There are many space heaters on the market that can you can purchase. In this post we will only talk about two of the more popular options. In particular, namely the infrared and oil heaters. Both of these heaters are excellent to use in the house for the purpose of heating a particular space for use during those cold months. We’ll go over the specs of an infrared vs oil heater so you can choose the best option for you!

Why choose a space heater to begin with?

Space heaters are a good way to save money when used in a controlled manner. If you know that you spend most of your time in a particular room then what’s the advantage of heating the whole house? It’s more practical to use a space heater or plug in baseboard heater in a particular room and turn the thermostat down. This can save you more money in the long run.

There are also times when you just need that extra heat. Maybe a room is drafty and you don’t have the means to remedy that situation. For us, we have a few rooms built on slabs and the floors get extra cold, even when the heat is pumped up. Having an oil filled heater helps cut the chill in those rooms.

What is an Infrared Heater?

infrared heater

Infrared heaters use coils that heat up with a bulb and use infrared radiation to heat up objects or surfaces in the area. This heat does not take long to heat up space and the energy is described similar to way sunlight heats up objects that it hits. It heats up fast and when the heater is turned off the heat cools off fast as well. It provides quick heat up in a zone if that is what you prefer.

Our Pick for Top Infrared Heater

Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater

  • 1500 Watts
  • Heats up to 1000 square feet
  • Tip over and over heat protection

What is an Oil Filled Heater?

oil filled heater

The oil filled heaters are longer units that look like radiators. The heaters are completely closed and have fins or columns on them. These fins heat up because there is an oil reservoir in the unit which circulates around the unit. The oil takes a little longer to heat up but its a more consistent heat. It also slowly cools down since it takes longer for the oil to cool itself once it’s turned off. This unit warms the air around it giving it a warm environment to the area it is heating. The fins are warm to the touch but should not be hot or burn they are small, portable, use electricity and the oil does not need any replenishment. They are also one of the quietest units to have.

Our Pick for Top Oil Filled Heater

DeLonghi Comfort Temp Full Room Oil Filled Radiant Heater

  • Adjustable thermostat
  • Wheels that make it ultra portable
  • Quiet and compact

Infrared vs Oil Heater

The major difference is in the way they heat the surrounding space. Infrared heaters heat surfaces and objects around them they provide quick heat to surfaces near them. In contrast, oil filled heaters heat the air around them. They take time to heat the space and give more constant heat. They also stay warmer longer after they have been turned off since it takes longer for the oil to cool down.


The oil filled heater is standalone with wheels and looks like a radiator but space efficient and the infrared is more boxed shaped it also comes in standalone for the fireplace. Both are good for space efficiency. Be sure to measure your space though to make sure you have enough room as well as the necessary clearance around the heater.


The ability to move around your heater from room to room may be a big selling point for you. It’s not surprise that a oil filled heater can be heavy. Many come with wheels attached to help you roll it around. But moving an oil filled heater up and down flights is no easy task. On the flip side, an infrared heater is typically much lighter and easier to move around.


While it may seem like a petty thing to consider, design is often important. We spend so much time in our homes and we want the things around us to bring us joy. A clunky heater may prevent you from enjoying your space, even if it provides ample heat. So take a look at the design options for both the infrared and oil filled heaters. You’ll most likely find more variation in the infrared heater options.


Both of the heaters are safe but it’s best to purchase one that has the UL label on it. Make sure your choice has advanced features like thermostat control and automatic shut down. This is especially important if you plan on leaving your oil or infrared heater on overnight.

Heating capacity

The infrared is used as heaters that have the capacity to heat up a particular space or room. They can generally heat up a family room or a living space.

The oil filled heaters heat the air around the heater so they can work well for a small study or bedroom. Check the box for how large of space they can heat. Both units are comparable to room size.

Noise Level

Many heating systems in the home generate some type of noise. My steam heat radiators often hiss and it’s something I’ve grown accustomed to. When looking for supplemental heat, consider the additional noise that comes along. An oil filled radiator will make some noise when turning on like a clicking noise. This is also common on infrared quartz space heaters. Any additional ambient noise should be reviewed, especially if you’re sensitive to noise or need complete silence.

General price

The average infrared heater with temperature control usually ranges between $100-$200. The average oil filled heaters range between $50-$100.

When comparing oil filled heater vs infrared heaters, you really can’t go wrong. Both infrared and oil filled heaters are good choices for creating a comfortable environment in the home. Both have excellent features. Just a tip – you should always be bought with a warranty or a guarantee by the manufacturer.

image from flickr –