Sun heaters are a new type of room heaters in India. I was searching for buying the best room heater when I came across sun heaters. The shopkeeper was not offering any warranty on its carbon heating element. Still, the design and concept was so unique and attractive that I bought one. Some brands do offer 1 year warranty though. I bought mine offline. This post is my sun heater review which can roughly be called a carbon heater in the shape of a table fan.
BEST SUN HEATERS FOR ROOMS
There are a lot of different types of room heaters available. Each type of heater has its own set of Pros and Cons. Some room heaters generate heat instantly while some take a bit of time. Oil heaters produce heat by convection and slowly heats up the given space. Halogen heaters produce very intense brightness and are suited for heating a little distant space. Fan heaters eat up much power in return of quick respite from cold. Depending on the distance between the object or space to be heated you need to choose a room heater accordingly. After all you cannot get close and personal with a rod type heater, you’ll burn to ashes, Lol! Similarly, you cannot expect an oil heater to give you instant warmth.
Sun Heaters are gaining popularity owing to their energy efficiency and effectiveness. But, what are sun heaters?
What Are Sun Heaters?
Sun Heaters are a new variety of room heaters. They are generally designed in the form of a table fan with a base. A Sun heater in a nutshell comprises of a heating mechanism/element and a radiator/reflector. The heating element if its a carbon coil element is the best. In other sun heaters, multiple halogen lamps are present whose heat is reflected.
SUN HEATER PRICE
The best thing you’ll love about Sun heaters is their low affordable price tag. They are non-costly solution to all your winter heating needs. Infact, I am regretting buying my Orient 9-fin Oil heater for 7 times the cost of one Sun heater. The Best Sun heater comes within ₹2000 price tag.
SUN HEATERS – WORKING PRINCIPLE
Sun heaters work on the principle of concave mirrors. Do you remember your physics lessons on the ray diagrams of convex and concave mirrors? Sun heaters are based on the principle of an object (heating element) placed at the focus of the concave mirror (reflector). In this case the image is formed at infinity. This simply means that in a Sun heater, the heat energy reflects out from the heating element in near totality. The more plain and reflective the concave reflector is, the better. The infrared radiation (heat energy) spreads evenly in all directions owing to the circular shape of the heating element.
DESIGN OF SUN HEATERS
No one sun heater brand or model can be called the best sun heater in India. This is because of the novelty of the concept and limited data on online shopping websites.
There are a few features of sun heaters which are quite normal to have and are listed below-
A Sun heater is a portable heating device. Most of the sun heaters I have come across are just around 2 Kgs in weight. A handle is generally provided to lift it up and put it at the desired spot. This is in stark contrast with Oil heaters which are commonly 10 Kgs or above.
HEATING MODES & POWER CONSUMPTION
Sun Heaters have another feather in their cap. They allow 2 settings of heat intensity (or power/wattage). The wattage of these settings can vary depending on make and model. My smaller Sun heater at home has a Low heat setting (400 Watts) and a High heat intensity (800 Watts). While my bigger Sun heater has a Low of 500 Watts and a High of 1000 Watts.
Obviously a bigger diameter Sun heater is more effective in heating a room. It covers a wider area and heats faster too.
Almost all Sun Heaters have one feature in common. They allow to be set to oscillate in 90 degrees amplitude (angle of heat spread). This is the best feature which I liked the most. You can even set it to not oscillate at all and be fixed. There are two advantages of this feature. The first one is that the range of area directly heated up increases. The second one is that the oscillation prevents a particular area from receiving too much heat. A constant exposure to heat radiation can make the body or clothes too hot for comfort.
Having a timer makes for a Best Sun heater is another good feature which counts. How many heaters have you seen with a Timer? None, if my guess is correct. My sun heater has a separate knob to set the timer in multiples of 20 minutes for 2 hours. It means you can adjust the knob to shut down in 20/40/60/80/100/120 minutes. You can even choose to not set the timer at all and keep the heater ON continuously.
The advantage of a timer function is obvious. You can keep it On for a particular time period and go to sleep. This saves energy when you are already in bed and warm.
ALSO READ: BEST OIL HEATERS
Sun heaters do not have any surfaces which receives direct heat apart from the front side. The heating element is hidden from possibility of direct contact. Whats left is the heated reflector which again sits behind a nickel-chromium grill mesh for preventing accidental injuries by touch. They have a cool to touch outer body (back side). Yet another reason why they are considered safer than most heater types. But, you need to exercise discretion and take care when using a Sun heater near kids.
Accidental falls are inevitable and a mechanism to prevent any mishaps in such an event is good to have. Most Sun heaters come with a tip-over switch. What this means that as soon as its base leaves the floor contact when toppling, the heater shuts down. This is a very good safety feature especially if you have kids at home. Best sun heaters must have this safety feature.
CARBON ELEMENT v/s HALOGEN LAMPS
A Sun heater with carbon element is better than one with halogen bulbs. Carbon Heaters use a carbon fiber inside a halogen tube as the heating element. As carbon is a bad conductor of electricity it offers resistance to the flow of electricity through it. The result is heat production which is radiated out by the reflector. Carbon element is more suited for giving warmth to humans due to lower element temperatures. Lower temperature of element results in a soothing/tolerable warmth instead of a scorching feel in halogen or conventional radiant room heaters. This low temperature property also increases the life of the element.
Halogen lamps produce much higher temperature and hence brightness too. They are very effective in directly heating a target area from a larger distance. Halogen lamp based heaters are prone to malfunction as lamps get fused frequently. They are also difficult to replace once they get bad. This is not to mean that its easier to get your carbon element replaced if it gets faulty. But, the life of carbon elements is more.
ADVANTAGES OF SUN HEATERS
- Very affordable as the best sun heater can be bought for under ₹2000.
- More energy efficient than convection PTC heaters.
- Give out soothing warmth if used close-by. For a little far away target distance, halogen lamps suit better.
- Produce very less light in comparison to halogen heaters. This ensures a distraction free sleep.
- Longer service life owing to lower filament temperature as explained above.
- Environment friendly.
Apart from the advantages, I have noticed one side-effect of sitting close-by to the sun heater. The heat is not suitable for direct exposure to the eye. This causes eye irritation due to dryness. The solution to this problem is not to keep the heater at face height while sitting. Blink your eyes more often and avoid sitting in front of it for long durations. Keep it on floor level to heat up the surroundings or heat up till your waist height.
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