Now that I’ve shared a little bit about the realistic differences between PTC elements and quartz elements, I want to share about a truly overlooked quality that most retailers and manufacturers don’t share. And I think the reason has to do with a lack of knowledge and a lack of desire to do the homework for you, their customer. But again, at Infrared Heater Warehouse we try to be different in our approach and bring you quality, unbiased information, regardless of how silly we (or Jordan) look, how much extra work it involves or even if it’ll cut into our profits a little bit. Again, many of our competitors like to pedal one brand or push you toward the hype in an effort to buy on your emotions only to find you were led astray and stuck with a faulty unit and no one around to help.
The inside of the Duraflame Power Heat
So, one of the most overlooked elements in identifying an infrared heater’s true worth has to do with the building out of the heating chamber. As different brands look to compete with respect to design, output, features, etc. the actual warmth you’ll feel is sometimes sacrificed for aesthetic or cost cutting measures; the cubic feet per minute (CFM) and warming ratio are not what you expect. In order to get as much heat out of a space heater as possible, it helps for the air to be circulated through a number of different channels. The longer the air’s journey upon entering from the back of the heater until it exits the front, the more time it has to heat up. When you combine that with ultra-hot quartz or PTC elements and copper or metal heating chambers that are lined throughout the chamber, you get a much hotter force exiting and eventually reaching your body. To give you an example, take a look at the Duraflame Colby (pictured here). The air flows in through the back where it’s channeled down and toward the front beneath the quartz elements. From there, it comes up the ramp and flows perfectly through the high-intensity, copper-lined quartz section and eventually exits through the front. Now compare that to just entering the back and simply passing over a few elements before reaching the front; you’re comparing a path of almost 4 feet to about 12 inches max. If the air flows over a hot surface for four times as long, you can clearly see how it will exit at a much higher temperature. So in reality, the design of the heating chamber is the more important component of these infrared space heaters. And the Duraflame Power Heat line is not the only one that features this. LifeSMART, Comfort Zone and a few others have the same type of system working in their heating chambers.
Now a lot of retailers aren’t going to talk about this – mostly because they have no idea – but also because it involves some work on our end if you start asking questions about it. But again, at Infrared Heater Warehouse, we force you to learn before you buy!
With each post I like to talk about the positives and negatives of an individual heater and highlight some of the features that make it stand out. With this post, I will do neither. The RedCore R-2’s are the final infrared heaters that we have to discuss and unfortunately there’s little that stands out about these units that I haven’t covered below in an earlier post. Instead I’d like to share some knowledge on quartz vs. positive temperature coefficient (PTC) elements.
Now I love to stay away from the technical terminology as much as possible to ensure you guys and gals understand and get value out of my words. This industry can get very messy and confusing if you’re not familiar with the lingo. With that said, there is no clear cut winner when it comes to infrared heating elements. Yes, it appears PTC elements last at least four times longer than traditional, quartz elements and frankly, they cost a bit more too. But when you consider your choices logically, should you really choose your heater based on its expected longevity? The answer is no. because regardless of which side of the fence you land, your heater is programmed to run at least 20,000 hours. As I profiled in my post on the EcoSunTec IMAP-1,000 (titled, “A Diamond in the Rough”), 20,000 hours of above-normal use equates to almost 10 years! Now we here at Infrared Heater Warehouse certainly stand behind our products and believe that with proper maintenance, 10 years is not unattainable by any stretch of the imagination. But when you talk about a heater lasting four times as long, I think we can all agree that something is bound to go wrong on ANY product before 40 years goes by. So although we have to list this as a feature that our PTC heaters have, we want to assure you that we certainly don’t see any space heater lasting the full course of a PTC elements allowable life.
We’re coming down to the wire here with our reviews for the 2012-2013 season. As much as I’d like to end it with a bang…unfortunately I will not be. And this has more to do with a lack of press, the middle-child syndrome and consequently, a lack of sales volume more than anything. So in my last three posts, I’ll be highlighting some of the features of the RedCore R-2 infrared heaters.
Similar to the R-1 and R-4 models, the R-2 has all the same features. It begins with the substantial measures Matt (the founder) and RedCore take to ensure their units heat as well – if not better – than any others on the market. I’ve been talking all about the positive temperature coefficient (PTC) technology throughout this blog and the studies showing its superiority in terms of overall longevity compared to typical quartz elements. Now we have nothing suggesting PTC’s ability to heat “better” than quartz and truthfully, that has more to do with the design of the heating chamber than it does the elements inside, but longevity seems to favor the former.
Moving forward, you’ll find the same three heating settings (500 watt, 1,000 watt and 1,500 watt) as the R-4 with the same amount of heating coverage in terms of square feet as well. The safety features of tip over protection and a cool-touch cabinet are also standard as is the lifetime warranty on the heating elements. The big thing that does stick out in favor of the R-4 is the tremendous hudifier and air purification system that keeps your air moist and care-free for the life of the unit. That is a major advantage pushing people toward the higher end unit. And to save a little room and money, a lot of customers are already migrating to the R-1, new for this season. So again, being the middle child may mean the demise of the R-2 in time but for now, we’ll continue to monitor its vitals to see how long it truly lasts.
