back to blog

Tiny House Appliances: Envi Flat Panel Heater Review

We've reviewed our cute stainless steel mini range and our fantastic Panasonic exhaust fan, but what about our other tiny house appliances? Well, those will be reviewed too! Don't you worry! First let's discuss our simple but effective Envi convection heater.

Envi convection panel heaterEnvi states that it's "the world's first and only 100% pure convection heater." While this may be true, it's not the only one of it's kind. There are other very slim panel-style heaters, like this one sold at Home Depot. However, Envi wrote their own comparison, showing how their product is better. Some ways in which the Envi is better are:

  • The outside of the unit stays cool to the touch, so it's safe to leave on when not home - safe with kids and pets too!
  • It has a thermostat
  • 100% pure convection heater
  • Made in the USA!

I can't verify all of Envi's claims, but I think they do have a better product. Here's what's we've learned after using the heater in our house for almost a year.

For more tiny house heating options, visit Tiny (house) Appliances


Installation

Super Easy! We had to screw a couple tiny mounting brackets to the wall and heater hangs on these perfectly. The packaging even includes a guide so it's simple and easy to make the holes in the right places. A+ for installation!

Heating Ability

This unit creates a lot of heat for such a small, simple package. But to know if it will meet your needs, you need to understand its limitations. This is a convection heater with no moving parts. It has no fan. It does not move air around at all, and is not intended for that purpose. This is a huge selling point too -- no expensive parts to break, no noisy fan sounds, etc. But it does mean that this unit does not distribute heat evenly around the house. For that you need other methods of creating good air flow and getting the heat where you need it.

Envi flat panel tiny house heater

Here's our Envi, tucked away nicely behind our ladder and above the dog bowls

This heater pulls cold air in from the bottom and the hot air simply flows gently out of the top due to it's temperature (hot air rises -- basic physics). So naturally your loft (or near the roof of your house) will be warmer than the floor, and this is even more true with a heater like this.

We have a ceiling fan which we can use to help pull some of the hot air down and move it around the house, but even with that we do use a very small, supplemental ceramic heater in our bathroom to help warm our toes first thing in the morning during those colder winter days. Our bathroom is somewhat separated from the main living area, so it takes longer for the heat from the Envi to make it's way back there.

Because tiny houses (if well insulated) are generally easier to heat than cool, and because we live in a pretty nice Norther California climate, once the house has been warmed during the day, we don't need a heater on at all over night, even on the colder winter nights. We turn the Envi off, go to bed, and the residual heat and our body heat is enough to keep the loft warm at night. Because the heater stays off all night (so not to overheat the loft), the lower level of the house does tend to be a little chilly in the morning. Hence the need for the little ceramic heater in the bathroom. First thing in the morning, even if we turn up the Envi to it's highest thermostat setting, it takes a while to get the entire house warm after it's been cooling off all night.

Features & Benefits

  • Efficient design uses just 3.95 Amps (120 volts).
  • It has a thermostat: you can find your perfect temp, set the thermostat, and theoretically the Envi will turn on/off as needed to keep the room steady at that temp.
  • Simple plugin model with very easy installation.
  • Relatively cheap ($140), especially compared to the Dikenson "fireplace" propane heater ($1,000+) than many tiny houses have.
  • Attractive, slim wall-mounted design fits almost anywhere (unlike other slim panel heaters that still take up floor space)
  • Designed to heat approx 130-150 sq.ft of space.
  • As stated above, it's cool to the touch and totally safe to leave on when away form the house, unlike a propane heater would be -- this was a big selling point for us!

Minor Quips

The heater can make a series of funny light banging sounds each time the thermostat senses a drop in room temp and the unit "turns on" again. It sounds to me like a less obnoxious version of a cookie sheet warping as the oven heats up -- this sound is likely created by a similar phenomenon. My guess is as the panel inside the heater gets to a certain temp, some slight warping creates this pinging sound. It's usually a series for 3 or 4 light "knocks" each time. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but it's a tad bit annoying. I figure this might be a defect, and the unit could be returned, but it hasn't been bad enough for me to trouble myself with it.

Conclusion

Great little heater overall. Price, simplicity and safety trump any minor issues we have with it. Just be aware of it's limitations (no fan or moving parts) and you should be happy with your choice.

