Infrared vs Radiant Heaters: The Key Differences

Space heaters are one of the most-loved heating units used in extremely chilled weather conditions. Most people love these devices because of their compact size, ease of use, easy maintenance, and affordability.

These heaters are designed in different shapes and sizes, where you can also differentiate from one unit to the other based on the type of energy used.

People usually confuse infrared heaters with radiant ones and vice versa. However, there’s a very thin line of difference between these two types of space heaters.

Infrared radiant heaters are known to be best for space heating, and people rely on this item for its perfect heating ability. In this article, we will talk about the key differences between an Infrared and a Radiant heater.

Is Infrared Heater Same as Radiant Heater?

No, an infrared heater is not the same as a radiant heater.

People often use infrared and radiant heat interchangeably because little do they know the technical differences between these two heating modes. Infrared heaters are not the same as radiant heaters, and we will explain why.

Technically, infrared heaters use electromagnetic radiation, which is known to heat a specific object directly. These radiations cause the object’s molecule to vibrate, and that’s how the heat is produced. In contrast, radiant heaters use thermal energy that travels through the air and hits the object to warm it up.

Infrared Heater
Infrared Heater | Photo: Chernetskaya /

So, why do people call these heaters the same?

People usually believe these heaters are the same because in both the heating mechanisms, the heated object absorbs energy from the surroundings until the temperature rises to a certain point of radiating heat back.

The infrared heater uses infrared radiation, a type of electromagnetic radiation that heats the object directly by making its molecules vibrate. In contrast, radiant heaters use thermal energy which travels through the space or air until it hits an object and increases its temperature.

What is the Difference Between an Infrared Heater and a Radiant Heater?

There’s a lot of confusion around the differences between infrared and radiant heaters. Technically, infrared and radiant heaters are not the same. Therefore, we have identified the key differences to highlight the dissimilarities.

The heating capacity of an Infrared heater is more than that of radiant one. They can heat upto 400 feet area without any loss of energy. However, most infrared heaters don’t work well in open or windy areas because there’s no object in front of the heating unit and direct transfer of heat from the appliance to the body becomes impossible.

Radiant floor heating system
Radiant floor heating system | Photo: Bogdan Hoda /

In contrast, radiant heaters heat the air around the heating unit, and this is the reason people use these devices at places where people cannot sit in front of the heater specifically.

Infrared heaters do not lose much energy as they usually operate in an enclosed space. On the other hand, radiant heaters can lose a lot of energy as the heat moves through the air, which can also escape from the room at a fast pace.

Infrared heaters require minimal maintenance as these heating units are not too fussy. Some radiant heaters rely on a boiler to function, which can be problematic for many households. It is not necessary that every household has a boiler, and without a boiler, some radiant heaters cannot function.

Infrared heaters are suitable for all kinds of rooms as they transmit heat to people or objects sitting right in front of the heater. On the other hand, radiant heaters are not suitable for every room because if a room is not fully occupied, there’s no point in using radiant heaters in those areas.

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It’s A Wrap

Both infrared and radiant heaters are largely used to make the winters feel more comfortable. These heaters are small in size, and people use infrared heaters for multi purposes like residential, commercial and industrial applications.

Most people use infrared heaters because they find them more affordable. However, the money you spend on radiant heaters is equally worth the investment because they last really long and have to capacity to keep you warm all year long.

Both these heaters work best for residential and commercial purposes. You can use them in garages, workshops, basement offices, etc., to keep the winter chills away.

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