* Prices may differ from that shown
After the impulse purchase of a small sized oil filled Pifco radiator that now takes pride of place in my study, I looked at my recent electric bill and have noticed a big drop of power and heat usage. To say I was shocked would be an understatement - clearly when buying low wattage oil radiators and using more alternative methods to having to heat up single rooms as opposed to the whole home, does actually make economical sense. As such I wasted no time in taking out one of the small Glen convector heaters I bought a while back to use in my bedroom during late afternoons to contain some heat before switching on the heating late at night, just before the "cheap rate" economy 7 rates kick in after midnight. However, due to constantly moving about and being in storage, one of the Glen heaters was too bashed beyond repair and one of my online friends had suggested a radiator or panel heater as convector heaters can be too expensive to run. Since its initial £15 cost price had shot up to £22-99 at a local store, I decided to look for something just like the tiny Pifco radiator instead of a convector style and I couldn't find any panel heaters except online. Through researching for the next size up, I came across the Dimplex range of castor aided portable oil filled radiators since the Pifco range seemed to have been snapped up already!
==Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec==
* Model: Dimplex OFRC15C Electric portable radiator.
* Size: 28cm depth by 37cm width by 62cm height.
* Total weight 8kg.
* Variable thermostat dial, frost setting & two heat selection options.
* 1350 watts to 1500 watts total power.
* Electric element - non-oil filled & BEAB safety approved.
* My price £49-99 from Home Hardware, £46 from Amazon UK, £54-99 from Argos & Sainsburys, average price £50 to £79-99.
Where general impressions are concerned, one of the first aspects that I noticed when I took the Dimplex OFRC15C out of its packaging box is the fact that it doesn't have that liquid oil sound in the cylinder fins and the absence of a heavy weight associated with castor added radiators generally. The Dimplex sports 7 fins in total but they all have vents at the top, suggesting that what you get here is an electric element, copper in colour that can just about be seen at the top internally if you peer into any one of the vents. This fact would make sense to why Dimplex have added the name "Eco" along with the red badging of Dimplex found at the top of the single grab handle above the main control panel. After all, if you have ever experienced an oil radiator of similar size, they're hardly economical to run, unless they're like my mini Pifco, the size of a small mini fridge! Although my concerns at the time were that I had clearly bought a convector in disguise, the element that Dimplex have fitted here is very different to the red ring element you would find in a convector heater, thus being more economical to heat up and use in the first place. With that general information under my belt after researching this product fully, I noticed how well built the Dimplex is, especially for the £50 price I've paid and without its oil content, this baby means business when you simply plug and go instead of having to let the radiator rest before use if it had oil in it.
Where design and quality is concerned though, although light beige and contrasting "office grey" are the colours of the day, the Dimplex OFRC15C is very inoffensive, able to mix in with most bedroom decors, even if it stands out like a sore thumb if your room of choice happens to be dark. Hidden away easily by its very portable design though, I have been impressed more so with the Dimplex's ability rather than its look. Dimplex produce quite a few other models in the "Eco Oil-less range," though and are available in other sizes with electronic controls, higher 2KW and 3KW choices and 24 hour timers added. However, due to the sizes available, the cost prices will be more expensive, naturally! Still, it's a good way to consider over the more expensive, heavier oil filled versions when you see what you have before you.
For a start, the metal finish on this radiator is pretty good. There are no sharp corners; all angles that you would place your hand on are softened and the recess grab handle on one side of the Dimplex at least allows you to push the radiator along with the help of four castor wheels on the base. You get four cross head screws and two fins with the corresponding twin castors to fit on the first and last fin at the base of the radiator. Nothing unusual there if you are used to assembling, moving or transporting oil filled radiators around, until you realise that you're also pushing a lot less weight around, since there's no fluid.
