Many space heaters are an eyesore; in the best cases, they're able to blend in. The Dyson Hot + Cool AM04 is a notable exception. The AM04 stands out -- in a good way, and professional reviewers and owners agree it's one seriously stylish space heater. However, that style comes at a premium. The Hot + Cool receives above average marks for performance and safety, but according to testing and opinion, its performance alone doesn't justify its higher price. It also can be noisy. Whether the AM04 is worth the splurge comes down to personal preference.
A solid performer but doesn't exceed expectations. The Dyson AM04 consistently performs at the head of the pack in professional reviews. The pros say it heats a room quickly and evenly, thanks to its oscillation function. Reviewers and owners alike praise the thermostat's ability to achieve a consistent temperature, and they like its multiple fan speeds. The heat can be directed at a specific area of a room or at a person, thanks to the tilt option. Many reviewers do concede that other heaters are equally effective.
Convenience isn't on par with style features. Although the Dyson Hot + Cool AM04 is designed with ease of use and maintenance in mind, it doesn't perform as well in this category. Reviewers appreciate that the heater is light, so moving it from room to room doesn't have to be an exercise in weight lifting; however, the heater doesn't have carrying handles or cord storage. Unlike traditional knob temperature controls, the Hot + Cool has flat button settings located at the bottom of the unit-- fine when it's on a tabletop but inconvenient when it's on the floor. Overall, the consensus seems to be that it is easy to use, though it doesn't live up to expectations, given the high-end design.
Designed with safety in mind. The Dyson Hot + Cool passed nearly every professional safety test with flying colors, and owners agree that it's safe. It automatically turns off when tipped, never gets hot to the touch and prevents overheating. It's also bladeless, making it safe for kids and easy to clean (preventing dust build-up and an unpleasant burning smell). Of note, Good Housekeeping did find in its testing that the heater is easy to tip over with less than one pound of force.
Loudness is a matter of opinion. Reports of noise from this heater are inconsistent. It's safe to say that it does create some noise, and the volume depends on how high the fan is set. Some say it creates white noise, while others contend it's loud enough to keep them up at night or compete with the TV. Choice magazine says the heater is louder than other tested fans. One reviewer does point out, though, that it's certainly quieter than a window air conditioning unit, concluding that a person's ability to tolerate the noise from this heater is likely related to his or her basis for comparison.
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org tests and compares 20 space heater models in three categories: smaller room heaters, larger room heaters and propane outdoor heaters. Editors recommend eight heaters using the following rating factors: room heating, spot heating, low risk of burning from touching the surface, fire safety, ease of use and noise.
Review: Space Heaters, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, August 2012
2. Choice magazine
Review credibility: Very Good Choice magazine scientifically tested and compared 14 heaters in this test, for a total of 32 heaters overall. While most heaters reviewed aren't available in the U.S., the Dyson Hot + Cool AM04 is. Choice lists helpful pros and cons for each model.
Review: Untittled, Chris Barnes, May 15, 2012
3. Consumer magazine
Review credibility: Very Good Consumer magazine tests 14 heaters, though most are not available in the U.S. Editors test and compare each heater for performance, ease of use, price and features. The site also includes a helpful checklist of factors to consider when purchasing a new space heater.
Review: Untittled, Editors of Consumer magazine, May 28, 2012
4. Good Housekeeping
Review credibility: Good Good Housekeeping tests and rates several space heaters, but the Dyson AM04 isn't among them. Instead, the AM04 is discussed in a "Road Test." It appears to have been tested first-hand, but not necessarily with the same rigor as other space heaters. The article also reads more like opinion than a professional report, and the AM04 isn't given an overall letter grade. Erik Elbert says he's pleased with the Dyson's performance, though less expensive heaters can heat just as well. He notes many of the smaller details, including the magnetized remote. Like other reviewers, he concludes that you're paying for style with this fan. He does note that the heater is relatively easy to tip (though it does shut off when this happens).
Review: Road Test: Dyson Hot + Cool, Erik Elbert, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Good Amazon.com has many heaters with hundreds of reviews, but the AM04 only garners less than 40. Many users say the Dyson AM04 is a dream-come-true. They say it heats evenly, and it can be directed to a specific spot. They also praise the design, though some suggest that the design is what you're paying for -- not superior performance. Some users complain that this unit is loud, though others say it's no louder than a standard heater or air conditioner. Several users in other countries cite power issues countries, including that -- the heater won't run on local voltage or the local power source damages the fan.
Review: Dyson AM04 Hot + Cool Heater/Table Fan, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review credibility: Good Buzzillions.com compiles user reviews from other websites, like Sears.com, Drugstore.com and HomeDepot.com. The portable heater category has more than 500 products, but the Dyson AM04 gets fewer than 20 reviews. The two color options are listed separately but receive an overall rating of at least 4.3 stars out of 5. While some users say the fan didn't live up to their expectations or performed no better than a cheap alternative, others say it heats large spaces evenly and effectively. Reviewers also like that this heater stays cool to the touch and is safe to use.
Review: Dyson AM04, Contributors to Buzzillions.com , As of November 2012
7. Real Simple
Review credibility: Good Real Simple magazine reviews a slew of space heaters and names nine favorites. The Dyson AM04 is named a Work of Art. Stephanie Sisco's favorite features include oscillation, heating speed and design. There is no explanation of how the heater was tested or what models were considered. Sisco concludes that the AM04 is "a worthy investment for the aesthete."
Review: The Best Space Heaters, Stephanie Sisco, Not Dated
Review credibility: Good Target.com sells about 80 portable heaters, though most receive fewer than 10 reviews. Reviewed separately, the two Dyson Hot + Cool colors receive a combined 18 reviews with a combined average of 4.5 stars out of 5. Many reviewers say the design is a major selling point and conclude that the heater effective and worth the money. Several other reviewers, however, complain that the heater is surprisingly loud, even on the lowest settings. One user explains, "It is ‘white noise' loud even at the lowest speed. High speed noise is intrusive."
Review: Dyson AM04, Contributors to Target.com, As of November 2012