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Best Infrared Space Heaters

By: Carl Laron on October 04, 2017

Large infrared heaters are good for warming people quickly

Though some also have fans to spread out their heat, infrared space heaters are generally most effective in heating up a person or a small area rather than a whole room. The most basic type consists of a quartz or electric ribbon element and a rear reflector. This type of space heater is fairly "old school;" it's rarely reviewed, and when it is, feedback is mixed at best.

We do see better feedback for larger infrared heaters, which include more heating elements and a fan system inside a somewhat bulky enclosure. The Honeywell HZ-980 (Est. $155) gets the best professional feedback in this category, earning a Recommended rating from ConsumerReports.org. As is the case with all infrared heaters, and despite the presence of a fan in this model, it's judged better at spot heating than in heating a whole room, though it's still considered very good in handling the latter.

However, user reviews of the Honeywell HZ-980 are tough to analyze because they vary so much by site. Amazon.com hosts more than 140, and ratings are a concern largely because a significant minority of owners get heaters that are dead right out of the box. Those who receive working heaters rate the HZ-980 highly, as do users at other sites. For example, though there is less feedback, it earns a 4.3-star rating at BestBuy.com based on more than 90 reviews, with around 85 percent saying that they would recommend it to a friend, which is about typical user feedback for most space heaters. At Walmart.com, More than 40 users grant the HZ-980 a 4.7-star rating.

Kaz, which makes this space heater under license from Honeywell, doesn't bother too much with aesthetics. Where many larger infrared space heaters in this class are housed in wood cabinets that more closely resemble a piece of furniture than a supplemental heating source, the HZ-980 comes in a basic black plastic cabinet. It is, however, relatively feature-rich. There are touch screen controls, LED readouts and an included remote control, and reviews indicate that the heater is easy to use. The maker claims that the HZ-980 saves 35 percent on energy bills compared to a standard 1,500 watt space heater. While those claims are not independently verified, there is an energy use indicator that displays current usage. There's also a timer to automatically shut off the heater after between one and eight hours.

The Honeywell HZ-980 is well equipped on the safety front as well. There's both overheat protection and a four-way tip-over detector. Most of the case is cool to the touch when running, but testing reports that the heat exhaust opening can get pretty toasty.

If you want an infrared heater with something nicer than a black plastic cabinet, the Dr. Heater DR968 (Est. $100) could be worth considering. We did not see any feedback from professional reviewers that we consider reliable, but there is extensive user feedback available, and this infrared heater rates fairly decently. At Amazon.com, more than 3,100 owners have left reviews and the DR968 earns a 4.2-star rating -- putting it toward the top end of all space heaters with lots of feedback. There's less feedback at HomeDepot.com, but the infrared space heater earns a score of 4.5 stars after around 275 reviews. We also saw over 50 reviews at Air-n-Water.com, where it earns a 4.7-star score.

While most users seem happy with the Dr. Heater DR968, we did see the usual complaints of heaters that either arrived damaged or that stopped working all too soon. The DR968 is covered by a three-year warranty, but some encounter difficulties in having it honored. Others are disappointed about the heat output, something that some users -- even those that rate this heater highly -- say is the result of inflated marketing claims in that regard by the manufacturer. However, those negative comments are more than offset by those from users that are very pleased with the DR-968, claiming sufficient heating for their purposes and good customer support in addressing issues.

The DR968 is also relatively feature rich. It is housed in an attractive light-wood enclosure, with a black grill and control panel on the front. We saw no complaints regarding ease-of-use, and the heater has push-button controls, an LED readout and a remote control. It lacks a timer, however. Safety provisions include both a tip-over sensor and an overheat cut-off.

The Heat Storm Logan Classic (Est. $140) is another option to consider for those that want their infrared space heater to look as good as it performs. This one has been reviewed by ConsumerReports.org, and does well enough to earn a recommendation. The testers found that it did an excellent job in quickly heating up a standard room and had more than adequate fire safety, earning a Very Good on that score. "This model had no discernible flaws in its performance," they say.

Like the Honeywell and the Dr. Heater, this model is rated at 1,500 watts. It's housed in a dark walnut cabinet and has casters to make moving and positioning the heater for best results easier. There's a remote control, and a clear, easy-to read-temperature display. It's covered by a one year warranty.

The company also offers two step-up versions. The Heat Storm Logan Deluxe (Est. $150) features more rugged construction (including a thicker cabinet and larger castors) and a slightly more powerful fan. The company also ups the warranty to three years. Finally, the Heat Storm Logan Deluxe BT (Est. $160) adds a Bluetooth speaker to the Logan Deluxe, but is otherwise identical.

If we have a reservation with these Heat Storm models it is that user feedback is pretty limited -- though what's available is mostly positive. At Amazon.com, the Logan Deluxe is the model that's most reviewed, but that only represents feedback from 15 or so users. Be that as it may, the infrared heater earns a score of 4.3 stars, with no rating (at the time this report was prepared) of less than 3 stars.

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