Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

Date: 31 October 2017. Handy Heater Review.


Aboard Seaweed I do not watch television. Therefore the "As Seen on TV" items flogged in late night commercials are beyond the scope of my knowledge. When I came across a Handy Heater in the local Walmart I was intrigued. On sale last April for $20, I decided to take a chance and bought the thing. Here is what you need to know.



The first thing that caught my attention was the wattage shown on the box. That was 350 and much lower than many cube heaters. I realized that the Handy Heater could run from my solar array via the inverter.

Although my batteries would not sustain running this all day, my theory was I could turn it on for a half hour in the morning to take off the chill in the main cabin.

Mine came from Walmart. In checking I did find the Handy Heater on Amazon. As of today (Halloween, 2017) the price is $19.64 with free shipping.

Affiliate link

Handy Heater


Of course everything works in theory...
As President Reagan said "Trust, but verify"


I got out my Kill A Watt meter.
It measures AC electric
(not 12-volt DC power)

My meter is older and not so fancy. It is just right for me. This one was $20 while the spiffier ones run upwards of $100.

Frankly I do not need that much information. I want to know how many watts something uses. Knowing the total amperage over a set period of time is useful as well.

For me, this unit is ideal.

Affiliate link

P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor


There are two fan speeds. When on standby, the Handy Heater uses .01 watts.


The Handy Heater stands 6" tall and is 3 1/2" wide. It is small.
From front to back, the unit protrudes about 5" from the wall.



When the fan (without heat) is running on Low it uses .05 watts. On High, the meter registers .06 watts.

You may notice the number 69 on the digital control panel shown to the right. That is the temperature I chose.

You can set the temperature. That is user determined, between sixty and ninety degrees.


The Handy Heater is designed to plug into a wall outlet. You are not supposed to plug it into an extension cord and sit it on the floor or a shelf. That is because of the vents on the bottom of the unit.

The vents on the bottom cannot be blocked. The Handy Heater must hang on a wall.

What fooled me was the wording on the box. It says the plug can rotate. It turns 180 degrees which is wonderful. What is not so great is that it won't click at 90 degrees. Aboard Seaweed my outlets are horizontal. The Handy Heater is designed for vertical outlets.

The Red button on the side turns the unit on and off.

Although the box claimed the Handy Heater used 350 watts I was skeptical. I got out my Kill A Watt meter and did some testing.

Side Note: A Kill A Watt meter is a good device to have in your tool arsenal. When I want to know the amount of AC power something is using, this device tells me. Although not a necessity I am surprised how often this tool is utilized.

And for the record, I would not pay more than $20-$25 for one. I do not need the sort of detailed information some of the fancy units provide. For me, this one is Good Enough.


There are two fan settings on the Handy Heater.

With the heater on and a Low fan setting:

320 watts

With the heater on and a High fan setting:

405 watts

Additionally, there is a timer. If you want the unit to shut off automatically you can turn on the timer feature. The timer can be set between one and twelve minutes. Otherwise, the Handy Heater runs continuously.

A nice feature is that the unit will put itself on stand-by when the pre-set temperature is reached. As the room cools it will come back on.

The heat is adequate IF you're right next to it. When I get up out of my toasty bunk I turn on this little gem. Having a heater that will keep me warm in my cabin while I get dressed is rather decadent. As for heating a room, no. The Handy Heater will not do that.

A secondary issue is that every time you turn it on (Red Button on the side) it starts out at 90 degrees. That is not a huge problem as I want the heat while getting dressed.

One thing I do appreciate is that when you set the temperature, it will automatically shut off when that number is reached. Often I will turn it on when I get up, changing the temperature down to 68 degrees or so. When the area gets that warm the Handy Heater automatically shuts off. The internal red lights remain lit however the fan shuts down and no heat emits.

I like that!

Would I buy a Handy Heater again? Perhaps. It's not perfect. I like that I can run it for a few minutes while getting dressed. I would be more enthusiastic if the heater had cost me $10 rather than the $20 I spent. Such is life.

Cooler days are here. I've written a few articles on staying warm aboard Seaweed. A couple you might find useful include As Winter Approaches along with Warm Fuzzies (winter bedding).

Now that autumn has arrived, having a Handy Heater aboard is rather nice. I used it this morning.

I'd love to hear what you do to stay warm in the winter.
And, do you have a Handy Heater?

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

  • The capcha is case sensitive.


2017, 2023

Categories: Comfort, Gear, Money, Recommendations,

Manatee Bumps Algae ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ Glass Dishes (elegance afloat)


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  I used to have Saturday Night Fever. Now I have Saturday night hot flashes.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty via
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.

My Buddy, and his girlfriend...

Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |