Pros:Doesn't need electricity, Oxygen depletion feature, Better looking than most space heaters
Cons:Can't beat a central heat system
Recommend this product?
About five years ago we purchased a space heater. I had not had a need for a space heater in years and was not sure what to even ask for at the local hardware store. The owner showed me all the models in stock and I decided to try this Martin infared model.
Despite the claims that it would not get warm, I purchased a burn proof "mat" for the floor under and around the heater area. And I am glad I did. During our coldest times, the heater top and back do warm up considerably as does the floor in the front of the heater. I don't think anything would actually catch on fire, but I like being cautious.
The warm heater top is not always a bad thing. When our electric cooking appliances are out during an ice storm, I have set mugs of water on the top to heat up and use to make hot chocolate.
I paid about $450 for my Martin heater. It heats an area about 24 feet by 14 feet. For $450 I would have liked it to heat a little more space.
The unit lacks the "fan" feature of some other space heaters. Some space heaters have a small fan in the back which blows the warmed air "out" much the same way as an air conditioning unit. I really miss having this feature on this infared heater. Fans on space heaters keep the temperature more uniform throughout the room, effectively heating more room. Without the fan, you get the same effect as a fireplace - one side toasty and the other side cold. I think if this feature were included in this model, it would heat much more area.
And now, a comparison of their claims to my experience.
THEIR CLAIM: "Reliable heat without needing electricity" MY RESPONSE: Great during ice storms when all the neighbors with heating systems using electricity are having to huddle around their fire places. Of course, it has been so cold here, that we have huddled around our heater. I thought, "What a funny site we would make to a 'cave man' family!" Of course, they would have the advantage of being able to use their fire for cooking.
THEIR CLAIM: "Vent-free technology for convenient installation and no expensive venting" MY RESPONSE: Yeah! No holes in the wall or a purchase of ugly vent pipes. You just hook it up to the gas and click her own.
THEIR CLAIM: "An attractive, space-saving cabinet only 5 1/2 deep (excluding front grill)" MY RESPONSE: As space heaters go, this model is attractive. But are any space heaters attractive? I still haven't figured out how to thoroughly clean the front grill and the "burner" area which makes a safety worry for me and a not exactly great appearance after five years of collecting dust during the "off-season."
THEIR CLAIM: "A built-in Oxygen Depletion Sensor to ensure Safety" MY RESPONSE: This feature is supposed to automatically shut the heater and gas off if there is not enough oxygen to safely operate the heater. I assume it works. I haven't tested it. When we use our heater enough that oxygen depletion might be a problem, I leave a window cracked for a supply of fresh air per the instructions that come with all space heaters.
THEIR CLAIM: "99.9% efficiency for up to 4 times the savings of electricity" MY RESPONSE: (with raised eyebrows) Four times?? I'd wager two. In any case, its defnitely cheaper.
THEIR CLAIM: "Easy access variable burner controls for endless temperature settings" MY RESPONSE: Endless??? Mine has three - low, medium and high. Endless???
THEIR CLAIM: "Fast, matchless starting with push-button Piezo ignition" MY RESPONSE: (Laughter) Is three to five tries fast? Especially since you are supposed to wait five second between each try.
My evaluation of owning a Martin infared space heater. Never again in my home, unless they add the fan feature. I think that would make it truly worth the price. However, I would seriously consider it for a camp or other rustic setting that is only used occassionally.