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How we review heaters

If it is too hot in the test kitchen, that probably means we are testing heaters.

Anula Wiwatowska
Apr 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read2 min read

When we review heaters we go further than the specs listed on the label. Specs on any device are only part of the story, and our reviews aim to tell the whole story- the good, the bad, and why that matters to the consumer.

Taking a heater for a spin is naturally part of the procedure, but we also research the context surrounding the device. Aspects like operating costs, the value proposition in relation to the current economic climate, and safety issues. This allows us to look at how the device fits in to the larger landscape of consumer priorities. From here we can better understand what is actually important for consumers, whether you find that on a spec sheet or not.

While our heater reviews are cool, calm, and collected, our testing is what really turns up the heat. Every heater we review goes through both qualitative and quantitative tests. Quantitative tests look at the heating efficiency, and test the safety features, while qualitatively we assess the overall user experience.

In short, all of our reviews are written by people, for people. When we assess heaters we look deeper than just the spec-list, and aim to give readers an informed answer that will actually help them for the best product for them.

Power

When we review heaters we start by looking at the power of the device; after all what good is a heater that doesn't actually heat? As part of this aspect we look at how the heater is powered, the power source wattage, heat settings, and the heating elements.

From here we assess some big questions;

  • How much space will this heater cover?
  • How much does it cost to run the device?
  • Is the heat control granular, or basic?

Features

Features on heaters are just as much about convinence as they are about safety. There are a few standards that we expect from every heater; a tip-over switch, and overheat protection. If these safety features are missing then the device is heavily penalised, and ultimately loses its recommendation no matter how well it performs otherwise.

On the convinience side of things we look at ways the device makes your life easier. Features like oscillation, timers, remotes, and smart features are all taken into account. 

From here we ask ourselves questions like;

  • Is this feature actually useful?
  • Does it work as intended?
  • How much does it improve the user experience

Running and outright cost

If there is only one thing you know about heaters already, it is that they are expensive to run. One of our main priorities is looking at the running costs of the heaters we review, and their outright cost. This way consumers can get an idea of how much the total expenditure will be across the season.

To do this, we look at the cost of electricity, and required wattage of the heater, and make calculations based on the 92 days of Winter. While cheap heaters may score highly for the outright cost, they can be let down by the running costs. 

Expert testing

Finally, our expert reviewers come in for experiential and data-driven analysis. Some of our qualitative tests include looking at how quickly the device is able to heat a room, and whether the safety features advertised actually work.

From an experiential perspective, we assess set up complexity, weight and movability of the unit, the aesthetic design, and the overall user experience across both technical and basic aspects of the device.

Coupled with our standardised testing schemas, our experts determine a score out of 5 (rounded to the nearest 0.25). In some instances we may give a score to heaters before we get a chance to do our expert testing. In this case the scores are weighted differently, and are intended to help users see how a sub-category (such as kmart heaters) compare against one another at a glance. As we do hands-on testing, these scores are liable to change.

Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the Reviews.org 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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