Thanks to yet another house move I have had a fresh new set of challenges to explore in living comfortably on a very tight budget, though the one thing I quickly realised I could not do without was some form of heating in my new bedroom. The room originally contained a flat panel heater of some kind wired in to the mains (my latest home is all electric) but at some point in the past the owners have had this removed and rather oddly I felt left the bracket on the wall and simply put a blanking plate over the wiring point which during the recent cold snap has meant that my bed generally has been a highly unappealing place to be - and I love my bed!
So the solution had to be some kind of heater, the size and layout of the room made the purchase of a plug in oil filled model impractical, so a smaller fan heater it would have to be. A flick through the catalogue for a well known high street retailer and this model stood out as being apparently the best value at a mere £19.99.
A choice of 1.2kw or 2.4kw settings with 6 heat settings plus its compact size made it a winning choice on paper.
The next evening shortly before deciding I needed to risk freezing my toes off in going to be I wandered in to my bedroom and switched on the heater, happily it is easy to operate with two dials in the top of the casing, the left one controlling the power set while the right hand one is marked 1 through 6 and sets the temperature you want the thermostat to register before it shuts off. Being a cold evening I set it to the highest on each and went back to finishing up my housework in warmer areas of my flat.
Returning to my bedoom shortly afterward I was pleased to note that the room felt much warmer, and the fan was still merrily pumping out warmth, I was impressed that the sound of the fan was a very quiet hum and not something I felt would disturb my sleep if I were to leave it running overnight. But my room felt to be a comfortable temperature to decided not to test that theory out.
Since I have decided that for me the best option is to set the heat to 1 or 2 and leave the fan on over night, it only kicks in when the thermostat decides that the ambient temperature is lower than that set and on comes the fan quietly rewarming the air until the thermostat decides it has reached the set temperature - what that is exactly I couldn't say as the instructions merely tell me that the frost protect function will kick in a 4c if it is activated. But as yet its switching on over night has not disturbed me unless it has been close to what my body thinks of as a reasonable time to be waking up anyway.
As with most DeLonghi fan heaters this model will also act as a simple fan to recirculate air on warmer days, not a function I have had need of just yet but no doubt would be useful should we be lucky enough to have a hot summer.
The dimensions of the heater being as it is almost as wide at the base as it is tall means it is very sturdy and indeed even my best efforts to knock it over have failed, its weight is enough to keep it from falling after knocking it but not so heavy as to make it akward to move around. Oddly it claims to have a built in carry handle, to me a handle is not a slightly protruding piece of plastic molding on the back, but each to their own, and it does make it easier to lift or carry, but it is somewhat disconcerting to feel that you are putting your fingers in to the area you know contains the fans despite also knowing that there is a nice strong plastic grille between your fingers and the back of the fan.
As it is constructed from plastic it is easy to wipe clean and the grille across the front is widely enough spaced that you can clean any settled dust from it with average sized hands - though anyone with particularly large fingers may struggle a little more. Looks wise it isn't the most attractive beast, as wide as it is tall with a pale slightly oval appearance it seems rather a lump of a thing compared to some of the more expensive heaters around but its looks can be forgiven as for me at least it is mainly in use in the dark or when I am out of the room.
I would question how effective this heater would be in a larger or less well insulated room than the area I'm using mine in but for a fairly small bedroom I find that within 20 minutes of switching it on the room has reached a comfortable temperature though on particularly cold evenings my bed itself still feels cold the room does not which to my mind is exactly how it should be.
Edit. Sept 13
On the hotter days this summer I used the fan heater to simply assist in circulating the air in my bedroom, due to my hayfever and the unfortunate location of a tree which it appears sets off my allergies I was unable to keep my window open for long. The fan does help to create movement in the air and the noise from the fan was still not enough to disturb my rest.
