The indoor infrared heater was invented about 35 years ago by an engineer from Missouri named John Jones. Up until Mr. Jones’ death in 1999, virtually all indoor infrared heaters were made in America. With the inventor gone and his patents expired, many manufacturers began to make their own infrared heaters offshore. Today, it’s hard to track down an infrared heater that’s even partly made in America – but there are still a few to be found.
Why should you care about “made in USA?”
Some folks are pretty adamant, for idealistic reasons, about buying everything American that they possibly can. Others don’t care where a product was made as long as it works. Even if you’re fine with Indian T-shirts, Egyptian jeans, and Chinese toys, a heater is one thing that might be worth buying domestically – for purely practical reasons. Any appliance drawing a sustained 1500 watts has the potential to cause serious safety issues in your home, if it is not manufactured with good quality control. While many overseas factories do a fine job of quality control, most people agree that products made by American workers are generally better put-together.
Which infrared heaters are made in America?
The following infrared heaters are made in the USA, partly or in their entirety:
Sunheat – Sunheat is one of the older manufacturers of indoor infrared heaters. They used to make their heaters offshore, but a few years ago they moved the cabinet operation back to their home facility in Nebraska. Impressively, they are still able to offer a $299 price point on their main model, a high quality product with a five year warranty.
SolarFlare – The SolarFlare infrared heater was designed by John Jones’ original plant manager. SolarFlare heaters are made entirely in America, in a Mennonite factory near the birthplace of infrared heating. The SolarFlare has a reasonable price point, with the basic model being $349 as of this writing.
Summer Breeze – The Riccar Vacuum Company in St James, Missouri, manufactures the Summer Breeze infrared heater line. Unfortunately, retail pricing on Summer Breeze is around six to eight hundred dollars per unit, putting it substantially above the market and out of reach of many consumers.
Sun Aire – A family business in Arkansas offers the Sun Aire, which, like the SolarFlare Deluxe, is designed to look and function as a coffee table. While this heater is doubtless of high quality, it suffers from the same affliction as Summer Breeze – it is price pretty far out of the market.
The above list may not be complete, but will give the USA-buyer at least a good starting point.
Edenpure is absent from the list – despite the fact that they once advertised a USA model – because we were unable to confirm in a call to the company that any of their heaters are still made in America. It is possible, however, that a USA factory is producing some heaters for Edenpure.