The Best Infrared Heaters of 2022

Stay toasty—and save money—with the unique benefits of the best infrared heater for your setting, style, and budget.

By James Fitzgerald and Tom Scalisi | Updated Jan 13, 2022 10:32 AM

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Best Infrared Heater Options

Photo: Tom Scalisi

Technology has made considerable advancements in so many areas, and heating is no exception. While you may be familiar with the convection space heaters used for decades, infrared space heaters are the latest innovation. These infrared heaters can save money by supplementing your home’s primary heating system efficiently and effectively by providing focused warmth.

Choosing the best infrared heater depends largely on the space it will heat, but budget, portability, safety features, and mounting will come into the decision as well. So read on to learn about the features and functions of infrared heaters and why the following models are considered some of the best in their respective categories.

And, to help shoppers decide on the best infrared space heater, we performed hands-on testing with these models. Keep reading to learn about what we found.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater Humidifier
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TRUSTECH Space Heater, 1500W Ceramic Desk Heater
  3. BEST STYLE: Duraflame DFI030ARU Infrared Quartz Set Heater
  4. BEST FOR GARAGE: Dr. Infrared Heater DR-988 Heater
  5. BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Dr Infrared Heater DR-238 Carbon Infrared Outdoor
  6. BEST WALL-MOUNT: Heat Storm Deluxe Mounted Space Infrared Wall Heater
  7. BEST BUILD QUALITY: Dr. Heater Greenhouse Garage Workshop Heater
Best Infrared Heater Options

Photo: Tom Scalisi

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Infrared Heater

Infrared rays are uniquely capable of cutting through empty space and bringing warmth to the objects they strike—in fact, that’s how the sun heats the earth. Today’s infrared heaters bring warmth to objects—like clothes and skin rather than the surrounding air—an efficient mechanism in stark contrast to convection heaters, which warm the surrounding air before heating objects in that space.

Although heating the air may distribute heat more uniformly throughout a room, much energy is wasted heating unoccupied space, such as high ceilings or the outdoor air. Infrared heaters use 100 percent of the heat they produce to bring focused warmth to the objects in the path of its rays, making them much more energy efficient. An infrared heater’s energy efficiency, space coverage, and various other features will vary depending on certain factors, so keep the following considerations in mind as you shop for the best infrared heater for your needs.

Size

When determining the right size infrared heater, think about the square footage of the space you want to warm. Generally, infrared heaters are designed for small spaces, so the units are also relatively small and usually portable. More powerful units for bigger areas are available, and they’re typically larger. Also, consider how much floor space an infrared heater will take up; this will vary depending on whether the unit sits vertically (in the case of a tower heater) or horizontally (like most standard heaters).

Power

The size of the space you want to warm will also influence how powerful your heater should be. The amount of heat generated by these devices, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), influences the size of the space they can heat.

The BTU output of an infrared heater generally correlates with the number of watts the heater uses, which can range between 300 and 1500 watts. (They’re capped at 1500 watts because that’s the maximum amount a standard 110-volt household electrical outlet can handle.) With convection space heaters, 1 watt is equivalent to 3.412 BTUs, so it’s simple to determine the size of a space they can warm; it’s not so easy with infrared heaters.

Infrared heaters can use various heating elements, such as quartz (the most common and most efficient), ceramic, and carbon, to produce and emit infrared rays with varying levels of energy efficiency. Supplemental fans or blowers aren’t necessary, but they can provide both focused infrared heat and diffused heat through convection.

These factors can impact how an infrared heater’s power rating will affect its heat output and space coverage. Just because an infrared heater boasts a higher power rating doesn’t mean it produces more heat and provides greater space coverage—much depends on the individual characteristics of the heater.

One way to calculate the general amount of power a heater should generate is to multiply the space’s square footage by 10. For example, a 100 square-foot room (10 feet by 10 feet) will need a 1000-watt heater (100 X 10 = 1000).

Intended Location

The location of an infrared heater warrants consideration due to its unique heating action. Generally, it’s a good idea to place an infrared heater directly in front of what you want to warm. If there are obstacles in the way of the infrared rays—like tables, chairs, or other furniture—those objects will absorb the infrared heat instead of warming the occupants of the room.

The fact that they operate by emitting heat waves directly to objects (as opposed to the surrounding air) also makes them well suited to outdoor spaces, such as patios, since the heat won’t dissipate in the surrounding air. Similarly, infrared heaters are a good option for rooms with large ceilings, since users needn’t worry about heated air rising and wasting away in the ceiling space.

