Review Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Model No: MH9BX) OR “Danger, Will Robinson!”

 

First ignition for new heater

First ignition for new heater

I purchased the unit at Lowes for $69.99 with a price match to Northern Tool. I also purchased the Optional 12’ Hose and the Fuel Filter. The unit is hooked to a 20lb tank outside of the RV. I am using it to supplement 2 Delonghi electric radiator heaters.

The first thing I noticed was that the unit “rocked” a little bit on the floor. I put it on the table, it still rocked. Not a huge deal, but a little troubling from a perceived production quality control perspective.

Next problem: When lighting the unit, at the point where gas started flowing to the “Tile” (the thing that gets red hot) to be lit by the pilot – the propane would “roll” up the surface of the Tile while igniting. Just on initial startup. The result? What’s that smell? Oh,it’s the hair burning off the back of my hand. I soon learned the proper positioning to keep my hand out of the “rolling flame”. Once the unit is lit and heating up, it is no longer a problem.

The deal buster:   I noticed that from time to time I was unable to rotate the knob from off to pilot to low or high setting.  Not all the time. And if I waited a few minutes and tried again it usually would work. Defect? Safety interlock? I dunno.
But it was cold and the Mr. Heater Buddy Portable did a great job heating the RV and was a PROPANE MISER (I still haven’t gone through the first tank). I continued to deal with its idiosyncrasies.

It warms up Ms. Lucy very nicely

It warms up Ms. Lucy very nicely

BUT THEN… It got warm enough I wanted to turn it back to Off from High. I COULD NOT TURN THE HEATER OFF!!! NOT GOOD!!! Fortunately since I was using the 20lb tank, all I had to do was go outside and close the valve on the tank. But what if I were using a 1lb bottle? My only option would have been to unscrew the bottle WHILE THE HEATER WAS BURNING. Not a good option in my book.

I called Mr. Heater and after a lengthy wait was connected to a CSR who was going to send me a replacement unit. That was Monday, it is now Friday and I’m still waiting.

Conclusions:

Pros:

Affordable. I’m very satisfied with the heat output and low propane usage of the unit. The unit touts vary safety interlocks (Tip Over, Low Oxygen Shutoff). No Electricity needed!!

Cons:

I am suspect regarding the quality and durability of the unit. And the inability to shut the unit off could easily lead to a disaster. I suggest Mr. Heater get this resolved ASAP or the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission should step in, shut down sales and issue a recall of this device.

**A second chapter of this review will be posted after the replacement unit arrives. **

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