Oil Radiator Heater vs. Infrared - Comparison

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Having an efficient, reliable, and cost-effective home heating system is important for every homeowner.

There are many options out there, from the whole-house to room type, and we will focus on comparing two affordable ones: oil radiator heater vs. infrared, both powered by electricity.

Due to their small and compact size, both heating systems are used in room heating.

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Let’s have a look at how they work, their advantages, disadvantages, and which one is better.

Oil radiator heaters review

How does it work?

Oil radiator heaters, also known as oil-filled radiators, use electricity to heat oil stored inside the metallic radiator housing and transfer that heat to the surrounding air. Heated air rises toward the ceiling while lower colder air gets pushed between the radiator walls, resulting in air circulation and distributing warm air throughout the room.


  • Portable. Due to the small and compact size, oil radiator heaters can be easily moved from one room to another as long as there is a power outlet to plug them in. They often come with caster wheels and carrying handles for easy transport. Oil-filled radiators are equipped with an electric cord which you need to plug into the electric outlet.
  • Save energy. Due to the excellent heat transfer properties and because you heat only a room you are in, oil-filled radiators can help you save energy. If you have to heat more than one room, you have to buy multiple devices.
  • Since there are no moving parts, they heat air noise-free, making it suitable for night use.
  • No need for refilling. The radiators are permanently sealed, but still, there are complaints about the oil smell (which disappears right after heating up).
  • Oil radiators have excellent heat transfer properties, but they do not provide quick heating since it takes some time to warm the oil.
  • Radiators have a low surface temperature, so there is no risk of scalding burns and unhealthy dry air. Some models are equipped with high-temperature protection.
  • It produces the maximum amount of radiant heat, increasing comfort and safety.
  • It comes with an adjustable thermostat and several heat settings. Some models are equipped with digital controls and a remote for your desired comfort level.
  • Always nice to have it available if your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter.
  • Nice and sleek look so that it can be installed anywhere in your home.
  • Durable, versatile, and reliable. There is a wide range of oil-filled electric radiators that can suit any taste and living space.
  • No maintenance and service is required.
  • Continuous heat when off.

Why you should use an oil-filled radiator

Oil-filled radiators are ideal for heating small and medium-size rooms efficiently and without leaving your home dry. While they use electricity for heating, they utilize oil as a medium to transfer heat efficiently.

Due to excellent heat retention, once the radiator is heated, it stays warm for a long time. Better models include many cool features such as a remote control, digital controls, safety protection, and multiple control options.

Homeowners can enjoy a warm and cozy environment without being disturbed by the annoying sound as found in other heaters.

Infrared heaters review

How does it work?

Infrared heating is similar to heating from the sun - the heat is a product of light. Infrared heaters convert electricity into radiant heat and transfer that heat from the heater to the objects and people directly. You feel warm because the light that hits your skin and clothes keeps you warm without heating the air in between.


  • Infrared heaters are designed for quick, direct heating. They are a great solution if you want to warm up instantly.
  • Great for spot heating and on the go.
  • They provide savings since the thermostat can be set lower than in hot air systems. Heaters use much less amount of energy than conventional heaters making them energy efficient.
  • Infrared heaters burn clean.
  • Infrared heating reduces allergies and does not produce dry heat. These heaters don’t rely on air current to transfer heat, reducing the risk of dust and other particles circulating a room.
  • It can be used indoors and outdoors, providing immediate heating no matter if it is cold or not.
  • While they have a protective metal mesh, it still heats up and becomes hot to touch. Not as safe as oil radiator heaters.
  • Flexibility. Heaters can be used in residential and commercial applications.
  • Infrared heaters can be hung from the ceiling, saving you living space.
  • Heaters are lightweight and easy to carry. They are lighter than oil-filled radiators.
  • Bigger models are equipped with caster wheels.
  • While oil-filled radiators are mainly large, infrared heater size varies from model to model.
  • Affordable.
  • Easier to service. Low maintenance.
  • Easy to store.
  • It stops heating when off.

Why you should use an infrared heater

As opposed to oil-filled radiators, infrared heaters can be used indoors and outdoors no matter the weather (cold, wind…). While they heat objects exposed to their heating tubes, infrared heaters can provide immediate heating without heating surround air. This is why they are recommended for cold areas such as garages, patios, and such.

As they heat in one direction, they are ideal at heating one person only or spot heating.

While they glow in the dark and produce high temperatures, they should not be used overnight and when away.

Oil-filled radiators vs. infrared heaters comparison

Type Oil-filled radiators Infrared heaters
Heating recovery Slow Fast
Efficiency Efficient Less efficient (only in front of the unit)
Even heat distribution Yes No
Large space heating Yes No
Heating capacity High Low
Heating modes Yes Yes
Digital display Yes Yes
Remote Yes Yes
Plug-and-play Yes Yes
Use Indoors Indoors and outdoors
Mount Floor standing Wall and ceiling
Comfort Better Good
Maintenance Low Low
Safety Safe to touch Not safe to touch
Size Large Small to large
Weight Heavy Lightweight to heavy



So which one is better; oil radiator heater or infrared?

As you could see, there are many advantages of either type, and the best heating device will be the one that works best for your unique situation.

Buy an oil radiator heater if you want to heat the whole room evenly and with greater comfort, or buy an infrared heater if you need quick heating either indoors or outdoors.

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