Design

An infrared heater needn’t be an eyesore, as there are various designs to complement different styles of home decor. Shoppers can find heaters with wood, plastic, and metal finishes, all in various colors.

The shape of the heater will depend on whether it sits on the floor vertically or horizontally—which affects not only its function but its visual form as well. Most uniquely, some infrared heaters simulate the appearance of a fireplace with visual and auditory effects like flames and crackling.

Portability

Infrared heaters can range from highly portable to completely stationary units. The majority are for supplemental space heating, so they’re usually portable. Some models are portable by design; they’re tidily compact and include carry handles and caster wheels. Handles and wheels are helpful for larger, heavier units that would otherwise be difficult to move. Other models, like those that hang from the wall and ceiling, aren’t portable at all.

Safety Features

Space heaters are a leading cause of house fires, so choosing an infrared heater with safety features is important. This is especially true for homes with pets or children who could knock the unit over. Fortunately, many manufacturers do incorporate several safety features, including:

  • Automatic tip-over shutoff
  • Automatic overheat shutoff
  • Automatic shut-off timers that turn the heater off after a certain length of time
  • Cool-touch external casings

Look for a heater with at least two of these safety features, but the more, the better. For added confidence, find a heater that’s certified by a third-party inspection agency, such as Underwriter Laboratory (with a UL logo), Intertek (stamped with the letters ETL and corresponding logo/emblem), and Canadian Standards Association (stamped with a CSA logo/emblem).

Additional Features

Some infrared heaters boast bells and whistles to increase functionality. These may include:

  • Variable heat settings: Although infrared heaters are energy efficient, users can maximize that efficiency with variable heat settings. This feature also lets the user customize the heat output to make a space as comfortable as possible. This is especially valuable in a portable heater since it allows users to place it in different rooms with different settings, all with the same comfort level.
  • Oscillation: To truly maximize the heating efficiency, consider a unit with an oscillating base to uniformly heat a space. Instead of the heater warming the space in its immediate path, it oscillates from side-to-side to heat at a 180-degree angle.

Our Top Picks

That’s a lot of information on the best infrared heaters, but shopping for the right model doesn’t have to be so complicated. To help, we rounded up a bunch of models for hands-on testing, and we can say with confidence that the following are some of the best infrared heaters on the market.

Best Overall

The Best Infrared Heater Option: Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater Humidifier
Photo: amazon.com

This Dr. Infrared’s heater can warm a room up to 150 square feet quickly and efficiently with its quartz heating element and powerful blower. The 1,000-watt “low” output setting and the “high” 1,500-watt setting let the user tailor heat output and energy consumption, so they only use as much energy as a particular space requires. A programmable thermostat allows for setting the exact temperature from 50 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the built-in humidifier keeps the air comfortable—something most other space heaters cannot do.

It’s also equipped with four durable caster wheels for easy portability from room to room, and it includes a remote that can operate the heater from across the room. It also features a quiet design. Safety features include a tip-over sensor, an automatic shut-off timer, and a cool-touch exterior.

We’re big fans of the Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater, and we’ve proven it through several tests. First, we can’t say enough about how nice it is to have a built-in humidifier to keep the air comfortable. We also really enjoy the remote controls and the oscillating louvers that move the warm air around the space. Our only real complaint is that this model sits on the floor, and when looking at the display from a standing height, it can be hard to read.

Product Specs

  • Max wattage: 1,500
  • Style: Wheeled
  • Portable: Yes

Pros

  • Built-in humidifier
  • Easily adjusted with remote control
  • Louvers oscillate to spread heat

Cons

  • The display can be tough to read

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Infrared Heater Option: TRUSTECH Space Heater, 1500W Ceramic Desk Heater
Photo: amazon.com

When it comes to an infrared heater that’s portable, powerful, and budget-friendly, Trustech’s infrared heater is a solid option. At just 7 inches wide and 9 inches tall, this little heater packs 1,500 watts of heating power to keep small spaces toasty. With its light weight and integrated carrying handle, it can go anywhere with a wall outlet. There’s a 750-watt “low” and a 1,500-watt “high” setting. It can even serve as a summer fan with its third “wind mode” setting.

Crucial to a portable unit, this model includes safety features such as a tip-over shutoff and an automatic overheat shutoff. It can only effectively heat a 200-square-foot space, but the portability of this unit is hard to beat.

