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What is a Halogen Heater?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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A halogen heater is a lightweight and portable heating device that can be plugged into an electrical source and provide warmth in an enclosed area. This type of heater is distinguished by the use of halogen elements rather than electrical coils or propane or butane conductors to provide the source of heat. Current models of the halogen heater can be used in several different environments, and are equipped with a number of safety features.

Oscillating halogen heaters are an excellent choice for distributing heat within a room. Using the same premise as the oscillating tabletop fan, the idea is to heat the air as it circulates through the oscillating halogen heater, then propel the heated air in a broad arc around the space. This is different from heaters that use blowers to discharge warm air in a direct line from the heating elements. An oscillating heater will help to spread warm air throughout the space quickly and with a higher degree of efficiency.

Halogen heaters are often a nice way to augment existing heating systems within the home. Since the heaters come in several different sizes, it is possible to purchase one that will work well for a bedroom, an enclosed Florida room, or even as an added heat source to warm feet while sitting at a desk. Heat adjustments on most units make it possible to provide as little or as much extra heat as needed.

Most halogen heaters are equipped with a casing that remains cool to the touch, as well as an automatic shut down in the event the device is accidentally tipped over. These two features make the heater an ideal source for additional heat when children or pets are in the home. With decreased chances of any occupant of the space getting burned or the device tipping over and causing a fire, a halogen heater is definitely a safe option.

The price of a halogen heater is also cost effective, when the durability of the heater is taken into consideration. While costing more than some portable radiant heaters that use standard electrical coils, a halogen heater tends to provide more years of service before replacement is necessary. Along with the sturdiness of the device, some studies indicate that halogen heaters require less electricity to produce the same level of heat. When coupled with the enhanced safety features and the energy efficient nature of the heater, the cost becomes even less of a factor.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon319396 — On Feb 12, 2013

I am intrigued by the statement, "some studies indicate that halogen heaters require less electricity to produce the same level of heat."

With these non-halogen electrical heaters that are less efficient, what happens to the electrical energy that is consumed, but not converted to heat?

This is important, as we may have to rewrite the laws of thermodynamics to accommodate this discovery.

By anon143892 — On Jan 18, 2011

How can I test the elements of my halogen heater? I am not able to measure the resistance. I am only able to assume that I must connect 240 volts across across the element behind an appropriate protective screen. Is this feasible, possible and safe? I am an electrician by trade, but have no knowledge of halogen lighting and heating elements other than to fit and use them.

By anon135137 — On Dec 17, 2010

Do halogen heaters or fluorescent lights produce bromine to air? --shorouk

By anon127733 — On Nov 17, 2010

I have eczema. is a halogen heater safe for me?

By anon127382 — On Nov 16, 2010

Are halogen heaters silent to run? There's obviously a noise with fan heaters, and also I find my oil-filled radiator 'clicks' when it's on. I'm keen to get a small heater for a spare room that a friend will be sleeping in, but don't want to get one that will make a noise that could disturb them when sleeping (plan is to have a timer switch the heater on, an hour before they get up to heat the room). Would a halogen heater be silent?

By anon125857 — On Nov 10, 2010

i had an electric fire affect my stove and it used to cost a bomb to run. then i saw these halogen heaters and i was told they're energy efficient heaters so i bought three of them and had one in the hall way, one in the living room and one in the two bedrooms.

I used to turn them on in the morning for an hour and when it got very cold i would leave them on in the bedrooms, on one bar in the hallway, two bars in the living room and three bars and my bill was very low as if i never used a electric heater at all. i find them good and safe and saves you money on electric bills.

By anon121152 — On Oct 23, 2010

Does anyone know if halogen heaters safe for pregnant women? Need your expert advice.

By anon87150 — On May 28, 2010

Halogen heaters are basically infrared light bulbs, and heat by radiance rather than convection. Surfaces facing the heater are warmed by absorbing the infra-red radiation emitted. They don't "propel" air at all. Very little of their heat is lost to convection.

For this reason halogens are good for use in areas which can't be well sealed or insulated, and where cold air would just blow away the heat of an oil-filled or other convection heater. A patio is a good example. This is why outdoor gas heaters are always of the radiant type.

By anon58960 — On Jan 05, 2010

I have a halogen heater and borrowed a convection heater as my central heating is disabled and it's the coldest winter here for a century.

Watching my electric meter disc spin round it's clear the convection heater uses a lot more electric than my halogen. However, it heats more of the room up too.

By anon56667 — On Dec 16, 2009

anon24099, creating light requires a huge amount less energy than creating heat does. even with the energy used to create light it is still more efficient.

By Shalabii — On Mar 29, 2009

Hey is it possible to get a tan off sittin' in front of the halogen heater for too long? Am I at risk of skin disease from the toxic fumes?

By anon28056 — On Mar 10, 2009

In reply to anon19217:

Halogens are indeed toxic, though not as toxic as, say, mercury. Astatin is definitely not used, as it is indeed radioactive and also quite expensive. Halogen lamps most commonly use iodine or bromine. Iodine and bromine are an irritant to skin and mucous membranes, such as the mouth, eyes and nose. When inhaled and ingested they are indeed also toxic. But lamps hardly contain any halogen, so the risk is minimal.

If you want to feel safe, you could always open a window and leave the room for a moment if a lamp breaks. But they are definitely less hazardous than fluorescent lights.

By anon24099 — On Jan 07, 2009

It is in no way more energy efficient than normal convective or oil filled heaters. Some part of electricity you use goes in producing light and the other part produces heat. So the electricity that produces light is definitely a wastage unless you want to say that you want the light also.

The only advantage is that they heat up quickly.

If your room is small use a convective or fan heater. For bigger room use oil filled heater. they are better in term of energy efficiency.

By anon19390 — On Oct 11, 2008

Your question would make a great topic for a wiseGEEK article. Maybe you would use the wiseGEEK Features menu at the top of the page and select "Suggest a Topic"?

By anon19217 — On Oct 08, 2008

I read on wikipedia, livepedia and other sites that halogen elements are toxic and one of them -called astatin, I think- is radioactive-artificially manufactured and not found in nature. Could you please tell me how safe these halogen heaters are?

thanks a lot

By mintyone — On May 27, 2008

I own a "centameter" - a little LCD display device that shows how much each appliance uses in cents/hour in electricity as I use it. Of my oil column heater, my convection heater and my halogen heater, the halogen is cheapest to run. Also it looks nice and warm because it is so bright and orange!

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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