Wall Mounted vs Ceiling Mounted Infrared Panels

When deciding on a heating system, infrared panels offer homeowners and business owners efficiency and a space-saving design. If you’ve decided to go with infrared panels, you have two primary installation options:

  • Wall-mounted
  • Ceiling-mounted

Whether you go for ceiling or wall mounted, both options harness the principle of directly heating objects and people within the space rather than the air itself. Each panel placement has its own set of advantages and considerations to take into account. This includes the likes of heat distribution, design preferences, the shape of the space and how you will use it.  

This article will dig into the key points when it comes to wall mounted vs ceiling mounted infrared panels to equip you with all the info you need to make an informed decision.

What are wall mounted infrared panels?

Wall mounted infrared panels are heating units designed to be installed directly onto walls of rooms and spaces you want to heat. They are generally rectangular in shape and most look like a white picture frame. You can also get infrared panels that have images and designs on the front to add a personalisation or bring them more in line with your decor.

Wall mounted panels should be positioned higher up on the wall than standard radiators to create a better heat dispersion angle and prevent energy wastage. Around body height is ideal. Their slim depth and variety of sizes means wall panels will easily integrate into a room without taking up too much space. 

What are ceiling mounted infrared panels?

In terms of the physical product, ceiling mounted infrared panels are the same as wall mounted panels. The only difference, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is that they are installed on the ceiling! Like wall mounted panels, ceiling panels are generally rectangular in shape and come in a standard white colour. 

The overhead position of ceiling IR panels creates an unobstructed distribution of infrared wavelengths for greater warming coverage. It also makes it impossible to be accidentally touched by young hands, eliminating any safety issues.  

The ceiling placement does make size selection and installation a bit trickier. But in terms of performance and versatility across larger spaces, ceiling mounted panels give maximum effectiveness.

Are Ceiling Mounted Infrared Panels More Effective Than Wall Mounted Panels?

There are several factors to take into account when evaluating the effectiveness of ceiling mounted infrared panels versus wall mounted ones. 

On a like for like basis, neither ceiling nor wall mounted infrared panels are inherently more effective than the other. This is because effectiveness here depends on the context of the space, as well as the needs of the people being warmed up. 

That said, when all things are equal, it’s often more effective to install infrared panels on the ceiling. This is largely due to the more uniform heat distribution that ceiling mounted panels can offer, out of site nature and added safety aspects. 

Either way, proper installation and infrared panel positioning are crucial for maximising the potential of both setups.

Wall Vs Ceiling Mounted Infrared Panels: Heat Distribution

Wall-Mounted PanelsCeiling-Mounted Panels
Directional HeatHorizontal across the roomDownward from the ceiling
Effective ReachPossible if blocked by objects. Dependent on height and angleLess likely due to placement. Generally broader coverage
Heat DistributionZonal, will require strategic placementMore uniform distribution from above
Room Layout Essential to avoid furniture and alcove placementMore flexible with room designs

Both ceiling and wall mounted panels will reach full heat intensity within 3-10 minutes. However, it’s how that heat energy is dispersed and absorbed by objects (hopefully you) that determines how effective this heat is. This largely comes down to the room’s layout.

There’s no doubt that ceiling mounted infrared panels provide more even heat distribution across a space. More often than not, there’s nothing between you and the ceiling that can potentially block the warming infrared waves. This is great for more open plan living spaces and kitchens. 


When positioned centrally on a ceiling, these panels have the maximum angle (usually around 120o) to radiate heat outwards and downwards more evenly, leading to fewer cold spots.

The same can be true for wall mounted panels, but this depends on their positioning. The radiation angle of an IR wall panel is more likely to be impeded by the floor and ceiling.  

There’s an added advantage to ceiling panels. If you have a high thermal mass flooring, such as tiles or solid wood, any residual infrared heat that reaches here will be absorbed and re-radiated back out over time to warm the room. Wall mounted panels don’t really have this luxury, but they can be effective in warming external walls to prevent mould growth.  

Room size

If the ceilings are too high, the distance between the panels and the living area may reduce the warmth felt. However, IR panels generally operate effectively over a distance of 3 metres. Most ceilings, especially in residential settings, will be less than 3m tall, so this is fine. You can read more on how far infrared panels reach in our full guide. 

Wall mounted infrared panels can still effectively distribute heat, but there’s a much greater likelihood of wavelengths being absorbed by objects in the room before it reaches a person.  Imagine comparing a sun high up in the sky at midday compared to the evening sun at a lower angle that’s more likely to be blocked by buildings and trees. 

If a room is furniture heavy, this can create unwanted cold spots. The chances of this is reduced the higher up a panel is mounted on a wall, although you don’t want a wall panel mounted too high. 

It’s worth noting that most living spaces will be greater than 3m wide. In terms of heat distribution, a person sitting more than a few metres away from a panel may not feel the same warming benefits as someone positioned just a metre away. 

Heat distribution is scenario dependent too. For example, for home office workers based in one main position, it may be preferable to have a wall mounted panel with a clear line of sight to you rather than a ceiling panel positioned above your head. 

But all things considered on heat distribution, ceiling mounted infrared panels are the clear winner. 

Wall Vs Ceiling Mounted Infrared Panels: Pros And Cons

Although heat distribution is arguably the number one priority when deciding on infrared panel placement, there are other considerations that need to be weighed up between wall mounted vs ceiling mounted panels. 

Both installation types require minimal maintenance and will give you energy efficient warmth. However, ceiling panels are a little tricker to install. 

Unlike wall panels that can either be plugged in or wired into the electrics, you only really have one option with ceiling panels. Unless you have the skills yourself, you’ll certainly have to get a qualified electrician in to set up a ceiling IR panel. It’s also essential that the right mounting brackets are used to keep the ceiling panels in a secure position. 

The benefit with ceiling panels is that they’re generally more out of sight than a wall mounted panel. Installing overhead frees up wall space and gives you more options. This point all depends on how aesthetically pleasing you find the IR panels in the first place. 

For the safety conscious homeowners with young children and pets, installing an infrared panel on the ceiling reduces the risks of it being accidentally touched and messed about with. The same can apply for wall mounted panels depending on how high they are positioned. You can read more on infrared panel health risks here.

Wall-Mounted ProsWall-Mounted ConsCeiling-Mounted ProsCeiling-Mounted Cons
Heat DistributionDirects heat to specific zonesHeat could be unevenHeat is more evenly distributedMight not intensely warm specific areas
Space UseCan be obstructed by furnitureTakes up wall spaceUsually unobstructedMay not be ideal for targeted heating
AestheticsCan integrate with room decorVisible at eye-levelLess visible, more discreetMay not blend with ceiling fixtures

Although there are similarities and differences, both types will be more effective in warming a space when installed in a room with very good levels of insulation. This will help to lower the running costs of IR panels.

 If you’re thinking about making a purchase, check out our list of the best infrared panels on the market. Or to consider things from a wider perspective, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of infrared panels to see if they are the right heating option for you.

About the author 

Ben Hardman

Ben is a professional writer and the creator of sustainable living website TinyEco.com.
It's here where he helps people to reduce their environmental impact through simple, everyday choices. Away from the laptop, Ben loves spending time in the natural environment with his young family and Murphy the cocker spaniel.

First Class BSc Biology degree (environmental and climate change focus)
Six years of working and writing in the environmental sector, including two years working at an international sustainability consultancy
Written for Ethical Consumer magazine, My Mother Tree, Unsustainable Magazine, Happy Eco News, Emission Index, PeakDistrict.org
Commented in The Independent, The Guardian, GreenMatch. Also featured on Radio 1's environmental special 'Minute of Me'

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