Since I moved into halls at the end of August I've been looking at the Dimplex wall heater in my main study bedroom from time to time to see if it is still working. There is no actual problem with it although it is set on a thermostat which comes on for about half an hour and then sits in "low room" heat function which hardly pumps out any heat at all. Whilst I like convectional heaters I needed something which would provide a bit more heat that I can actually control against halls of residence default heating devices.
My first thought was to bring up the Delonghi HTE 332 which I had already bought around the same time last year, but my parents use that fan heater for emergencies so no go there! A trip to Argos reveals that the price of the 332 model is still around the £20 mark and thanks to a limitation of power devices I am allowed, I would not have been able to use the 332 because of its large 3kw heating element.
At John Lewis however there has been a recent sale of heaters with the advent of compact ceramic heaters which are now beginning to infiltrate the domestic market. Indeed it's about time too as I remember seeing them at Makro and thinking why they had taken so long to reach high street shops. Although JL sell a few Delonghi models including the first Delonghi convection heater I have already bought, this model looked too good to pass up given that it was a snip at £14-95 and it's not even in the sale.
** Quick Skip Product Spec **
* 1.2 Kilo watt/ 2.4 kilo watt heated fan assisted element
* Cool air facility - and it pumps out actual cold air as opposed to lukewarm.
* Upright stand design - can only be used in the upright position.
* Small and reasonably compact - very easy to clean thanks to wide grilles.
* 4.5 metre power cord with plug already fitted
* Thermal cut out protection.
* Frost heat setting/Antifreeze setting.
* Price from John Lewis: £14-95
* Price from Comet: £14-99
* Same machine as "Essentials" tag, released in 2012 £19-99 to £23-00.
** Out of the Box and General Design **
The first aspect which I am not keen about the HVE 134 heater is the fact that it's a tallish upright standing heater. I have always considered the flat types safer, knowing a few friends who have had knocked over uprights and caused accidents because of the general instability of upright standing heaters. Here however Delonghi have made the 134 with a bigger surface bottom so that toppling over does not occur. Although it measures roughly 25cm height and 23cm width, it is a compact looking upright heater which unfortunately resembles an overweight looking egg or a suspended beehive! More importantly it has a curved base which suggests and shows a bigger foot. Whilst I'm on about the look of the 134, it has very little in the way of actual user friendly points.
For example a carry handle has not really been incorporated at the back for example, with the obvious grille which shows the heating element sitting close to a flap where naturally it defies logic to where you can put your hand and lift the heater upwards, particularly back in storage. But it is a thin vessel to where you can put your hand - the upside is that at the back it is constantly cold thanks to the air pumped by the motor so you can always be assured that the 134 is always cold to the touch. For the benefit of all though I'd have liked to have had a bigger handle on this heater and when moving from room to room, the heater has often fallen out of my hand, luckily though with its light weightness, it is easy to catch but annoying all the same that sorry excuse for a hand to lift it hasn't been given much consideration for all types of hands, big or small.
In quality of fittings however, the 134 is okay for the price, consisting of two controls (there is one other model, the 130 which does away with the additional cool air facility and not as many settings.) in dark grey left and right at the top of the machine. The rest of the 134 is coloured in soft touch light grey coloured plastic and wouldn't look out of place in a room nearby to a standard beige coloured PC. Infact the controls, decals and general colour mimics PC's of old, complete with early 1990'esque decals concerning the wattage ("2400" in large numerals) and the "Delonghi" brand name on the bottom left hand side of the machine.
The weight of the Delonghi is also very impressive. A standard or average mug of tea is heavier to lift than the 134 so that should say it all!
** Heater Controls **
The numerals on the dials are difficult to spot as they are in the same colour and this is probably where you may have to lift the 134 off the floor to look at the actual controls; (thus the reason for including so much detail about the poor handle design).
