2020 Update – Are you looking for advice on using Quartz Halogen Heaters outside for patio heating during the 2020 Covid lock down restrictions?. If so, please read our new dedicated page on Halogen Garden Patio Heaters
Infrared Halogen Heaters, are relatively cheap to run and so have become the latest affordable technology in domestic Electric Heaters. For years, Infrared quartz heating tubes have been present in food warmers and those heated glass serving counters which you see in shops and bakeries, but now they have found their place as a portable electric heater.
Infrared Halogen heaters, are similar to the old electric fires, in that they have two or three ‘bars’ which emit heat, however the bars used in an Halogen Heater are quartz glass light tubes rather than the spiral wires used by the old electric fires, so their ability to ignite materials within close proximity is reduced (although great care should still be used in their operation). Infrared Halogen heaters also emit quite a large amount of useful light, unlike the old radiant electric fire bars which gave out a dim red – orange glow.
Infrared Halogen Heaters are also designed to heat people directly similar to the rays from the sun, rather than heat the air space within the room, and whilst Halogen Heaters will still give off a small useful amount of radiant heat into the room, being infrared they are far more effective at direct or spot heating people, rather than being used to heat the entire room, which makes them very suitable for difficult to heat areas or rooms with poor levels of insulation.
Halogen Heaters work in a similar principle to those Electric Outdoor heaters that you see in pub beer gardens and outside pavement cafe’s where they are intended to heat people seated directly in front of them, and on this basis Halogen Heaters are by far the best choice of heating for poor insulated older buildings or open areas such as Garden Sheds, Caravans, Awnings, Workshops, and in buildings, flats, shops and houses where poor levels of insulation would make attempting to heat the air within the building extremely expensive, and so it makes much more economical sense to actually concentrate on heating the person, rather than the entire airspace.
Infrared Halogen Heaters should therefore be the first consideration by anybody living in poorly insulated accommodation, or who is already facing large energy bills as a result of using more traditional forms of heating such as Convectors, Fan Heaters and space heaters which may currently be proving ineffective and expensive
Halogen Heaters are also popular with those with Caravans or Tourers, as these types of heaters are portable, compact and have a relatively low current draw which means they can be used with current limited 6A and 10A electrical hook ups on camp sites.
Halogen Heaters are often cleverly marketed as being a cheaper form of heating in respect of electricity running costs, and whilst Halogen Heaters – thanks to their basic and simple design, are relatively cheap to buy, their running costs are no different to any other Electric Heater with the same electricity consumption. So whether you have a 1200W oil filled radiator or a 1200w Halogen Heater, the running costs for both will be exactly the same, as will the useful heat output from both of these heaters. In other words, for 1200 watts input, you will get exactly 1200 watts of heat output whatever type of Electric Heater you use, as they are all 100% efficient, its just the delivery method of the heat that is different between the two, as the Oil Filled Radiator will first heat its oil and then the air within the room using natural heat convection, whilst the Halogen Heater will heat whatever is in front of it.
So although the cost of running different types of heater is the same there are subtle differences in how the heat from an Electric Heater is felt depending on which type of heater used, and for example a 1200W Halogen Heater pointed directly at you, will heat you faster and more effectively than a 1200W convector heater located at the other end of the room, as the convector heater has to first heat all of the air in the room space between you and it, whilst the Halogen Heater directs heat onto you from the second it is switched on, and doesn’t have to heat the room or the airspace first, and this is why Halogen Heaters are much better suited for use in cold, drafty rooms or poorly insulted buildings, where the heat from the room would quickly escape through the walls and ceilings where traditional heating was used.
Some Halogen Heater manufacturers, cleverly market their designed to make them appear more economical than other forms of heating, by using slogans such as ‘costing less than 4p per hour to run’ and whilst, on a competitive Electricity Tariff this is correct, you have to examine how they have reached this figure. In order to cost 4p per hour, you would only be realistically able to have 1 lamp, of a 3 lamp halogen Heater in use, and this would equal around 400 watts of heat. Unfortunately, in real terms, during a cold spell, 400 Watts of heating would do little to heat you, or keep you comfortably warm for any period. Therefore it is much more likely that you would be using 2 or 3 tubes on your Halogen Heater, which would cost roughly between 8p and 15p an hour to run, depending on your Electricity Tariff, however because the halogen heater is heating you directly, you will actually feel more benefit from 800 Watts worth of Halogen Heat, than the same 800 Watts of heat attempting to heat the air in the room.
So however tempting it may be to buy a one or two bar Halogen Heater (based on the cost of the Electricity when using one bar of it), I do recommend buying at least a 3 Bar Halogen Heater, or even a 4 Bar Halogen Heater for larger rooms, as you can then switch on as many ‘bars’ as is needed depending on your own comfort level and room temperature.
As well as being widely available online, Halogen Heaters can also be found in stores such as B&Q, B&M, Wilko & Screwfix.