quieter without the wheels). However, it’s on the smaller side than the brand’s other offerings, yet slightly more design-forward with three different wood grain colors available.
What users say:
This option doesn’t have as many ratings or reviews as other heaters on this list, but it still gets mostly great feedback wherever it’s available. Several customers comment on the nice look of this heater and how much reach it has for its small size—although other reviews contradict this. One person who is pleased with the efficiency of this heater writes, “Just received this in time, especially since the temperature has been dropping. With the price of fuel being up this helps keep our living room comfortable during the day without having to use the furnace.”
Best portable: Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater (DR-968)
- Wheels to move for room-to-room
- Low, high, eco mode
- Better for smaller spaces
- Quality/lifespan may vary
Wattage: 1,500 W
The Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater (also known by its robot name, DR-968) is one of the best selling infrared heaters out there. It boasts an aesthetic retro design with a built-in thermostat that allows you to adjust the heat between 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Wheels allow you to move the 24-pound device to the most efficient placement, while a quart tubing ensures the rays reach their intended audience.
You’ll love the super quiet operation—about the same level as a refrigerator hum—and extra long 6-foot extension cord. (Remember: You never want to plug a heater into an extension cord). Best of all, it’s a super safe pick: The ETL-certified pick has built-in overheat and tip-over protection, as well as a 12-hour automatic shut-off timer.
What users say:
This heater is really popular with more than 20,000 ratings on Amazon. One person with multiple Dr. Heater devices says, “We prefer these to any other brand. They are very efficient, and we love the small size. They are so very easy to move and take up such a small amount of space.” On the con side, most reviewers say this is a better pick for smaller spaces. And some reviewers who have purchased multiple of these say the quality or lifespan varies.
Best for fireplaces: Duraflame Infrared Quartz Log Set Heater
- Easy to set up
- Multiple temperature & lighting settings
- Requires empty fireplace
- No crackling sound effects
Wattage: 1,400 W
This option uses infrared quartz (disguised as fake logs) to disperse warm air into your space. After you’ve popped it into your empty fireplace, you can control the Duraflame Log Set Heater’s temperature with the control panel on the side of the unit or with the included remote control. There’s even a pulsating light effect that mimics real embers and flames, both on the logs and through a projection on the back of your fireplace—you can adjust those settings to your liking, as well.
What customers say:
This log set gets really great reviews, especially on Amazon where it has 4.5 out of 5 stars rating. People seem generally pleased with its look and performance. One person writes, “Honestly I wasn’t expecting much but this is a great decorative and heat providing unit for a drafty room. Warmed up a 12×14 room nicely and looks great.” Some negative reviews say this didn’t pump out as much heat as they would have liked. Testers also warn to measure your fireplace before buying to ensure your logs don’t look too small.
Best budget: AmazonBasics Portable Eco-Smart Space Heater
- Budget-friendly price
- Eco-mode option
- Upgraded design is more expensive
- Reviews report a smell on first use
Wattage: 750 W1,500 W
If you don’t mind a heater that looks like the inside of an old desktop computer, this heater from AmazonBasics is a suitable pick for smaller spaces and comes at a budget-friendly price.
Power through several temperature modes using the included remote or opt for eco-mode, which dials the wattage down to 750 W for energy efficiency. Plus, there are optional caster wheels to move this heater around your space. And if you really aren’t feeling this design, there’s an upgraded model that’s a little more aesthetically pleasing (for a price, of course).
What users say:
This little heater gets 4.3 out of 5 stars from over 3,400 ratings on Amazon. Most people say it pumps out a ton of heat for its small size. One person says, “Awesome space heater. This thing heats up the whole room in minutes. My last heater would take hours.” There are also a bunch of “meh” reviews, which may be a reflection of the lower price. Several reviews mention a smell in the first few uses, and some folks complain about an occasional faint beeping noise they’re unable to turn off.
Best for the garage: Dr. Infrared DR-988
- Easily portable
- Sturdy industrial design
- Requires specific NEMA #6-30P plug & outlet
- Internal thermostat doesn’t display temperature
Wattage: 5,600 W
For any industrial space like a garage or workshop, this Dr. Infrared heater is a solid pick. It’s definitely a heavy-duty option for its small size; you’ll need a 208 or 240-volt outlet and a 6R-30 plug to accommodate 5,600 watts. While it does have an internal thermostat and an “auto” energy-saving mode, there isn’t a display (only a knob that ranges from low to high) to show what temperature you’ve set. Still, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the many fans of this garage heater.
