Radiant Heaters vs. Convection Heaters

People have been utilizing thermal heating sources since the beginning of time; from the open fires of cavemen to the modern day radiators, air conditioners and heaters. Everyone has profited from the benefits of this technology, but few of us know the science behind the transfer of heat from a heater to the surrounding environment. In simple terms, we will try to describe the types of heaters, how they work and their advantages and disadvantages.

First of all, a quick reminder of what we all learned in high school Physics; air has different density in different temperatures. Hot air rises because is is less dense than cold air,and this movement or streams creates a phenomenon called natural convection. Heating devices are built around this principle, and can be separated in two main categories, the forced convection heaters and the radiant heaters.

Forced convection heaters, like fan heaters, heating pumps and air conditioners, work by regulating the airflow, making it circulate through the body of the appliance and across its heating element. The air around the heater warms up, therefore it becomes less dense and rises. While they are widely used for heating purposes, they have a main disadvantage: they need to constantly circulate the air, in order to be effective, something that is only possible in a closed environment.

Radiant heaters, on the other hand, use the principles of radiant heat to transfer the heat from the heating source to the surrounding air and the nearest objects. Unlike forced convection heaters, they do not benefit just from natural convection, but also from radiation, re-radiation and conduction, therefore they make sure that the objects in the space are mainly heated directly and not just by warm streams of air.

As a result, they have proven to be much more effective in warming both interior and exterior spaces and keeping a stable temperature in the environment. It is obvious why radiant heaters are steadily gaining ground against convection heaters, especially when it comes to supplying outdoor heating.

However, keeping in mind the basic principle of natural convection, which would be more effective, a tall outdoor gas heater, an infrared lamp mounted on a high spot or a heating table, distributing warmth directly to the body and the lower colder layers of air? The answer is more than apparent, and all that is left is to turn the switch on and enjoy the most pleasant outdoor experience, with Galavito RESTO Heating Table!

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