Infrared heaters, also known as IR heaters, use a quartz heating element to produce the kind of heat you immediately feel on your skin while staying relatively cool to the touch, making them a safer choice in households with pets or kids.
"The most important things to consider when shopping for an infrared heater are whether it's rated for the size of the space you're trying to heat, where you're going to position it, and safety features, like an overheat protection sensor and auto-shutoff if it tips over since there is a level of risk that comes with any space heater," says Mallory Micetich, vice president of corporate communications at Angi and an expert in consumer protection and small home living.
We've spent hours researching and testing popular infrared heaters, rating them for heating performance, design, safety features, and value. Our testers also carefully noted characteristics such as noise output, and the temperature and humidity ratings in the rooms being heated.
Our favorite, the Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove, has auto-shutoff, an adjustable thermostat, and a remote control, not to mention a classic look that evokes a hearth or wood stove.
Here are the best infrared heaters available online.
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Adds a cozy ambiance
Remote instructions could be clearer
If your home doesn't have a built-in fireplace (or you want something more functional than a decorative faux fireplace), this charming infrared heater is the next best thing. We've tested the Duraflame stove in our lab, as well as at home, and it continues to be one of our favorite space heaters due to its good looks; safety features; perks, like the remote control; and the ability to customize settings, such as heat and lighting.
It's designed to look like a wood stove, with a flickering-flame effect (complete with fake logs and embers). "The logs glow to look like a real fire box, so it's also decorative," said our tester. We also appreciated how quiet the heater was and how easy it was to assemble—you simply screw on the legs. It has an adjustable digital thermostat and auto-shutoff protection. You can run it with both lighting and heat or with just the lighting for a cozy ambiance, at any time of year. Handy hooks on the back can corral the cord when you aren't using it.
This heater has multiple settings for brightness and temperature, and a remote control, so you can adjust for your specific preferences without having to leave your couch. (However, we thought the remote's instructions could have been written more clearly.) The heater is also quite powerful: With 5,200 BTUs, it should work well in a space of up to 1,000 square feet.
It's been tested by the Underwriters' Laboratory (UL), which Micetich says is an important consideration. "Both UL and ETL [Electrical Testing Laboratories, also called Intertek] are nationally recognized energy testing standards, and if your heater has one of these certifications, that's a great thing," she says.
Price at time of publish: $290
Dimensions: 25 x 29 x 12 inches | Weight: 26.4 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500W | Power Source: Corded electric
Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater
Wheels make it easy to relocate
Multiple safety features
Could be more powerful
When choosing a space heater, room size is an important factor to consider. This portable, UL-certified heater on wheels is designed to heat rooms up to 1,000 square feet. We originally tested this box-shape model at home, but have since tested it in our lab along with 30 other space heaters. "It does look a little bit old-fashioned," our lab tester acknowledged, "but I think in the right room, it could be a nice accent piece."
We like that it comes with multiple safety features, including tip-over and overheat protection, and an automatic shutoff timer. We tested the tip-over protection feature and it worked successfully, but we also noted that because of the wheels, the unit is difficult to upend in most cases. Besides high and low modes, it has an eco mode, which uses a mix of high and low to determine the most environmentally sound way to heat the room.
The unit comes with a remote control and uses two types of space heating technology to take the chill out of a space: One is quartz infrared and the other is called PTC (positive temperature coefficient), which means it self-regulates based on the room's air temperature. But one downside we noticed is that the heater doesn't warm as well as we had hoped, and there wasn't a huge difference between the high and low settings.
"The heat does not disperse in the room very well, but it is good if you're right next to it," our tester reported, adding that given the price, they hoped it would be more powerful. However, our home tester disagreed, saying this heater did a good job of heating up her bedroom. "I was very impressed with its performance and its ability to heat my large primary bedroom evenly," they said. "I set the temperature at 70, and the room heated up in less than a half hour, even with outdoor temperatures near freezing."
We noted that the timer can be set only using the remote control, which could be a problem if it's ever lost; also that the unit can be powered on only manually, not via remote (no flipping it on from bed on a chilly morning). Despite these shortcomings, we believe this is a solid choice given the handy wheels, reliability, and attractive profile that “doesn't look like a tower fan," as one of our testers noted.
Price at time of publish: $122
Dimensions: 13 x 12.5 x 17 inches | Weight: 24 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Power Source: Corded electric
Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater
Not too noisy
Not suggested for large spaces
Feet seem a bit flimsy
If you are contemplating whether or not to install an electric wall heater, this slim heater, which is ETL certified, gives you the option to mount it on a wall or set up it on the floor, thanks to its removable feet. It's only recommended for smaller spaces of about 300 square feet, so we suggest it for a bedroom or home office. However, it's compact and thin, so it doesn't take up much space on the wall or on the floor, making it a great pick for small rooms. The filter can be removed and washed, and those with small kids can appreciate that even the front grill doesn't get hot to the touch.