In this review, we bring you something that has yet to hit the market. As the infrared industry begins to expand into residential communities throughout the country, we’re finding more and more options available to our customers. Even still, nothing quite like this. Having Infrared Heater Warehouse the first to offer it back in late August, it’s only fitting we introduce the RedCore R-1 Compact PTC Infrared Heater Camouflage.
The RealTree camo can only hide the R-1 for so long!
Just looking at it, you can clearly tell this is a unique unit. Still, it contains the same excellent heating qualities of its bigger brother, the R-4, while maintaining an ultra-low profile and sheading over 50% of its weight. Now RedCore long ago chose to stick with Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heating elements while the majority of other brands chose the cheaper-priced, quartz elements and they haven’t looked back since. Beyond the core components, you get three heat settings for maximum efficiency, 80,000 hours of lifetime heat (amounting to 20+ years with above-average use), an electronic thermostat with a 30F degree variance in temperature and safety features such as an automatic overheat sensor and cool-touch cabinet. And as with all RedCore heaters, they stand firmly behind their production by offering the only lifetime warranty throughout the industry on all PTC elements.
But again, the thing that sticks out most is the convenience of R-1 Camo’s small stacher and the RealTree camo design. We love this unit for all the hunters out there and highly recommend for your mountain home away from home!
The RedCore R-1 is changing the game
We’ve seen a lot of heaters hit the shelves in our day. Over the past few years, many brands and even more units have come across our desk looking to be carried or partnered with. Beings that we firmly stand behind our unbiased approach, what good is it to pedal a faulty product if we’ll have nothing good to say about it?
Now again, RedCore has seen is fair share of issues in the past. Moving forward, they’ve done their job to rectify them and with the R-1 Compact PTC Infrared Heater, they delivered beyond what we expected. We love the RedCore brand because of the honesty and integrity they provide the somewhat up-and-down industry but their products continue to improve and again, the R-1 is something to behold.
Sitting at just under a foot in every dimension, the R-1 is still rated to heat as much space as the big boys. Capable of reaching up to 1,000 square feet, RedCore’s found told us the studies support this heater hitting almost the same amount of space as the infamous R-4! For those of you that haven’t done the math, that’s almost twice as large and twice as expensive! Again, RedCore delivered with this unit.
Backed by the industry leading Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heating elements, it’s rated aroun 80,000 hours and is capable of self-regulating itself to ensure you get your exact desired temperature. With an electronic thermostat that reaches anywhere from 60-90F degrees, three efficiency settings and a lifetime (yes, lifetime) warranty on its heating elements, the R-1 is in position to surprise not only our customers but every manufacturer in the business. There are a lot of copycat throughout this industry and it seems almost everyone is guilty of it; we have yet to see an infrared heater that looks like this but we’re confident that 2013 will feature quite a few! Overall rating: 9/10.
Unfortunately, we here at Infrared Heater Warehouse do not feature quite as many industrial or strictly garage-kept infrared heaters as we’d like. Our focus has always been on the space heater market but with that said, we are certainly looking to expand in the coming months (so be on the lookout!).
The H-9010 has a few bugs that need working out
One of the few shop heaters that we do already feature for 2012 is the Optimus H-9010 Utility Heater. Standard with two infrared quartz elements, the H-9010 provides quick and reliable warmth almost immediately. The reason we chose this model is because of the backing Optimus brings through their great reputation as well as the convenience this unit in particular has. Now we’ve gotten reports of the mounting hardware being a bit too flimsy which can be a concern depending on where you mount this. Because of that, we suggest it being placed in an area of your space that you normally stay away from. We realize it’s only 8 lbs but if it does happen to fall, we want to ensure your safety is not in jeopardy. With that said, we’ve had absolutely no reports of this happening but it’s certainly better to be safe than sorry!
Just like the H-4500, you’ll get a high and low setting (600 watt and 1,200 watt) to improve heating efficiency. Lastly, Optimus decided to add a halogen bulb to this heater. Frankly, it doesn’t do much for us (or our customers for that matter). It’s more of a space filler and “featured line-item” than it is a functional tool that adds a lot of value. Truthfully, we don’t see you getting much use out of it.
Out of 40+ infrared heaters we’re showcasing for the 2012-2013 season, the Optimus H-5210 received the coveted Most Popular Heater award given out to only one heater each year. As Jordan mentioned in his video post: the people have spoken!
The H-5210 from Optimus is this year’s most popular heater!
Coming off a truly experimental year with all Optimus products last year, simply because we had never carried them before, we at Infrared Heater Warehouse knew the popularity was there for all of the units we feature. But the H-5210 takes the cake. Combining true value with durability and consistency, it’s managed to outsell almost every heater on the market, which includes those outside of us! Customers really enjoy having such a small, light-weight unit that has multiple settings (400 watt and 800 watt) and contains healthy, soothing infrared quartz technology. Like most all Optimus heaters, you’ll get the built in tip-over protection which isn’t quite as vital as perhaps the H-4110 but still a valuable feature if you plan to be around children or pets or even have it hiding underneath the desk. With a cord holding station on the backside, it just makes it that much more convenient to take to and from the office.
