What Are Panel Heaters
Panel heaters are a supplementary, not a main source of heating, as they are low powered appliances. Typically they range from 100 to 800 watts and are used where low-level background heat is required, such as passageways and cold spots.
Sometimes panel heaters are called far infra-red heaters, Infra-red is the same radiation used by the sun to heat the earth, this form of heat energy has many proven health benefits.
Far Infra-red rays are invisible and unlike ultra violet rays do not cause harm to skin and have been shown to stimulate the body’s basic biological functions and stimulate metabolism.
You can read about the benefits of Far Infra-red at the Get Fitt website
Panel heaters cost from under £50 for a basic model to £2000+ for the most sophisticated Hi-tec luxury models made from exotic materials with advanced control systems.
Laminated stiff infra red panels suitable for painting
They are extremely versatile and have no exposed elements, no liquid fillings, no moving parts and do not consume oxygen or produce any gases, odours or smoke.
They can be used freestanding, be wall or ceiling hung anywhere in the home, some are designed to be painted over to blend in with your decor, others are printed with pictures or artwork.
Transparent Thermo Glass Panel Heater
With new technology, there has been an innovative use of new materials including ceramics, transparent and coloured glass 'thermo-panels' and woven fabric panel heaters which can be rolled up like a blind.
How Panel Heaters Work
Panel heaters are slim solid units made of a fine mesh heating element sandwiched between layers of other materials.
The materials can be hard as in ceramic heaters or soft as in 'roller blind type panel heaters.
The heating mesh can be so fine that it appears transparent so that see through glass heaters can be made.
Panel heaters radiate heat using Infra-red rays, these do not warm the air in a room or create air currents (convection) the rays transfer heat to objects such as furniture, walls and floors which absorb the heat slowly releasing it.
The radiated heat will also warm up people standing in front of the heater, when positioning your heater you need to direct the heat at areas you need to heat.
Many convection heaters with flat fronts are advertised as panel heaters, such as this Futura panel heater available from Amazon and our recommended best buy Adax Neo Electric Panel radiators.
Check carefully before you buy, as convection heaters heat by causing cause warm air currents which move dust around the room and will dry the air, real infrared panel heaters do not.
Convector heaters are also much thicker, panel heaters are rarely more than 30mm thick, a slim convector heater is about 100mm thick.
Because Panel heaters cause very little air movement they are ideal for people with asthma or other respiratory problems, they are also the heater of choice for art studios.
The majority are splash-proof so can be used in bathrooms. Look for the Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, if it has a moisture rating (the second number) of 4 or above it is bathroom safe.
Like oil filled radiators the surfaces can get hot, some up to 95°C, which can present a burn hazard. If used in sickrooms, nurseries or children's bedrooms they must be positioned out of reach
Visit our Electric Heater Information Page for more info' on how different electric heaters work.
Which Size Panel Heater Do You Need?
An infra-red panel heater uses 50 watts to heat an area of 1m2 in an average room with a ceiling height of 2.5meters.
Example: For a room measuring 16 m² the panel heaters should be 16 x 50 watts = 800 watts
We advise using two panel heaters in larger spaces, e.g: for a 16m2 room, two infra-red heaters at 500 or 600 watts would be better than a single 800-watt one.
This does not necessarily lead to lead to greater power consumption as two optimally placed infra-red heaters will heat the room more quickly and so can be turned off sooner.
More infra-red heaters in the same room will ensure a better and more uniform distribution of heat.
The larger the surface area and the higher the surface temperature of the infra-red heater, the more intensive and far-reaching the radiated heat, one with a surface temperature of 95°C will give more heat over a greater distance than one with a surface operating temperature of 65° C.