What is the Difference Between an Infrared Heater and a Radiant Heater?

Portable Outdoor Heater next to lounge and table

While in your search for the best outdoor heater you may be wondering what the difference is between an infrared heater and a radiant heater? Are they the same? This is a common question that even some engineers are unsure of what that answer is.  The truth is Infrared heaters and radiant heaters are in fact the same. The term “radiant heater” specifies that the heater is generating heat using radiation while the term “infrared heater” indicates the primary type of radiation being used by the heater to transmit that heat. All IR heaters are radiant heaters, they provide warmth. Radiant heat, heats objects not the air.

Both Types of Heating in a Nutshell

In a nutshell, infrared and radiant heating don’t actually have any differences. They both distribute heat by emitting electromagnetic waves that are absorbed by the skin and other surfaces. The air is completely bypassed so no energy is lost ineffectively heating moving air.

What is Radiant Heating?

We’ve already said that infrared and radiant heating are practically the same. Then why are there two different terms? Radiant heating is an overarching term that includes all types of electromagnetic waves. Infrared is one type of radiant heating.

What is Infrared Heating?

Infrared heaters are known to be energy-efficient and they create a comfortable atmosphere. This type of heating is very similar to the way the sun warms the planet and you experience it like that too. It emits invisible infrared rays which make you feel like you are sunbathing. That is how our infrared heaters are able to create a comfortable and functional environment. They also make it possible for you to enjoy your outdoor areas throughout the whole year, rather than having to rely on pleasant weather.

What Advantage is There for Using Infrared Radiant Heaters?

Since infrared heaters (or radiant heaters) are heating objects, not air, they are able to effectively heat outdoor spaces, unlike convection heaters which have little to no impact on an outdoor area.  

Is There Better Heat Coverage With an Infrared Radiant Heater?

Infrared radiation is emitted from infrared heaters which transmits infrared radiant energy through the air and is absorbed by objects that it encounters, making its molecules vibrate; thereby, directly increasing the heat of the object.

In comparison convective heaters indirectly heat people in a space by first warming the air in that space. While this can be effective in a closed space (indoors), this air will generally escape into the environment before resulting in any appreciable impact on the people in outdoor spaces – the result being ineffective heating at a high cost. 

How Energy Efficient Are Infrared Radiant Heaters?

The ability to effectively heat the desired area by using infrared heaters also means more energy efficiency. This type of focused heating means less heat lost therefore more energy saving. More comfortable temperature levels can be achieved with a lower thermostat setting rather than with a forced-air system.

Are Infrared Radiant Heaters More Durable Than Others?

Pole Mounted Gas heater hanging from ceiling

Infrared Radiant Outdoor heaters are made to withstand a range of environmental conditions, and not all heaters are created equal. For electric outdoor heaters, any ingress protection (IP) rating of less than IPX4 should not be considered. Ingress protection ratings or IP ratings refer to the level of protection offered by an electrical enclosure, against solids and liquids. Beyond ingress, build quality and material selection need to be considered to ensure a long-lasting product. 

All Bromic electric outdoor heaters have an IP rating equal to or in excess to IPX4, with material selection and surface protection selected to ensure the best possible useful life of the product. Bromic heaters are constructed predominately with stainless steel, and in combination with strict quality procedures, the build quality is second to none. Additionally Bromic offers a range of Marine grade heaters, utilising a premium grade stainless steel, these offer an even higher level of corrosion resistance and are recommended in those harsh coastal and marine environments.  

Can I Get a Sunburn From My Infrared Radiant Heater?

Like any warm surface, infrared radiant heaters emit radiation. The balance of this radiation (UV, visible and Infrared Radiation) is highly dependent on the temperature of the heater element (or surface temperature). Due to the low element temperatures of infrared radiant heaters, UV production if present is negligible and there is no risk of sunburn.  

Do Infrared Radiant Heaters Make Noise?

Infrared radiant heaters generally contain no moving parts, such as fans, and thus operate silently. This means no distractions keeping you from peacefully enjoying your outdoor heater.

Are There Stylish Infrared Radiant Heaters?

Many outdoor heating companies have not yet upgraded their format and are solely focused on function. Bromic has adopted a form and function approach, offering a range of heaters which are designed to operate without compromise while also complementing the design of any outdoor space. 

With the innovative ceramic glass screen, the Platinum Heaters offer the possibility to seamlessly integrate a heater into a ‘clean’ space minimising impact and being ‘lost’ in the design of the space – especially when recessing (electric). 

If the space is more industrial, then the Tungsten Heaters offer a product which complement this design and will not be ‘lost’ offering a bolder and eye-catching black metal grill. 

The newest offering in the Bromic product range is the Eclipse (electric) Pendant and Portable. Taking its lineage from the Platinum heaters, the Eclipse also employs a ceramic glass screen presenting a groundbreaking round heater which is designed to be a feature in any space. The Eclipse range also includes LED lighting becoming a lighting solution to an outdoor space.