Last year Dyson introduced the Air Multiplier, a super cool high-end bladeless fan. As you might remember, I thought it was awesome, in all sizes. The Dyson Hot sweetens the pot by making the multiplier an all year round temperature control device. I say “control” because unlike the original multipliers, you can set a desired room temperature on the Dyson Hot and it will periodically activate so that the room remains at the set constant temperature (like an air conditioner on money-saver mode). Like the vacuum and the fan, Dyson has taken an old solution–the space heater–and updated both its technology and design to make it more relevant, efficient, and exciting to use. Follow on past the break for the details.
Quick Recap on how the Dyson Multiplier Technology Works; Breaking it down to the basics
Step 1, bring in the air: In the base of each multiplier is something called mixed-flow impeller. The impeller, to oversimplify things a bit, is a fancy set of fan blades that borrows technology from jet engines. The impeller sucks in air through tiny holes in the base and shoots it upwards.
Step 2, focus the air: The upward gust created by the impeller is focused through the ring at the top of the device into a stronger and smoother ring of air. The ring is also especially shaped to direct the air, the way that an airplane wings shaped to control the way air flows over it.
Step 3, multiply the air: Once a ring of air starts flowing out of the Multiplier, air from behind the device is pulled in and sucked through the empty center of the Multiplier ring–an effect called inducement. Also, the ring of air itself starts to pull air from around it, making the ring thicker as it travels farther from the base–an effect called entrainment. With combination of inducement and entrainment makes it that at a few feet away from the device, the ring of air below a full solid cylinder of air.
How the Dyson Hot is better than a typical space heater
Multiplier Technology: Because the Dyson Hot utilizes Dyson Multiplier technology, the Dyson Hot is better at getting hot air around a room.
- Typical fans spread dust around the room because (1) dusty air is simply accelerated forward and (2) dust settles on the fan blades when not in use. Multiplier technology avoids these problems. The Dyson Hot sucks in air through small holes in the base. The small holes act as a sort of filter for incoming air, blocking dust from entering the process from the beginning. Because the air is accelerated through an unexposed impeller, there is also no possibility of dust building up on exposed parts when it is not in use. With no dust coming in and no dust buildup, the Dyson Hot only circulates clean air around the room. This effect is doubly as important in the Dyson Hot because often space heaters an create a smell of burning dust, a problem the Dyson Hot overcomes partially by avoiding dust in the first place.
- Air accelerated through a typical fan can feel choppy and artificial. Multiplier technology avoids that feeling by focusing the accelerated air through the ring-structure. By focusing the air, the accelerated gusts become (1) more powerful, reaching further out into the room, and (2) seamless, eliminating any gaps in the airstream and making the gust feel constant and natural. By utilizing Multiplier technology the Dyson Hot is able to push the heated air further out into the room, helping it heat a room faster.
- Lastly, like the Multipliers, the Dyson Hot can oscillate and be tilted upwards or downwards. By oscillating the device, hot air is distributed more evenly around the room, heating the room uniformly.
Temperature Control: The Dyson Hot has precise temperature controls, a feature offered by very few space heaters. Both the remote and base have temperature controls that help set the desired temperature of the room. An LED number display in the base displays the desired temperature in degrees. When set to the lowest temperature, the Dyson hot merely works as an air multiplier. But when a temperature is set, the Dyson Hot will pump out hot air until it measures that the room has reached the desired temperature (more on that in the next paragraph). Once the room reaches that temperature the Dyson Hot suspends itself. While suspended, the Dyson Hot monitors the temperature of the room. If the temperature cools below the desired set temperature, the Dyson Hot will turn back on to reheat the room. All in all, the Dyson Hot controls the temperature of the room as an air conditioner on temperature control/money saver mode would.
But unlike air conditioners and space heaters with temperature controls, the Dyson Hot has a better pulse on the actual temperature of the room by capitalizing on the inducement effect of multiplier technology. A typical temperature controlled space heater, with or without a fan, takes the temperature of the room by testing the air immediately around it. In application this produces an inaccurate picture of the temperature of the room because the air tested–the air around the heater–has been partially heated by the heater itself. The Dyson Hot gets a better read at the actual temperature of the room by testing the air that is pulled in during inducement. The induced air comes from behind the device and from further out in the room, so the temperature of that air has not been affected by the Dyson Hot itself and is a more accurate measure of the current temperature of the room.