The right hand side control maintains two power settings; in effect the first level gives 1.2kw of heating whereas the second level gives the full 2.4kw which the 134 can provide. However, the control dial for the speed of the fan is slightly disappointing and isn't as precise as our HTE 330 flat heater model. For example, select to number "3" and with each power setting, you will only get 5 to 10 minutes of heat. Select after 5 or 6 and the Delonghi will stay on for almost an hour before its thermal protection cuts in and cuts off the power supply. Luckily for such a small fan which holds a great amount of power the cut off protection only takes a couple of minutes before the fan re-activates itself.
Another aspect which seems to be a set feature on Delonghi heaters is the frost function, which will supply the areas the heater is functioning in, with the least amount of heat just around 5°Centigrade to ensure that the pipes or articles in your home don't freeze up. Whilst it is likely that this will never happen to me given that my wall heater appears to do this most of the time, it is still a good and valid feature to have. Setting it is simple, flicking the dial to an icon which looks like ice (a bit like the old air conditioning symbols you find on heater controls in cars) and selecting 1 on the thermostat control. This function will also save money too.
** Economy and Power Costs **
One of the advantages of a lower powered fan heater is the immediate worry of how much it will cost from an average quarterly bill. My last bill for the whole month was only £5 over budget and this has been with my recent acquisition vacuum cleaner and this heater used, although latterly the Delonghi is used practically every day given the nonsense of the main wall heater. At least you have two power settings which can give two very different levels of heat but it does depend on the insulation and build of the room/home that you intend to use this heater in. Forget using this in a garage where air constantly re-circulates; any fan heater can cause damp in garages because of the general cold air from outside. This is a heater which is designed to be used in the home and I find the first setting more than capable than the second fan speed generally.
** What is the Heat like? **
At 1.2 kilo watts, heat can be felt easily although the shortness of the pre-set time Delonghi has set into the 134 means that the heat provided can only be felt invariably depending on the kind of room you may have. In double glazed rooms for example heat tends to stick around a lot longer, but in rooms which have draughty old windows (guess who?!) the heat tends to escape a bit more.
At full power however this Delonghi is a perfect little cosy number, which provides a roasting level of uniform heat. I'm glad to say that in some respects it is good to see that Delonghi here haven't been stingy in providing this cheap little heater with a good band of power and heat.
** Downsides **
The power cord for the 134 measures around 4 to 4.5 metres which for me is only just about acceptable. Although it does give a lot of room from the heater to the cable, the 134 must be positioned at least 50cm away from furniture and away from the plug socket. This is a general rule given in the small instruction booklet which comes with the 134 but it isn't as well written as the manual which came with our other fan heater.
The top of the Delonghi seldom gets hot but the rest of the fan heater does so it's best just to lift it from the rear and never to touch or cover the front grille where the heat emerges. And like so many fan heaters on the market dust always manages to settle around the wings of the fan, and with no additional flap door to aid cleaning, you can either dust the 134 or using the crevice tool on a vacuum cleaner, suck out most of the dust which accumulates there.
So typically like most fan heaters on the market, this model will dry the air in the room but again (and also stated in my other review for the HTE 330 model) if you place a cup of water in the room, you can actually get rid of the actual dryness in the room - just don't place it anywhere near the heater in case of an accident! Fan heaters are notorious for the cause of dry, tickly sore throats or coughs developing on the owner, so it makes sense to leave water in the room in which you're using any fan heater to avoid illness.
** Final Conclusions **
I've kept the best advantage of this heater until last. Whilst the 134 has the added cool air facility (and has been superb at supplying cold air this summer) the best aspect of the 134 is that it has the quietest fan I have ever sampled. Even our more powerful HTE 330 model isn't as quiet as this Delonghi and at times where directing the air to another portion of the room, it is easy to forget that it is switched on; both power settings and speed rates reveal no difference in sound or motor whine and because of its lowly design no additional LED lights have been added to show when it is on. Despite this the Delonghi HVE 134 gets a well deserved 4 stars; if only the controls were as easy to access as well as being freer in terms of changing the pre-set time Delonghi have fitted to it. Having being spoilt for choice with our larger heat set Delonghi fan heater, I still like the product despite the look. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.