The Honeywell HZ-385BP is a feature-packed heater with more high-end details than most units at this price. However, reviews suggest that these "features" may not be all they're cracked up to be. The HZ-385BP does warm up quickly and distributes heat well. However, its thermostat is not very reliable, and the motion sensor can cause the unit to turn off more often than desired. Also, the heater creates a lot of racket, and the display panel can be very bright, so it may not be the best choice for bedrooms.
Inconsistent feedback on heating ability. Reviews are inconclusive on whether the Honeywell HZ-385BP Motion Sensor Heater heats effectively. Most reviewers -- both owners and pros -- agree that the unit does heat up quickly. However, users disagree about what size room it's capable of warming. Some users say it can't heat a space larger than a small bathroom, while others say one unit can effectively heat a large bedroom and multiple units can warm an entire apartment. The fan and oscillation do seem to be relatively effective at moving the heat around; it's unclear whether the heater actually increases temperature in a room. There are also several reports of this heater breaking after only a short time.
Plenty of features though not without flaws. The Honeywell HZ-385BP is very easy to use, according to pro reviewers. It offers more high-end features than most heaters at this price, among them a digital thermostat, timer, heat indicator and oscillation. However, according to owners, these features can be flawed. Several users at Amaon.com and Buzzillions.com say the thermostat is inaccurate or ineffective. It either reads the wrong temperature, or allows wide swings in temperature. One reviewer says the digital thermostat is backlit, which creates a disturbing amount of light in a darkened bedroom.
Safety features may be overly cautious for some. Slate.com reviewer Dan Crane says the Honeywell HZ-385BP Motion Sensor Heater has more safety features than any other heater he tested. The most notable feature is the motion sensor, which turns the heater off when anything gets too close -- a good precaution for homes with children. This feature may not be the best for all homes, however. Owners say pets and people walking by the unit can easily turn it off. One owner says it's really only appropriate for rooms where there's plenty of space to move around the unit.
Other safety functions include a heat indicator light, tip-over switch and overheat switch. However, while Honeywell says this heater has a cool-touch housing, Good Housekeeping says it gets very hot to the touch, reaching more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Reports from owners agree.
Creates a clamor. Nearly all reviewers agree that the Honeywell HZ-385BP Motion Sensor Heater creates a good deal of noise. Users say the fan is so noisy it can startle pets, and one user says the oscillation feature creates a noisy creaking sound. Good Housekeeping agrees, saying that the heater is noticeably loud.
Review credibility: Good At Amazon.com, the Honeywell HZ-385BP receives fewer than 20 reviews for an overall rating of 3.1 stars (out of 5). Many users say the heater's thermostat is incorrect or ineffective -- for example, it reads the wrong temperature or creates large swings in temperature. Some users also complain the motion sensor safety feature is far too sensitive, and the movement of pets and people can turn the heater off. The sensor can be turned off, but it must be deactivated every time the unit is turned on. While some reviewers say it effectively heats a room, others say it doesn't create enough heat or breaks very easily.
Review: Honeywell HZ-385BP Safety Sentinel Electronic Ceramic Tower Heater, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review credibility: Good Author Dan Crane reviews seven portable space heaters based on their performance in his home. The Honeywell HZ-385BP is the top-rated heater, with a score of 25 (out of 31). He notes that it has more safety features than any other heater he tested, and it is the only heater with temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit. He doesn't report on how well this unit actually heats, other than awarding it a warm-up score of 9 out of 10. However, Crane concludes that none of the heaters truly meets his needs.
Review: Heated Debate: Which Space Heater Is Best?, Dan Crane, Feb. 10, 2009
3. Good Housekeeping
Review credibility: Good Good Housekeeping tested and rated 12 space heaters in February 2008, and proclaims the Honeywell HZ-385BP the best personal heater tested. Editors say, "It earned the highest scores for ease of use, came loaded with the most extras, and was the only space heater with a heat indicator." They do note, however, that this heater does get very hot to the touch -- more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit -- and creates a good deal of noise.
Review: Honeywell Digital Motion Sensor Ceramic Room Heater, Editors of Good Housekeeping, February 2008
Review credibility: Good At Buzzillions.com, the Honeywell HZ-385BP gets about 20 reviews, and it averages 3.8 stars (out of 5). Many reviewers say this heater creates a lot of warmth and circulates the heat well. However, others say the thermostat is inaccurate. One user also points out that the lights on the display are very bright in a dark room. Noise is another concern; one owner says the fan makes noise when oscillating, and another says the fan is loud enough to scare off the cats.
Review: Honeywell Hz385bp Safety Sentinel Electronic Ceramic Tower Heater, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of November 2012