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Many space heaters are advertised as “whole room heaters” – but the best way big is actually a whole room? One possible answer can be obtained from the Vornado heater manual which describes a complete room, relative to the heater’s capacity, as 16′ x 16′ with an 8′ ceiling. These dimensions workout to 256 sq. ft. and 2048 cu. ft. respectively – easily the actual size of most family rooms, kitchens, or living/dining spaces.

During the last year a major shift in space heater technology has re-shaped consumers’ taste in whole room space heaters. One of the winners are those that employ ceramic or quartz infrared heating elements.

Among whole room heater manufacturers, Lasko holds the number two position for bestselling heaters with its model 755320 tower heater with digital display ($45). (# 1 is Lasko’s 754200 compact heater $20).

Ceramic heaters have gained wide spread popularity for many good reasons. The first is reliability. Speaking from personal experience, our Lasko 5141, not any longer available, refuses to quit the ghost after 6 or 7 birthdays – or approximately 52.4 space heater years.

Some more reasons for the buzz of ceramics for heating are quick heat-up and safe operation. Ceramic heaters will also be relatively quiet and create a much heat which can be often identified as “soft.”

A radiator will always be a radiator so there isn’t much that can be done with it. Despite the absence of any game changing technology, the radiator type heater remains one of many safest. Among radiator heater makers, Delonghi dominates the market using its model D0715T Safe Heat Oil-Filled Radiator ($55).

Micathermic heaters are merely radiator heaters enclosed by mica panels for enhanced heat distribution. Since they rely on convection for heat distribution they are fan-less and noise-free. Intended for versatility, they could be installed on casters or held on a wall, and they are reported to be an excellent bathroom heater – which I don’t recommend for virtually any portable electric heater.

Once all the rage, mica heater bands supply but fallen through the wayside. Maybe it had something related to a client complaining about sparks shooting from his DeLonghi HHP1500 Mica Panel Radiator. So it’s interesting to note that the Kenwood HHP 1500, also made by Delonghi and strongly resembling the first, is among one of Consumer Reports’ highest rated heaters.

However, all is not really lost. The Bionaire BH3950-U micathermic heater ($85) rates 4 out from 5 stars from the users for silent operation, portability, and whole room, non-drying heat.

Fan-forced convection heat may be the M.O. of many whole room space heaters. The top rated heater makers with this category are Lasko and Delonghi, mentioned previously, in addition to Holmes, Honeywell, and Vornado.

New from Vornado this heating months are the PVH, or Panel Vortex Heater ($60). This heater can be a departure both in price and design from Vornado’s most in-demand heater, the round cornered EH1-0034-06 AVH2 Vortex Full-Room Electric Heater ($97). The newest, an easy task to operate flat panel design houses exactly the same technology utilized in their higher priced models.

The secret to harnessing Vornado’s vortex of heat is always to locate the heater at one end of your room with a clear road to the contrary wall. As soon as the air hits the opposing wall it splits and is deflected back across the perimeter of your room to heat every square inch of space.

From Holmes, sold underneath the Patton manufacturer, may be the new PQH307-UM Tower Quartz Heater with Adjustable Thermostat ($45). This fan equipped unit is on the smaller end (150 sq. ft.) of whole m1caband heaters and provides two heat settings corresponding to the quantity of quartz tubes switched on.

This season Honeywell has got the distinction of a recommendation from Consumer Reports because of its model HZ-817 Electric Convection Heater ($70). The 30″ long, baseboard type heater has no fan and relies solely on convection for heat distribution.

Unfortunately, this heater is really a victim of their own success and is either unavailable, back ordered, or sold at highly inflated prices due to scarce supply. Kaz USA Inc., the maker of Honeywell, understands the issue and suggests the HZ-617 Whole Room 2-in-1 Heater ($70) as a replacement. The real difference is the addition of a fan towards the HZ-617 which may be turned on or off on your pleasure.

Without a doubt, the biggest shift in consumer preferences for electric space heaters has been to furniture style quartz infrared heaters. The introduction of EdenPure some time ago was followed by an onslaught of competing makes and models.