The Trustech’s beauty lies in its portability. During testing, we found that the only thing holding this little heater back was its power cord—it can go anywhere that has an electrical outlet. We liked the compact design, and when we tipped it over to test its safety switch, it was responsive and shut the heat off immediately (though the fan did continue to run). We’re also “big fans” of that fan, as it can sit on a nightstand or a desk and serve for both cold and hot weather. Our only complaint is that the fan speed was a bit unreliable: Switching between the output wattages appeared to adjust the fan speed, but only sometimes.

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 1,500
  • Style: Floor or table
  • Portable: Yes

Pros

  • Incredibly compact design
  • Excellent safety shutoff responsiveness
  • Has a fan for hot days

Cons

  • Fan speeds are a bit unreliable

Best Style

Best Infrared Heater Duraflame
Photo: amazon.com

If the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace without the risk and mess is appealing, check out this Duraflame model. It has realistic-looking faux logs and a rolling ember effect that can be adjusted with the turn of a knob. Designed as a stationary unit, its dimensions allow it to sit inside most standard fireplaces, or anywhere else for that matter.

As a stationary unit, it doesn’t include as many safety features as is typical with a portable model, but it does have a cool-touch exterior. It draws 1,350 watts and produces over 5,000 BTUs, making it enough for most 1,000-square-foot spaces.

Although we thought the Duraflame looked more like a Halloween decoration than a space heater, we still gave it a shot. Puns aside, it warmed our hearts. The flames it projected on the wall looked surprisingly realistic, and the amount of heat it produced was impressive. We also liked the remote, and while this model shouldn’t ever see the light of day in a formal room, it’s actually pretty fun. Our complaints? There are two: The fan is loud and, of course, the design aesthetic is a little cheesy.

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 1,350
  • Style: Floor
  • Portable: Yes

Pros

  • Produces a lot of heat
  • Comes with a remote
  • It’s sort of cool-looking

Cons

  • The fan is loud
  • It’s also a little cheesy-looking

Best For Garage

Best Infrared Heater DR-988A
Photo: amazon.com

Folks who spend lots of time in the garage all year long may want a safe, reliable infrared heater to stay comfortable. This Dr. Infrared model pumps out 18,500 BTUs of heat to bring a 600-square-foot garage to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It features an adjustable thermostat for dialing in the ideal temperature and a large fan to spread the heat evenly throughout the space. Although this fan produces more noise than most infrared units, it doesn’t exceed 45 decibels (within the noise range of an average fridge). It also has a carrying handle for easy transport.

Safety features include an automatic overheating shutoff and a mesh safety screen in front of the fan. Although a few more safety measures would have been nice, the unit is safety certified by Underwriter Laboratories. Instead of a typical 110-volt power source, it requires a 220-volt power source that needs a dedicated 30-amp fuse.

We’ve tested this heater several times now, and it really does produce quite a bit of heat. It is compact, but the setup is not simple. The problem is that this particular heater uses 220-volt power, and the receptacle that works with it is a NEMA #6-30P (which was difficult for us to find). But, if you have the ability to run this infrared heater in your garage, it’ll definitely pump out the heat.

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 5,600
  • Style: Floor
  • Portable: Not really—it needs 220-volt power

Pros

  • Cranks out the heat
  • Could be a simple setup
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Users may not have the right receptacle in their garage

Best For Outdoors

Best Infrared Heater 1500W
Photo: amazon.com

To keep the patio partying going into chilly weather, consider this Dr. Infrared model that’s rated for outdoor use. This 1,500-watt infrared heater has a weatherproof anodized aluminum housing that won’t degrade, and it includes adjustable mounting brackets to hang it on an outdoor wall or a ceiling. A carbon heating element and three heat settings allow for adjustable heat output, and it comes with a remote control.

During testing, we found the Dr. Infrared Carbon Infrared Heater to be outstanding. First, the bracketry for hanging it on the wall or the ceiling makes installation incredibly easy. Also, we liked that this model produces a ton of heat without even the slightest hum. The remote was easy to use, and the heater was immediately responsive, but it was the only remote in the test to come without batteries. Also, we’d prefer a slightly longer cord for a ceiling-mounted model (it’s only 6 feet).

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 1,500
  • Style: Ceiling or wall mount
  • Portable: No

Pros

  • Smart installation bracket design
  • Comes with a remote
  • Runs silently
  • Excellent heat output

Cons

  • The remote didn’t come with batteries
  • The cord could be longer

Best Wall-Mount

Best Infrared Heater HeatStorm
Photo: amazon.com

For anyone looking to warm a small area where floor space is limited, Heat Storm’s wall heater might fill the bill. At 1,000 watts, it has enough power to heat a modest-size bedroom or office. This lower power rating, as opposed to other units that draw 1,500 watts, leaves room on the power circuit to run other devices without tripping a breaker.

