There are a number of obvious advantages of choosing a natural gas infrared heater. Firstly, they are quiet – there is no large air mover which is going to force you to turn up the volume on the TV or have the neighbors complaining.
Obviously one of the main attractions of infrared heaters is that they can be used on patios, where they can keep you warm even on those chilly winter nights. Then, perhaps the biggest draw is their efficiency. A good natural gas infrared heater will use half the energy of a conventional gas-fired unit.
If choosing this type of heater is easy, then finding the best rated natural gas infrared heater involves a bit more work. Having looked at a number of brands and models and assessed them on a range of criteria, my preferred choice is this Procom MN100HPA heater.
Taking a closer look at the MN100HPA
This heater has its own oxygen depletion system for optimum safety and features a diamond mesh grill on the front. It is manually controlled and has two different heat settings. It measures 22 x 17 x 8 inches and weighs just under 16 pounds. Ignition is triggered through a simple push-button. This heater uses 10,000 BTUs, has a minimum gas inlet pressure of 3/8 inch and a maximum of seven. An optional blower is available but does not come with the heater as a standard. As the full product name suggests, it doesn’t have any vents.
What’s So Good About It?
The oxygen depletion system is a major, potentially life-saving feature. It works by monitoring the level of oxygen in the room, which tends to fall as the gas flame burns. When the oxygen readings are low, the system will shut off the heater. This is important, as in badly ventilated rooms, oxygen levels can decrease to the point where anyone in the room may lose consciousness. As the fire continues to burn, carbon monoxide is produced, which can quickly kill an unconscious person.
In terms of its regular operation, this heater is extremely efficient – ensuring that over 99% of heat generated stays in the room.
What Could Be Better?
Some people might not be impressed by the fact that this heater doesn’t use a thermostat – you’ll need to switch it on and off whenever you want to use it. In my view, this is actually a preferable way to use infrared heaters, however. Using a thermostat can often lead to wasted energy – such as when the heater turns itself on, but there is nobody in the room. Infrared heaters work quickly, too – if you walk into a cold room and switch the heater on, you will feel the benefit within a matter of seconds.
What Makes It the Best?
The MN100HPA ticks a lot of boxes – it’s safe, efficient, easy to install and will last a long time.
Runner-Up #1 – Procom 5-Plaque Vent-Free Gas Heater
It uses up to 30,000 BTU and is unsurprisingly bigger – measuring 26 x 9 x 23.5 inches and weighing 34.4 pounds. Like its smaller cousin, it has the additional option of using with a blower.
This heater is more powerful and is therefore suited to larger spaces and more regular usage. As such, it does have a thermostat valve, which can be used instead of manual settings.
There have been some reports, however, of problems with the valve, leaving users to revert to manual usage anyway.
Runner-Up #2 – Dyna-Glo IR30NMDG-1 Wall Heater
This is another powerful heater, which also uses up to 30,000 BTU and is designed to heat up to 1,000 square feet. It is slightly larger than the Procom 5-Plaque, at 28.1 x 10.5 x 24.1 inches, but actually weighs less, at 25 pounds.
It doesn’t come with a thermostat, but you can purchase one separately, should you wish. There are three manual settings and five plaques.
The main selling point of this heater is its power – many people are using it to keep their dehumidifiers and piping at a safe temperature through the cold winters. If you plan to do the same, you’ll need to ensure that the space you heat is well-ventilated.
Runner-Up #3 – HeatStar High-Intensity F191929 Heater
It measures 60.5 x 21.5 x 11 inches and weighs 49 pounds. A thermostat is optional with this model.
If you’re looking for more power – perhaps to heat a large garage or even a warehouse, you might decide to go with this heater.
The main downside, for me, is that it doesn’t come with an oxygen depletion sensor as standard, so you’ll need to ensure that there is good ventilation in the space you want to heat.
A Final Look
Whenever you opt for a natural gas infrared heater, aside from making the most of their benefits, you’ll need to deal with some other considerations associated with this type of heater. As we have seen, burning gas depletes oxygen supplies, and can be dangerous. In addition to this, some infrared heaters can take up a lot of space, due to their long tubes.
Some of the brands and models on the market deal with these questions better than others, and in my opinion, the Procom MN100HPA does the best job of getting this right. The right model for you will depend on your specific circumstances. If the MN100HOA isn’t right for you, there’s a good chance one of the others will be.