Earlier this summer I saw an ad for a "free" AC unit called Mira-Cool, all customers had to do was buy 1 at the regular price of $298 and then you got one free! But you still had to pay shipping on both. The year before they called the product Cool Surge. The company behind that little bit of marketing genius looks to be the same company behind the Amish Heater (Heat Surge) joke of a product. From a Consumer Reports blog on the company:
Confusing pricing policies and complaints about companies associated with Cool Surge also left us cold. The Cool Surge debuted in 2008 and was originally promoted by Universal TechTronics. The same company is a division of Heat Surge, which markets the Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow Electric Fireplace—also known as the Amish heater—and pushed a "free" DTV converter box that ultimately cost nearly $100 when you added in the mandatory warranty and shipping and handling fees.
The company's marketing plan seems to rely on misleading and too good to be true claims. I'm no expert on religion, but don't the Amish shy away from things like electricity? Seems like an electric heater that labels itself as Amish is a bit of an oxymoron. As far as Amish made? It looks like the only thing made by Amish is the mantle! The rest is assembled in China! I might as well buy a bunch of t-shirts from China, sew a logo on them, and call them American made (not that this holds much clout anymore).
Consumer Reports hasn't just covered the company, they actually have a review of the Amish Heater. From their review:
As for performance, we found using this heater reasonably convenient, quiet, and safe. A remote control lets you turn the heater and its display on and off, switch the heat between low and high, and choose from more than a dozen brightness settings for the fake flames. But the heater lacks a thermostat, a key feature that allows you to regulate room temperature. The metal heater cabinet and its glass front panel did make our version somewhat front heavy. That and wheels recessed about an inch inward from the front increase its potential to tip forward, though a built-in tipover protection switch, found on many heaters these days, shut it off quickly when we intentionally tipped it in our tests. After two hours of continuous heating on high, most of its surfaces weren't hot to the touch, and even the center air-discharge grille above the front glass panel wasn't extremely hot. The Heat Surge complies with nationally recognized standards for safety and construction.
You'll find many less expensive but high-performing convection and radiant space heaters that will do a good job in a small space. In fact, David Baker, Heat Surge vice president, recently told The New York Times, "If someone would come to me and say, 'I need a heater and I want to spend as little as possible,' I would say go to a local big-box store and buy one for $29.99. Our heater represents a fireplace rather than just some space heater."
I don't criticize the Amish Heater because it doesn't heat, I just think they have misleading marketing practices (the BBB has a few of the Amish Heater complaints listed). If you want a nice looking "fireplace" electric heater, then this may be the one for you, just make sure you read the fine print!