One of the more frequently asked questions I’m asked is regarding which infrared heater is best for a given application. There are a number of different infrared heaters we offer, which can work in a variety of environments. Some work best with certain ceiling heights, some vary in intensity, and others are designed to be exposed to the elements. Below are 5 factors to consider when selecting the right infrared heater for your application

SL Series Infratech heaters above an outdoor seating and bar area

1. Functionality

While all of our USA made heaters are of similar build quality, some use different methods to maximize their infrared heat. For example, Infratech heaters use a parabolic trough as a reflector to project the infrared. SolaRays use pyrogel insulation (a type of aerogel used by NASA) which makes the heat directional to radiate downward from a ceiling. Heaters which utilize the CeramiCircuit elements have higher thermal mass and take over 15 minutes to cool down (most frequently used for hot yoga). A good place to start with functionality is to consider how warm you want to feel, and how close the heater will be to you.

2. Aesthetics

Not all heaters are created equal aesthetically. In this category the heater which arguably is the best is the SolaRay heater, which is the thinnest panel in the world (1/2″) and blends into a drywall ceiling. On the opposite end of the scale is our Infratech heaters, which are a bit more industrial looking, but have the benefit of generating a large amount of heat, and can be exposed to the elements for providing spot heating in outdoor applications.

3. Ease of wiring

Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to run new wiring in one location compared to another. For example, in commercial applications with a drop ceiling (ceiling tiles), it’s very easy to run wiring to ceiling heaters, and typically is a lot less to install this way than on the wall. For residential applications, it can go either way. With replacing baseboards with infrared heaters, it may be easier to access electrical in the wall. If you have an attic above your ceiling, this is often a great case for running wiring to ceiling mounted infrared heaters. If there is any doubt which way is easier, we recommend consulting with your installer / electrical contractor to determine which way is most cost effective in your scenario.


4. Cost

A comprehensive discussion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning cost! Some infrared heaters are more cost effective than others to purchase. This can come at a compromise of another factor such as aesthetics.

5. Elements

All of our heaters are solid state, meaning that there are no moving parts and no maintenance required. That said, the life of the elements in each heater varies. On the low end of the scale are Infratechs, which have an expected life of 5,000 hours. These elements typically require changing every 5-10 years with normal use.On the higher end of the scale, SolaRays have elements that are rated for over 350,000 hours, which is equivalent to running them 24/7 for 40 years! With normal use SolaRays will last more than a lifetime (and they have a lifetime warranty!). For reference all of our indoor heaters have similar lifespans on the elements.

Ultimately selecting the right heater is a balance between the above factors, and as with any product there are pros/cons to consider in evaluating its features/benefits and cost. If you would like help determining which heater makes the most sense for your application, let us know. We are here as a resource to help determine what will best fit your needs.
Written by: Jeff Abel, Vice President of Sales, Heating Green