64ºF

ASOTV: Handy Heater

We've all got that cold spot, the area where it's always freezing. Maybe it's your cubicle at work or a room inside your house that never seems to heat up. Consumer expert Amy Davis found a product that promises quick and easy heat anywhere.

The Handy Heater plugs into any wall outlet and claims to make a chilly place a cozy space. We wondered if it really works and how much that cozy warmth will add to your electric bill.

The commercial claims it's "powerful enough to fill any room up to 250 square feet with warm, comforting heat." 

Davis opened the Handy Heater in her child's small bathroom. A wireless thermometer said the temperature in the bathroom was 72.1 before she turned on the heater.  

Simply plug it, flip it on and clear any fire hazards hanging nearby. You can set your desired temperature on the device and you can set a timer that will let it run up to 12 hours.

The Handy Heater sounds like a quiet hair dryer and the heat it emits feels like a hair dryer on the hottest setting. Davis left it running and left the room.

About 13 minutes later, the thermostat said the temperature was only 72.5 degrees, not even a half-degree warmer.

The commercial advertises big changes.

"This room was a chilly 63 degrees, but with the Handy Heater, it's a warm and comfortable 72," the announcer said.

After an hour, the Handy Heater warmed up the bathroom to just 73.8 degrees.

The Handy Heater costs $29.99, but Davis wondered how much customers are paying to generate the heat at less than 2 degrees per hour.

To find out, Davis purchased a Kill A Watt EZ Power Meter. The device determined that at 13 cents a kilowatt, the Handy Heater would cost about 3 cents an hour. Using it three hours every day would cost $49.83 a year.

An average space heater is much more powerful, but it also costs $213.55 a year to run for the same amount of time.

The conclusion of our test shows that while the Handy Heater won't cost you much to operate, it will still leave you cold.