For more tiny house heating options, visit Tiny (house) Appliances

Please share

Leave a Reply to towan DeSantis Cancel reply

17 comments on “Tiny House Appliances: Envi Flat Panel Heater Review”

  1. Would it be worth, in your opinion, to get one for the main house and a second for the bathroom? In a totally off the grid, solar electric/generator back up situation? I would HATE cold potty, so even if it was kept on a low temp, would it be worth the electric cost?

    1. I think a small supplemental heater in the bathroom is a great idea, especially in colder climates. We have a smaller, ceramic heater to keep our feet cozy in the bathroom. It's cheap and perfect for some fast heat first thing in the morning.

  2. i have an envi heater too. I've been using it for about 2 1/2 years. Works great. Silent operation. I've never had a problem with any banging sounds. There's a quiet click when the thermostat turns on but that's it. I will say in colder climates that it's not quite adequate. In South Western Washington during cold snaps when the temp drops below freezing outside I have to augment with my tiny woodstove or bake a squash for dinner in the oven.

    1. I am interested in the envi heater for my tiny house in Maine, where the winters are regularly around 0-10 degrees F. You mention it's not adequate for colder climates. Do you think 2 heaters for a tiny house 160 sq ft. would do the trick?

      1. Hi Jessica -- I think 2 of them could work, but I'm not sure. I have no experience with cold winters to know how they would do at that temperature. One thing you might find in those colder temps is that your floors and some parts of the house may stay cold since heat from the Envi travels upward. It has no fan to push the air around so it takes a lot of time for the heat to distribute around the house. The other thing to note at colder temps is the greater loss of heat through an exhaust fan. But you do need to keep air circulating through the house (and vented) to reduce condensation, so you may want to think of a heat recovery ventilator like https://www.lunos.de/en/product/e_with_heat_recovery/. I'd take a look at https://tinyhousing.ca/ and others who are building for cold climates and get some tips from them.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this review of the Envi flat panel heater. My husband and I are about to start building our first tiny house(before he leaves for Navy basic training) and I was about ready to pull my hair out trying to find a good, inexpensive heater that would be safe for our 1 year old daughter. While also putting out enough heat and being small enough to fit in our uber small tiny house.

  4. Several people have had problems with these units catching fire, even one of our own in Macy Miller's 'Tiny House People' page on Facebook.
    Is it still holding up for you?

    1. Yeah, mine is fine. I've had no problems with it. I did see that post on facebook. Maybe some units are defective, but certainly that's not the case with all of them.

    1. Thanks for sharing. Fortunately this only affect units made for about a year from 2015-2016, and mine is older so not affected. New units also will not have this problem. Hopefully everyone with one that could have this fault can it it repaired so it's safe. Thanks again.

      1. I have four Envi heaters, two of which are part of the recall. The Envi parent company, eHeat, took three email exchanges before they admitted there was a recall. Really disappointing!

  5. I purchased an environment heater directly from eheat and put on wall in husbands office that is 11x12...it is a plug in one..I am extremely disappointed...the room was 60 degrees when I started heater and 9 hrs later it was only up to 63 degrees...it was only 30 degrees outside...I could feel some heat coming out top but room just never got warm...

  6. We have been using ENVI heaters for three years now and we love them! You will probably need more than one heater, even for a tiny home, depending on the size of your place. We have a small house and our living roo, is about 13x20 sq.ft.. we use three of these heaters to heat that area alone. We have eight heaters in this home. The radiant heat is dry and quiet. Our electric bill went down 2/3rds using them. We use 9 heaters for our 1,200 sq.ft. home. They are worth it.

    1. We have had an Envi heater for many years now. The concept as described to us was to leave the heater on at a lower setting and not to turn them on an off daily like many have suggested. We turn ours on in the fall and slowly increase the dial setting to it’s maximum setting and then slowly decrease the dial in the spring until we finally turn it off. We have only one heater and our room is quite large—too large for their specifications, but we also have a whole house heater that isn’t adequate for the long run to our bedroom with three outside walls and a vaulted ceiling. The Envi heater has been a lifesaver for us. It works very well and is efficient, quiet and economical.

      1. It would be best to check with the manufacturer to be sure. It's not very hot on the back-side where mounted, but I'm sure there are some regulations about what materials can be in contact with it.