What Is the Difference Between Halogen and Infrared Heaters?

Halogen heaters use a shortwave heating element that does not give off a wide area of heat which causes persons to stand or sit near the heater. Infrared heaters produce electromagnetic light waves that produce energy that is then absorbed by nearby people or furniture for better heat that lasts longer.

Patios and backyards are the new hang out for friends and family to relax in the evening. But what happens when you want to use your new relaxation oasis during the winter? There are many different outdoor heaters available, but you might be wondering what is the difference between halogen and infrared heaters?

Both types of heaters achieve the goal of giving off heat, so either type of heater could be what you are looking for. To make your final choice though, you may want to know more about each of these types of heaters, so read on to learn about what makes each choice a great choice.

The electric heater in the room. heating the apartment in cold weather. Halogen or Infrared heater isolated on a white background.

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What Is a Halogen Heater?

Halogen heaters incorporate the halogen element in their heating lamps and bulbs. Surprisingly, the halogen element is not the actual heating element though. This can often cause some confusion due to its name.

Within the halogen lamps, halogen gasses are used to increase the brightness of bulbs, as well as lengthen their lifespan. The halogen prevents the bulbs from darkening, so they are safe to be run at higher temperatures, unlike other heaters that do not use halogen. 

The use of the halogen bulbs is what gives the halogen heater its name. These bulbs are what actually produces the light and heat for this heater. One common characteristic you will find in a halogen heater is the brightness it emits on the front of the heater. 

What Are the Benefits of Using a Halogen Heater?

There are several advantages to using a halogen heater as opposed to other types of heaters. 

  1. They save energy. A halogen heater is able to produce heat almost immediately. The radiant heat that these heaters produce is able to quickly heat a small area, which significantly reduces the amount of energy that halogen heaters consume.
  2. They are environmentally friendly. Halogen heaters do not release smoke since they are heating without the use of fossil fuels. Without smoke, carbon dioxide emissions are only released in small amounts.
  3. They are safe. The halogen lamps themselves do not actually heat up since they are not producing the heat. This makes them safe in most environments. They are cool to the touch and most include an auto shut off option in case they are accidentally tipped over. This makes them safe for homes with children or pets.
  4. They are easily installed in any outdoor area. Halogen heaters are easier to install than most gas-powered heaters because they do not require electrical coils to be installed and changed as the heater is used.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Halogen Heater?

Just like most types of heaters, there are a few disadvantages to using halogen heaters, as well.

  1. Not ideal for space heating. Although halogen heaters provide radiant heat, they are not great for space heating, which is required for large areas and buildings.
  2. Costly to run. Halogen heaters are usually quite costly to run compared to other types of heaters. This is particularly true during the winter months when they would be left on for longer periods of time.
  3. Will only heat a specific area. A halogen heater only heats a specific area that is targeted. If a person stands or sits slightly outside of this area, he or she will remain cold and it is not heating that area.

What Is an Infrared Heater?

An infrared heater, often called a heat lamp, is much like the sun and how it warms us once we stand underneath those bright rays. This light that is emitted from the sun is invisible to the naked human eye. The sun emits infrared lights that our skin absorbs, and thus, warms us from being cold. This is the different from standing in the shade versus standing in the sunlight.

An infrared heater also gives out infrared light, like the sun, which is then absorbed by you and any objects in the room. To produce the infrared light, these heaters use a series of coils and a reflector to direct the light outward where it can be absorbed. The process of your body absorbing the light emitted from the heater is what ultimately heats your body.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Infrared Heater?

There are several benefits to using an infrared heater as a heat source. 

  1. They Are Quiet. Since these heaters use light to heat you, they do not require a fan to produce heat. Because of this absence, they are much quieter than normal heaters. This makes them more desirable if they are being used in a bedroom at night.
  2. They Are Environmentally Friendly. Because infrared heaters do not produce any pollutants into the environment, they are considered a clean source of heat. They do not use any fossil fuels or burn any wood to produce their heat.
  3. They Give Off Instant Heat: Once an infrared heater is turned on it begins to produce light, which is its source of heat. Since they are warming bodies and objects, they take almost no time at all to warm you up.
  4. They Are Efficient: There is little to no waste with this type of heater since they only heat bodies and objects they are directed at and not whole rooms or areas.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using an Infrared Heater?

Although there are several different benefits to using an infrared heater, there can also be a few disadvantages. 

  1. No Heat When Turned Off. Since infrared heaters only heat with the use of light that is emitted, once the heater is turned off the heat it was once producing quickly vanishes. This can create an extreme contrast from warm to cold that a person might not be prepared for.
  2. Light-Emitting. Infrared heaters will give off an orange glow. This might not bother some people, but it could be a deal-breaker for others. Depending on the model and brand, the light brightness can vary.
  3. Limited Warmth Distribution. Infrared heaters can only heat what is directly in their direct line of heating. Because of this, they are not ideal for large areas or in a room where people will be moving around frequently.

A Common Misconception

One thing to keep in mind while researching infrared heaters is the common “fact” that most marketers claim their heater can do. Marketers commonly, although falsely, claim that infrared heaters can raise humidity levels. They can be marketed as one way to eliminate the need for a humidifier.

Using an infrared heater rather than a forced-air heating, like central heating, can keep the air from drying out as fast. It is not, however, a viable replacement for a humidifier. If your goal is to raise humidity levels, you shouldn’t rely on an infrared heater to do so, as this is just not a true ability that the heater has. 

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A halogen heater and an infrared heater will both heat a room or area in your home, although in different ways. After reading this information you should now be able to determine which one will best suit your needs. No matter if you want the ultra-safe halogen heater or the very efficient infrared heater, both can provide you with the heating source that you need.