Quartz heating elements are used in some heaters to produce short wavelength infrared radiation. The use of short wavelength infrared radiation allows for more efficient heating of persons and objects directly in the path of the infrared beam from the heater than long wavelength infrared.
Short wavelength infrared radiation is more energetic than long wave radiation, resulting in more intense heating when it is absorbed by persons and objects and less absorption by the air between the heater and the object to be heated. An infrared heater using a quartz heating element causes more rapid heating of objects than a heater using ceramic or metallic elements that produce longer wavelengths of infrared radiation.
Another advantage of quartz elements is that they rapidly begin producing heat after activation, so they can produce perceivable heat faster than infrared heaters using other elements. Since the infrared radiation is absorbed directly by persons and objects, there is no need to wait for the air to heat and circulate as there is with a convection heater. Finally, many users find the heat from an infrared heater with a quartz element more pleasant than that of other heaters. The effect is ofen likened to being heated by the sun.