We do have good news/bad news about some of this product's features. When we performed the tip-over test in our lab, the heat shut off as expected (and displayed an error message), but the fan continued to run. You can control the heater using a handy smartphone app, but some testers initially experienced some glitches. We found the included remote a bit small and had to push the buttons several times to get the heater settings to change. We also noted that the feet seemed stable, but a bit flimsy. If you choose not to mount it, this is something to keep in mind, as the feet may not hold up over time.
Price at time of publish: $122
Dimensions: 18 x 4.5 x 12 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Power Source: Corded electric
EdenPure Gen40 Infrared Space Heater & Fan
Oscillates with positionable vent
Also blows cool air
Includes remote control
Noisy on high setting
This simple-looking, oval-shaped heater can be used to warm a room or as a cooling fan, so you can use it year-round. The streamlined shape makes it less boxy than many of its competitors, and it comes with a remote control. It's designed to heat rooms that are up to 1,000 square feet and uses infrared as well as convective heating, which warms the air. It has cUTLus certification, which means it has passed safety standards in the United States and Canada.
The heater can be set to oscillate to cover a wider area, or be still if you want to target the heat in one direction. Plus, you can adjust the vents so they point upward or downward. There are multiple safety features, including tip-over protection, and some users found it so sensitive that the heater would turn off even if gently bumped.
A common complaint is the heater is noisy when it's running on the high setting. It also doesn't have a thermostat, so it doesn't automatically switch off when the room reaches the desired temperature. However, there is a built-in timer function, and you can choose between 2-, 4-, and 8-hour intervals.
Price at time of publish: $279
Dimensions: 20 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 5.3 pounds | Voltage: 110-120V | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Power Source: Corded electric
Highly customizable temperature settings
Copper heating element requires little maintenance
Other models cost less
This ETL-certified device is named for the copper used to make its positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heating element, which, unlike traditional heating bulbs, never needs replacing. It has 24 heat settings, so you can play around with it and find your sweet spot. You can operate it in high or low mode, and a remote control is included. At nearly 24 pounds, it's a bit of a beast if you need to bring it from one level to another in your home.
This electric heater includes a washable lifetime filter that can be cleaned using warm water and mild dish soap. The manufacturer claims it heats "small to large rooms," and we’ve noted that it works well even under a vaulted ceiling, despite the manufacturer's recommendation to avoid using it in such a room. It also comes with safety features such as tip-over protection, overheat protection, and auto reboot, which helps it recover in the event of a power outage or surge. The entire exterior stays cool to the touch, making it a nice option for families with young children. All in all, it checks off a lot of boxes when it comes to features and key considerations for infrared heaters.
Price at time of publish: $447
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 16 inches | Weight: 23.9 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500W | Power Source: Corded electric
Black+Decker Indoor Infrared Heater with E-Save Function
Not great for big spaces
No tip-over protection
Although this ETL-certified heater is compact—it would be perfect under a desk in a chilly office—it's powerful and packed with features. It has five temperature settings, from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit as well as an energy-saving feature. It's also very lightweight (just over 2 pounds!) and has a convenient carry handle.
Because of its small size, it's not meant to heat up a massive space, although some users with large rooms said it worked surprisingly well. The fan is not especially noisy, but we’ve noted a buzzing sound on the lowest setting. Note that although the Black+Decker does have overheat protection, it doesn't have tip-over protection, so it might not be well-suited for a home with young children or rambunctious pets.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 7.6 x 4.4 x 9.2 inches | Weight: 2.3 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Power Source: Corded electric
Vornado IR400 Dual Zone Infrared Whole Room Heater
Dimmable LED display
Power cord storage
Choice of personal or whole-room settings
Some noticed a smell
A little noisy
What sets this clean-looking, cube-shaped heater apart from others is it has two modes: Whole-room and personal-zone heating, and you can choose one based on your situation. People who tend to be the only cold person in the house can aim it at themselves in zone mode. If you're trying to warm an entire space, switch to whole-room heat, which circulates air more quickly. The LED digital display is easy to read and dims automatically after 20 seconds of inactivity, which is a nice feature if you're using it after you've turned the lights off for bed.
The device is equipped with several safety features such as tip-over protection and automatic safety shutoff, which occurs if the airflow becomes blocked, for any reason. The grill is quite shallow to protect the fingers of curious kids who might be tempted to poke around.
The cool-touch exterior also has a few things worth mentioning, like the incorporated carrying handle, and the storage area for the power cord, which allows you to tuck it neatly out of the way when you're not using it.
At 11 pounds, the Vornado isn't cumbersome to carry from room to room. Bonus: Should you run into issues, the heater comes with an impressive five-year guarantee, and Vornado is known for its friendly customer service.
