3 Best Heat Lamps for Your Bathroom

Nobody likes a chilly shower. Here's how heat lamps can keep your bathroom warm and toasty no matter what time of year it is.

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Tired of that blast of cold air as you step out of the shower? Installing a heat lamp in your bathroom will help keep you warm all year round. Heat lamps are less expensive and require a lot less work to install than other bathroom heating methods, like in-floor radiant heat installation and wall heaters. Unlike regular light bulbs, the infrared bulbs in heat lamps turn energy into heat instead of light. Heat lamps then use reflectors and fans to push that heat down into the room.

“Unlike central heating systems that take time to warm up the entire house, heat lamps target a specific area with direct heat, offering immediate comfort after a shower or bath,” says Josh Mitchell, HVAC Technician and Plumbing Expert. “They also help in drying out the moisture in the air and on surfaces, reducing the likelihood of mold and mildew growth.”

Heat lamps can’t replace standard in-room heating, though. Instead, they create smaller “heat zones” and pockets of warmth. Heat lamps are typically mounted on the ceiling above bathroom vanities. But, beware: Manufacturers say to never mount a heat lamp directly above a shower or bath, since direct contact with moisture can cause them to malfunction. Below you’ll find some of our favorite options on the market. Still looking for ways to keep your bathroom warm? Learn more about bathroom heaters, radiant heat installation and bathroom fireplaces.

The Best Bathroom Heat Lamps

Best 1 Bulb Heat Lamp Via Homedepotvia homedepot.com

Best One-Bulb Heat Lamp

NuTone Ceiling Heater

  • Rust-proof steel housing that cuts down on vibrations
  • Convenient ceiling mounting system
  • Requires one 250W BR40-size infrared bulb (sold separately)

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Best 2 Bulb Heat Lamp Via Homedepotvia homedepot.com

Best Two-Bulb Heat Lamp

Aero Pure Bath Fan with Heat and Light

  • Built-in backdraft damper prevents outdoor air from entering the fan
  • Comes with two 270W infrared bulbs and one incandescent light bulb
  • Fan, light and heater can be wired separately for convenient installation

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Best Heat Lamp And Exhaust Fan Combo Via Amazonvia amazon.com

Best Heat Lamp and Exhaust Fan Combo

Aero Pure Quiet Fan with Heat and Light

  • Uses four 270W infrared bulbs for maximum heat output
  • Exhaust fan runs quieter than most
  • Includes four-year warranty

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What to Look For in A Heat Lamp

Most modern heat lamps either take one bulb or two. Two-bulb lamps provide more heat coverage, while one-bulb lamps are better for smaller bathrooms with less space to heat.

Heat lamps can be standalone devices or combined with exhaust fans to provide a more complete package. They don’t have to be an eyesore, either. Modern heat lamps are designed to be low-profile. They even can be painted to better fit into your bathroom’s overall design.

FAQ

What is a heat lamp used for?

Heat lamps are special light fixtures that are used as an additional source of warmth. You’ll often find them in places like bathrooms and showers, the coldest spots in the house, especially during winter. A heat lamp can warm up an area quickly, and they’re budget-friendly for short periods of use. They can also help prevent the formation of condensation and reduce moisture levels.

“If you reside in a colder region or dislike the chill after a hot shower, a heat lamp can significantly enhance your comfort,” says Mitchell. “However, if you live in a warm climate, the need for a heat lamp may not be as pressing, and other ventilation solutions like ceiling or wall-mounted exhaust fans, window fans or even a dehumidifier might be more appropriate.”

Is it OK to leave a heat lamp on overnight?

It’s not a good idea to leave a heat lamp on overnight because it can pose safety risks like overheating and fire hazards. Even if some heat lamps are designed for longer use, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. It’s a smart move to turn off heat lamps when you don’t need them or they can’t be monitored to avoid potential problems and stay safe.

How many hours does a heat lamp last?

The lifespan of a heat lamp can vary depending on factors such as the type of bulb, the manufacturer and how frequently it is used. In general, heat lamp bulbs typically last around 5,000 to 6,000 hours.

Can you put a heat lamp bulb in a regular bulb?

No, it is not safe to use a heat lamp bulb in a fixture designed for regular bulbs. Heat lamp bulbs emit higher levels of heat than standard bulbs, and using them in the wrong fixture can lead to overheating, fire hazards and possible damage.

Can you install a heat lamp if you’re on a tight budget?

There are affordable heat lamps available on the market, you just have to know what to look for. “Basic infrared bulbs are usually the cheapest option and can be installed in an existing light fixture, provided it’s safe and rated for the wattage of the heat bulb,” says Mitchell. “Some cost-effective models come with a combination of heat lamps and exhaust fans, offering both warmth and proper ventilation. Brands like Broan-NuTone and Panasonic offer budget-friendly options that are well-reviewed for their efficiency and ease of installation.”

Harrison Kral
After spending his college summers pouring concrete and building decks, Harrison Kral decided to find a way to put his insider knowledge of construction to use…. just in an air-conditioned setting. He’s an established writer and editor in the DIY space who has written extensively on the home building industry, the housing market, and general DIY trends.