Radiant Heater Buyer's Guide
Keeping your home warm and cozy is an ongoing battle if you have a family. Someone always seems to be cold, and someone always seems to be hot. If your home has central heating and air, then the thermostat is a battleground. Lines are drawn in the sand, treaties are torn asunder, and signs of peace have all but faded long ago.
One way to bring the war of ice and fire to a close is to bring another heating solution to the table. You'll find the peace talks to be successful when you bring a supplemental heater into the mix. The cold one in your family gets the heat they need. And the hot-blooded person can breathe easily not living in an oven anymore. All thanks to a radiant heater.
What Is a Radiant Heater?
Radiant heaters use the same type of warmth we all feel each time we step outside. The Sun warms the entire planet with radiant heat. A radiant heater will warm up an element, and that heat you feel coming off that element is radiant energy, a.k.a radiant heat.
Your stovetop also uses radiant heating. Some of the best radiant heaters are portable too, and you'll see many radiant heaters used outdoors. Radiant heaters can use gas or electricity for power.
What are the Benefits of a Radiant Heater?
Radiant heaters are great for a specific purpose, like when you want to warm people nearby. Radiant wall heaters can keep a single room warm. There are also portable radiant heaters to keep a single person warm as well. It's for those cold nights in front of the TV. Grab a blanket and a radiant heater, and you're all set. Take it outside too! You'll find many of your favorite restaurants use radiant heaters on their patios.
For personal heating, there's nothing better than a radiant heater.
- Ceiling surface-mounted radiant heater
Before You Buy
While radiant heaters are great for keeping you warm, they are not great at keeping your family warm. Radiant heaters do a poor job of heating large spaces. If you're in the market for a whole-home heating solution, you may be better off with a furnace.
We mentioned earlier how your stovetop is a radiant heater. Now imagine trying to heat your home with your stove. Some households use radiant heating in the floors and walls and ceilings, but the issue you'll face is incomplete warmth. People with ceiling mounted radiant heaters often complain about the heat on their heads/shoulders and not on their bodies.
Radiant heating solutions are malleable when it comes to configurations. You'll find mountable and portable radiant heaters that can work in any home.
- Ceiling-mounted - You'll find these heaters for interior and exterior spaces. They are more subtle than wall-mounted heaters. Outdoors, these can cover larger areas.
- Wall-mounted - Perfect for outdoor spaces, wall-mounted appliances put the heater right in the area to be heated. This configuration can come with brackets and swivels, letting you affect an even larger area.
- Radiant heater mounted outside a restaurant
- Pole-mounted - Unlike ceiling or wall-mounted, pole-mounted heaters can be portable. You can move a pole-mounted heater to the space you want to heat and put into storage at the end of the season. Pole-mounted can also be stationary. Electric radiant heaters can be plugged in or connected directly to the electrical system. The same goes for gas. You can find pole-mounted appliances that use propane tanks or connect to a gas line.
- Small room heaters - When it comes to radiant heaters, these are the perfect example. Small room heaters do just what the name implies, heat a single room to perfection. You'll find many small room heaters are portable, too. Bring it to the den, to the bedroom, the reading nook, wherever, and give yourself the heat you need.
- Bromic portable radiant heater
Radiant heaters come in many different configurations. Because of this, they offer you a bunch of different control options. You'll find on-the-unit controls, remotes, zone control systems, and smartphone controls.
- Smartphone - Yes, we are in the 20s now, and you can control some space heaters with a smartphone. Out of all the control options, this is the most convenient. It also offers you the most options for your appliance. Some manufacturers will give you variable controls like timers or the ability to change the intensity of the heat.
- Infratech smartphone heater control
- On-the-unit - These controls are standard and usually consist of a simple on/off switch or a knob that controls the heat output. On-the-unit control is the most simple to use and understand.
- Remotes - Some radiant heaters, especially outdoor ones, will give you access to a remote. It works just like your TV remote does. Simply point, click, and there you go. You're warming up. Not all remotes look like your TV remote, though. You will see some that connect via cable and others can be wall-mounted like a light switch. Some brands like Infratech will give you many remote options.
