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Well, crap. Despite our skepticism and even our best efforts to get the thing to fail, our Hero Heater has made it through the winter. It’s just difficult to to find something bad to say about the damn thing. It’s small, well mannered (quiet), easy on the ears, and lightweight; it sips fuel and the battery lasts more than a full day in the shop without a recharge.

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We loaned it out to other shops and tradesmen; we let it sit for a month to see if the battery would drain out; and we started it up cold every day for about a month and change, and not once did it fail to start at the first press of a button. It keeps the shop (two-car garage with the door cracked) warm enough to work in, even when temperatures are close to freezing outside.

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We give. It’s solid. The funny part is, the four people we loaned to bought one after they gave it back, which, at $150 for the Hero and $20-$30 for the propane, is no small endorsement. Well done, Little Hero.

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Mr. Heater Hero [Website]
Hero Heater [Toolmonger]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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10 Responses to Hero Heater Final Follow-Up

  1. mtswampfox says:

    company website state 35000 btu unit consumes a twenty gallon tank in twelve hours. thats over twenty bucks in my neck of the woods. maybe i’m looking at it wrong but that is not too economical to me…….

    • Ambush27 says:

      Only natural gas is significantly cheaper though. Maybe wood or electricity but electricity isn’t cordless and wood isn’t as convenient and requires ventilation. Propane isn’t as cheap as it used to be but it still has it’s place in heating.

  2. paul says:

    its a 35000Btu heater, since it is essentially 100% efficient assuming good combustion and that it is not vented it is as efficient as could be asked for. The fuel burn rate is 35000 Btu/ hour. Lets say one gallon of propane is 70,000 Btu (just a round number I did not look it up) it would run about 2 hours/ gallon. A typical 20lb grill tank holds a little less than 5 gallons. So a grill tank should last in the range of 10 hours assuming the unit does not have a thermostat turning it on/off.

    In your opinion it may not be a good price for heating but a non vented system is quite efficient.

    • DoItRite says:

      A very controversial subject to be sure, but a quick web search will find numerous reports of carbon monoxide poisonings, death and chronic problems from unvented heaters that were considered safe, many even sold and installed exactly as specified.

      While unvented heaters are nearly 100 percent efficient, this is only from a standpoint of fuel usage. One must factor in health related problems, down-time, medical bills and quality of life into the equation if this efficiency were to ever see reality. I’m sure that there is no peer-reviewed analysis of a study such as this, so no one will ever really know the “true” efficiency from an economic or health standpoint.

      I am reminded of a safety seminar I attended recently as part of a licensing CEU requirement. A security camera recorded some electricians working on a live panel and the resulting arc-flash explosion which killed some and injured others. The speaker stated that these men should not have been in the trade if they could not have taken the five minutes to use protective equipment and do it correctly. They, and their families would have all been better off that day if they had quit and taken a job at a convenience store for the rest of their lives.

      All of this comes back around to the fact that, used properly, these heaters are safe, but will never be that efficient. More realistic figure would be 70 to 80 percent efficient. These heaters provide quick, temporary and portable heat in locations not normally occupied. This particular design adds extra portability, since no electric cords or normal power is needed.

      • rg says:

        Another safety consideration …

        I realise the picture at the top of this post is a montage, but it shows a guy shooting sawdust directly into the intake of the propane heater.

        I’m amazed at how few people seem realise just how explosive airborne sawdust can be.

        An open flame plus sawdust is a potentially lethal combination.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_explosion

  3. paul says:

    I was not rying to convey that “non-vented” heaters were safe. More that they are fuel efficient. In most garages and structures where this type of heater is typically used they should not pose much of a problem. But there are those people that are either careless or just do not understand the danger in a non vented combustion. Using one of these in a well sealed building would be dangerous, using it in a confined space also quite dangerous. But I’m quite certian there are labels on it, on the box it came in and probably in giant font on the first 3 pages of the manual in every language known to mankind stating these dangers.

  4. Chuck Cage says:

    Hey — that’s me in the photo, btw, building some shelves on a great TM reader’s recommendation. Look for a post about them ASAP.

    @rg: I’m generally the guy around TM pointing things like that out. FWIW, the circ saw made remarkably little sawdust — about enough to require sweeping after a number of hours of cutting notches. Honestly, I’m really committing more of a safety sin by hogging out notches with the saw and milling them square(ish) with the spinning blade by holding the guard back.

    Regarding efficiency, I get where Sean is coming from on this, and it all comes down to application. This product would be horribly expensive and impractical for full-season heating your upstate NY shop in the winter. But for this part of the country (Texas) where it’s not cold enough long enough to justify installing a system, this product offers a good balance. Really it’s targeted for exactly Sean’s application: people who want to do projects in the garage from time to time and don’t want to be shut down when it gets cold every now and then. Fuel cost might be higher, but there’s no way Sean (or me, or most folks down here) would spring for a system costing $1,000 to $5,000 just for these occasions. And hey, it was nice not freezing my azz off.

    Thanks for the comments, all.

  5. Mike says:

    No new posts in a week, and only 6 posts so far in all of March.

    What’s up?

  6. Boss Hogg says:

    I was going to say the same thing as Mike. I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but if you want people to come to your site you have to have some content.

    Topics ideas?
    – Throw up a post asking for topics. I know you already ask, but make it obvious for everyone.
    – Interesting uses of your Shopsmith.
    – Request the Lee Valley Catalog there is enough odd tools to keep you writing for months.
    – simple tools or uses for tools that most people don’t think of
    – Where to buy cheap tools (i.e. harbor Freight)
    – Rehash through older podcast topics? Information can probably be updated.

    Why are there a few missing podcasts?

    I’m sure this sounds mean, but just want you to keep going.

  7. Chuck Cage says:

    @Mike/@BH (great name, btw): Not mean at all. Thanks for your enthusiasm — it keeps us going here. We’ve been dealing with some other issues to allow us to keep the site alive, most of which have resolved, which allows us to get back to posting. Ironically, the two posts following this were in queue when you posted your comments. 🙂

    My favorite of your suggestions is “simple tools or uses for tools that most people don’t think of.” That’s what I often go for with my posts, like the drywall rasp that’s in queue right now. I know they’re not necessarily exciting like rip-your-arm-off-torque rotary hammers and such, but I find having the right little tool around makes things a ton easier.

    Thanks for sticking around through the tough times, too. Greatly appreciated.

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