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Handy Heater Review: Is This As Seen on TV Heating Device Safe & Effective?

AmericanInventorSpot Senior Contributor

Cold-blooded humans of the world unite! Some of us are just naturally colder than others. We might joke about it, but we understand all too well what it's like to pile on layer after layer of clothing, blankets, slippers, and more just trying to get comfortable. 

For other homeowners, heating bills can quickly skyrocket out of control. If you’re on the lookout for an energy-efficient way to heat up your home, office or rooms, but are tired of inefficient, expensive and dangerous “space heaters”, we might have just what you need.

If you're home heater isn't up to the task, or if you’re looking to save some money on utilities while staying warm and cozy year-round, the Handy Heater is an option worth considering. You can heat up a small space for a fraction of the price, keeping warm and keeping money in your wallet.

But what space heater is best? Are they safe? How do you choose?

You have a lot of things to keep in mind with space heaters, from the initial purchase price to energy consumption, safety and whether or not it actually works.

In this guide, we'd like to introduce you to the aptly named “Handy Heater”. This plug in heater gives you a nice bang for your buck, helping you keep cozy in the cold for just a fraction of the cost. The compact product packs a wallop, capable of heating up to 250 sq ft per device!

That's right: you can stay warm no matter the space and save money. But before you spend your hard-earned money on yet another inefficient “space heater”, read this unbiased review that will take a look at the good, the bad and whether or not this heater lives up to it’s lofty claims.

What is the Handy Heater?

The Handy Heater is a personal space heater. It's compact, plugging directly into your three-pronged outlet and putting out enough heat to cover 250 sq. ft. of space. Even better? For such a powerhouse, the handy heater only pulls 350 watts of power- that's pennies to what a full HVAC and other personal space heaters can pull.

A preliminary review of the Handy Heater is promising. Small, compact, portable, and powerful? Yes, please. We love the idea of a handy device to keep us warm no matter our location. And with the increasing focus on energy efficiency, the lower power consumption the better.

The Handy Heater “As Seen on TV” product has undergone quite a bit of scrutiny; most TV ads are taken with a grain of salt and seem too good to be true. Consumers have expressed concerns about fire or electrical hazards, control, cost, power consumption, and more. If you don't know where to look, you can have a hard time answering questions. That's why we're here. We've thoroughly vetted and researched the product, looking over reviews, device information, and the product itself to help you determine if it's worth the money.

As with any heater product, you want to pay close attention to the included safety info. We cover quite a bit of it in our review, but nothing beats reading the manual for a full understanding.

Popular Features of the Handy Heater

First, let's take a closer look at the product. Why is it popular? What does it offer? Let's break it down:

Neutral Coloring

The Handy Heater comes in a standard black coloring. It won't clash with a majority of decor touches, and you don't have to leave it plugged in when it's not in use if you don't like the look.

Compact Design

Handy Heaters are small and fairly discreet, taking up much less space than other heaters.

Digital Display

No guessing with rubbed off thermometers or analog dials that seem a bit off. You get a clear, digital display to set the temperature. You can read it from farther away, too.

Simple On-Off Switch and Timer

Yeah, there's a timer, but some people prefer the manual option. You don't have to unplug the device to turn it off-- just flip the red switch.

Portable and Lightweight

The heater is small and lightweight, so you can take it with you on the go.

Cool to Touch

No worries about burnt fingers (or furry noses). The heater's casing stays cool to the touch.

Programmable Timer

You can set the timer anywhere from an easy auto-off to a complete heating cycle. We don't recommend running the heater for longer than 30 minutes if you won't be in the room.

Cord-free

Since the handy heater plugs straight into your outlet, you don't have to worry about more cords laying about. It doesn't add a tripping hazard or get tangled up with other devices.

Low Power Use / Energy Efficiency

This is a big one. Heating costs can be immense, but a personal space heater can save you in utilities. The handy heater only pulls 350 watts, one of the lowest numbers on the market. You can stay warm and save money.

Thermo-Ceramic Heat Design

You've seen the buzz phrase, but what does it mean? The Handy Heater contains a heating element of PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) ceramic. Sounds fancy right? The fact is, most high-quality ceramic space heaters utilize the same type of ceramic elements. What makes the Handy Heater unique is the plug-in feature, size, and low power consumption.

Minimal Disturbance

The handy heater is designed to run with minimal disturbance-- it hardly puts out any sound. You may need to set yourself a reminder that you have a heater!

How Does the Handy Heater Work?

