Red and Near-Infrared Light – Buyer’s Guide Part I

Infrared Heat Lamps

This is a guide to purchasing lights with high amounts of red and near infrared light. This first section is on broad spectrum general use bulbs like incandescent bulbs, heat bulbs and halogen lamps. Part two will focus on monochromatic light sources for more targeted applications.
Part II on LED devices is here.
Device Tests.

Introduction To Red and Near-Infrared Lights

LLLT is a term used to describe targeted red and NIR wavelengths from sources such as LED and Laser, the bulbs on this page are probably not optimal for most of those purposes but they useful to improve the metabolism and combat many of the winter specific ailments people suffer from, they can help with pain and mental focus.

For general use, incandescent, heat bulbs, and halogen lights are easiest to use. Incandescent or halogen can be used as general lighting for long periods and there isn’t much risk of overuse. There are many indicators that winter and the associated light deficiency plays a large role in disease. Exposing as much skin as possible to these light sources a few times a day is a good idea to begin to counteract that. The heat bulbs and clamp lamps listed here are suitable for DIY infrared saunas. These lights produce a lot of heat and they are a fire risk.

See:
Seasonality of hypertension.(*)
Incident solar radiation and coronary heart disease mortality rates in Europe.(*)

Wavelengths

The beneficial wavelengths we are seeking  range from 600-1100 nanometres (nm). This encompasses visible red spectrum and some invisible near infrared. All these bulbs also put out light on either side of that important spectrum. I’ve seen estimates from 12% (Infrared heat bulbs) to 35% (halogen) of total energy output in that sweet spot from these light sources.

Kelvin Ratings

Light sources are rated in color tone on a Kelvin scale, we want somewhere around 2,800K (or lower)for our purposes, all the light sources here are close to that, perhaps halogen will produce the highest amount of red/NIR per watt, closely followed by incandescent and then the heat bulbs. Incandescents may be more practical to use and replace, heat bulbs give extra benefit to muscle and joint pain and red coloured bulbs can be less “bright” for use at night. Heat bulbs often have internal reflectors and as such may be more efficient at directing light energy.

Bulb Screw And Fittings

These incandescent and heat bulbs use E26 size screw, the clamp lamp fitting is E27, these are almost always interchangeable. The clamp lamp or other fitting for these bulbs should be suitably designed for high temperatures at this wattage, even if you are using incandescents in these fittings. Fittings should have reflectors to focus light where it is needed, some heat bulbs generally also have their own internal reflectors. Where possible I would choose to pair 3-4 bulbrite clear 250W heat bulbs with 250 watt clamp lamps. If you’re in a warmer climate then incandescents may be more appropriate as they put out less heat per watt. Pay attention to the voltages as there are different requirements.

Clamp Lamps For Infrared Heat Bulbs

These clamp lamps are suitable for holding heat bulbs and incandescent bulbs. They can be clipped onto objects and directed where needed. The internal reflector directs light and heat more efficiently than standard fittings, saving energy. These are all around versatile fittings that you can easily move around to have strong light near you without having to light large areas with expensive lighting.

Infrared Heat Lamps

 

 

Brooder Clamp Lamp with Bulb Guard and Reflector, 10.5-Inch, 250-Watt, 8-Foot Cable
Porcelain E27 Socket. 250 Watts – 125V. Internal Reflector. 8 foot cable. Bulb Guard.
Suitable for incandescent bulbs and infrared heat bulbs.

Bayco SL-302B3 10-1/2-Inch Brooder Clamp Light Suitable 300W Incandescent
Bayco confirmed that these are E26/27 and 120V.
Suitable for incandescent bulbs and infrared heat bulbs.

Trixie Clamp Lamp 250W UK

Clamp Lamp 300W UK
These are E26/27 and 120V

Infrared Heat Bulbs

These bulbs put out a lot of heat alongside red and near infrared wavelengths. They can be quite relaxing, they soothing for muscle and joint pains. They can also be used to make infrared saunas. Their downside is the amount of heat generated gets uncomfortable in warmer climates. The clear or red appearance of the bulb does not make any difference to the effects except upon the eyes. Clear bulbs seem brighter and so they are better for getting energized early in the day, later in the day they could suppress melatonin and interfere with sleep. It’s often easier to source heat bulbs above 100 Watts than it is to find high powered incandescents.

 

 

Bulbrite 250BR40H 250W Heat Lamp BR40 Reflector Light, Clear
250 Watt Heat Lamp. 130V. Reflector Bulb. 2700 Kelvin. E26 Screw. 5,000 hr lifespan.
Clear or Red.

Incandescent Bulbs

Most people are more familiar with these bulbs, incandescents were the standard for home lighting not too long ago. They produce less heat than the heat bulbs above. They differ from more common CFL bulbs in the wavelengths they emit. Incandescents have a fuller spectrum that is more biased toward red and amber, whereas CFLs and many LEDs tend cut those frequencies and focus in on blue wavelengths (which is bad news for health but more efficient in terms of lighting an area).

Clear 200 Watt A21 Incandescent Light Bulb
200 Watt Incandescent Light Bulb. 130V. 2,900 Kelvin. E26 Screw.

Pack of 10 Standard Incandescent Clear E27 200W Light Bulbs

These should work with UK clamp lamps that have E26/27 screw. Incandescent bulbs are becoming more difficult to find in Europe, especially above 100 Watts. You can still usually find packs of 10 or 12.

Halogen Lamps

These types of lights are similar in wavelength characteristics to incandescent bulbs. They are easy to find online and in stores as they are widely used in construction and other areas. The downside of these relatively cheap and powerful lights is that they are not as easy to direct as clamp lamps. It is more awkward to set them up facing you at a desk for example. I tend to use these on dark winter mornings shining up onto my face for about 15 minutes with eyes closed. It’s very energizing and helps maintain sleep patterns.

500 Watt Portable Halogen Lamp

500W Portable Halogen Lamp UK

Tripod Lamps

These serve the same purpose as the lights above but come with their own floor standing tripods.
2 x 250W Incandescent Tripod Set
2x Reflectors/Sockets/Line Switches
2x 250W Bulbs included. 120V
2-8′ Air-Cushioned Light Stands
Bulbs 3200 Kelvin. Replacing with Lower Kelvin bulbs would be better.

1000-Watt Twin-HeadWork Light with Telescoping Tripod Stand
1000-Watt Twin-Head Halogen Adjustable Work Light with Telescoping Tripod Stand
2x 500-watt halogen light bulbs
18-gauge power cord measures 5-feet-feet
Equipped with adjustable and extendable (telescoping) tripod, up to 68-inches tall
Heavy duty handle features a comfortable foam grip
Lamp is approximately 2-feet wide
Lights can be used separately

2 x 500W Twin-Head Halogen Site Light UK