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De’Longhi Dragon 4 Pro Heater Review: Patience is a virtue

Good things come to those who wait

delonghi Dragon 4 Pro 2400W with Timer
De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro
3.5 out of 5 stars
Heating element
Oil column
Heat settings
Temperature level control
Anula Wiwatowska
May 01, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read
Quick verdict: De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro

Fitted out with bells and whistles, Delonghi’s Dragon 4 Pro oil heater is hefty on power, weight, and price, but it is also a practice in patience.

pro Doesn't dry out ther air
pro Eco Plus for better energy efficiency
pro Granular temperature control
con Real slow to heat up
con Unsteady wheels
con Gets very hot to touch

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Delayed gratification is a sign of maturity.”

“Good things come to those who wait.”

We are taught the same lesson over and over again, and seemingly the Delonghi Dragon 4 Pro oil heater is here to teach us it once again. For all its advanced features, and powerful wattage, this heater takes hours to bring the heat. It’s a loss for both your comfort and your electricity bill.

Although this issue is prevalent across column oil heaters, the big price tag attached to the Dragon 4 Pro exacerbates it. When you’re investing over $400 outright on a heater you’d hope the savings would kick in on the running costs, otherwise why wouldn’t you just get a cheap Kmart heater instead? While the manufacturer does try to strike a balance by offering features like Eco Mode, scheduling, and granular temperature control, the total value proposition may just price you out.

Delonghi dragon 4 pro heater

De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro: Performance

Due to the nature of the technology oil heaters are notoriously slow to heat up. Since the oil needs to start cycling and warm up as it passes by the heating element, it can take some time until you feel a palpable change in temperature. If you’re after quick relief from the cold then the Delonghi Dragon 4 Pro won’t tick that box. On the highest setting, the heater took three hours and 20 minutes to raise the temperature in a 9m2 room by 5 degrees C. Progress is especially slow when it starts off, taking 10 minutes to jump up by 0.1 degree C, but amping up by 1.5 degrees C within the first half hour. 

Since the device has scheduling and timers you can always set it to turn on a few hours before your alarm in the morning to preheat the house. As oil heaters hold heat well, a few hours in the morning and a few at night should help to keep your house more comfortable over the winter months. However, even if they do retain heat for longer than fan or radiant heaters, they’re less effective at circulating that heat around a space. This makes these column heaters best for well insulated rooms with good air circulation- neither being something Australian homes are known for. In saying that they are also a low fire risk since the heating elements are entirely contained so the chance of sparks is significantly lower. The Dragon 4 Pro does get steaming hot to the touch though. We saw the surface reach temperatures up to 59 degrees C, which can burn your skin if contact is held for 30 seconds. 

You’ll also need to be careful (or avoid entirely) using extension cords with the device. In our first round of testing the device overheated while plugged into an extension cord, and blew the power in the room. It is something I would expect more from a cheap heater than a premium product such as this. I put this down to user error, but heed my warning and don’t overload the power point you plug powerful heaters into.

In operation the Dragon 4 Pro has all the upsides of oil heaters; great heat retention, warmth without drying out the air, and silent operation. During testing the humidity shifted from 64% to 51%, which still looks like quite a dip but is well within comfortable levels by any expert standards. Aside from the basics, this device also has scheduling, timers, degree-level temperature control, and six running speeds including Eco Plus.

De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro: Power Efficiency

The price of running a heater is a perpetual sore spot. Just like cooling in the summer, our bills must suffer again in the winter. Unlike reverse cycle air conditioning, which uses heat pump technology to add more heat per watt of energy, plug-and-play portable heaters are measured in basic wattage. The higher the wattage the hotter it can get, but also the more expensive it is to run.

Measuring in at a maximum of 2400 watts, the Dragon 4 Pro is in the upper echelon for portable heaters. Running at full speed, it should cost you around $0.34 per hour to run - which doesn’t seem like much on paper, but for comparison the average air purifier costs less than $0.01 per hour. Each of the six power settings will use varying degrees of power, with the lowest setting being the aforementioned Eco Mode. 

Eco Plus is designed for the heater to run at a lower wattage (1000W), making it kinder on your electricity bill per hour. The downside is that the lower the wattage, the slower the device is to heat. When it already takes over three hours to up by 5 degrees C on the highest mode, you’d be looking at a much longer run time for the same results. While you might save money per hour, if you need to have the heater on for longer the savings may very well cancel themselves out.

De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro: Design

Delonghi dragon 4 pro

As far as the design goes, the Dragon 4 Pro isn’t too different from the usual column oil heater, but the differences are welcomed. Overall it looks much sleeker than other heaters, partly due to the matte black coating, and partly because the body is covered a bit more. Apart from the aesthetic change, this also makes for less crevasses than other heaters. Less gaps, less places for dust to settle. That is a win.

Alas the De'Longhi is, like most other oil heaters, very heavy weighing in at over 18kg. With such a hefty frame you really need a good set of wheels to manoeuvre it around the house. It doesn’t. The wheels can fold in on themselves, and when pushing it across carpet, they tend to. Rather than skirting nicely between rooms, you end up with a piping hot anvil.

It’s controls are also semi-intuitive, and simultaneously baffling. The scrolling function on the dial is easy enough to pick up, but there is no obvious way to tell if you have actually set the temperature and the heat strength. It feels like you should be able to click the wheel in to set the temperature, but that just doesn't work. The timer has the same issue, where you can't be entirely sure that it has been set properly. Some kind of visual cue that you’ve locked it in would be a welcome addition to future models. The device also entirely resets every time you unplug it, so you'll need to set the clock over and over again if you want to shuffle it in between rooms. 

How much does the De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro cost in Australia?

The recommended retail price for the De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro is $429, but you can almost certainly find a better price across retailers. While this is quite expensive for an oil heater, it comes with a seven year warranty so you’re guaranteed some longevity out of it.

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Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links.

Is the De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro heater worth buying?

This won’t be the right heater for everyone. You’ll need to be ok with paying more than average on both ends of the service, and ideally have a well insulated space to use it within. You’ll either need to be prepared or patient enough to wait for the warmth to kick in. If you do tick these boxes then the De'Longhi Dragon 4 Pro is a worthwhile investment. With a handful of premium features, and a truly extended warranty, it is unlikely you’ll need to upgrade your heating device for a decade.

Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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