Reviews

Warmth on Demand, a Tested Review of the Handy Heater

When Old Man Winter is upon us, lots of folks look for a little boost of warmth. Here’s what happened when I tested a popular small space heater.
Handy Heater Review

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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Wouldn’t it be great to add warmth to a room without cranking up the HVAC thermostat for the entire house? Enter the world of efficient heating solutions, where a single device promises to make those chilly chambers more comfortable while saving users money on their utility bills.

In our ongoing search to determine the best space heaters, we are constantly on the lookout for new and promising models. Recently, we heard about a compact portable heater called the Handy Heater Pure Warmth. It’s billed as powerful, quiet, and cost-efficient to operate. Of course, I had to test it.

I ordered the Handy Heater and tried it out to see if the claims were valid. I noted how quickly it heated a room, used a decibel tester to determine how loud it was, and checked out all its features, including knocking it over to see if it would shut off. Ahead, find out what I liked about the Handy Heater, what I loved, and what I think could be improved.

Handy Heater Pure Warmth: At a Glance

Handy Heater Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 8/10

SPECS

  • Heating power: 1,200 watts
  • Coverage area: Up to 250 square feet
  • Heating technology: Thermo-ceramic
  • Number of heat settings: 3 (high, medium, low)
  • Added features: Odor removal, night-light, quiet operation
  • Best usage: Bedrooms, playrooms, garages, basements, and more
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.76 inches high by 7.99 inches wide by 7.01 inches deep

PROS

  • Small size allows for versatile placement on countertops, floors, tables, and even under desks
  • With 1,200 watts of heating power, the Handy Heater swiftly warms up spaces, making it practical for targeted heating
  • Operates at a reasonable noise level that resembles white noise; suitable for various settings

CONS

  • Doesn’t come with a thermostat, so users must monitor the temperature and adjust the heater accordingly

Get the Handy Heater Pure Warmth at:

What is the Handy Heater?

The Handy Heater is a portable ceramic heater that warms up small spaces quickly via 1,200 watts of power. Ceramic heaters feature porcelain-type material that surrounds the heating element and stores heat. Once the ceramic is hot, the heater doesn’t require as much energy to create warmth in the room.

In testing, I was easily able to scroll through the heat settings (high, medium, and low) simply by pressing the on/off button on the top. A second button allowed me to select from several night-light colors or turn off the light function entirely.

This compact room heater is suitable for warming rooms up to 250 square feet. Plus, it comes with a filter that’s supposed to reduce odors in the room and help remove airborne contaminants. It also has a tip-over safety mechanism that shuts off the heater if it’s knocked over or lifted.

Handy Heater Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How quickly can this space heater warm up a room?

The Handy Heater turned out to be pretty effective for a small space heater that measures just 9.76 inches high by 7.99 inches wide by 7.01 inches deep. I tested it in a 12- by 12-foot room, and it increased the temperature from 62 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit within 30 minutes on the highest setting. Others may have different experiences based on their room’s existing temperature, ceiling height and square footage, wall insulation amount, and outdoor temperature.

The heater delivered a blast of hot air, and after my room was warm, I turned it to low to maintain the temperature, but it still rose to 70 degrees after another 30 minutes. Keep in mind that my test room was about half the size of the heater’s maximum capacity, which is for rooms up to 250 square feet, and larger rooms will likely take longer to heat.

How loud is the Handy Heater when it’s running?

Though the Handy Heater is marketed as being a whisper-quiet heater, I wouldn’t describe it that way. However, I didn’t find it distractingly loud either. It emits a sound similar to white noise, resembling the soothing hum of a fan. When I ran it on the highest setting, my decibel tester registered 67.3 decibels from a distance of 1.5 feet. On the lowest setting, it measured a slightly more subdued 61 decibels. Both of those readings are comparable to the lower and upper volumes of everyday conversations.

As a secondary test, I ran the fan while working in my home office. After a few minutes, the noise didn’t even register anymore and didn’t hamper my concentration. I did get too hot, however, after about 45 minutes.

Handy Heater Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is this space heater cost-efficient?

I tested the Handy Heater using the Kill-A-Watt EZ wattage tester. I configured the tester to reflect a utility cost of 16 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Individual costs will vary based on rate-cost differences from region to region.

According to the wattage tester, if I continuously ran the Handy Heater on the highest setting, it would result in a daily cost of $2.79. On the low setting, the daily cost would drop to $1.98. It’s important to note that these figures assume continuous usage, but in reality, most users operate a space heater for shorter periods so that the final tally could be lower.

On the downside, the Handy Heater lacks a thermostat, meaning it doesn’t shut off automatically when the room reaches a specific temperature. As a result, users may leave the heater running longer than necessary to heat the room, which reduces energy efficiency.

Handy Heater Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Handy Heater right for you?

Priced between $25 to $42 from most retailers, the Handy Heater is more budget-friendly than many space heaters. Its compact size easily fits on a countertop, floor, or table, as well as under a desk or workbench, which can be a blessing when trying to get things done in a chilly workspace. It provides powerful heat swiftly and operates at a reasonable noise level. A nice perk is the pleasant night-light with a selection of calming hues from which to choose.

The Handy Heater also comes with a filter on the back that is supposed to remove odors and clean the air. Perhaps because my test area wasn’t noticeably smelly to start with, I didn’t notice any odor reduction while putting the heater through its paces. After testing, however, I removed the filter to clean it (it’s washable) and it did have some dust on it. That tells me that dust caught in the filter will not be reintroduced into the air. However, this filter is by no means on par with the best air purifiers.

The absence of a thermostat is a downside. It makes the heater less energy efficient, and users will need to manually adjust the output as comfort levels in the room change, which can mean interrupting the task at hand to fiddle with the heater. However, I consider it a reliable choice for heating specific spaces without the need to warm an entire house. It’s ideal for supplying supplemental heat in consistently cool or drafty rooms.

Where to Buy the Handy Heater

Get the Handy Heater Pure Warmth at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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