Metal sheath vs. quartz and ceramic heaters. Advantages and disadvantages

Which is the better type of small electric radiant heaters?

The traditional infrared metal sheath? Quartz tube heaters? The increasing common small electric ceramic heaters?

The short answer: ceramic heaters.

Though small quartz heaters may involve a few advantages, ceramic heaters are a much better fit. We explain why below.

Ceramic, Metal-Sheath and Quartz Heaters are Radiant Electric Heaters.
Radiant electric heaters are intended to heat directly people in their line of sight.
They are not designed to heat entire rooms.
They are personal spot heaters.
They are typically small and cheap.
They heat up quickly.

Metal-sheath infrared heaters disadvantages

Their electrical heating element (the electrical resistance wire) is typically made of nickel-chromium.

They provide a flexible, relatively safe and well-known type of heating.

But these heaters take the longest to heat and to achieve max radiation capacity. In other words: they are more expensive to run.

They are disappearing quickly from the residential market. They do not provide the styles and the features of modern ceramic heaters.

They are an outdated choice.

Advantages and disadvantages of small quartz room heaters

These heaters provide the lowest consumption in watts; and they warm very quickly – more than ceramic or metal-sheath heaters.

Unfortunately they produce an intense and fierce heat, which is a cause of complaints by users (“dry eyes”, burning sense, unpleasant light).

They have to be mounted at a proper distance, to avoid such symptoms or - according to the ICNIRP (International Commission on non-ionizing radiation protection) - eye and skin problems.

On the other hand quartz elements are notoriously short-lived and expensive to replace – which more than outweighs the possible advantages.

Small ceramic heaters advantages

Ceramic heaters do not pose the safety concerns of small quartz heaters. And come in different styles, and provide much lower running costs than sheath metal heaters.

See, for more details: Small electric ceramic heaters.




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