Best Infrared Heater – Reviews & Comprehensive Buying Guide
Heater sales heat up as temperatures plummet. This guide to finding the best infrared heater is aimed at finding you a space heater that suits your specific needs. The best models to warm you up are available in a wide variety of range. If you are looking for the top products on the market that will provide you a great bang for your bucks, you've found the right guide.
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Introduction to Infrared Heaters
Infrared heat is radiant heat which is the most basic form of heating known to man. Infrared heaters offer heat similar to that which we receive from the sun or that which our own bodies produce. Infrared heat works by heating objects, which then radiate the heat back and keep the environment warm around you. Unlike other types of heaters, radiant types do not heat air, but rather objects. Convection heaters heat the air, but it holds the heat very little, so the warmth rapidly disperses.
Traditionally, heating systems heat the air in the room by pushing the warm air up and allowing it to gather at the ceiling. Infrared heaters are more energy efficient as they work by way of locking the heat in the objects which then slowly releases the pleasant warmth into the surrounding environment. Heat waves bounces off the surfaces of objects and that makes all the objects around you, and including you, absorb the heat. Apart from not causing dry air they also prevent heat loss as there’s no ventilation process included in the operation.
Infrared Heaters transfer heat through electromagnetic radiations (wavelength ranging from 780nm to 1nm) and therefore can be used in vacuum or atmosphere. Though German-British astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the infrared rays in 1800, infrared heaters were not commonly used until World War 2. During World War II infrared heating became more widely used and recognized. The main applications were in the metal finishing fields, particularly in the curing and drying of paints and lacquers on military equipment. After World War II the adoption of infrared heating techniques continued but on a much slower basis. In the mid 1950s the motor vehicle industry began to show interest in the capabilities of infrared for paint curing and a number of production line infrared tunnels came into use.
Infrared Heaters can satisfy a variety of heating requirements. They can provide extremely high temperature, limited largely by the maximum temperature of the emitter. They have a fast response time, focused heated area relative to conductive and convective heating methods. Due to non-contact, they do not harm as conductive and convective heaters do.
Types of Infrared Heaters
Infrared heaters can be of different type and there are many different specifications. They can run on different source of power, such as electricity, propane or gas. They come in different designs and sizes. These heaters can have different controls and output levels.
Metal Wire Element
Metal wire heating elements first appeared in the 1920s. These contain elements made from chromel which were made from nickel and chrome and it is also known as nichrome. This wire was then coiled into a spiral and wrapped around a ceramic body. When heated to high temperatures, it forms a protective layer of chromium-oxide which protects the wire from burning and corrosion, this also causes the element to glow and emit heat.
A heat lamp is an incandescent light bulb that is used for the principal purpose of creating heat. Many heat lamps include a red filter to minimize the amount of visible light emitted. Heat lamps often include an internal reflector. Heat lamps are very commonly found. They are commonly used in shower and bathrooms to warm bathers and in food-preparation areas of restaurants to keep food warm before serving. They are also commonly used for animal husbandry. Lights used for poultry are often called brooding lamps.
It is interesting to note that the sockets used for heat lamps are usually ceramic because plastic sockets can melt or burn when exposed to the large amount of waste heat produced by the lamps, especially when operated in the “base up” position. The shroud or hood of the lamp is generally metal. There may be a wire guard over the front of the shroud, to prevent touching the hot surface of the bulb. Ordinary household white incandescent bulbs can also be used as heat lamps, but red and blue bulbs are sold for use in brood lamps and reptile lamps. Heat lamps can be used as a medical treatment to provide dry heat when other treatments are ineffective or impractical.
Ceramic Infrared Heat Systems
Ceramic infrared heating elements are used in a diverse range of industrial processes where long wave infrared radiation is required. Their useful wavelength range is 2–10 µm. They are often used in the area of animal/pet healthcare too. The ceramic infrared heaters (emitters) are manufactured with three basic emitter faces: trough (concave), flat, and bulb or Edison screw element for normal installation via an E27 ceramic lamp holder.
This heating technology is used in some expensive infrared saunas. It is also found in space heaters. These heaters use low watt density ceramic emitters (usually fairly big panels) which emit long wave infrared radiation. Because the heating elements are at a relatively low temperature, far-infrared heaters do not give emissions and smell from dust, dirt, formaldehyde, toxic fumes from paint-coating, etc. This has made this type of space heating very popular among people with severe allergies and multiple chemical sensitivity in Europe. This is because far infrared technology does not heat the air of the room directly, it is important to maximize the exposure of available surfaces which then re-emit the warmth to provide an even all round ambient warmth.
Quartz Heat Lamps
Halogen lamps are incandescent lamps filled with highly pressurized halogen gas. Halogen lamps have better life span than incandescent lamps. Due to the high pressure and temperature halogen lamps produce, they are relatively small and made out of quartz glass because it has a hotter melting point than standard glass. Common uses for halogen lamps are table top heaters.
Quartz heat lamps are used in food processing, chemical processing, paint drying, and thawing of frozen materials. They can also be used for comfort heating in cold areas, in incubators, and in other applications for heating, drying, and baking.
Carbon heaters use a carbon fibre heating element capable of producing long, medium and short wave far infrared heat. They need to be accurately specified for the spaces to be heated.
Radiant tube gas-fired heaters are used for industrial and commercial building space heating burn natural gas or propane to heat a steel emitter tube. Gas passing through a control valve flows through a cup burner or a venturi. The combustion product gases heat the emitter tube. As the tube heats, radiant energy from the tube strikes floors and other objects in the area, warming them. This form of heating maintains warmth even when a large volume of cold air is suddenly introduced, such as in maintenance garages. They cannot however, combat a cold draught.
What to Look for When Choosing an Infrared Heater
Infrared heaters are designed to cater to a certain heating capacity, so depending on how large your room or the area you want to heat, you can find heaters that heat 300 square feet to 1000 square feet. So if you need a unit to heat a large room, a more powerful quartz room heater would be a better choice for you. But if you need a personal infrared quartz heater, like one to give you heat when you’re stationary at a desk, then a radiant infrared heater might suffice for you.
Size and Weight
Choose a model size which is appropriate for the amount of space you have in the room. Large units would be heavier and occupy more space, thereby making them aesthetically unappealing.
The life expectancy of heaters differs from brand to brand. It usually ranges from 10,000 to 60,000 hours.
A longer warranty minimizes your risks that are associated with purchasing an infrared heater. Most of the high quality infrared heaters come with a factory warranty for a period of at least one year. Some even offer three year warranty and more.
Space heaters are, of course, designed to be hot. But they shouldn’t burn you or create a fire hazard. Look for a sensor that shuts the heater off if it overheats. A switch that does the same if they trip over is a welcome plus for taller models, especially if kids and/or pets use the room, too. Damaged power cords are one of the major causes of fires, injuries, and deaths associated with space heaters. Inspect electric space heater cords for damage regularly and never use an extension cord with an electric heater.
[Note: When you shop for an electric space heater, look for a label from a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) verifying that the heater’s construction and performance meet voluntary U.S. safety standards]
Infrared heaters are considered to be safe for both commercial and residential use. However, as with any other heater, precaution should be taken. So combustible objects such paper, wood and fabrics should be kept at a safe distance from the unit. Infrared heaters work instantly. They are silent, gentle and healthy. Apart from being cost-effective and having minimal maintenance they are also environment friendly. Their stylish designs make them the most aesthetically appealing way of keeping your homes warm and cosy.