What users say:
Most reviewers say this heater does a good job of adding heat to their garage, although most note that it’s a tough space to feel a significant improvement. One person says, “Works great to heat my 400-square-foot garage. At 40 degrees outside, I can run it for 20 minutes to bring the garage up to a comfortable (not warm per se) temperature.” On the con side, some people say this option can get pretty loud, with a few people saying it developed a rattling sound over time.
Best for large rooms: EdenPure GEN40 Heater
- Oscillating feature for more coverage
- Cooling option for year-round use
- Sleek design
Wattage: 1,500 W
An oscillating feature allows this compact heater to pack a pretty big punch for its size. Reminiscent of a Dyson in design, this trendy heater swings up and down for pinpointed blasts of heat where you need it most. Along with two heat settings, the heater has an optional oscillation feature that helps circulate rays to cover even more square footage.
Control the device using the discreet control panel along the top of the heater, or use the include remote to change the settings. During the warmer months, you can even turn off the heat for a cool fan. Like our other picks, theGEN40 is ETL-certified for safety with an auto-shutoff feature for added peace of mind.
What customers say:
This little heater gets mostly great feedback from more than 900 people. Several say it covers a large space well, including one reviewer who writes, “It warms my living room and three season porch quickly and efficiently.” Almost every negative review complains that this unit doesn’t have a thermostat to guide an auto-shutoff feature, which means you’ll have to.
What to look for
Consider your space: “Infrared units come in different sizes and styles depending on the area it will be used for,” says Greenwell. “Personal infrared space heaters are perfect for small areas. Infrared fireplaces and stoves can heat rooms up to 1,000 square feet. They also have industrial units perfect for garages.” Just remember that these are intended to heat objects and people, so their reach may not always be as effective as central heating.
Know the warranty: Sheppard notes it’s important to focus on durability, and to know the company will help you with necessary repairs. “You want to make sure it comes with a warranty in case of any problems,” he explains.
Note the power consumption: “Infrared units are powered by electricity, propane, or natural gas, so homeowners should also consider the energy source they would like to use,” says Greenwell. “When purchasing an infrared heater, look for one that has a high radiant efficiency and a low power consumption,” adds Sheppard.
Safety first: While most infrared heaters have protective grates, Greenwell warns that some systems can still become very hot. “If there are small children and animals in the home, you should consider a wall-mounted unit away from the floor,” she suggests. “Consumers should also consider purchasing a system with an emergency off switch in case the unit is knocked over or dislodged from the wall.”
Other tips to keep your space warm
Beyond supplementing with an infrared heater, keeping warm depends on how efficient your space is at holding heat. Your space’s efficiency can have a huge impact on your energy use, which in turn affects your environmental footprint and—of course—your energy bill.
Our experts have a few additional tips to share for keeping your space warm:
- Keep it tight: “Install insulation in your home to keep the heat in and the cold out, and seal up any cracks or gaps around doors and windows to prevent heat loss,” recommends Sheppard.
- Go high-tech: Sheppard and Greenwell also endorse using a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you’re not home, reducing energy usage.
- Get a checkup: Greenwell also urges you to check air filters and have your HVAC system routinely maintenanced to help prevent energy loss (and improve your home’s air quality).
- Make some upgrades: While it’s an investment, consider replacing any older windows and doors that may be letting cold air in. Adding a fireplace or wood stove is also a “cozy and efficient way to heat up your space,” per Greenwell.
Do infrared heaters use a lot of electricity?
The average energy consumption (and cost) of an infrared heater depends on your usage and how big of a space you’re in. Remember that infrared heaters don’t heat the air in the room, but they will make a difference in the overall temperature of the room. If you run your heater all the time, even when you’re not in the room, you may end up using as much energy as a conventional heater. The best way to optimize the energy use of your heater is to turn it off when you’re not in the room.
Can I leave my infrared heater on all night?
You can if you need to, as long as you feel good about your heater’s auto-shutoff safety features. Also, because infrared heaters don’t heat the air, your best bet is to place the heater within a few feet of your bed, so you feel its effects while you snooze.
What are the dangers of infrared heaters?
Infrared heaters are relatively safe, but as with any electrical device, there is a chance of electrical shortage or damaged wires. You should also avoid gazing into the red light of infrared heaters, and keep them away from children or pets, even if there are protective grates. Finally, be sure the product you choose has an auto-shutoff feature (all the options on our list do!).
Assuming you’re hoping to heat up (and not cool down), an infrared heater can be a great addition to your living space. With their low energy consumption and efficient radiation-style heating method, they’re a smart pick for any eco-conscious home. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use infrared light in your home, check out our roundup of the best infrared sauna blankets.