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What Are the Differences Between Convection and Radiant Heaters?

Written by Warmup Inc on February 27th, 2023 | Choosing a System
modern bathroom with Stickymat

Radiant vs. convection heaters; what’s the difference? Although both forms of heat are used to create warmth in your home, they do it in very different ways.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between a convection and radiant heater and the advantages and disadvantages of both. 

Understanding Radiant Heating vs. Convection Heating

To understand the differences between radiant and convection heat, you must first understand what each method of heat actually is and how it works.

Convection Heating

Convection heating creates warmth by heating the air. Once heated, the warm air then transfers heat to the people and things occupying the space.

convection heater

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating works by heating objects and surfaces directly. Once heated, the objects and surfaces themselves radiate heat.

modern bathroom with Stickymat

Disadvantages of Convection Heating

The fundamental disadvantage of a convection heater vs. radiant heater is that convection heat is warming the air. 

Air is a poor absorber of heat and cannot efficiently or consistently retain heat. Warm air constantly rises and moves towards windows, doors, and other colder or drafty areas of your house. As this mass of warmth moves, its heat disperses, making it difficult for people in the room to feel warm unless they are standing directly next to the origin of the warm air.

In addition, air transfers heat poorly. Think about this; if you are standing next to a vent blowing hot air, you would feel warm, but as soon as you move away from the vent, you are cold again. 

Because of these factors, convection heat is considered a triple inefficiency: 

  • Inefficiency 1: Air does not absorb heat well.
  • Inefficiency 2: As warm air moves, the heat is dispersed.
  • Inefficiency 3: Air transfers heat poorly.

Advantages of Radiant Heating

There are many advantages to heating your home using a radiant heater. 

Unlike convection heat, radiant heat directly heats the people and objects in a room, and eliminates the inefficiencies that plague convection heating. 

Less Wasted Energy/Energy Efficient

Convection heaters warm passing air, which then travels around your home, dispersing heat. Once the remnants of any warm air find you or your family, the heat cannot be efficiently transferred. This creates a situation where a significant amount of energy is required to develop an adequate feeling of warmth. In addition, the blowing, moving hot air causes inconsistent temperatures throughout a room, causing inaccurate readings by home thermostats, which in turn causes more energy use.

Radiant heating, on the other hand, heats you directly, and creates a much more efficient transfer of heat. By eliminating the inefficiencies in convection heating, radiant heat creates an incredible feeling of warmth while using less energy.

Because radiant heat warms your floor evenly and consistently, it heats your room at a much more uniform temperature than convection heaters can achieve. This temperature uniformity gives your home’s thermostats more accurate readings, and results in less wasted energy in your heating system. 


Convection heating can create inconsistent heating throughout your home, by creating warm pockets around heating vents and cold areas away in front of the vents, around windows and doors. 

In comparison, radiant heating generates consistent heat throughout the entirety of a room by radiating heat up from the entire floor. The heat directly warms you and the other objects in the room, causing them to radiate heat as well.

By heating you directly instead of the air around you, radiant heating creates a greater feeling of warmth than convection heating.


As a byproduct of being more energy efficient, radiant heating is more cost-effective than convection heating. 

By heating your home more evenly, front the ground up, your home’s thermostats receive a more accurate temperature reading, and your heating system will run more efficiently.

In addition, by heating people directly, radiant heating creates a greater feeling of warmth at a lower temperature than convection heating. This results in less energy use for a warmer home.

If you want to take it a step further and really reduce your home’s heating bill, install a smart thermostat, like the 6iE Smart WiFi Thermostat from Warmup. By utilizing cutting-edge features like SmartGeo technology and Advanced Early Start functionality, the 6iE can intuitively turn your heat down while you’re away and back up when you’re on your way home.

white 6iE smart thermostat side angle

The 6iE can also use local weather forecasts to activate your home’s heat at precisely the right moment for maximum comfort and savings. By pairing the 6iE with electric radiant floor heating, like the DCM-PRO, you could save up to 25% on your heating bill.

Radiant Floor Heating from Warmup is the Ideal Heating Choice

Don’t spend another winter huddled around the heating vent; switch to comfortable, efficient radiant heating for your home today.

With products ranging from customer-favorite and contractor-preferred heating mats to sophisticated and intuitive smart thermostats, Warmup can transform your home into a cozy heating, energy-saving machine.

For over 25 years, Warmup has been developing cutting-edge, research-based technology for the radiant floor heating industry. With over 2 million systems sold worldwide, Warmup has the experience to solve your home heating needs.

Contact Warmup today, or get a free online quote and find out why Warmup is the world’s best-selling floor-heating brand!


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