In this article we’re going to review a small space heater with some big claims: Ontel’s Handy Heater. You may have heard that it’s amazingly energy efficient, perfectly quiet to run, and features fancy heating tech. We’re going to take an in-depth look at this personal space heater, its claims and the talk surrounding it, and find out if it’s everything that Ontel claims it is.
Handy Heater Review – Does It Actually Work?
The Things We Like About the Handy Heater
First, let’s look at the wonderfully convenient aspects of Ontel’s personal space heater.
It’s incredibly small at just 4.5 by 5.7 by 7.8 inches, and light at under two pounds. You could fit it into a roomy handbag or laptop bag. It’s ideal for travelling or taking to the office.
It doesn’t have a power cord. You plug it straight into a wall socket. This isn’t necessarily a perk… we’ll get into that later… but I personally do hate the sight of cord webs hogging up my floor space, so I appreciate this aspect. The plug swivels, so it’s easy to attach to any socket, and installation takes a second.
It’s Cool to the Touch and Runs Quietly
The shell stays cool, even after many hours of use. This makes it perfect for warming a child’s room, or areas where pets like to hang out (like any heater, we still don’t advise running it around kids or pets unsupervised). And if you have it connected to a plug near your feet, there’s no chance of getting accidental burns when you stretch your legs. It’s also nearly silent when it runs. You can just hear the fan when the heating switches on. This makes it wonderfully peaceful for heating a bedroom.
Ontel claims the Handy Heater is light on power, and with a max power usage of 350 watt, it is breathtakingly efficient compared to many other heaters. However, power equals warmth… so does efficiency sacrifice functionality? We’ll cover that point soon.
Easy Operation, Automatic Safety Feature plus a Timer
The Handy Heater offers a timer function – a pleasant surprise on such a small heater. The timer simply switches the machine off, so you can get out of bed and head off to work without needing to remember to fiddle with your heater’s switches. As a safety feature, the Handy Heater automatically switches off after 24 hours. You can set the temperature, and while it’s running the machine will switch on and off in order to maintain that temperature. Heating ranges from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfectly adequate for heaters that are used in winter. It’s simple to operate: a round, red switch on the side toggles the power on and off, and simple speed and timer buttons surround the digital display on top.
There Are A Few Things We Don’t Like
So far, so good. The Handy Heater is convenient to operate and transport. But it does have some problems.
It Only Effectively Heats Small Spaces
The most significant downside to the heater – and it’s something you absolutely have to consider, as it could turn your user-experience as sour as that bottle of healthy, organic apple cider vinegar you dutifully tried to drink your way through – is that it can only thoroughly heat tiny spaces. It claims to be able to warm anything under 250 square feet, but in order to avoid disappointment with your purchase, we suggest that you shouldn’t expect it to comfortably heat a space above 100 square feet. If you’re happy to wait a bit, you may still be able to warm up a space that’s between 100 and 200 square feet… if you implement our insulation strategies tips below.
No Cord Means Limited Range
While I did mention that I appreciate cordless appliances, the fact that this heater has to go straight into a wall socket does make for a frustrating situation if you’d like to position it right beside your favorite armchair… and that armchair graces a medium-sized to large room, where the heater will only effectively warm the area in its immediate vicinity… and that armchair (or bed or couch) isn’t next to a wall socket. You can solve this problem with an extension cord, but it’s somewhat inconvenient. I feel that ideally, this heater should come with the option for a cord.
When it comes to visual design, the Handy Heater is plain and functional looking; there’s nothing pleasing about it. Since it’s quite prominent when you walk into a room where it’s running – it will usually be hanging off an otherwise plain or well-decorated wall – I feel that some extra thought could have gone into creating an attractive design. There’s also a red LED light behind the grid. Don’t be startled if the element appears to glow red… the heater is (most likely) not about to erupt in smoke and flames.
“Heating Tech” Actually Nothing Fancy
Another aspect I’d like to point out is that while the heater boasts “energy smart heating technology,” the ceramic PTC elements that it uses really are quite common. You can pop into a local housewares store and pick a heater with a nearly identical element and heating system off the shelf.
Handy Heater Reviews – What Users Reported
What do people who are currently using this heater have to say? Here are the top takeaways from the user reviews.
- People love running it at the office or in small motel rooms… it’s truly convenient to travel with.
- Adverts claim that you can use it in the bathroom, but technically you shouldn’t. Some buyers still do.
- It gives out a plastic odor when it runs.
- It may not keep the surrounding air at the exact temperature you set it to. These stats improve if you run it in a room with no air circulation… see more on this below.
- The jury is still out on this heater’s reliability. Most users have been running theirs for months without complaints, but some report that theirs broke within an hour.
Honestly, the worst thing about this heater could be its exaggerated claims. If you know what you’re looking for, and that happens to a small, extremely light heater that could fit into a large handbag and can raise the temperature in its immediate vicinity, or heat a really small room… You’re getting what you’re looking for, at a reasonable price.
Ideal for travel
Shell stays cool
Highly energy efficient
Has a timer
Has a safety feature for switching off
| Only heats a small space|
No cord means it could be inconvenient to position next to your chair
Unattractive visual design
Commercial makes misleading claims
How to Get the Most Out of Your Handy Heater
If you’re thinking of purchasing Ontel’s Handy Heater, or have just bought one and found that it doesn’t work as you expected, there are some things you can do to get it to heat a larger space. The most important point to keep in mind is that if there’s any air circulation in the room you’re trying to heat, you’re going to struggle to get this heater to perform.
Our tips for using a Handy Heater:
- Keep the door closed.
- Keep windows closed too.
- Don’t try to run the heater in a room fitted with open air vents.
- Closing the curtains could improve performance.
- The heater will work best in rooms with insulated ceilings and floors.
This heater probably isn’t a good buy for you if you’re looking for a heater to run in your RV or camper van, unless it really is beautifully insulated.
Handy Heater Top Competition
There are loads of lovely personal space heaters currently available on the market. These models are our favorites: users love them, and they’re well-priced. In fact, they check out at around the same price point as the Ontel Handy Heater. Just keep in mind that personal space heaters are not designed to effectively heat medium to large sized rooms.
- AmazonBasics ceramic mini-heater (model DQ1722D): compact, cozy, and energy efficient, it’s also highly attractive when it comes to visual design.
- Lasko MyHeat ceramic personal heater (model 100): tiny, cute-looking and reliable.
And here are a couple of small, portable space heaters that also come with a price tag similar to the Handy Heater’s. While these are a bit less surreptitious than a personal space heater, they can effectively heat a medium-sized room. Both models listed here have an energy-efficient option for the power setting.
- Andily small space heater (model A-750-1500): this Amazon favorite is powerful and safe while still being remarkably light, small and easy to transport.
- Givebest ceramic space heater (model PCT-905): this heater may be a little on the noisy side, but it offers toasty heat, easy maneuverability and a comfy giant handle.