Getting the right amount of heat in winter is such an important task that has everyone searching for solutions.
While central heating systems, fireplaces and furnaces are the most popular for whole-house heating, there are times when only a spot in your room or only a specific area requires heating; this is where appliances like heat lamps and space heaters come into the picture.
While heat lamps are devices with bulbs that are primarily designed to emit heat rather than illuminate. On the other hand, a space heater is any form of stand-alone or wall-mounted heating appliance designed to provide heating in single rooms or small areas.
While both are useful in their specific applications, how do you choose between them? How do you tell which is better for what situation? Which is cheaper to buy and run and which offers the best heating results?
These are some of the questions this post will be providing answers to as we dig right into the world of heat lamps and space heaters. Let’s get right into it.
Are Heat Lamps Effective?
Heat lamps are considered very effective if applied in the right environment and situation. Although the heating level is quite small compared to other major heating appliances, a heat lamp’s heat is concentrated, which makes it pretty effective.
If used in small spaces like a bathroom or as a complementary heating device in a larger area, you’re sure to get good results.
There are also certain types of heat lamps that are designed for use in the kitchen to help keep food warm. These ones are specially designed, so be sure before you make a purchase.
Heat lamps meant for bathrooms are expected to be waterproof with an IP67 rating. It’s best mounted on the ceiling just outside of the shower area as you step out to dry yourself.
You should also ensure the lamp is not too close to and doesn’t come in contact with, towels or other clothing because they may get burnt. Remember that a heat lamp should be used primarily as a heating device and not as a light bulb for illumination.
With a lamp holder attached to a wall or ceiling or a standalone holder, you can also use a heat lamp to provide the needed heating in spaces like a nursery.
When used as a lighting appliance, they’re not considered very effective because of the presence of red filters which block the light rays and dim their effect.
Besides, they are not as energy efficient as regular incandescent bulbs and will not make economic sense if purchased for lighting purposes, except in places where heating is equally important.
Heat Lamp Vs Space Heater
Heat lamps and space heaters pretty much do the same thing- heat up small, isolated spaces. Although the mechanism is different, they both convert electrical energy to heat energy in most cases.
But what are the differences? We’ll take a few pointers and see how these two compare based on those parameters.
1. Heating Technology – Infrared heating
Both the space heater and the heat lamp use infrared technology to produce and dissipate heat in the area they’ve been deployed. This is why they can both heat up a place pretty fast.
A space heater has its box which usually contains the heating component and the fan component. The fan blows out the heat produced in the appliance to ensure it is distributed in the space.
On the other hand, a heat lamp heats up through what we may call a beaming technology. The heat is concentrated. It may also be attached to a fan for simultaneous operation.
3. Heating Capacity/Scop
A space heater is generally more effective for heating than a heat lamp and they tend to cover more area as well. A heat lamp will not do well in a large area.
A heat lamp can be installed in different ways; It can be wall-mounted, freestanding, recessed, or even attached to a fan. A space heater is also quite flexible in shape and design. They can be freestanding, wall-mounted or recessed as well.
A heat lamp is considered a very beneficial appliance. They’re mostly recommended for use in good service spaces, animal enclosures, and bathrooms, as well as for paint and chemical drying purposes.
There are also suggestions that they may be used in the future for muscle therapy and ache treatment. On the other hand, space heaters are only used for isolated or supplementary heat.
Heat lamps are relatively cheaper than space heaters. While a typical heat lamp will go for an average of $15-$30, space heaters usually begin at around $30 to as much as $150.
Mind you, there are commercial grade heat lamps- like the type used for food- that can go for above $100.
Is A Heat Lamp More Efficient Than a Space Heater? Which Is Cheaper to Run?
Heat sources generally consume a lot of electricity. Compared to other light bulbs, heat lamps tend to be less efficient. However, when compared to other heat sources like space heaters, heat lamps do very well in energy efficiency.
A typical heat lamp may require around 250 watts to run compared to an average space heater which uses around 750 watts to 1,500 watts.
This is a clear indication that heat lamps are way cheaper to run than space heaters in terms of energy consumption, but let’s do the math;
A 250-watt heat lamp runs for 24 hours a day for 30 days a month on a US energy charge average of $0.13 per kW-hour would amount to the following;
250 watts ÷ 1,000 (to arrive at kilowatts) = 0.25 kW
Therefore, 0.25 x 0.13 = $0.0325 per hour
0.0325 x 24 = $0.78 per day
0.78 x 30 = $23.4 per month.
On the other hand, a 1,500-watt space heater will amount to the following charges;
1,500 watts ÷ 1,000 (to arrive at kilowatts) = 1.5 kW
Therefore, 1.5 x 0.13 = $0.195 per hour
0.195 x 24 = $4.68 per day
4.68 x 30 = $140.4 per month.
The above calculations represent energy charges only. While an average heat lamp will cost about $23.4 per month to run, you’d spend $140.4 per month on a space heater.
This is also assuming both appliances are used for 24 hours every day and 30 days a month. Feel free to calculate your own running cost based on how you use it.
Another important component to note is that a heat lamp bulb will require replacement after some time. They typically last around 3-4 months, and replacing them should cost between $10 and $20.
If you factor replacement cost in and the fact that the average space heater will last upwards of 10 years, it may appear that a space heater will cost less in the long run.
Also, you may not need to run your space heater for 24 hours every day and every day for the entire month.
Which Is Better Between a Heat Lamp And Space Heater?
This largely depends on what you intend to use them for. If you need an appliance solely for heating, we’ll advise you to go with a space heater because it tends to provide more heat overall.
However, if you require heating in a secluded spot, a tiny area, or you need a combination of heating and illumination, specifically for animal enclosures, a heat lamp is better.
Note that a heat lamp is also best suited for bathroom use as some of them are waterproof and will provide the concentrated heating you desire.
To be practical, such heating appliances are only required in winter which often lasts 3-4 months each year.
If your region has such clearly defined seasons, it may make more sense to use heat lamps than space heaters. You can dedicate one heat lamp per winter season and still spend less than when you use a space heater.
When Is It Best to Use A Heat Lamp And When To Use A Space Heater?
Heat lamps come in different types and designs, for different purposes. There are catering heat lamps, animal heat lamps, heat lamps meant for plants, paint curing heat lamps, heat lamps for bathrooms, and so on.
So, if you need a heating appliance for such applications, it is best to use a heat lamp designed for them. Heat lamps are also best suited for small concentrated areas, rather than whole room usage.
Also, they are great for situations where heating and lighting are required, like in a hatchery or vivarium.
On the other hand, a space heater is best suited for small areas and single rooms. They are great as a smaller alternative to central heaters and are best used in a bedroom, nursery, living room, study, etc.
Whether it’s a heat lamp or space heater, getting the right amount of heat for the right price can be negotiated, especially with the plethora of options available out there.
If you need to choose between the two, you need to understand your specific needs, usage culture and budget and make a choice based on the information we’ve provided in this post.
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