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Many space heaters are advertised as “whole room heaters” – but exactly how big can be a whole room? One possible answer are available in the Vornado heater manual which describes an entire room, relative to the heater’s capacity, as 16′ x 16′ having an 8′ ceiling. These dimensions figure out to 256 sq. ft. and 2048 cu. ft. respectively – easily the actual size of most family rooms, kitchens, or living/dining spaces.

Over the past year a significant change in space heater technologies have re-shaped consumers’ taste in whole room space heaters. Among the winners are those that employ ceramic or quartz infrared heating elements.

Among whole room heater manufacturers, Lasko supports the number 2 location for bestselling heaters with its model 755320 tower heater with digital display ($45). (Number one is Lasko’s 754200 compact heater $20).

Ceramic heaters have gained wide spread popularity for several reasons. The first is reliability. Speaking from personal experience, our Lasko 5141, no longer available, refuses to give up the ghost after 6 or 7 birthdays – or approximately 52.4 space heater years.

A few more reasons for the recognition of ceramics for heating are quick heat-up and safe operation. Ceramic heaters can also be relatively quiet and provide a level heat which is often described as “soft.”

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

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

Once all the rage, the heaters band have got all but fallen from the wayside. Maybe it had something to do with a buyer complaining about sparks shooting from his DeLonghi HHP1500 Mica Panel Radiator. So it’s interesting to keep in mind the Kenwood HHP 1500, also manufactured by Delonghi and strongly resembling the first, is among Consumer Reports’ highest rated heaters.

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

Fan-forced convection heat will be the M.O. of the majority of whole room space heaters. The most notable rated heater makers in this particular category are Lasko and Delonghi, mentioned previously, in addition to Holmes, Honeywell, and Vornado.

New from Vornado this heating season is the PVH, or Panel Vortex Heater ($60). This heater can be a departure in both price and design from Vornado’s most in-demand heater, the round cornered EH1-0034-06 AVH2 Vortex Full-Room Electric Heater ($97). The new, easy to operate flat panel design houses the same technology found in their more expensive models.

The key to harnessing Vornado’s vortex of heat is always to locate the heater at one end in the room having a clear path to the alternative wall. If the air hits the opposing wall it splits and is deflected back across the perimeter of the room to heat every square inch of space.

From Holmes, sold underneath the Patton name brand, is the new PQH307-UM Tower Quartz Heater with Adjustable Thermostat ($45). This fan equipped unit is about the smaller end (150 sq. ft.) of whole m1caband heaters while offering two heat settings corresponding to the volume of quartz tubes switched on.

This coming year Honeywell has got the distinction of a recommendation from Consumer Reports for 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 a victim of the own success which is either unavailable, back ordered, or sold at highly inflated prices as a result of scarce supply. Kaz USA Inc., the producer of Honeywell, is aware of the problem and suggests the HZ-617 Whole Room 2-in-1 Heater ($70) as a replacement. The real difference is adding a fan to the HZ-617 that may be switched on or off on your pleasure.

Undoubtedly, the largest change in consumer preferences for electric space heaters has become to furniture style quartz infrared heaters. The creation of EdenPure a few years ago was accompanied by an onslaught of competing brands.