infrared heating vs convective heating

What You Need to Know About Heating Radiator and Convective Radiator

There’s been a lot of confusion between what exactly is a radiator – and if one knows what its purpose is they often do not know which kind or type or one they should buy for their home. So I’m writing several short articles to help you to choose the best heating radiator for all sorts of rooms you’d have in your home.

Before reading those though, this article will tell you what you need to know about heating radiator and the its difference with another one of its kind, the convective radiator. This article gives all you really need to know about heating radiator, not every single thing about it, so it’s only a short article because it’s meant to be easy to read, not a complete guide filled with technical terms.

Mankind invented homes – walls surrounding our sides and a roof over our heads – to protect us from the nasty weather. If the land you’re living in is part of the colder climates, you would need more than simple walls and roofs to keep your body temperature healthy. What your house needs is a heating radiator.

In practice, the term “radiator” refers to any of a number of devices in which a fluid circulates through exposed pipes. Some confuse heating radiator with convection heater or “convector”, so here’s a table on what you need to know about the two types of radiators:


Heating Radiator Convector Radiator
Hot water runs top-down through stell, aluminium or cast iron components; in turn, these elements heat up the surrounding air producing:
1. Radiant heat: the panels that radiate the heat
2. Convective heat: the heated air that rises up and attracts cooler air to the radiator
Hot water is circulated through a tube, surrounded by small fins. These fins act to increase the contact surface with the surrounding air. Hot air rises up and attracts cooler air to the appliance. In some types, a ventilator can act to accelerate this process. Produces convective heat.
Takes longer to warm up.Quicker to bring the room to the required temperature.
Ideally has the largest possible surface area to ensure more efficient heat transfer.A smaller model can be fitted if preferred for aesthetic reasons.
Visible, can be used to hang towels to dry.Can be unobtrusively installed, can be used if you have windows that go down to the floor.
Higher touch temperature. Delivers a very even temperature.Lower touch temperature. Less risk of fire and more suited around children.
Radiant heat is healthier.You’re breathing hot air emitted by a possibly unhygienic heating element which comes with dust.
Longer service life.Shorter service life; doesn’t last long.
Uses more energy.10% less energy consumption, quicker to bring the room up to temperature and doesn’t have residual heat.


radiator heat and convection heat

infrared and standard convection heating


What you need to know about heating radiator is it produces two types of heat, so the process takes slightly longer but its much healthier:

  1. Radiant heat emits horizontal heat waves that heat up all the objects in the room, independent of the air flows (wind and drafts) so it delivers a very even temperature.
  2. Convective heat rises up, remains suspended against the ceiling, where it cools down before descending again. The cooled air is heated up again at the bottom of the room by the heating system.

Another thing you need to know about the difference between heating using a normal radiator and a convector will be shown clearly in this picture:

infrared heating vs convective heating

There many applications of heating radiator such as hot water, steam, fan-assisted heat exchanger, underfloor, skirting board heating, electric baseboard, and portables but they are basically extensions of heating radiators. These are what you need to know about heating radiator and convective radiator, and I hope it’s been useful to you.


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