What Are the Differences Between Infrared and Ceramic Heaters?

Infrared heaters produce heat by emitting invisible infrared radiation waves, while ceramic heaters use metal or quartz coils surrounded by ceramic plates. Both use electricity and are efficient in heating small spaces. Depending on the local cost of natural gas, these heaters may save money.

The heat from an infrared heater is not felt until the long-wave infrared radiation strikes a solid object. If someone is sitting in front of the heater, they feel the warmth. Someone else sitting a few feet away may or may not feel anything. These are directional heaters, pointing their energy in one direction, and better for those just sitting in one spot.

Based on the specific model, ceramic heaters radiate heat in a number of directions. A popular version has the ceramic plates surrounded the heating coils. The heat radiates out, warming the room evenly and benefiting all occupants. Most have fans that help distribute the heat. Ceramic heaters are also energy efficient, using less power to operate than the typical metal coil space heater.

Most newer space heater models do have a safety feature that turns them off if they overheat or tip over, but it’s still best to turn them off when not needed. Look for a heater with the UL label, which means it has been approved by Underwriters Laboratories.