Convection vs Radiant Heaters: What's The Difference?

Convection vs Radiant Heaters: What's The Difference?

Kate Legere
Oct 20, 2011

It's almost time to turn on the heat in certain parts of the country, and there are some innovative space heaters on the market if you're looking to buy a new one.

Before buying a new space heater, you have to think about the space you are trying to heat, and decide if you need a convection or radiant heater. Most space heaters are convection heaters, meaning they rely on the circulation of air to heat a room; air is blown over a heating element, and then the warm air circulates through the room. They should be used in closed spaces. The main benefit to convection heaters is that they are good at heating an entire room for an extended period of time.

Radiant heaters transfer the heat they generate directly to people and objects. They are the best choice in rooms where people can remain within the line of sight of the heater. They are useful in rooms where people remain still (like a bedroom), or where people will only be for a few hours at at time, since heating the entire room is avoided; only the people and their immediate surroundings are heated directly. The lack of of moving air can be a benefit for people with dust allergies, and because it does not use air circulation, drafts are avoided.

Shown above, from left to right:
1 Wall-Mounted Electric Panel Heater by Envi: uses "stack convection technology" to evenly distribute heat throughout a room. This technology maximizes heat transfer through natural convection, so heated air is evenly distributed throughout a room without the use of a fan. 450 watts heats 130 square feet.
2 Eco Panel Heater by Tricklestar: 400W heater that uses a convection effect to circulate air, eliminating the need for a fan. Plugs into a standard electric outlet, and is ideal for bedrooms and smaller rooms approximately 10' x 12'. Saves up to 50% of the energy used in traditional heating solutions.
3 Knockonwood by Jaga: first radiator made of wood, and available in 9 different types. Its warm power is emitted from its Low-H2O core, which saves energy and resources (cuts carbon emissions by 10%).
4 Chalkboard Heater by Redwell: this infrared heating system mounts onto your wall. Walls store heat, and release it slowly back into the room. The walls remain dry and mold has no chance to spread.

Read More: There are some great safety tips over at US Department of Energy

Related Posts:
Jaga Radiators: Eco-Friendly and Stylish!
Envi High-Efficiency Electric Panel Heater

(Images: 1. Gregory Han|Unplggd; 2-5. as linked)

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