What is a Parabolic Space Heater?

A parabolic space heater is a type of infrared heater that utilizes a parabolic reflector to focus and direct the heat in a concentrated beam, making it an energy-efficient and targeted heating solution. The parabolic reflector evenly distributes the energy from an infrared heat source, creating a defined area of heat within the scope of its opening. Unlike traditional space heaters that rely on fans to circulate warm air, parabolic heaters are more efficient, quieter, and less drying to the air, as they heat surfaces rather than the surrounding atmosphere.

Understanding the Parabolic Reflector

The key component of a parabolic space heater is the parabolic reflector. This reflector is designed in the shape of a parabola, a specific geometric curve that has the unique property of reflecting parallel rays of light or heat to a single focal point. This design allows the infrared heat source to be directed and concentrated, creating a focused and efficient heating pattern.

Reflector Material Advantages
Aluminum High reflectivity, durable, and cost-effective
Stainless Steel Corrosion-resistant, suitable for outdoor use
Polished Brass Decorative appearance, high reflectivity
Mirrored Glass Excellent reflectivity, but more fragile

The size and curvature of the parabolic reflector determine the coverage area and intensity of the heat output. Larger reflectors can heat larger spaces, while smaller reflectors are better suited for targeted heating in smaller areas.

Efficiency and Energy Savings

what is a parabolic space heater

One of the primary benefits of a parabolic space heater is its high efficiency, which can reach up to 80% or more. This means that 80% of the energy consumed by the heater is converted into usable heat, making it a more energy-efficient option compared to traditional space heaters that often have efficiency ratings around 50-60%.

The focused and directed heat output of a parabolic heater allows it to heat a specific area effectively, without wasting energy heating the surrounding air. This can result in significant energy savings, especially in well-insulated spaces or targeted heating applications.

Noise and Air Quality

Parabolic space heaters are generally quieter than other types of space heaters, as they do not rely on a fan to circulate the warm air. This makes them a more suitable option for use in quiet environments, such as home offices or bedrooms, where the noise level is an important consideration.

Additionally, parabolic heaters do not dry out the air as much as forced-air space heaters, as they heat surfaces rather than the surrounding atmosphere. This can be beneficial for individuals with respiratory issues or those who prefer a more comfortable indoor environment.

Outdoor and Targeted Heating

Parabolic space heaters are well-suited for outdoor use, as the directed heat output is less affected by wind and weather conditions compared to traditional space heaters. This makes them a popular choice for patio, deck, or balcony heating, providing warmth in a focused area without the need for a blower.

When using a parabolic heater outdoors, it is essential to ensure that the heater is properly secured and that you are using a model specifically designed for outdoor use, which may have additional safety features and weatherproofing.

Safety Considerations

As with any heat source, safety should be a top priority when using a parabolic space heater. It is crucial to keep the heater away from flammable materials, such as curtains, bedding, and furniture, and ensure that it is at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any combustible surfaces.

Many parabolic heater models come equipped with safety features, such as automatic tip-over shut-off and overheating protection, which can help prevent accidents and reduce the risk of fire. It is also essential to supervise the use of the heater, especially around children and pets, to ensure their safety.

DIY Parabolic Space Heater

For those with technical skills and a DIY inclination, it is possible to create a homemade parabolic space heater. This process involves designing the parabolic reflector, installing the infrared heating element, and assembling the heater. However, it is important to note that this requires a certain level of expertise and should only be attempted by individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills.

The basic steps for building a DIY parabolic space heater include:

  1. Design the Parabolic Reflector: Use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create a parabolic reflector that meets your specific requirements.
  2. Cut and Shape the Reflector: Cut the reflector material, such as metal or plastic, to the desired shape and size, and then use a heat source to shape it into a parabolic curve.
  3. Install the Heating Element: Position an infrared heating element at the focal point of the parabolic reflector.
  4. Assemble the Heater: Securely fasten the reflector and heating element together to create the complete parabolic space heater.
  5. Test the Heater: Thoroughly test the heater to ensure it is working correctly and safely before use.

It is important to note that building a DIY parabolic space heater requires a certain level of technical expertise and should only be attempted by individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge. Safety should always be the top priority when working with any heat-generating device.


Parabolic space heaters offer a unique and efficient heating solution, providing targeted and energy-efficient warmth in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. With their parabolic reflector design, quiet operation, and ability to heat surfaces rather than the air, these heaters can be an excellent choice for those looking to conserve energy and maintain a comfortable living or working environment.

Whether you opt for a commercially available parabolic space heater or take on the challenge of building your own, understanding the key features and considerations of this technology can help you make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of this innovative heating solution.


  • Kismile Oscillating Parabolic Space Heater with Thermostat and Overheating Protection – Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Why You Should Consider a Parabolic Space Heater – Lifehacker
  • 1200-Watt Electric Ceramic Parabolic Space Heater – The Home Depot Product Page