The harsh winter months are terribly cold. The same case also applies to the rainy springs and some portions of the summers. To deal effectively with the terribly cold weather conditions, you badly need the appropriate heating equipment. You have two kinds of appliances to choose from. These are the electric heater and the infrared heater respectively.

Even though both heating equipment may yield you the same degree of satisfaction, they are very different. We have dedicated the following discussions to the differences between them. We are going to explore this subject matter by looking into the various aspects of these heating appliances.

These aspects include the working mechanisms, various types of each, their designs, cost-effectiveness, health issues, and heating capacities. We do hope that this shall dispel all doubts you may have and allow you to arrive at the best ever decision.

Differences Between Infrared Heater and Electric Fireplace


#1: Working Mechanism


Electric Fireplace

These two heating appliances differ in their working mechanisms. First of all, discuss the working procedure of the electric fireplace. The electric fireplace possesses a heating element which looks much like the traditional gas or wood-burning fireplace. On the contrary, it requires no professional installation or venting.

It draws in cool air, heats it internally by use of a heating coil, and forces the warm air back out into the room gently. It uses a fan to do this. It is also smokeless and thus great for the respiratory health of the room occupants. It is also easier to engage as you only require to switch it on or off.


Infrared Heater

Discussing the infrared heater mechanism, it emits the infrared radiation to heat up a room. Infrared is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is what we call heat in layman terms. To operate it, you first have to switch it on. The infrared radiator generates the rays which subsequently travels to the entire length and breadth of the room.

Unlike the electric fireplace, the infrared heater is more efficient. This is because it channels the heat energy to specific objects within the room rather than to the ambient air. This results in less wastage of energy and better outcomes.


#2: Type


Type of Electric Fireplace


Electric Fireplace Mantels

This kind of fireplace comprises a mantel and a firebox. The mantel houses all the constituent parts and components that make up the fireplace. The firebox, on the other hand, generates the heat. It draws its power from the standard 120V wall outlet.

Wall-mount Fireplaces

As the names suggest, this kind of fireplace mounts on the wall. It is great for long-term use and applicability. This is because this position is hardly affected by interferences from the occupants of the rooms.

Fireplace Inserts

Fireplace inserts are small and compact in size. This small size enables them to fit just about every other space available. They thus conserve space and minimize interferences with the occupants of rooms. This is not to mention that they are simpler to transport and utilize in remote locations.


Types of Infrared Heater


Near Infrared

This first kind of heater emits radiation waves that measure 0.75 to 1.4 microns. It also produces high temperatures that reach the 1300°C mark. This kind of heater also goes by the names ‘short wave’, ‘bright’, and ‘IRA’.

Medium Infrared

It is comparatively less effective than the near infra-red heater. Its waves measure 1.4 to 3 microns long and its maximum temperature output is around 500 – 800°C. Other than these the quality of the flames it produces is the deep-red light (like bar fires). It also goes by the names medium wave or the IRB.

Far Infrared

The far infrared heaters produce heat waves that measure in excess of 3 microns. It, however, produces lower temperatures typically below the 100°C mark. This is not to mention that it does not emit any light at all. It is variously called dark radiator, long wave, or the IRC e.t.c.


#3: Design


Electric Fireplace

Electric Fireplace

All factors considered electric fireplaces are available in various shapes, sizes, and forms. These include the traditional, wall-mounted, freestanding, and the corners, respectively. For this reason, they can easily fit various kinds of open spaces. They are thus more convenient to utilize. You will also find the very handy if you reside in a small apartment or squeezed condominium.


Infrared Heater

Infrared Heater

The same may not be said of the infrared heaters. They are not as compact as their electric fireplace counterparts. On the contrary, they are larger and bulkier in size. As such, you may not find them handy if your room is small or squeezed. The electric fireplace is thus the clear winner on the basis of this consideration.


#4: Health Issues


Electric Fireplace

The electric fireplace uses fans to spray heat into the room, as stated previously. This technique may inflict certain adverse impacts on your room. It may suck out air, reduce humidity levels or the quantity of oxygen in your room, to mention but a few! This is not to mention the dangers of dried skin and the risks of static electricity.

For Details Read: Are Electric Fireplace Safe to Use

Infrared Heater

Best infrared heaters are however safer. This is because they emit heat in the forms of infrared radiation. They do not interfere with the levels of oxygen or humidity in the room. They also do not dry the skin or predispose you to the risks of static electricity. They yet again win, on the basis of this consideration.


#5: Cost-efficient


According to The Green Age, An infrared heater is 40% more efficient than a conventional electric heater. So, we can say that a 500-watt power infrared heater can produce the same level of heat and comfort as a 1200-watt electric fireplace. That’s why we have compared running cost of 500-watt infrared heater with 1200-watt electric fireplace in the table below. Also, we have made the below assumptions for this calculation:

  • Both heaters are no for 5 hours’ daily.
  • The cost of per kWh electricity consumption is 12.5p
  • There are 120 days in a winter season.
TypeInfrared Heater
Electric Fireplace
The wattage of heater (w)
Total units used per hour (kWh)
Cost of running unit for 1 hour
Cost of running for 5 hours each day
Total running cost over the winter period

 After analyzing the above data, it’s proved that infrared heater will help you to reduce electricity bill. Using infrared heating panel save atleast 54$ per year. 

#6: Heating Capacity


Electric Fireplace

Generally speaking, the electric fireplace takes a bit of time to warm a room. This is because it has to first and foremost heat the ambient air to a higher temperature. It is the hot air that subsequently makes you feel warm.

Infrared Heater

The infrared heater as stated, direct the heat energy to specific portions of the room. It, therefore, takes a limited duration of time to heat your room. You are therefore better off with the infrared heater as it takes less to exude the needed benefits. Moreover, it also inflicts fewer utility bills on your part.


Wrap it Up


As you may well have noted already, the infrared heater is by far the better of the two options. This is because it tops its electric fireplace in health and heating capacity and ties in the cost-efficient categories. The electric heater tops it on the design aspect only. In your search for the right heater, consider giving it the topmost priority.

In closing, these appliances are great for combating the extreme colds that do arise in winters. It is therefore in your best interest to make appropriate arrangements to acquire one beforehand. You do not want to miss out on their benefits, would you?