Gas vs Infrared Heaters: Power vs Efficiency
Gas or infrared? Which one’s better for heating your home? Here’s a clear comparison, including power and efficiency.
In this day and age, reliable heating solutions are crucial. Whether you live in an extremely cold area, or simply love feeling cozy at home while doing your favorite activity, it’s undeniable that owning a heater, can make your life easier.
One would think that having several options would be a good thing, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming and confusing. If you’re here, you’re likely not sure about how gas and infrared heaters can work for you, and what are the advantages of owning each one.
This is totally understandable, and a very common question among people.
If I simply told you one is better than the other, I’d be lying. Each model has its own features and challenges. What might be the best solution for one person, might not be so for you.
Below, I’ve prepared a list including the pros and cons of each model, so that you can make the right choice based on what you find more valuable. Let’s go through them together.
Sounds good? Let’s go!
The Pros and Cons
Pros of Infrared Heaters
- Cheaper to run than gas heaters
- Very safe to use
- More efficient heating
Cons of Infrared Heaters
- More expensive than gas heaters
Pros of Gas Heaters
- Highly portable
- Fast heating
Cons of Gas Heaters
- Fire hazard
- Vulnerable to wind
5 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing
As you can see, each model boasts amazing features that you could take advantage of during cold seasons. However, this is not enough to help drive your decision, we must look into more specific aspects.
Here’s what we’ll be analyzing:
- Heating Efficiency
Sure, depending on how many bells and whistles you want, you can get a heater in every price tier. But when compared equally, there’s not a big difference. If anything, infrared heaters are a tad more expensive, but nothing out of proportion.
That being said, whenever you’re buying an appliance, you should not only consider the price tag, but also the collateral costs that come with it. While gas heaters use propane, infrared heaters use electricity, so you should take into account what the Kilowatt per hour price is in your area before making a decision.
You could find a great deal on the most wonderful infrared heater, but if electricity is very expensive in your area, you might end up having to pay a fortune every month to run it.
Sadly, very few people consider this factor when looking into buying a new heater.
Whether you’re part of a big family or live on your own, you want to make sure that the heater you buy won’t be a hazard, right? Here’s where infrared heaters start taking the lead, as, other than the heat they produce, they represent very little danger to you or others.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for propane models. These not only need fire, but also highly-pressurized gas canisters to function and generate heat, which makes them more dangerous than infrared ones.
Furthermore, propane heaters are not only prone to gas leaks, but also to explosions if the canister is handled wrong.
Having said that, there are several countermeasures and components built into them to prevent most accidents. However, if you live with small children or pets that are likely to tip the heater over, it might be a good idea to go infrared.
If you ask me, one of the most important features that a heater can have, is portability. Being able to use your appliance on your garden on Monday, and on your room on Wednesday, can be very useful.
This is where propane heaters take the cake.
Since they need nothing more than a gas canister to function, they offer a wide range of mobility and independence. Something infrared models cannot do.
Usually, the latter need to be connected to a wall outlet or to your home’s wiring in the case of wall-mounted units. This requires you to commit to placing them on a specific area, or having to make certain decisions.
If you like using your heater in the garden, where power sources are scarce, buying an infrared model might put you in an uncomfortable position, since you might have to choose between charging your phone or staying warm.
#4 Heating Efficiency
Let’s face it, running either model will increase your monthly expenses, there’s no way around that. That being said, one model can use energy much more efficiently than the other, which will cut down the costs of running it.
I’m talking, of course, about infrared heaters.
These are almost 100% efficient, which means they transform almost all the electricity they draw from the outlet, into heat.
You can think of it as pouring water into a glass from a jar. If all the water that left the jar ended up inside the glass, you would have 100% pouring efficiency, and any droplets that fell outside the container would be lost efficiency.
As you can imagine, the more efficient your heater is, the better it will be at heating your living spaces’ while using less energy.
Now, I’m not saying that propane heaters are not efficient, but they certainly can’t compete with their infrared counterparts. And the reason lies with the way in which the heat.
You see, while infrared heaters use infrared waves to heat people and objects directly, propane heaters heat up the surrounding air. This results in some of the energy (propane gas) consumed, to be lost in the process.
It varies from model to model, but if I had to give a ballpark figure, I’d say propane heaters are about 80% efficient.
Believe it or not, this will be determined more by your user habits, than by any other factor.
In theory, both gas and infrared heaters should last about the same. The difference lies in what each one requires to be kept in optimal condition.
On one hand, infrared heaters are plug and play. You will never have to pay much attention to them unless something’s failing inside them. On the other hand, gas models need to be constantly maintained, cleaned and cleared of obstructions, as they have several internal components that can fail as a result of neglect.
Moreover, gas models require you to change their canister often in order to function and provide you with the desired results. Whereas infrared models just need you to pay the bills on time every month.
This is where a lot of people make up their minds and choose one over the other. If you know you’re someone who can easily forget to give your appliance adequate maintenance, and check its components often, go infrared.
Regardless of how long a manufacturer might claim their heater to last, it will be very difficult to have your unit last as long if you neglect it.
Which One’s Best for You?
As you’ve learned above, there’s no single answer to this question. You want to go for the heater that solves the most problems for you and makes your life easier. If you know you live in an area where electricity costs are very high, go propane.
Provided that you live in a home with small children and pets, go infrared to prevent accidents and fire hazards.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with useful information that could help drive your decision. However, it should not be your only source. Try browsing some online marketplaces and look at the customer reviews to get a clearer idea of what you should expect.
Moreover, if you know someone who owns either one of these models, it would be a great idea to ask them what their experience has been. After all, word of mouth can’t be beat.
Choosing between different models of an appliance can be overwhelming. With so many options out there, it can be very easy to lose track of what features are important, and what factors should be taken into account.
Luckily, I hope I’ve provided you with enough information and knowledge to understand and choose the heater that is best for you. Make sure to remember to consider the collateral costs of each one, and think long-term to determine whether portability is something you’ll need.
Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, why not keep the learning going through our other incredible resources below?
I wish you all the best!