Again, Optimus makes quality heaters for less. We don’t want to get your expectation up and have you believe this will revolutionize heating as you know it or save you a ton of money on your heating bill but what you get for the price makes it easy to see why our customers and customers throughout the country love the H-5210!
Another winner from Optimus, the 14 inch H-4500 Oscillating Dish Heater meets the small, cheaper H-4110 with a lower end family unit space heater and throws in an oscillating head for kicks! Again, Optimus has long been the leader in provide safe, cheap heating alternatives for residential customers who need just a little more warmth either under the desk, while sitting on the couch or in the bedroom. Although not quite as popular as the H-4110 or H-5210 (mostly due to the huge jump in price), the H-4500 does have some unique features these other units do not.
Optimus delivered with the H-4500 Oscillating Heater
For starters, you’ll get two high end heat settings at 800 watts and 1,200 watts. Some of our larger space heaters don’t even hit above 1,000 watts yet cost twice as much so this is certainly a benefit of the H-4500. Beyond that though, you do get the adjustable neck and oscillating head that really allows you to move this unit anywhere you’d like. It even has a timer that can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours and a remote control to program it with. All this is displayed clearly on the LCD screen located just below the dish itself. Again, when you a lot of coverage for a fraction of the price, keep your eyes locked on this unit.
The Optimus H-4110 is small but mighty!
This will be the first full year we’ll be featuring the Optimus brand. For years, we stuck with the tried and true space heater brands, the Duraflames, LifeSMARTs and Comfort Zones of the infrared world. This spring we decided to branch out thanks to a lot of the customer feedback we received regarding the lack of price options available. Although we certainly don’t recommend our under $99 club as a replacement for the brands mentioned above, we do know they have a place in the heating ecosystem and Optimus is the giant in this low-priced space.
Now they feature several heaters but we chose to stick with customer favorites. Starting with the Optimus H-4110 Dish Heater, the convenience factor is through the roof. A lot of folks commented on two main things: the portability and durability. First, this heater is an excellent choice for any small space. We recommend either as a desk heater, or by your bedside or next to your favorite chair in the living room. At just over 3 lbs and 1 ft in its longest dimension, you can clearly see why this is so convenient to have. Beyond that however, there’s even a built in switch that turns the unit off if it gets knocked over. With tip-over protection built in, you never have to worry about any safety hazards – even with a $30 heater!
Lastly, after talking to both the manufacturer and customers, reading reviews and passing our own judgments based on our industry expertise, we’re so excited to know that even if you can’t swing $200-$300 on a large unit, you can still heat your space comfortable for many years with a “cheap” unit. The nine-inch dish consistently shoots out 300 watts worth of heat and does so longer than you’d expect. With a three year warranty to boot, it’s clear that Optimus stands firmly behind this little guy!
The EcoSunTec IMAP-1000 is a little known secret
The founder and owner of EcoSunTec is extremely passionate about his business and products. Whenever we put a call in, Paul is the first one to answer with consistent and thorough knowledge on anything infrared. When we originally began our partnership with them a few years back, we were delighted by the enthusiasm and depth of intelligence EcoSunTec offers. It’s now just a matter of getting that perspective into the hands of our customers.
Backbone of the company, the IMAP-1000 has almost as many settings and features as any heater on the market. It boasts a heater, humidifier and air purification system that rivals the best in the industry while being supported by long-lasting Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) technology. Backed by a five year warranty, the PTC elements are said to be up to four times longer-lasting that regular quartz elements (at least on paper, anyway). Now as I profiled in an earlier post, a typical quartz heater may last 10-15 years if maintained properly. Stating that anything, let alone an infrared heater, will last four times as long is a bit of a stretch as something is bound to go wrong with any product within 40-60 years! So again, take the listed “lifetime heat” measurement with a grain of salt.
Beyond the core components, the IMAP-1000 also features a list of additional improvements over the standard infrared heater. With three unique settings not seen elsewhere in the industry, it has 650 watt, 1,100 watt and 1,500 watt settings. We still prefer the wider range of 500 watt – 1,500 watt as this maximizes the efficiency of a heater’s heat but three settings is still better than two or one for sure. Beyond that, there’s a fully functional remote control that’s capable of hitting 15 temperature settings between 50-86F degrees. This is also among the top in the industry as similar infrared heaters max out around 60-85F degrees. With it capable of keeping a steady 50F degree temperature, the IMAP-1000 is a great unit for garages, workspaces or storage areas that you want to keep just above freezing.
Overall, we give this heater an 8.5/10. We don’t care for the outside cabinet quite as much as some other units (and frankly, we feel that’s what is turning customers away) but when you need efficient heat, this guy can do the job. And believe us, you’ll love speaking with Paul if you ever get the opportunity!