The Handy Heater doesn't have complicated instructions: simply plug it in and set your desired temperature. The handy heaters take care of the rest, heating your chosen space in no time. When you're done using the heater, you can either flip the switch or unplug the device.

You can also program the built-in timer to run for a certain time-span. If you're at risk of falling asleep or if you are worried you might forget to flip it off, timers can ensure that you can rest easy without worrying about increased fire risk.

If you need to change the temperature at any time, simply use the buttons atop the product. The heater will automatically turn off whenever the ambient temperatures reaches or surpasses the set temp.

The handy heater can work well in small spaces like bathrooms or near you in larger rooms like offices and sitting areas.

Where Can You Use a Handy Heater?

You want to be warm, whether you're at work, rest, or play. It stands to reason you want to know when and where you can use a device meant to keep you warm! Technically, you can plug these in wherever you have a three-pronged outlet. You should keep in mind certain precautions like not letting the heater get wet, as it doesn't have a GFCI circuit, which is necessary to plug the product in directly beside or inline with a sink or other water source.

Even with this in mind, the Handy Heater can work in several spaces, including:

  • Dorm Rooms
  • Garages
  • Work rooms
  • Offices
  • Bedrooms
  • Sitting Rooms
  • Dining Rooms
  • Attics
  • Reading Nooks
  • Bathrooms
  • Basements
  • Dens
  • Campers

Basically, you can use the plug-in heater anywhere you are, so long as you take proper precautions with using a heating product. A better question would be where you can't use it.  And, hey, we just so happen to have a few suggestions! The plug should never be closed in a tight space like a closet, as this can interfere with proper venting.

All heaters require certain safety reviews during use. We also don't recommend running the handy heater near electronics or appliances, simply because any heat given off by these can affect the handy heater's ambient temperature reading and cut down on the heat the device gives off through the day.

Handy Heater Specs

Weight: 1 lb.

Tip-over emergency switch: Not needed, as the unit is plugged directly into an outlet. If, by some crazy happenstance, it fell out of the outlet, it would immediately lose power.

Fan: Yes, two speeds

Remote control: No

Oscillating: No, but you can angle the device.

Warranty: Hassle-free 30-Day Guarantee

Timer: Yes

Clock: No

GFCI: No

Wattage: 350

Are Plug-In Wall heaters Safe?

Many plug in heaters in the market are actually safer than other personal space heaters. They have lower power consumption, remain cool to the touch, and have a lower emergency shut off temperature.

Every space heater available has to pass standard safety tests before a manufacturer is allowed to sell. The product is then marked with the applicable standards to assure the customer of the review.

Not all electric heaters are created equal; wall-mounted heaters often rate safer than full-size portable electric heaters. While this typically means a hardwired heater like a baseboard unit, this definition has started to expand to include plug-in heaters since the Handy Heater's conception.

A large benefit to electric heating solutions is the lack of combustible fuels. Should an issue develop with an electric heater, cutting off the power source can be an effective way to deal with the results.

Is the Handy Heater Safe?

Handy Heater is ETL listed and conforms to UL STD. 1278. This means it undergoes the testing needed to be approved for sale. But does this mean the product is safe?

Like all products involving heat and power, there are some risks involved. The handy heater should not be left running unsupervised for long periods of time. While burns are not a risk due to the cool casing, the inner workings can overheat and lead to fire risk if the fan malfunctions.

While no product involving the use of heat is 100% safe, the Handy Heater is one of the safer models on the market, with a strong demonstrated track record of safety in use. It has passed all the necessary tests and only poses a risk when not cared for properly or when the fan malfunctions.

Risk Considerations and Recommendations

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment was responsible for over 50,000 structure fires in 2011. The largest causes of electrical heater fires involved suffocation of the heater, the presence of combustible materials, and dirty units.

We don't recommend sleeping with the device on, but it's perfectly acceptable to use during the day. A good alternative at night is to use an electric blanket that is designed to keep you warm through a good night's sleep.

Outlets also pose a risk if the wiring is faulty. If the handy heater is plugged into a faulty outlet, it could trip the fuse or worse. If you haven't used an outlet in a while, or if use leads to flipped breakers, you may want to have an electrician out to review your wiring.

Every so often, inspect your heater to make sure dust and other debris haven't gotten caught in the housing or tangled up in the fan. You also want to keep items like cords or fabrics from dangling over the unit. While the housing is designed to remain cool, combustible materials can get caught in the unit and heat up enough to combust or come into contact with the heated ceramic.

How Much Money Can You Save?