- Zone - This one is a little more complex in its use. Zone controls work best in outdoor situations where there are multiple heaters in different spaces or "zones". If you want to heat one area but not the other, zone controls give you that power. These work best in commercial situations and are the most expensive to set up. You will need a professional if you opt for a zone control solution.
- Infratech multi-heater system controls
You should probably know about the best brands in the industry before you haul off and buy a radiant heater. Sunstar, Bromic, Empire, and Infratech are great places to start looking for the best radiant heaters. They are also super popular. You've no doubt seen one of these radiant heaters out and about. Maybe at a friend or family member's house or out on the town at a top-quality restaurant.
- Sunstar - In business since 1987, Sunstar heaters are simple, durable, and priced attractively for all markets. This radiant heater manufacturer makes a broad range of heating products. Sunstar crafts appliances for the North American market in Charlotte, NC. You will find compact wall mounted radiant heaters to high-output ceiling-mounted infrared tube heaters. Sunstar makes products to use for commercial and residential applications.
- Bromic - When you look at Bromic heaters, you can be sure that you will find an almost unbeatable combination of function and style. Bromic features many tiers of products to fit both residential and commercial applications. The company is always performing case studies to test the effectiveness of its products. This proactive approach creates constant improvement and a cutting edge product line.
- Empire - Chances are, you've already set your eyes on an Empire product. Empire heaters are a staple of many family homes, especially the company's popular wall heaters. In business for nearly a century, Empire heaters have maintained their hold in the market. They produce high-quality and durable heaters that are easy to service and use. Empire makes heaters that blend well with any decor as well. So, if you need a no-fuss, simple heater that will last, Empire is for you.
- Infratech - This company has products in many different colors and volt ranges. You can find an Infratech appliance at 120-volts for home use or a dual element 480-volts for restaurants. Infratech is also ready for a smart home. You can use some of its heaters with home automation systems. Infratech makes modern, stylish, contemporary heaters.
Care and Maintenance
Caring for your radiant heater is pretty straightforward. Be sure to check your heater for dust every so often. Make sure the heater is off, and clean the dust off with a dry cloth or use compressed air to blow the dust away.
- Cleaning a radiant heater with a soft cloth
Check gas lines or electrical cords for damage, too. Frayed cables and a faulty gas line can be quite dangerous. If your radiant heater is portable, be sure to check the wires or gas line once a season before you put the heater away and after you take it out of storage. You don't want surprises when you turn it on.
After that, you are good to go. Beyond any accidental damage from a fall or bad weather, your radiant heater should last you a good long while.
Gas and electric models less than three feet long can handle parcel shipping. More extensive models of radiant heaters will come via LTL freight. Shipping via LTL should protect your radiant heater from dents and broken parts. If you receive a freight shipment and there is damage, you'll want to report it to the manufacturer as soon as possible.
- Warming heaters mounted from the ceiling above a valet station
A radiant heater is a way to go if you want to keep an outdoor area warm or just your feet. Radiant heaters are the perfect choice for small localized heating. We're talking about a space heater in the room with you, a wall heater next to you at an outdoor party, or a patio heater above your table at a restaurant. These are the perfect situations for a radiant heater.
When you need more heat in larger areas, go with a different solution. You'll pull your hair out under an extra layer of clothes if you rely on radiant heating as a primary heat source. Treat a radiant heater as a supplement to your primary heating solution, and you'll be a happy camper.
If you have any questions or concerns about radiant heaters, our team of NFI certified specialists is here and ready to answer any question you may have. Just call us at 1-800-203-1642 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our specialists are knowledgeable and prepared for any problem you've got.
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Radiant Heaters Q&A with the NFI Certified Specialists* Please Note: All customer questions are answered by our NFI Certified Specialists free of charge!
from Boston, MA asked:
October 11, 2020
So does a radiant heater ever come with an electronic starter for during a power outage?
The vast majority of these models run off a standing pilot ignition and use no electricity. The optional blowers would require 120V, however.
Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional
on October 13, 2020