Any experience with those boxy infrared heaters?

You see them for sale everywhere - heaters in a wooden case that are supposed to look like a piece of furniture. I was behind a woman at Sam’s Club yesterday who was swearing that theirs saves them money on electricity, keeps the house toasty and bathes the dog.

I heat my drafty 160 yr old house with a wood pellet stove. When it’s really cold, it definitely needs help keeping the indoor temps above the low 50 degrees. I have space heaters, but they’re expensive to run. Is this any better?


I don’t have any experience with these particular heaters, but by design they are essentially 100% efficient at turning electricity into heat.

Not to say that this is a great thing, though - electric resistance heating is usually the most expensive way to heat a house, although it can be reasonable if only a single room needs heat.

I can’t believe that these are much better than a cheap space heater, although the fan might be stronger, more directed, etc.

the quality of products will vary. that product type is often advertized in newspaper insert magazines or on late night tv shows might be of lesser quality. i have no experience with the mentioned product.

i have a good quality quartz fan-less infrared heater. it works just dandy if used right. it doesn’t heat the air (to any large amount), it doesn’t heat the room, it does heat your skin very well sitting a few feet from it. it provides comfort and saves energy by heating just people near it.

portable electric resistance heaters with fans have been around for about a century. if you are in close enough to feel the fan breeze then you will feel some warmth. it takes a long time (and likely never will) heat a room (especially if drafty and less insulated).

in that type of situation i would dress appropriately. the low 50s in a house in winter is different than 50 in spring (short sleeves and beer party outdoors on the first day that happens). wear a good sweater, insulated or double pants, wool socks and insulated slippers, wear a hat. wearing the underclothes needed to be out in mild winter is OK. if you keep body heat then your hands might tolerate lower temperatures without discomfort.

Here’s watcha want: an oil-filled radiator

This is an amazon example, but I got my three at Wal-Mart for about $30 bucks each. The are The Bomb.

There is no exposed heating element, and I leave the one on in the living room all the time. I can’t leave the one on in the bedroom when I’m in bed because it gets too damn warm in the room! But it’s close enough to the bed that I can reach out and turn it on about an hour or so before I have to get up. The third one is in the bathroom. I’ve used them for years and they are better than any space heater I’ve ever owned.

Get one and try it-- you’ll like it!

Yeah, we have one of those oil-filled plug-in radiators for when the gas furnace goes out. I wouldn’t trust it to heat a huge area on its own, but it’s pretty decent in a bedroom or other closed-up room.

I keep it near where I sit in the sofa. Quite cozy.

I may try an oil-filled radiator. When I was a child we had old homes that had regular radiators that would hiss and groan and were very functional. I also used to have an oil-filled heated towel bar, but the gaskets got old and the oil started leaking. Now I have a different heated towel bar, but miss the oil-filled one.

It would be nice to have heat in the bathroom. Since I live alone I don’t usually bother heating it. Between the heated towel bar and the heated toilet seat, even though the temp in there may get down to the low 30’s, it’s bearable for the quick visits.


I have the infrared heaters to supplement my electric heat. I have a vaulted ceiling in the living room/kitchen area, and in order to heat that area comfortably (with the furnace), I end up with overly-warm bedrooms. So I have one of the Sam’s Club heaters in the living room. I like it a lot…it keeps the smallish living room and kitchen warm enough that I can set the thermostat in the house on 65.
My mom has several of the radiator type heaters and loves them, but they don’t seem to throw enough heat for me. Then again, I likes it warm!

all electric heaters have the same energy efficiency compared to each other. However, a quartz heater has an advantage of converting the heat from the electrical element into infrared heat which will warm you from across the room (assuming you can see the quartz element).

Why someone would box it in makes absolutely no sense at all.

Thermodynamically speaking it can’t work any better then any other, except for the heat transfer mode (convection vs radiation). I had a g/f who was however convinced it was saving her money, so there you go. Radiation heaters (ones that glow orange) also work about the best possible in outdoors or rarely heated spaces, or for quick on-off applications such as in a bathroom - bonus at night it gives enough light to see without being overly bright, so no need to turn on the light.

It can make sense in heating a small room over the alternative heating the whole house.

One thing to be away of about the oil filled ones, some make a click sound as it cycles on or off which may not work for some for a bedroom. I use one of these clicking ones (from Walmart) and have a fan blow over it to keep it on low, but remove enough heat from it that the thermostat does not cycle but remains constantly on.

also sometimes helpful in winter comfort is bringing down the hotter air that rises to the ceiling. ceiling fans slowly blowing air to the floor might help. i also have seen an air circulating device, a tube about 2 inches diameter and about 6 feet tall with a small fan at the bottom, it pulled warmer air in from the top and took it to floor level.

you want to circulate air with care and slowly to not make it colder, like causing air to move to colder windows or walls.

also relocate yourself in the room. being near to or facing windows will make you colder.

use curtains, thicker insulated ones are better, when you don’t need light through the windows.

If you have young children, oil-filled radiators are much safer. Short of a short, they can’t catch stuff on fire and are usually cool enough that they can be touched without burning oneself.

I work for an electric company. All electric heaters are expensive. The only way you are going to save money on electricity is having non-electric heat.


When the dials on your electric meter are spinning like a reel on a fishing rod thats hooked a marlin, your bill isnt going to be low.

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Springtime, when families utter those 4 sweet intimate words…

“I Owe You WHAT!?