Welcome to the infrared vs oil filled heater debate. Are you trying to choose the best heater that will make chilly days and frosty evenings cozy again? Then take a look at the upcoming comparison that will help you to decide between the two.

Infrared HeatersOil-Filled Heaters
Come in many sizesBigger
Heat up fasterSlower to heat up
Very efficientVery efficient
CheaperMore expensive
Cool immediately when offContinuous heat when off
Good in the windNot good in the wind
Heat can be blockedHeat cannot be blocked

Deciding between infrared and oil-filled heaters is not easy. That’s why the next part of this article will compare the two and help you make the very best decision.

The Difference Between Infrared and Oil-Filled Heaters

Let’s start the ball rolling by introducing our first candidate: infrared heaters. An infrared heater converts electricity into heat. Our skin, clothes, and objects in the room absorb this heat thus making us feel warm.

What can we say about oil-filled heaters? They are convection heaters that contain oil that is used as a heat reservoir. Although they contain oil, these heaters are powered by electricity.

So now we’ve got to know today’s candidates a little better, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it all. We’ll now look at comparing the heaters in 8 categories so that you can decide which one is best for your home.


Infrared heaters and oil-filled heaters are often chosen for their portability. We want them in our homes to allow us the option to quickly transfer a heater from room to room. Now, that won’t be possible if the heater weighs a tonne. So, which is lighter, an infrared heater or an oil-filled heater?

Infrared heaters are lighter than oil-filled heaters. This is because they are made of plastic, thin metals, and heating components that do not weigh much.

Oil-filled heaters are heavier than infrared heaters. This is because of the large oil canisters that are inside them. Oil-filled heaters usually come on wheels. But even still, they are often heavy and awkward to transport.

Of course, it is possible to find oil heaters that are lighter because they are smaller. But when matching an infrared heater with an oil-filled heater of the same size, the latter will always be heavier.

If portability is very important to you, you should choose an infrared heater. Infrared heaters are lighter and easier to transport.


Infrared heaters tend to be smaller than oil-filled heaters. What’s nice about these is that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This makes it easier for you to choose a model that really suits your home.

Oil-filled heaters tend to be bigger than infrared heaters. They are also normally a bog-standard shape which gives you a little less room for creativity.

Do you want to be able to choose the perfect size for your heater? Then an infrared heater will be best for you.

infrared heater
Infrared heaters come in many shapes and sizes


Infrared heaters are well-known for their fast and direct heat. Some models get up to their maximum temperature in under a minute.

Oil-filled heaters are not as speedy when warming up. But once they do, they are great at keeping enclosed spaces nice and toasty.

If you are after an appliance that will heat up quickly, you should choose an infrared heater.


Infrared heaters are very efficient. They heat objects rather than the air. This makes you feel warmer when the heaters are on. They are good at warming one small area.

Oil-filled heaters are also very efficient. They are ideal for heating bigger rooms. Thanks to the large oil canisters inside them, they are able to stay warmer for longer.

Are you looking for an efficient appliance? Then both infrared and oil-filled heaters would be a brilliant choice.


Infrared heaters are usually cheaper than oil-filled heaters. That said, there are large infrared heaters that are pricey. But infrared heaters normally come in a variety of sizes. This makes it easier for you to get your hands on a very economical, small unit.

Oil-filled heaters are usually more expensive than infrared heaters. This is because they come in bog-standard sizes that are about the same price.

For the least expensive option, you should choose an infrared heater.

Heat Retention

Infrared heaters although efficient, are not as good at retaining heat. Once you turn an infrared heater off, the heat disappears.

Oil-filled heaters hold their heat very well. You will still feel the benefit of an oil heater for a long time after turning it off. 

Oil-filled heaters are the best at retaining heat.

oil heater
Oil-filled heaters are great at retaining their heat


Infrared heaters are great for outdoor spaces as they use directional heat that withstands the wind. This is why you often see them in outdoor restaurant spaces during the cooler months.

Oil-filled heaters are not good at heating outdoor spaces. This is because oil heaters do not use directional heat. Rather, they heat the air. So, in an outdoor setting, the wind immediately blows the warm air away.

Are you looking for the perfect heater for an outdoor space? Then you should choose an infrared heater.

Blocking the Heat

It is easy to block an infrared heater. If an object or someone is in front of the appliance, you will not feel the benefit from it. This again comes back to the fact that infrared heaters use directional heat.

It is not as easy, however, to block an oil-filled heater. Even if there is something between you and the heater, you will still feel the benefit from it. This is because oil-filled heaters heat the air in the room and this makes you feel warmer no matter where you are.

Do you want a heater that you can feel no matter where you are in a room? Then an oil-filled heater is the best option for you.


So what’s the verdict? Should you go for an infrared heater or an oil-filled heater? Here’s a basic rundown of the two.

You should choose an infrared heater if:

  • You are looking for a lightweight heater that is easy to transport from room to room
  • Having a selection of models and sizes to choose from is important to you
  • You need an appliance that heats up quickly
  • You want something efficient
  • You are after a cheaper option
  • You need a heater that is effective in outdoor spaces

You should choose an oil-filled heater if:

  • You want an appliance that is effective at heating large rooms
  • You want something efficient
  • Constant heat that continues when the appliance is off is important to you
  • You need an appliance that’s heat you can feel anywhere

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Have a great day!