If you're in the market for a space heater but don't want a model that creates a lot of breeze and noise, the Dr. Infrared Heater is a good choice. The controls are very intuitive and simple to use, as are the buttons on the remote. Unlike other appliances we've tested, we love that this type of heater doesn't heat the air — rather, it emits infrared energy that radiates heat in the direct line of sight of the heating element. This means more warmth and less hot air blowing around and dropping the humidity.Editor's Note: We updated this review for Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968 on June 8, 2022, with a hot take on value and a section highlighting other comparable products that may better suit your needs and budget.
Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968 Review
Pros: Great remote, has wheels, elementary controls
Cons: Bulky, no oscillation
Manufacturer: Dr. Infrared Heater
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Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968
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|Pros||Great remote, has wheels, elementary controls||Raises temperatures quickly, great remote, takes up very little floor space||Fantastic performance, convenient features, fall-over protection||Great heat output, tip over protection, remote control||Compact, affordable, doubles as a fan|
|Cons||Bulky, no oscillation||No fan-only setting, keeps running when knocked over||No fan-only option||Loud fan, slow to warm up||Lacks features and settings, mediocre performance|
|Bottom Line||If you're looking for a toasty warm infrared space heater, this is an excellent choice||If you need a device that cranks up the heat and has a small footprint and a variety of convenient features, this is a fantastic choice||A solid option that offers exceptional overall performance at a great price||A simple, user-friendly model that performs well but has higher operational costs||If you need a small, barebones space heater on a budget, this is our recommendation|
|Rating Categories||Dr. Infrared Heater...||Lasko Ceramic Digit...||Comfort Zone Oscill...||Comfort Zone Cerami...||Amazon Basics 1500W|
|Personal Heat (40%)|
|Small Room Heating (20%)|
|Power Consumption (10%)|
|Specs||Dr. Infrared Heater...||Lasko Ceramic Digit...||Comfort Zone Oscill...||Comfort Zone Cerami...||Amazon Basics 1500W|
|Measured Temperature Increase at 60 Minutes||8.6||10.8||9.9||12.1||10.1|
|Thermostat User Interface||Digital||Digital||Digital||Digital||Dial|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dr. Infrared Heater is an averagely performing space heater. The beauty of infrared space heaters is that they don't actually heat the air. Instead, they emit infrared radiation that warms objects in the direct line of sight of the heating element. This type of heater creates a feel that is less dry and breezy than ceramic models.
We divided the personal heating metric into two parts — how well each heater fits and operates underneath a desk and how well they work in a living room setting. Although this device does a good job of producing warmth, it doesn't make sense to use it underneath a desk, as it has a large footprint. It wouldn't comfortably fit underneath an average-sized desk. It performs about average in living room settings. We found that right around five feet away, the Dr. Infrared has a sweet spot, making it perfect for use near couches and chairs.
To measure convenience, we looked at many settings and features — we noted if the heaters had remotes, if the controls were intuitive to use, and if any special elements set any of the models apart from the others.
The Dr. Infrared is very strong when it comes to convenience. Regrettably, this style of heater doesn't offer any sort of oscillation, but it makes up for this shortcoming in other ways. The included remote has the functions of each button spelled out rather than using often confusing symbols like many other models. Although the Dr. Infrared is one of the bulkiest space heaters that we've tested, it does have wheels that aid in mobility, provided that the surface you are using the heater on is concrete, hardwood, tile, or thin carpet.
The timer setting has one-hour increments, and it goes all the way up to 12 hours. We find the option to set the timer for this length of time to be especially useful for long, cold nights or ensuring that you'll be coming home to a toasty room after a day of winter adventuring.
Small Room Heating
To gain objective data, we used a laboratory-grade thermometer to measure how much warmth each heater was able to add to a 161 square foot room in 20-minute increments over a total period of an hour. We made sure that the outside temperature and the temps in adjacent rooms were close to the same for each model's test.
During our small room assessment, the Dr. Infrared did fairly well. This space heater raised the temperature from an ambient room temperature of 62.4 degrees by 8.6 degrees in one hour. The first 20 minutes of operation were especially impressive — it brought the room temperature up by 5.2 degrees during this relatively short period.
We used a wattmeter to measure the number of kilowatts each device consumes in an hour to determine energy costs. We are then able to take this number and multiply it by the national average price of a kilowatt per hour to project costs for periods such as 10 hours, a month, six months, or a year.
The Dr. Infrared is a moderately efficient space heater. At the time of this review, the average energy cost in kilowatts per hour in the United States was 13 cents. After 10 hours of heating on full blast, it used 13.3 kWh, which translates to $1.75 in costs for that period. Running it for 10 hours per day for 30 days would cost you $52.50. Even running around the clock for a month, the going rate for running this model will be approximately $120 — this is relatively cheap to operate compared to other models with a similar 1500 watt power output.
Should You Buy the Dr. Infrared Heater DR-968?
This model is a decent infrared space heater. Although it lacks oscillation, it does a decent job of heating a small room and is perfect for longer-term use in a living room. The Dr. Infrared is a bit on the pricey side, but it's a solid choice considering the functionality of this type of space heater and its great deal of efficiency.
What Other Space Heaters Should You Consider?
Ceramic element heaters are generally cheaper than infrared models like the Dr. Infrared. So if the price is a deciding factor for you, it might make sense to go with a cheaper model, like the value-conscious Amazon Basics 1500W. Even the award-winning Lasko Ceramic Digital Tower costs significantly less than the Dr. Infrared heater.
— Ross Patton and Austin Palmer
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