That's a little harder to answer. Utility costs vary greatly between areas, and determining exactly how much your HVAC is pulling out can be nigh-impossible. "Nigh." You can potentially figure out the amount by looking at wattage and "BTU," which is another measuring unit for power usage.

If you look at averages for power consumption, you'll find that the standard HVAC unit runs 3500 watts; that's ten times more power than the Handy Heater needs! But averages are just that-- not all HVAC units are the same.

The best way to determine an approximate cost percentage is to have an HVAC technician or an electrician perform an efficiency test and give an estimate. The longer solution would be to turn off the HVAC for a few months and see how your utility cost changes, but that can get uncomfortable and downright unsafe depending on the weather.

The Handy Heater offers an affordable solution to supplement your HVAC; it won't do much all by it's lonesome, but you can keep your thermostat set lower for the overall house to save on energy costs.

The standard HVAC unit runs 3500 watts; that's ten times more power than the Handy Heater needs!

Does the Handy Heater Work as Advertised?

All you need to do is type in the phrase 'Handy Heater Review" and you’ll quickly be inundated with off-brand heaters, corded heaters, and customer opinions as varied as the people themselves. It could take you over a day just to read through the top-rated listings.

Keeping track of all the information can become a hassle, particularly when you come across conflicting opinions and reviews. How do you know who to believe, to trust?

You always want to keep a review (yes, even this one) at arm's length. No review is completely objective. Some consumers have an amazing experience with a product, while the next family absolutely despises it. In the end, the choice will be yours whether to try the product. Read as many reviews as you feel you need to make a decision.

Rating and Reviews

From what we found, reviews are typically positive-- they ranged from four to five stars. Many of these ratings speak highly of the quickness and effectiveness of the product. Many of these clients purchased multiple units to use in various spaces rather than carrying one around wherever they went. Others appreciated the small space use and the ability to angle the unit so that it wasn't blowing straight out from the plug.

The perfect gift: One review, in particular, received the device as a gift. The user explained that they had an 8x12 bathroom that the device heated perfectly. They also noted it helped keep their mirror from fogging during showers.

Verified purchaser Janice called the unit "tiny but tough," recommending it for use in several different spaces.

Many reviews were so pleased with the device's performance in previous winters, that they planned to order more for the upcoming season. Others noted a plan to purchase more as gifts or for extra rooms in their homes.

The following points help sum up the focus of popular reviews:

         Compact

         Powerful

         Effective

         Affordable

         Timer settings

         Versatility

         Portability

         Speed

Complaints and Reviews Covering Negatives

Finding a product with a 100% rating is a rare sight these days. No one device works for all customers, and many available customer reviews speak to the exact inconvenience. We compiled the most commonly mentioned below.

Adapter Style

Believe it or not, some customers miss the cord that comes with other personal space heaters. They feel the cord allows more versatility for positioning in the room, despite the tripping hazard.

Shipping is expensive

And not refunded with the product. Shipping is $8.99 in the US. If you catch a promotion bundle like the ones offered here, you can find free shipping for larger orders.

Requires 3-prong outlets

Some older homes aren't wired for the three-prong outlets. If this is the case for your home, speak with an electrician to check out how much it would cost to upgrade your wiring.

Takes up the whole outlet

In the age of devices, outlets tend to be a hot commodity. Some customers found it a turn off that the Handy Heater took up the whole outlet.

Fire hazard if the fan stops working

One reviewer took the product to a fire department. The firefighters ran into a concern when the fan stopped working. Customers should be aware, and not leave the unit running unsupervised.

Our Take

Despite the negative handy heater review points, we found that this little heater packs a nice, warm punch. The Handy Heater can make for a great choice to save money without having to shiver in misery. It's convenient and cost-effective, making it a great solution for many people.

The heater does come with a 30-day hassle-free return policy, but you will be out the shipping & handling.

We definitely recommend giving the Handy Heater a try. It could be just what you need for a day heater, but like all heaters needs to be operated with supervision. Don't forget to clear away items that could ignite if they slipped through the grate to the heating element.

You don't need to wait another day; hop online, order a handy heater, and start saving money.

Want to Know More?

The makers of Handy Heater only offer their products online. If you find it elsewhere, you may be dealing with a third-party seller or a scam.

If you have further questions about these devices, the manufacturing company welcomes customer inquiries. Handy Heater is based in the US, with shipping centers on both the East and West coasts. They have a sister company in the UK that sells the product as the JML heater. The below info is from the US company, the major manufacturer of these heaters.

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