There's a lot of hype these days about infrared heaters, and I thought I'd share a balanced perspective on this topic, giving you a sense of their value ... and where traditional heaters are just as good. (You can also visit this more in depth EdenPURE Review.)
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The commercials tell you that these heaters will save you money. The truth is, in 2013 electricity costs much LESS to produce heat than propane or oil. So if you're heating your home with either of those, you CAN save a lot by choosing an electric heater. Turn down your home heat (don't turn it off unless your home is very small) and use electric heaters to warm areas you use the most. Of course you may need an extra heater to help in a room that doesn't get much heat from the furnace, even in a house warmed by electricity or gas. (This keeps you from overheating the rest of the house to warm that room.)
In short, know that any electric heater (not just infrared) can help you save money if used correctly.
Also know the difference between radiant and convection heaters. Radiant heaters are very good at warming one spot, so if you're sitting still or working in one place in the garage, they can run on lower wattage and keep you warm. They just won't warm the room or garage.
Convection heaters warm air, and as it moves through the room, the room gets warm. Those without fans take longer to warm a room, but are quieter. Those with fans warm up a room more quickly. We'll talk here about convection heaters with fans, as the most popular infrared heaters are of this type.
Are Infrared Heaters Worth More?
I believe this is the big question. Traditional electric heaters start at $20. You can get a good one with a thermostat, remote control, and other features for $50 to $80. Infrared heaters usually start around $200. Are they worth the extra money?
From my testing (with a thermometer and humidity gauge), it is NOT true that they heat a room more quickly or that they keep more moisture in the room or that they keep from "burning" the air ... when compared to traditional ceramic heaters. These comparisons are being made to RADIANT heaters and to those that rely on combustion like propane or oil heaters. For simple heating, you can stick with a normal ceramic heater.
But there are some ways in which infrared heaters DO seem to have benefits.
Benefits of Infrared Heaters
PTC vs. Quartz Bulbs
When you're looking at infrared heaters, keep the bulbs in mind. Quartz bulbs have been used for several years. Lifetime on these is around 20,000 hours, which is a lot ... if they last that long. In many cases, heaters are designed in a way that the bulbs blow much sooner than that. On the other hand, PTC bulbs will probably far outlast your heater, as they have a lifetime of around 80,000 hours. They also offer a wider spectrum of infrared radiation, so may have more therapeutic effects.
Recommended Infrared Heaters
It used to be that the infrared heaters with the most important features cost several hundred dollars. But today you can get my favorite model for under $200. The following is an affiliate link, but it takes you to all the people selling on Amazon so you can get the best price.
EdenPURE had the Personal Heater as their entry level at $197. This one is priced the same (or less) and has way more features: