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Far Infrared vs Near Infrared Heater Differences?

Infrared heating harnesses the power of infrared radiation to provide direct, stable, and even warmth, transcending traditional heating methods with its efficiency and comfort. 

At the heart of this technology lie two distinct types: far infrared (FIR) and near-infrared (NIR), each with unique characteristics and optimal applications.

FIR, known for its deep, gentle warmth, is ideal for indoor environments, promoting health and comfort without visible light.

In contrast, NIR offers immediate, intense heat, making it perfect for outdoor settings and targeted heat applications due to its high temperature and bright glowing light. 

This guide embarks on a detailed comparison of far infrared vs near infrared heating technologies, illuminating the basic distinctions and applications that make each suitable for specific heating needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Far infrared heaters are ideal for heating the home due to their silent operation, and having no glare. 
  • They also penetrate more deeply providing better and more comfortable warmth.
  • Near-infrared heaters are best suited to outdoor spaces or for targeted heat in places like garages.

Comparison of FIR and NIR

Differences in Wavelength and Penetration

Far Infrared (FIR): FIR stands out for its gentle, deep penetrating heat, akin to the sun’s natural warmth. Operating at approximately 194 degrees Fahrenheit, FIR heaters emit long wavelengths that are easily absorbed by the human body, making them ideal for indoor spaces.

Near Infrared (NIR): NIR, with its short wavelength and high frequency, offers a stark contrast. Often operating in the region of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, NIR heaters provide immediate, intense warmth, making them primarily suitable for outdoor spaces and targeted indoor applications.

Specific Benefits of Each Type

Far Infrared (FIR):

Efficient Indoor HeatingFIR's ability to spread evenly across larger areas is well-suited for residential and commercial indoor environments. It can be installed high on walls, allowing for efficient heat distribution without taking up valuable space.
Zero Light EmissionFIR heaters emit no visible light, making them ideal for spaces where maintaining ambiance or avoiding distractions is important. Suitable for bedrooms, living rooms, offices, and classrooms.
Sustained ComfortFIR heating is absorbed more deeply into the skin and muscles, providing a soothing effect similar to natural sunlight. This promotes better circulation and aids in recovery and relaxation, ideal for all-day use.
Energy EfficiencyOperating at lower temperatures and mimicking natural warmth, FIR heaters are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Their efficiency is comparable to LED lighting, offering savings over traditional heating methods.

Near Infrared (NIR)

Instant Heat DeliveryNIR heaters deliver heat almost instantly, perfect for areas requiring quick temperature adjustments. This is especially useful for outdoor areas or settings needing sporadic heat.
Targeted HeatingWith high frequency and short wavelength, NIR provides focused heat to specific areas, ideal for workspaces, garages, or outdoors where localized warmth is preferred without heating the entire space.
Versatile ApplicationsNot limited to outdoor use, NIR heaters are also suitable indoors for therapeutic treatments or targeted warmth in larger rooms. Their versatility extends to commercial applications for quick, efficient heating.
Mood LightingNIR heaters emit light, which can be used to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in outdoor spaces like patios, gardens, and dining areas. The light offers a dual function of providing warmth and enhancing ambiance.

Far Infrared Heating: Deep Penetration for Maximum Benefits

How FIR works

FIR’s operation, reminiscent of the sun’s gentle warmth, is designed for deep tissue penetration, promoting a healthy living environment.

This “comfort heat” is not only soothing but also energy-efficient, mirroring the principles of LED lighting in its operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Health Benefits of FIR

The deep penetration of FIR warmth supports enhanced blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and overall well-being, providing a natural and therapeutic heat source that is beneficial for both mind and body.

Example of an FIR Heater - Inspire Picture Radiant Heat Panel

example of FIR heater

Inspire Picture Radiant Heat Panel is fully customizable allowing you to have any image of your choice on its glass panel. 

It comes in a range of sizes and power outputs suitable for room sizes ranging from 32-312 feet.

This highly efficient indoor heater is available in a gloss or matte finish and has compatibility with the Herschel MD2 thermostat for easy control.

10-year guarantee. 

Price $529.00-$1,399.

Inspire Radiant Picture Panel

Near Infrared Heating: Targeted Relief and Skin Rejuvenation

Characteristics of NIR

NIR’s distinct advantage lies in its immediate heat delivery. This high-energy, short-wavelength heat is perfect for quick, targeted warmth, making it ideal for outdoor heaters and specialized medical applications.

Health benefits of NIR

Though NIR provides less deep penetration than FIR, it is effective for surface-level warmth and has uses in skin rejuvenation and targeted muscle relief, leveraging its intense heat for therapeutic purposes.

Example of an NIR Heater - MALIBU 2000 Watts

example of NIR heater

The Malibu 2000W is a commercial-grade NIR heater perfect for outdoor use. 

It is freestanding allowing it to be easily repositioned, has ultra-low glare, is 60% more efficient than standard alternative heaters, and comes with remote control. 

10-year guarantee. 

Price $449.00.

Malibu NIR Heater

Pros and Cons of FIR & NIR Comparison Table

AspectFIR BenefitsFIR DrawbacksNIR BenefitsNIR Drawbacks
Health & ComfortEnhances comfort
Improves circulation
Preserves natural ambiance without visible light
Warmth may take longer to feel.
Consistent power needed for sustained benefits
Less suitable for sporadic use
Provides immediate warmth
Ideal for pain relief
High intensity may cause discomfort over time
Visible light can be distracting
Efficiency & CostMore energy-efficient for long-term use.
Lower operating temperatures reduce costs.
Higher initial costs than conventional heating
Not as effective outdoors
Cost-effective for short-term use.
High energy transfer efficiency
Higher energy input required for immediate effect
Increases costs over long periods
Versatility & ApplicationIdeal for indoor heating
Allows strategic placement
Efficient heat distribution
Less effective outdoors
Requires positioning
Great for outdoor use and spot heating
Portable models offer flexibility
Not suitable for whole-room heating in large spaces
Limited indoor suitability due to intensity and light emission
Environmental ImpactNo emissions
Healthier indoor air
Cleaner, more sustainable heating option
Environmental footprint in manufacturing and disposalReduces energy waste in targeted scenarios
Does not directly emit pollutants
Potential for light pollution affects wildlife
Requires responsible positioning


Which is better far-infrared or near-infrared?

The “better” technology depends on your specific needs: FIR for prolonged, gentle warmth indoors and NIR for immediate, intense heat, primarily outdoors.

Which penetrates deeper near infrared or far infrared?

Far infrared penetrates deeper, offering more uniform and comfortable heating, akin to natural sunlight.

Is red light therapy near or far infrared?

Red light therapy utilizes near-infrared light, targeting skin and muscle treatment at the surface level.

What does far infrared do to the body?

FIR warms the body gently and deeply, promoting relaxation, improved circulation, and supporting overall health benefits.

Choose the Right Heater, And You Won’t See Red

Assessing far infrared vs near infrared heating technologies requires understanding their unique advantages and intended applications.

Far infrared heaters are ideal for indoor spaces seeking to promote health and comfort.

Near-infrared heaters, on the other hand, excel in outdoor settings or for specific therapeutic uses.

Understanding the differences between FIR and NIR will guide you to the perfect heating solution for your home or business.

If you would like to discuss the best options for adding an infrared heater to your home, indoor or outdoor, get in touch today.