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The advantages and disadvantages of halogen heaters

halogen heater in living room with grey sofa and white drawers in background - advantages and disadvantages of halogen heaters

Is a halogen heater the best way of keeping warm? We find out

Fast, affordable and energy-efficient: halogen has been used in heating for decades, but are there any downsides to using halogen heaters?

With energy bills having remained comparatively high, investing in a heater can offer a low-cost solution to staying warm, both indoors and out. However, with so many different types available on the market these days, it can be hard to determine which type of heater best suits your needs. Should you opt for an electric radiator, oil-filled radiator or perhaps, an infrared heater?

Halogen heaters are an option, too; but you’ll need to consider factors such as running costs, the size of the space you wish to heat and the length of time you’re likely to use the heater before deciding if it’s the best way to keep your house warm.

Here, we run through the advantages and disadvantages of halogen heaters, so you can be informed – and keep warm, if the temperature drops. And for more tips on staying cosy while saving money, read our longer guide on the best ways to save energy.

Advantages and disadvantages of halogen heaters

What is a halogen heater?

Like traditional, two-bar electric heaters, halogen heaters are electrically powered portable heaters. They can be designed for indoor or outdoor use; halogen patio heaters can be tower style, hanging pedestal or wall-mounted bar heaters, while indoor halogen heaters are usually the bar style.

How do halogen heaters work?

Halogen heaters use a heating bulb and lamp over a halogen element to radiate heat, as opposed to electric coils or other fuel. Halogen heaters produce a glow and intense heat in the area immediately surrounding the front of the element, rather than dispersing the warmth around the room, for example; though some halogen heaters will oscillate, enabling them to heat a larger area.

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What are the advantages of halogen heaters?

Halogen heaters can be an excellent way of heating a space, for a number of reasons:

Safer than gas heaters or wood-fired stoves– Since halogen heaters use electricity they do not release carbon monoxide into the air of your room, meaning they’re typically a lot safer to use.

Energy efficient for single room heating – Halogen heaters are, like other forms of electric heating, highly efficient. They transform electrical energy into heat with little wastage, and because you’re only using them to heat one room at a time, you may see savings on your energy bills compared to firing up the central heating.

Fast – Halogen bulbs begin to radiate heat almost immediately, eliminating any heat-up time associated with other types of heater. Conversely, it also means they do not retain heat as long after they’ve been turned off, so your room will cool down quicker as well.

Quiet – There is no fan system in a halogen heater, so unless you go for an oscillating model, your halogen heater should be silent.

Portable – In general, halogen heaters are extremely lightweight and compact, making them a great option to take with you on weekends away, or moving from room to room.

Easy to use – Halogen heaters require no set-up, and should be ready to use as soon as you’ve plugged in the unit. There are usually only a few heat settings available and they’re simple to operate.

Effective – Providing directional heat, when used in a small space halogen heaters will quickly heat people and objects positioned directly in front of the lamps.

halogen heater in living room with cat and person in background under blanket - advantages and disadvantages of halogen heaters

Affordable – You can expect to pay up to £150 or as little as £15 for a halogen heater depending on its size, brand and power rating. Garden halogen heaters are more expensive and you could spend double this figure on a powerful tower style model

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What are the disadvantages of halogen heaters?

While halogen heaters are a great option for providing warmth in super-quick time, there are a few downsides to consider:

Safety – Halogen heaters become extremely hot to the touch, so can prove dangerous around children and animals. They can also be a fire hazard, if objects are in close proximity to the heater. If purchasing a halogen heater, look for a cool-touch housing and an automatic shut-off function that engages should the heater fall over or overheat.

Heating area – Halogen heaters are best for heating small areas and you’ll benefit most from the emitted heat if you place them close by. If you want to bring warmth to larger spaces more effectively, then you’ll need to reposition your heater or consider one of our tried-and-tested best conservatory heaters instead, or one of the best fan heaters which actively push hot air around your room.

Costly – Despite halogen being an affordable option in many ways (as detailed above), if you’re running the heater continuously over longer periods then it will end up using a lot of electricity and can prove expensive as a result.

Nighttime use – It’s essential that halogen heaters are switched off while you’re asleep. Opt for one of these Expert Reviews approved electric blankets instead.

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