Safety: A big concern in the field of space heaters is the risk of fire. Dyson mitigates those fears by (1) shielding the heating element within the base of the device and (2) by including an automatic shutoff switch that activates when the device tips over. Specifically, typical space heaters leave the heating element exposed to the room. Thus, if something were to come in contact with the heating element (a piece of trash that fell on the floor or an article of clothing that falls near the device) there would be a substantial chance of fire. But by shielding the heating element within the base, the Dyson Hot eliminates the possibility that anything will come in contact with the heating element. Similarly, a concern with space heaters is that if the device tips over, the device may cause enough heat directed at the floor that a fire may start. The Dyson Hot eliminates that fear by incorporating a sensor that detects when the device is not upright and shutting down the device when it tips.
I field tested the Dyson Hot at home and at the office.
In the office: Placement of the Dyson Hot is important for two reasons: because the Dyson Hot relies on inducement–pulling air in from behind–it should be placed in an open area; and because the Hot relies on entrainment–the ring of air pulls along air around it–it should be placed a 3-4 feet away from the subject to give the ring enough space to pull along enough surrounding air to make it feel substantial. In my office, what this all meant was that I placed the Dyson Hot at the far corner of my desk.
In my office, the Dyson Hot was a little wonder. The problem in my office (and I suspect this is a problem in many offices) is that the building controls the temperature of the room, so I often find myself freezing in the middle of the summer and boiling hot in the dead of winter. The Dyson Hot was my little equalizer. I set my desired temperature and the little guy made sure that my space was exactly the way I wanted it. But more than just its function, the Dyson Hot was a nice style addition to my office. While it is unquestionably more stylish than a space heater, the Dyson Hot looked nice on my desk and brought in some curious co-workers.
In the home: As with the office, the first thing to figure out with the Dyson Hot is placement. The Dyson brochure suggests that you place the Hot in the center of the room. So when testing in a living room that means putting the Hot on something like a coffee table, or in my case on my islands of storage benches. Because the only thing in the center of a bedroom is the bed, finding a place for the Hot is a bit trickier. But in the end, I found that it is fine to just place it on the edge of my widest dresser.
Similar to my office, the heating in my small Manhattan apartment is controlled by the building. So my my apartment has virtually two temperatures, the outside temperature or boiling inferno. But lucky for me, testing this bad boy was easy because it got cold early this year (coincidentally the day after the Dyson Hot was announced) and my building hasn’t yet turned on the heat.
In testing, the Dyson Hot heated the room in a subtle feeling way. Unlike a cooling fan, which cools you off with a strong breeze. The Hot doesn’t try to heat the room by shooting around strong gusts of boiling hot air. Rather, when set at a low and medium power setting, the un-buffeted steady stream of air feels natural and almost goes unnoticed.
In addition to performing its main function–heating up the room–the Dyson Hot made me feel more at ease than a traditional space heater. For one, I didn’t have to worry about leaving it on, forgetting about it and causing a fire. By setting the temperature I knew the Dyson would shut off automatically, and the fail safe mechanism made sure that nothing would happen if it fell over. Secondly, with the Dyson Hot I didn’t have to worry about my cat some how catching fire, burning herself, or knocking it over in a fit of rage.
Price and Premium: With any gadget there has to be a conversation about price. Many people felt that the Dyson Multiplier, while cool and innovative, did not provide enough of a difference in function to warrant such a substantial price premium over a simple fan. But the same cannot be said about the Dyson Hot. A typical space heater with heat settings and a fan costs $50. The Dyson Hot costs $399.99. But the premium isn’t just for design. Very few space heaters keep a room at a specific set temperature (the only example I found was an electric radiator I saw when on vacation in Europe). But what I think is the real price justifier here is the improved safety features of the Hot. Make no mistake, space heaters can be dangerous. But by hiding the heating element in the base and building in a kill switch when the device tips over, Dyson made the space heater into another safe and useful appliance.
Wrap up: The Dyson Hot is a hot device (get it?). It tackles a simple old problem–space heating–from a fresh perspective. It performs better than its predecessors, avoids typical safety issues, and has a distinct elegant style that is both elegant and functional. Is it something you should run out and buy? If you need a space heater I think that this is hands down the best option out there. But even if you are simply dealing with fluctuating temperatures that you can’t control (if you ever wear a sweatshirt or jacket indoors), the Dyson Hot can be your great equalizer.
<em> Disclaimer: Dyson provided a demo unit for this review. </em>