Is an Infrared Space Heater Cheaper to Run Than Electric?

Infrared space heaters are generally considered to be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than traditional electric heaters. This is because infrared heaters heat objects and people directly, rather than heating the air in a room. As a result, they can heat a space more quickly and effectively, while using less energy.

Understanding Infrared Heating Technology

Infrared heating works by emitting electromagnetic radiation in the infrared spectrum, which is absorbed by objects and people in the room. This direct heating method is more efficient than traditional electric heaters, which rely on convection to heat the air.

Key Advantages of Infrared Heating

  1. Targeted Heating: Infrared heaters focus their energy on heating the objects and people in the room, rather than the air. This means that the heat is felt immediately, without having to wait for the entire room to warm up.

  2. Energy Efficiency: According to a blog post from Kiasa, infrared heaters can be up to 60% more cost-efficient than other conventional heating systems. This is because they heat an area more quickly, so they don’t need to be on for as long.

  3. Instant Warmth: Infrared heaters can provide instant warmth, as they don’t need to heat up the surrounding air before the heat is felt. This makes them ideal for spot heating or supplemental heating in specific areas.

  4. Low Maintenance: Infrared heaters are easy to install and require no annual maintenance or servicing costs, unlike some traditional heating systems.

Technical Specifications of Infrared Heaters

is an infrared space heater cheaper to run than electric

Infrared heaters are typically rated in watts, which indicates their heating capacity. A small personal heater might be 500 watts, while a full-room heater could be 1500 watts or more. Larger heaters cover more area and are more effective, but they also cost more to run.

Factors Affecting Running Costs

The cost to run an infrared heater will depend on several factors, including:

  1. Electricity Rates: The cost to run an infrared heater will vary depending on your state or municipality’s electricity rates. On average, you can expect to pay about 20 cents per hour to run an average space heater that’s 1,500 watts and can heat a standard room.

  2. Heater Size: Larger infrared heaters with higher wattage ratings will generally cost more to operate than smaller, lower-wattage models.

  3. Usage Duration: The longer you run an infrared heater, the higher your energy costs will be. Efficient use and targeted heating can help minimize runtime and reduce overall costs.

Comparing Infrared Heating to Whole-Home Heating

In comparison to whole-home heating, the cost to heat an average home varies widely based on home size and fuel type. According to the US Energy Information Association, US households can expect to spend an average of:

  • $1,096 on natural gas
  • $2,605 on heating oil
  • $1,482 on electricity
  • $2,157 on propane

to heat their homes during the winter months.

While a space heater is not a full substitute for heating an entire home, it can be a cost-effective way to supplement your monthly warming and slash your utility bills. By using a space heater to heat only the rooms you’re using, rather than heating the entire house, you can save money on your heating costs.


In summary, an infrared space heater can be a more energy-efficient and cost-effective heating option than traditional electric heaters. However, the specific cost to run an infrared heater will depend on a variety of factors, including the model of heater, your electricity rates, and how long you run the heater.

By understanding the technical specifications and advantages of infrared heating, you can make an informed decision on whether an infrared space heater is the right choice for your heating needs and budget.

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