Keeping Warm this Winter: What IS a Parabolic Heater?

Our readers are in the know. Yesterday, in our post seeking tips for warming up a very cold apartment, several readers chimed in with their hearty recommendations for parabolic heaters. I stopped mid-comment thread with the realization that I had no idea what a parabolic heater actually IS — never heard of them before.

A google search followed …According to Answer Bag, this is what they are:

A parabolic heater earns its name because of its shape. The parabola-shaped reflective plate on the heater is what makes it unique, separating it from other generic space heaters.
The defining characteristic of a parabolic heater is the deflection plate that is able to spread the heat out in many directions. This is an advantage over standard space heaters that blow heat in one direction.
One reason parabolic heaters are gaining in popularity is their efficiency. Parabolic heaters can run at an 80 percent efficiency rating, meaning that they utilize 80 percent of the energy they take in to turn back into heat, wasting less energy than other heaters.

And, according to our readers, they work well. Here are a few comments from yesterday's post:

I live in a loft with 20 foot ceilings and two walls of solid windows. I love my parabolic heater. - melissamcb
Melissamcb's right -when I lived in Japan, it's *extremely* cold in the winters. Almost every home has at least two or three parabolic heaters, and they're like magic. There's no risk of fire hazard, they come in all sorts of sizes and heights, and with different programming options, and, best of all: they WORK. - MarianneT
We also have a parabolic heater and really like it; note, though, that it's meant to warm *you* up, not the room. -KayinKCMO
I have one of these. We used to live in a house with oil heat and used this a lot to save money or when we ran out of oil. It produces a crazy amount of heat. But it is kind of ugly and attracts any cats in the apartment like magnets. :) - lal

They seem readily available and affordable - here are a just a few that turned up from a quick search:

Presto HeatDish Parabolic Heater for $72.77 at Amazon
Windchaser "Parabolic" Oscillating Heater for $44.25 at Ace Hardware
Optimus Energy Saving Oscillating Dish Heater for $59.87 at Amazon

Have any info to share on these new-to-me space heaters? Reviews and recommendations welcome in the comments below...

14 Comments