I’ve noticed that the older I get, the colder I feel and often I need to warm up, like a lizard on a rock, to get going.
Have you ever marvelled at the ability of our planetary star – some 150 million kilometres away – to heat up the atmosphere from below freezing to balmy in a matter of hours?
But on wintry days when the sun doesn’t shine we need some other source of heat, preferably one like the sun: healthy, safe, direct heat and energy efficient.
Welcome to the warmth of the Ionmax Ray!
Before we describe exactly how it all works, let’s first see what the Ray looks like.
The Ionmax ION801 Ray has a familiar look.
You’d instantly recognise it as a heater with the grille and heating elements. It can swivel and tilt and dish up heat in 9 settings and up to 9 hours via a timer. There’s no fan and no noise.
So what’s the fuss all about then?
For folks who want a primer on what FIR – Far Infra Red– is all about, we can point you to the Ionmax website. Or study a bit of solar astronomy. For the rest it might as well be Black Magic.
How can you feel warm instantly while the rest of the room is still cold? Am I being microwaved?
Well, if I go out on my deck today, it’s 15 degrees and windy. But if I sit in the sun, I feel soon very comfortable.
That’s what that big solar heater system does: the Sun’s FIR heats up your body cells.
But it also comes at a price: UV radiation.
However, the Ionmax Ray does NOT have that harmful UV radiation!
These are the main things that really appealed to me in the Ionmax Ray:
1. Instant warmth on your body
2. Pleasant warmth that doesn’t dry your skin
3. Very energy efficient
That last item is crucial as with the rising energy prices we need to look at better alternatives.
That’s why I’ve included a schematic that compares the Ray with traditional heaters.
I’ve got most of the other ones listed here in my house so a heater that only uses 1200W has to be more energy efficient than some of the others, but only if no energy is wasted in heating up all that air in a room.
The Ray has 9 heat settings and you can dial the output all the way down to just 200W.
The unit came in a slightly larger box than expected because it was well-packaged.
It pays to spend a couple of minutes to check the user manual leaflet before plugging the Ray into a wall outlet.
Press Standby – which is really the On/Off button – on the control panel and select your heat setting.
Initially, a slight and barely visible vapour comes off the heating elements as is fairly normal with these types of heaters. It might startle someone so it would be good to mention this in the manual.
It takes a good minute to really feel the balmy heat.
You can direct the heat to where you need it most by rotating the unit in your direction or you can use the auto swing button which will cover about 70 degrees from the unit. In addition, you can safely tilt the appliance back by up to 30° and downwards by 10°.
A couple of safety points that are appreciated:
- Child lock. Great for our ever-exploring grandies who love to press buttons (including mine!)
- Auto shutoff if the unit falls over. It’s unlikely to happen but someone could topple it by accident.
There’s also an auto shutoff after 10 hours of use.
The Ionmax Ray can be used in large rooms and small ones as it basically heats up objects and persons rather than the air in a room.
That’s why the effect of feeling the warmth is almost instantaneous rather than first waiting till the air has been heated up.
My first test was in my small home office.
For comparison, I normally use a small, 1000W oil heater under my desk. It does the trick but it takes 20 minutes to bring the room temperature up by 1 degree Celsius (from 16 to 17 degrees). When I switch off the unit, the residual heat in the oil brings up the temp by another 1° over the next 10 minutes.
The Ionmax Ray gives more direct heat, raises the room temp by 2 degrees in the same 20 minute period. Plus another 1° C over the next 10 minutes after switching off the unit.
So, that’s double the room temperature increase with faster, direct heat which also felt more pleasant. Score for the Ray.
Let’s now move the unit to the much larger lounge/dining with open kitchen area.
This is normally the domain of an AC inverter plus a fan-driven woodfire. These are great to heat up the entire space.
However, with 6 metres between us and the Ray the heat was felt but we did move it closer to us later on and dialled down the heat setting a bit. Felt more comfortable.
A heater like the Ionmax Ray will be ideal in the bedroom with the pleasant heat very welcome when dressing and undressing.
No need to heat up the whole space first. The timer is handy too if you don’t want to get out of bed to switch it off after a while.
The bright orange power lights (to indicate the unit is on) at the front might just be a bit too bright to fall asleep by… But then again, so will the heating elements when you have it on full blast.
A Ridiculous Test?
Our final test takes the claim of the Ionmax Ray – “Heat Like the Sun” – literally.
So, on this cold and cloudy day I take the Ray outside on the deck, grab a cuppa, close my eyes and pretend the sun is out.
Within a minute or two I felt warm and comfortable with a sunshiny heat enveloping my body.
I reckon that claim is valid and having the Ray on your veranda is not as ridiculous as it seems. And certainly more effective than a gas heater…
And if you can’t make up your mind where you want the Ray, pick it up (there’s a handle at the back), lift it up (only about 6kg) and try out various scenarios.
Any energy saving device is welcome on our test bench and in our home.
The Ionmax Ray is such an appliance with the added benefits of directional, incremental and very pleasant heat.
There’s one proviso for parents of young children:
it might have a child lock but I would not put it in a kid’s bedroom.
Main reason is the danger of fire if anything (curtains, bedsheets, toys, etc) gets close to the heating elements. That’s why we have a guard around the fireplace too.
Other than that, we can recommend the Ionmax Ray very highly.
More info about the Ray is on the Ionmax website where you can also order it for AUD$489.
DRN thanks Andatech for making the Ionmax Ray available for our review.