An adjustable thermostat lets you set the temperature, which adjusts easily with the included remote control. The exterior stays cool to the touch, and this model features an automatic overheat shutoff to protect the wall it hangs from. It comes with a remote and has a digital touch screen display.

We found it hard to deny the Heat Storm’s clean modern look, especially compared to almost all the other models in the test. But, we also found the power output to be more than adequate, as the onboard fan pushes heat into the space. And despite having a fan, it is very quiet. We also enjoyed the remote and the digital display’s touch-screen function. The biggest complaint is that this model is light and good-looking, but there is no option for it to sit on the floor—otherwise, we’d take it everywhere.

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 1,000
  • Style: Wall mount
  • Portable: No

Pros

  • Better-looking than most space heaters
  • Quiet, though it does have a fan
  • Excellent digital display with touch screen

Cons

  • Despite being so compact, it has no floor mount options

Best Build Quality

The Best Infrared Heater Option: Dr. Heater Greenhouse Garage Workshop Heater
Photo: amazon.com

Space heaters aren’t typically incredibly durable, but the Dr. Heater DR218-1500W Greenhouse Garage Workshop Infrared Heater certainly is. This heater features all-metal construction, as it’s built for tough locations like workshops, greenhouses, garages, and cabins. It even features water resistance to accidental splashes.

At 1,500 watts, this heater can handle rooms of modest size, garages, and cabins. It has a fan with a sealed ball-bearing motor for durability and longevity, and it requires zero maintenance. It has an adjustable thermostat as well as a fan-only setting.

The one thing we really liked about this model from Dr. Heater was how durable it is. It’s sturdy and rugged, but it’s not overly heavy and cumbersome thanks to its compact design (another big plus). The only problem we had with this heater is it takes a while to warm up, whereas other heaters seem to heat up much faster.

Product Specs

  • Wattage: 1,500
  • Style: Floor
  • Portable: Yes

Probs

  • Rugged, weather-resistant design
  • Compact size
  • Overheat protection

Cons

  • Slow to produce heat

Our Verdict

Anyone hunting for an all-around great heater with all the features should check out the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater Humidifier. But, when it comes to saving a bit of cash without sacrificing heating ability, it’s worth checking out the TRUSTECH Space Heater, 1500W Ceramic Desk Heater.

How We Tested the Best Infrared Heaters

There are a few things that matter when it comes to testing the best infrared heaters. For one, they need to be safe, so they either need to be sturdy or have safety features. Next, they need to produce heat!

To test them, we set up each of the heaters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some were able to sit on the floor, while others needed to hang from the wall or the ceiling. We set them up, turned them on, and checked their features, like remotes and timers.

First, we checked to see how sturdy or secure these heaters were. If they could tip over, we made sure the safety shutoffs worked. We also cranked the heaters as high as they could go to check the surfaces around the mounted heaters for safe temperatures.

Next, we checked the output. We turned each heater up to the max setting to see how quickly they’d heat up, and we played with the thermostats to ensure they were working properly. From there we compared design and build quality between each model.

The Advantages of Owning an Infrared Heater

Energy-efficient infrared heaters are capable of heating the objects in a space quicker than other types of heaters, such as convection-style units that must warm the surrounding air before they can heat the objects. They’re also usually quieter than other heaters, since they don’t require fans—and those units that do have fans aren’t usually very loud. The warmth infrared heaters create won’t increase humidity or dry the air in the room, so the heat is more comfortable. Other benefits include:

  • Energy efficiency means a lower carbon footprint, making infrared heaters more environmentally friendly than less-efficient units.
  • Infrared heaters require less maintenance than forced air heaters, which have more moving parts.
  • Infrared heaters burn cleaner than some other heater types (particularly gas-operated varieties), so they can help preserve your indoor air quality.

FAQs 

If you still have questions about infrared heaters, see the answers to some common questions below for greater clarity.

Q. Do infrared heaters use a lot of electricity?

No. In fact, they can use considerably less than other heaters because of how efficiently they heat up a space.

Q. Are infrared heaters safe to leave on overnight?

While infrared heaters are intrinsically safer than most other types of heaters, they should only be left on overnight if they have integrated safety features like an automatic tip-over shutoff, an overheat shutoff, and a shut-off timer.

Q. Can I mount my infrared heater to a wall?

Infrared heaters should only be used in the locations they are designed for. Consequently, only infrared heaters designed for wall-mounting should be mounted on a wall.