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How to Choose the Best Bathroom Heat Lamp

Cold bathrooms are an absolute turn-off, and while you may enjoy a nice warm shower or hot bath, stepping out into a cold space will certainly dampen your spirits.

Knowing how to choose the best bathroom heat lamp will help you make your bathroom routine a pleasure every day.

bathroom heat lamp

What to Look at When Choosing a High-Quality Bathroom Heat Lamp

When you want to sort out your bathroom chills, it may not be as simple as exchanging your regular light bulbs with a few heating light bulbs.

As with any product, when you choose your bathroom heat lamp, you should consider the quality, read reviews, and keep your own bathroom space in mind. Some bathroom heating lamps are designed to warm up a small area, while others offer larger coverage but at limited heat capacity.

To heat up a larger bathroom, you may want to follow an inclusive approach where you use heated towel rails, additional rugs, thicker towels, and perhaps a bathroom heater too (if your bathroom is large in size).

Here are the main aspects to consider when choosing a bathroom heat lamp:

Price and Hidden Costs

Looking at the most budget-friendly heating lamp for your bathroom is not about what you pay for the product alone. You need to consider the lifespan of the product as you don’t want to fork out your hard-earned money for a product that will only last a few weeks.

Additionally, you need to be aware that most heat lamps have a serious energy footprint, meaning your monthly utility bill will go up. So, while you have already paid for the lamp, you may end up paying to use it too.

If your heat lamp doesn’t simply screw into the socket, you could end up with a fancy installation problem and an equally luxurious electrician’s fee to go with needing specialist knowledge to install the item. Trying to DIY it might save you initial cost, but when you end up with a fire hazard, you may regret not spending the dough to do the job right.

Most quality bathroom heat lamps come with their own socket or fitting to be able to produce the type of heating that you desire. A normal ceiling fitting won’t be able to give the bulb the electricity requirements it needs to function optimally, and you could end up melting the globes or causing a short.

Build Quality

Browsing some bathroom heat lamps online delivers a range of prices, which may sway the novice shopper to spending as little as $10 for four heating lamps, but when the first flick of your lightswitch leaves a smoking mess of melted plastic dripping from the socket, you will wish you had considered quality first.

Be sure the heat lamp you choose is shatter-resistant, meltproof, and that it comes with a guarantee you can count on. A quality product will be from a reputable brand or will feature an energy efficiency rating backed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Space Requirements

Bathrooms come in all sizes, so you need to ensure you choose a heat lamp or heat lamp system that is designed for the space you require heat in.

If you are looking to heat up the whole bathroom, you may look at a bathroom heater instead. However, most of us simply want to heat up the area where we dry off after a shower or the area by the washbasin where we finish up dressing, brushing teeth, shaving, etc.

For smaller spaces, you can easily get away with mounting a heat lamp on a rail or pole in your bathroom. This can operate with an electrical cable, and while you can simply plug and heat, you should ideally have a professional electrician install this directly into the wall to prevent electrical shock.


Let’s face it, you aren’t a chicken, so you probably don’t want an enormous infra-red lightbulb hanging in your bathroom simply to increase the ambient temperature a few degrees. When choosing a heat light for your bathroom, you want to choose something that will either blend in or be a stylish feature, not a massive plastic sun that makes you feel like a hen.

Modern heat lights come in recessed mountings that add to your bathroom’s appeal, even though they may require an electrician’s help to install. Some units even come as a combo with an extractor fan to help reduce humidity. To prolong the life of your heat lamp, you want a warm bathroom, not a sopping wet one.


Most heat lamps are designed to operate on a timer. They switch on to heat up a space, then switch off once their job is done. If they burn continuously, it reduces the bulb life, and you could end up with a light that overheats, melts, explodes, or causes an electrical short.

Choose a bathroom heat light that operates with a timer to shut it off when you aren’t using it or switch it on just before you do need it. As with all electrical appliances and devices, it’s best not to operate a heat lamp with wet hands, so having a timer that switches it on and off for you is a useful safety feature.

The timer will also stop you from accidentally leaving the lamp on when you go out of your home, potentially saving you from an accident when you return.

Flaws of Most Bathroom Heat Lamps

Most bathroom heat lamps have a few similar flaws you need to be prepared for. In cheaper models where the design and materials are inferior, you will find many shortcomings, but even high-end lamps can require some effort to ensure a warm and happy bathroom.


Many bathroom heat lamps overheat. A major cause of this is that the lamp is operated for longer periods than recommended. Heat lamps aren’t heaters, so don’t expect to leave them on for long periods of time. A bathroom heat lamp is designed to spot heat while you are in the room, but not to heat the whole room during a cold day.

Overheating can be prevented by using a timer or getting into the habit of switching it on once you step out of the shower (after drying your hands). However, without a timer, you run the risk of leaving it on when you leave the house, which could end in a fiery mess.


Many of the heating lamps on the market have plastic components. If you use them excessively, they exceed their recommended specifications, and you end up with a melting light bulb.

Not only can this lead to fires, but it can also cause serious burns should you try to remove it while it is hot. Additionally, a damaged light bulb can cause massive damage to your light fitting, leading to a hefty repair bill.

Insufficient Heat

If you are expecting the warm rays of the sun from your heat lamp, you are probably in for a surprise. Most heat lights deliver a few degree temperature increase in the spot where the light is directed. You will not feel a toasty blast of heat like a heater may offer you.

Manufacturers err on the side of caution, given the fire potential of a heat lamp, and the units are designed to warm, but not heat a bathroom. So, you may need to have a unit with more than one heat light in. Luckily, you can purchase a heat light unit with one, two, or four lights in. This allows for more heat without straining each individual light bulb.

Choosing a Bathroom Heat Lamp and Fan Combination

It’s not a bad idea to invest in a bathroom heat lamp with a fan if you can afford to spend the extra money. This setup helps your bathroom heat up while removing humidity at the same time. Overall, these units offer the best use and efficiency.

Adam McCoy

Adam is an HVAC expert and the owner of Mackydo's HVAC Services with decades of experience in fixing and installing air conditioning units, furnaces, and every type of cooling and heating equipment you can think of.

Adam believes that your home is your sanctuary. He loves sharing advice based on his lifelong experience and treats every HVAC problem as if it was his own.

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At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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