* Prices may differ from that shown
So why did we want an electric heater....
We have full gas central heating and have absolutely no need for an electric heater at all -- whatsoever, however due to the lay out of the lounge we have a chimney breast with a large recess which desperately needed "something". The previous owner had an electric 80's style fire in and this definitely had to go.
So I pondered, placed various sized vases and ornaments in it for a few months, but they seemed quite dwarfed by the size of the recess, I toyed with buying a fire grate and getting some logs but then decided a stove would be nice. I then started my search. There isn't that many electric stoves out there (or if there is I definitely struggled to find) I went to many independent fire / stove shops, I also went to all the big DIY places, B and Q, homebase, wickes. I was struck by how tacky the vast majority looked, they looked like completely fake and plastic.
I eventually found the Dimplex brand as recommended by several folks along my quest and was impressed with the look of their stoves. Its an irish company that was founded in 1973 (an extremely good year) who employ 8,500 people. I then focused my search onto this range, and whilst looking in Focus who had a stove sale on, I spotted the springbourne and decided this was the one. It has a nice stove like look about it (as opposed to plasticcy) and as well as heating, you can have the flame lights on (with or without heat) they look pretty naff with the lights on but when the lights are off or just a little lamp on, it does look really realistic. My husband put the cable through the back of the chimney breast so is out of view (he is an electrician). When we do put it the heater on (about three times) it does really put out some good heat (that's as technical as I can get).
A quick search shows this model as selling between £129 and £189, I am very bargainous and at that time I seem to recall it was around the £140 mark but I went home and hit the laptop, and a few weeks later I had one of ebay for £50 second hand but in absolutely immaculate condition. Now I was really pleased but it you ask my husband he will say its a very expensive ornament.
You can buy log affect but mine is coal as IMO it looked better.
Product facts (from Amazon)
Product Dimensions: 44 x 29.5 x 54.7 cm ; 12 Kg
Boxed-product Weight: 12 Kg
Manufacturer reference: SBN20R
Gets 5 Doo Yoo Stars from me, as although I don't switch the heater on (Bet you can hear my husband tutting from where your sat) it does look great which is what I bought it for...
If I said to you electric heater you'd probably think straight away of those white radiator styled heaters that look as boring as, well, as a radiator and sit unnoticed in the corner of a room as they pump out the heat you need.
Luckily, these days, there are many types of electric heaters that not only pump out the heat you want but are actually rather nice to look at.
I have actually used quite a few of these types of electric heaters, as well as the boring 'radiator' type, and have a couple of them donning certain rooms in my home.
With one particular electric heater not only quickly heating up the room that I like to call my 'chill out' room, but also looking like a real coal fire that seems to brighten the room up.
This electric fire I am talking about is the SBN20 Springborne and it made by a company called Dimplex.
What does it look like then..?
The fire itself is not massive, yet it's not that small that it looks lost in the front room, 440mm wide and stand at 550mm high, being 300mm deep, so it does stick out a little bit from the wall it you have it flush against it.
It has a nice level flat top as well which can come in handy if you want to put something like a nice face on top of it, although mothing with water in it as water and electric doesn't bond well.
It weighs in at just over 12KG so it's light enough to be moved around yet heavy enough to withstand being knocked over in the wind.
You can push it into a gap in the wall, a chimney say, so as to have it look more like a built in fire, although you do have to measure up properly as the controls for the fire are on the right hand side so you have to make sure you can reach these if you push this into a gap in the wall, plus you have to make sure you don't block the air inlet section at the bottom of the heater.
Another thing if you want to push it into a gap in the wall, don't fix it solidly into place as you will need access to the back in order to replace the bulb.
The controls, which are easily reached on the right lower side, are simple, having three buttons, those being...
* The first switch is the 'ON' switch which activates the flame effect, for this you do not have to have any heat setting on. This takes approximately 130watts.
* The second switch is the lower heat setting at 1kW output
* The third switch is the higher heat setting at 2kW output
Note: To use the heat settings you do need to have the 'ON' switch activated.
For safety it does have a safety cut off switch which operates if the air inlet is blocked and the heater over heats.
And it has what is called a BEAB mark on it, which is apparently better than having a CE mark, apparently. But I'm guessing they both mean that this has passed all the safety tests in Britain so it won't blow you hand off when you switch it on, nor will it set fire to your slippers when you put your feet in front of it.
And, if you want to go the whole hog, so to speak, you can in fact purchase a fire hearth to sit this fire on, giving it more of a realistic look, although this is not essential as this fire will not burn what ever it is stood on.
The fire is supposed to resemble a real flame fire/stove and to be honest it does quite a good job at it, especially later on in the evening when the lights are low and you're sat in a comfortable chair, relaxing, the flame effect seeming to bounce around behind the double glass doors.
The only thing missing really is the sound of crackling wood and coal as the flames take hold.
The best bit about it is it looks very much like a log/coal burning fire/stove, with it's double hinged opening doors having clear glass panels which give you the view of burning coals inside. Underneath glass doors there is a lovely styles section which is designed to resemble a little tray which, if it were a real fire, would be where you collected the ashes from.
It has a solid black cast iron square shaped look and has four solid legs to allow it to be free standing, with the legs lifting the main fire about 150mm off the ground.
