Houseboat Product Review

West Marine Portable Cabin Heater

Published in the March 2012 Issue March 2012 Feature Joan Wenner, J.D.

We all want it to be spring in the colder climes for the beginning of another great boating season. You can start early and end later if it's warm and toasty in the cabin. Manufactured by Caframo Limited in Canada for powerhouse retailer West Marine, the Portable Cabin Heater is a gem to have onboard this time of year.

For the right amount of warmth there are several heat settings (plus fan only), two fan speeds (Hi for max and Low for silent circulation), and special energy-saver settings. Use High Output: Hi Fan (1500W) to heat an area quickly, Energy Saver: Hi Fan (900W) for moderate heat using 1/3 less electricity, Energy-Saver: Low Fan (900W), and sleep mode for super quiet/gentle heat using 2/3 less electricity. Add to this an automatic thermostat that comes on at 38 degrees to keep an area from freezing (by turning it to the clever icon of a snowflake), and you and your pets are assured of a comfy saloon environment from this compact, yet big-time heat producer.

The stylish sand/sable-colored unit has no user serviceable parts to contend with and only requires minimal care and maintenance by vacuuming the bottom and top air intakes and front grill. If clogged the heater will shut down and remain off, which is a good safety feature.

Just be careful as with any electrical product. It is not designed for the bilge or engine room, or outdoors, or close to combustible materials. Priced around $90, it's a hot deal.

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