There's a handy cord storage hook recess located at the bottom of the main control panel, even if you only get 0.5 metres of cord to hand and the curvy triangular holder keeps all the excess cable out of the way when in use. The main control panel has a single orange LED light on the main two rocker switches, allowing to you to choose one heat setting on one rocker switch that acts as the frost setting whilst the other single rocker switch next to it activates the main heat settings marked by "I" and "II." Hardly technological then, but each rocker switch isn't of the more old fashioned block type, but rather sensibly and comfortably allows your finger to rest softly into the concave built in mind for fingers to release the switches.
Like most heaters on the market that have a thermostat built in, the Dimplex OFRC15c has a variable clockwise actioned control dial that has waves set into the design showing the lowest amount of heat release to the highest. However, it's all in one colour of beige and unless you peer closely at the dial, it can be hard to see from a distance. Feeling the waves with your finger will get a better result , but I'm surprised Dimplex haven't added a better clarity to the actual dial, here. Although I usually have the dial set at the nearest maximum it will go to, setting the Dimplex with the dial set in the middle will activate the sensor built into the heater to cut the power incase the room or the heater gets too hot. However! The LED light does not go out, so you have to check if the radiator is on if the thermostat has been changed to anything less than the maximum the dial can go to. The Dimplex is however very fast to heat up once you put the thermostat to its highest position in a cold room and set the first heat level, this heater is able to release hot and warm heat very quickly, without burning a hole in the pocket by necessarily going for the highest heat level. In short, it isn't like a conventional convector heater at all where you have to use the highest heat in order to conserve the heat within the body's structure.
Since I have bought this heater, I have not had to use the second, highest heat setting. Mind you, the room in which the Dimplex is located in is already free of draughts, is well insulated and double-glazed. So where general performance is concerned, life should be easy with the Dimplex OFRC15C - and generally it is! Purchased solely for the use of heating up my bedroom though, I've since wheeled the Dimplex for use in the larger living room, whereupon compared to both small and large sizes of rooms, the Dimplex is still pretty powerful to be able to heat up both rooms in less than five minutes! Compared to a convector heater of similar size, the Dimplex is a lot faster, has an almost silent operation and even the controls when activated have a much better quality about them, not reverberating into the metal panels if you push down a switch or turn the dial in a hurry. Feeling toasty with the Dimplex OFRC15C can be discovered in minutes and the whole heater concept is pretty good, even if it looks like an oil-filled radiator, but isn't really.
After about 45 minutes, once the room gets really hot, the Dimplex will switch off and it is relatively easy to hear the click when this occurs. Bump the thermostat to its highest setting and the prolonged time can last up to an hour, but it very much depends on how hot your room gets where the Dimplex has been placed. However, I always switch off at the mains after half an hour to let the heat in the room move around and for the heater to remain off until I need it again, rather than rely on the more expensive thermostatic cut out and standby function.
Apart from its same-colour as the panel thermostat that could be better labelled, there are few downsides with this eco-heater. Despite the cooper fitted element, like all kinds of radiators that have fins, the Dimplex OFRC15C cannot be used for drying clothes on. There is already a warning both in the user manual and on the heater itself that warns against using for drying damp clothing on, less so for the fact that it does state that nothing can be covered over it.
I am delighted and impressed with Dimplex's "oil-less" electric radiator OFRC15C. I didn't think I would be and yet the performance and longer heating time with its super fast heat up element is far more instant than a convection heater. With it primarily not having an element that glows red, it also means the smell of old dust that clings old convector heater element rings will also be banished for good - particularly when or if the Dimplex is used occasionally and left in storage as opposed to being used once a year. Tie in its compact body, very light weight feel and easy castors to push the radiator along, and it ticks all boxes - as well as being economical to run and economical to buy - if you know where to look! Thanks for reading! (c)Nar2 2012.
** UPDATE **
I have been so impressed with this heater, I've gone and bought another one for use in another large room - absolutely perfect and so easy to transport.
1.5kW Cream Steel Eco Oil Free Column Heater