The actual heat comes from underneath the fire itself, the vents being slightly back from the front two legs.
The double doors swing open and inside you can place the pieces of real coal that come with the heater. Yes, real coal, which apart from giving it more of a realistic look, play absolutely no part in making the heater actually work, but they do look the part as the fake flames lick around over them.
It's when you have it turned on it really comes into its own as the lights behind the glass doors flicker away over the mix of moulded plastic coals and actual real coals, giving you a cracking impression of a real flame fire.
Although on closer inspection you can see exactly what is happening, but how many people actually walk right up to a flaming fire just to 'have a look at it'?
I have to say that it's not the quietest of electric fires, in fact the fan alone can be a bit noisy, although not excessive. If you have the television on or a radio then the sound isn't really heard, but if you're sat there in silence then you can certainly hear it.
But to be honest a roaring real fire is possibly as load when it is popping the air in the wooden logs you've just thrown on.
As for the heat settings, the first one, 1kW throws out quite a bit of dry heat and does make a bit of noise, but again, it is tolerable even if you're sat in silence,
Then the second heat setting, 2kW is even loader but as it throws out so much heat you'll only need this turned on for a matter of minutes before having to turn it down to the 1kW setting.
The great thing about this electric fire, as with all electric fires, is that as it can go anywhere without the need of a flue or ventilation system, you don't even have to wire it straight into your electric junction box, it just plugs into a standard plug socket and away you go.
Plus, which is a big financial bonus these days, it doesn't need that regular annual service that your gas fires need.
Sadly though, unlike the fire I have in my 'lounge' this one doesn't have a thermostat so it doesn't turn off when the room is warm enough, which is a shame.
But luckily, as the room that this is in has a couple of good radiators, I mainly use this to either quickly warm the room up if the radiators aren't quick enough to do there job properly, or, in the warmer seasons, I tend to just use it for show as it really does look the part.
The other thing I wasn't too pleased about was the fact that the cord that comes with it isn't the longest, but that's not really a problem as it can be extended very easily if needs be, either by using a good quality 13amp extension lead or, like I did, the installation of a small junction box and a bit of a spur from one of my other plug sockets. Both ways work fine and I've had absolutely no problems what so ever.
For extra safety, especially if you do have small children knocking about, then I would recommend maybe attaching it to a wall as it does have a couple of wall brackets on the rear of this fire.
Also, maybe a fireguard safety gate thingy as well.
As for the cost of this fancy little room heater, well, it may sound a bit pricey at around the £150 region but for what it looks like alone is well worth seriously thinking about.
I have to say that although this is a lovely looking heater that will add a bit of character to certain rooms, if you are planning to use it for a main heater then, due to the fact that it has no thermostat to fully control the heat, so you'll end up switching it off and on when ever you get to hot or cold, I'd recommend opting for a different one.
Our dining room was lacking something when we redecorated, we had a n empty fire place that we had some pretty candles stood in but it still managed to look quite empty. I would love an old wood burning stove so decided to look for an electric fire that looked like a wood burner. There is actually quite a few of them on the market and all range in price from really cheap to outrageously expensive. The cheaper ones just looked a bit too small so we went for one that cost £160 but it was quite big and looked good quality.
==Price and availability==
You can now buy the stove for £130.00 online which is 30 pounds cheaper than we paid for it, however I guess you would probably have to pay delivery charges. We bought this one from a local fireplace store.
The best thing about the stove is that you can bring it home and plug it in and off you go! No need for anything plumed in or pipes fitted, literally take it from the box, position it and turn it on.
The stove measures Height 545mm, Width 440mm and has a total depth of 310mm. It is quite a decent size for the money and comes with a short flex for you to plug it in. The stove has a really sturdy, black cast iron finish that looks good quality and worth the money. The stove has a fire effect that can be run without the heater actually being on. The fire effect glows through the pretend metal doors that are just there for ornamental purposes. This gives the room a cosy glow with making it too hot. This is good for a dining room as although the glow of the fire is pleasant, the heat soon gets uncomfortable with a table full of people. The heater can be run on 1kW and 2kW settings, both are quite noisy really and you can hear the fan turning over but they both throw out a lot of heat. The second setting, the hottest is really quick to take the chill out of the air.
Although not as hot as a gas fire or a radiator, the stove does get quite warm although it takes a while for it to warm up and heat up. The first five minutes of having the stove on do not really do anything but after that the heater soon warms up. I probably would not want to rely on this being the only heat source in the room though as although it does get hot, it does not spread the heat round the room very well and it takes a while for the large dining room to get warm with this instrument alone.
The heater is easy to use, plug it in and turn it on. How much simpler do you want things to be? It looks good and the best feature is it's aesthetic appearance. It is sturdy and well built with nice touches such as realistic looking hinges and handles and sturdy little cast iron legs. I tend not to use this as a heater that much but I will often have the flame effect working as I really like it and find that it looks more realistic than some of the other fake flames I have seen. In terms of power, I personally find the stove a bit of a juice drinker and it is not the most economical heater to run. Probably because you need it on longer as it takes a while to heat the room up. I would recommend the heater for the low user that prefers the aesthetic appearance rather than something that will stop your toes going blue!
Springborne Stove Fire with Remote Control 2kW