"The fastest, warmest indoor/outdoor heater you'll ever own" is a bold claim to make, and it's one Tiva has clung to throughout high rotation TV infomercials and online marketing. This instant heater uses one of the older heater technologies – radiant heat – and while our trial suggests it's not a dud (if you're standing right in front of it and it's angled the right way, it'll certainly heat you up), its high price tag and awkward ease of use experience are reason enough to shop around before buying as there are certainly cheaper options out there.
TV infomercials rarely undersell the products they're spruiking, and Tiva calling its 2000W infrared heater "the fastest, warmest indoor/outdoor heater you'll ever own" is no different. We bought this instant heater model via TV Shop AU for $699.95, which gives you two heaters and one stand as a package (part of a buy one get one free special offer over the phone). We've found similar products available at Bunnings for around $200 per heater, and they look more versatile.
Getting set up
The heater took only two business days to arrive and came in cardboard packaging with minimal plastics to dispose of. The unit has an electric cord on the right-hand side (from the back of the heater), so keep in mind if you're buying and installing it away from a power point.
The back of the Tiva heater showing bolts to adjust the angle.
The recommendation is to install it straight into a power point, not via a power board or extension cord, which is advice we give for all electric heaters (heaters draw a lot of current which can cause smaller gauge extension cords to heat up and catch fire).
Putting the stand together was only marginally painful, with only a small amount of blood lost in the process. We found that the stand isn't versatile, with little way to adjust the angle of the heater easily, and it's also tall (around 190cm), which is problematic – you'll need a spanner to adjust the angle of the heater, and it doesn't make for a good experience.
The upper tube that connects to the heater slots into the lower tube part of the stand. This means it feels top-heavy, and with no way to screw in the upper tube to the lower tube, it feels a little dangerous. However, it's not a problem as long as nothing disturbs the heater stand, but keep watch for children and pets nearby as you might for any heater on a stand. Tools and appropriate screws and bolts are also supplied for a hard install into a wall.
You can change the temperature of the Tiva heater with a remote control or manually on the heater itself. There are four levels to the heater, but not much indication as to what the levels mean in terms of temperature aside from one being the lowest heat and four being the highest.
There's also a motion sensor built into the device so when something moves in front of the heater it starts up again, which is useful, but as with anything on standby it'll still be drawing a trickle of energy.
A closer look at the motion sensor on the Tiva heater.
So does the Tiva instant heater heat you up? Absolutely. Assuming you're standing in front of it and it's angled the right way. We tried it out on a very cold deck in mid-winter, and depending on the way we placed it, we could warm up to two people at the highest heat.
But despite the reflective material used at the back of the heater to widen the spread of heat, once something gets in the way of that direct heat you're suddenly cold again. Like any radiant heat, it heats the thing it's pointed at and not the surrounding area like a convection heater would.
The advertised advantages of infrared are that it creates instant heat, but these heaters are essentially just radiant heaters. Remember the old radiant heater experience from bathrooms in the '70s and '80s?
The Tiva instant heater claims to have an IPX4 rating, which means it protects from splashing water in any direction, which is definitely an advantage in the outdoors. But given the high price tag and awkward ease of use experience, we think it's worth shopping around as there are cheaper options available that'll deliver the heating experience you're looking for.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.