Price at time of publish: $170
Dimensions: 12.75 x 9.35 x 11.7 inches | Weight: 11 pounds | Voltage: 120V | Wattage: 1,500W | Power Source: Corded electric
We gave the Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove our Best Overall accolade thanks to its adjustable thermostat and brightness; safety features such as auto shutoff; and cozy good looks. If you're looking for something that's easy to move around, the Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater has convenient wheels, a funky retro profile, and the bonus of having a slightly lower price than the Duraflame.
What to Look For in an Infrared Heater
The higher the watt output rating, the more heat you get from the infrared heater. If the heater is the room's primary source of warmth in a room, you’ll want a higher watt rating (closer to 1,500 watts) for bigger rooms. Heaters with a low setting usually allow you to switch between 1,500 and 750 watts. Our best overall, the Duraflame Electric Fireplace Stove has 1,500 watts, keeping us nice and warm during testing.
Some IR heaters are designed for tabletops or small spaces; others are larger and must be placed on the floor. It’s always a good idea to measure the location where you plan to put your heater, so you can be sure to buy one with the right dimensions. Some units can also be mounted on a wall or the ceiling such as our wall-mounted pick, the Heat Storm Phoenix Infrared Space Heater. Measure those areas, and note the electrical outlet locations.
Mallory Micetich, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Angi (formerly Angie's List) and an expert in consumer protection and small home living, recommends doing your research carefully when it comes to safety. "When buying a space heater," Micetich says, "it's worth going above and beyond in terms of safety and testing, because these products have a certain amount of risk associated with them—it's almost like when you're buying products for children." Here are a few common ones:
ETL- and UL-Listed: If your heater of choice has either UL or ETL certification, it means it's been subject to rigorous safety tests at an independent laboratory.
Tip-Over Shutoff: Many heaters come with tip-over shutoff, which means the unit turns off if it's flipped on its side, thus reducing the risk of fire. Some buyers note that certain devices are highly sensitive, and power down even when the device is tipped only about 10 degrees.
Overheat Shutoff: This safety feature causes the device to turn off if it starts to overheat, which could happen if dust or something else (a blanket dropped by a toddler, for example) might block the airflow.
Cool-Touch Exterior: A huge benefit of infrared heaters is the outside never becomes overly hot, though you should keep your fingers away from the grill, and watch children carefully at all times when they're around one. "Just because it's cool to the touch doesn't mean the risk isn't there," Micetich says. "But if a kid bumps it or a pet runs into it, it's not going to cause an immediate burn."
Ingress Protection Code (IPC): This code is expressed as a two-digit number that shows how well a product such as an outdoor heater fares when exposed to the elements. The first digit refers to the product's resistance to solids, while the second is its resistance to liquids. A heater that is intended for outside use should have an IPC of at least 55.
How does an infrared heater work?
Unlike a convection heater, which warms the air in a room, an infrared heater uses radiation to directly warm people and objects; the feeling is comparable to being warmed by sunlight. "It's important to know that when you have an infrared heater, you need a clear line of sight between you and it—you can't have something big, like an ottoman [between you], or you're going to heat the ottoman and not feel much," says Micetich. Micetich notes that shoppers might want to consider the heater's aesthetic, since it may need prominent placement in the room.
Do infrared heaters use a lot of electricity?
Infrared heaters are more energy-efficient than electric space heaters. They still use electricity to run, however, and while your bill might be lower, energy use depends on the size of your machine and how much power it uses. This means some infrared heaters can use as much electricity as conventional heaters.
"Relatively speaking, radiant space heaters are fairly efficient, but any electric heating unit is not the most efficient," says Micetich, who notes that several factors may play a role in your final bill. "It costs approximately 30 cents an hour to run an infrared heater," Micetich adds, "but this also depends on where you live and the unit size. If you're using it as a primary heat source, you're going to need more than one, which of course will require more electricity."
Does an infrared heater heat a room?
Infrared heaters therefore do not heat the air in a room in the same way conventional space heaters do, but nonetheless, they raise the temperature slightly. Many manufacturers give square footage guidelines for specific models. Note that infrared heaters often don't work as well in draftier areas such as screened-in porches, or rooms with vaulted ceilings. "An infrared heater wouldn't be the best choice to heat up a large room," says Micetich, "but they're great for spaces like a small kitchen or bedroom, office, or breakfast nook." That said, you may also find when reading reviews that some models do a good job making a large room feel cozier, despite the manufacturer's recommendations.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This story was written by Lexi Dwyer, a freelance writer for The Spruce. She's been writing for The Spruce since 2019 and has researched and written about home improvement products such as retractable screen doors, fireplace tools, door locks, and recycling bins. To make this list, she tried to find radiant heaters that had safety features like auto shutoff, UL or ETA certification, adjustable thermostats, good reviews for performance, and easy-to-use controls. To learn more about infrared heaters, Dwyer also spoke with Mallory Micetich, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Angi (formerly Angie's List) and an expert in consumer protection and small home living.