A relatively recent development in the 100 year history of space heaters is micathermic heating. The mica in micathermic is a silicate mineral split into thin sheets used to form the rectangular exterior front panel of a micathermic heater.
The mica panels themselves do not generate any heat. Their function is to quickly radiate the heat generated by heating elements behind the mica panel into the room.
Micathermic heaters are available in two styles. The first is the flat panel type which resembles a small LCD television. The second design, made only by Soleus, is called the “console” model and looks something like an old fashioned car radiator with rounded corners. (In reality it’s much more attractive than the description).
The incorporation of mica panels into space heater design adds a degree of versatility not found in other heaters. This same design, however, results in some minor drawbacks as well.
Here then are the pros and cons of micathermic heating.
Since micathermic heaters have no fan, anyone with an aversion to noise can rest comfortably without annoying distractions.
Note: The exception to this is the fan equipped flat panel model BH1551-U from Bionaire which, in my humble opinion, defeats the concept of quick and silent heat. Additionally, most consumers who have purchased this model state that the fan is too noisy and lacks the power to make a difference in the heating coverage area.
The ultra thin design of the flat panel version allows it to snug up against a wall or hung on the wall itself with the included hardware. And there’s even a flat panel model by DeLonghi which they feature as safe for bathroom use.
Note: Once again, the exception to this is the aforementioned fan equipped model by Bionaire, which cannot be wall hung.
Unlike an oil filled radiator which can take 20 minutes to heat up, you can feel the heat radiating from a mica paneled heater almost instantly when it’s turned on.
Lightweight – Portable Design
Most mica heaters weigh almost 40% less than oil filled or baseboard convection heaters and all come equipped with a handle (some with wheels too) for easy portablility.
Limited Coverage Area
The downside of owning a quiet, fan-less heater is a limit to how large an area it will heat. However, all micathermic heaters will adequately cover an area of 150 square feet and, according to actual owners, the console model from Bionaire heats slightly more than 200 square feet.