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on March 13, 2010
I've had this heater for just less than four weeks now. In the interest of disclosure, I'm certainly not an expert, and this is my second kerosene heater - I also have a dyna-glo 23k BTU that I've been using happily for about a year and a half.

I was very excited to get this smaller 10k heater since the worst of the winter is about over in my area, and the Dyna-Glo is too much when the outside temp reaches forty or so. The item came double boxed and intact - great shipping and packing from Amazon as usual.

I put it together (it was easy and the instructions were simple) and then went to carry it downstairs and nearly dropped it from the top steps because the handle fell out - this is definitely my fault, and luckily I hadn't filled it yet and had fast enough reflex to grab it before it tumbled down. Since then I've bent the handle inwards so that it fits a bit tighter and hopefully that won't happen again. However, the handle bends considerably when the unit is picked up, especially with a full tank, and needs to occasionally be bent back into place so that it can swing freely. I think it needs a heavier gauge handle to be moved around safely. It probably goes without saying for any kero heater, but definitely don't try carrying this while it's lit.

After lighting it the first time, I noticed no visible smoke, but it had a sooty odor - not the normal mild kerosene odor I noticed with my other heater from time to time. I looked at the book which said an initial odor was normal until the first dry burn. So I lived with it, using it on and off for about a week until I felt it was ready to burn dry. After (double) burning it dry the real problems began. The burner assembly would no longer burn red to the top, the blue flames were obviously way too low while the adjustment was as high as it would go, the sooty odor got worse, and most times after lighting it, the flame would just flicker in a small (two-inches or so) part of the wick. Frustrated I'd put it out and try to relight it - again and again. After a few days of this, I got a flame going, and tried to dry burn it again, then again. After dry burning it, the wick was soft on the top, and stiff everywhere else. I tried pinching it with pliers, flexing it around with my fingers, and dry burning it again. The result was no better. The more I tried the worse it got.

Today I put in a new wick, and everything is back to normal ... and NO SMELL at all and the heat output is considerably better than even the first time I fired it up. I'll edit this later if the problem returns (and bump it up one star if it doesn't), but I believe that the manufacturer put a poor quality wick, trying to save a few pennies, so the unit was not getting hot enough to burn clean and odorless. A wick should last about a year for most people, not less than a month (assuming it was ever good at all). But hopefully this solves the problem and saves someone else the same frustration that I had.

Normal burn time on a tank is probably around fourteen hours as others have mentioned. The wall guards do not add any stability and are an annoyance if you don't actually put it near a wall, so I took them off since I keep it in the middle of the room I'm trying to heat. The manufacturer needs to add a small wire door to the front grill to facilitate easier match lighting - I had to buy the long eleven inch matches to reach down in there (break of the charred end and relight them with a lighter to make them last longer).

In summary, I've not been happy with the heater for the short time I've had it. If the whole problem actually was the wick and not some design problem, I'm sure I'll be content with this unit for many years.

Edit 03/29/09: After using this an additional two weeks I can confirm that the new wick made all the difference. So if you bought this and are having smell or heat output problems, try a new wick. I'm using a Kero World 91009. I've also decided not to bump this up one star as promised. After comparing the two wicks I can see difference in construction and I feel that Sengoku's QA could and should have seen the difference as well. -* for bad QA and -* for all the time I had to spend troubleshooting because of it.
44 comments86 of 92 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 27, 2005
The Pros -- This thing delivers the heat! I live in a 980 sq. ft. mobile home with an open living room and kitchen. Even during the coldest months this unit kept me warm during power failures. The heat even traveled to the farthest bedroom, not heating it to the fullest, but keeping away the chill. It runs silently.

The Cons -It does not run for the 12 hours, as stated on the outer carton. I suppose if you heated a very small bathroom it would regulate itself to the full 12 hours. I have to refill the tank every four hours. Since the unit is rather heavy and bulky it's difficult to carry it outside for refueling. It's even heavier on the return trip because of the full tank of kerosene. The carrying handle doesn't feel secure enough to haul that weight.

Unless you run the tank completely dry, this unit flares up and sends a cloud of black smoke into the room during shutdown. A kerosene-stink will linger for half an hour. It has to be taken apart and cleaned every few days to remove the carbon build-up on the wick. I have not yet been successful at removing all that carbon.

A kerosene heater is not for wimps or for those who won't follow safety instructions. It can be dangerous.

I wouldn't recommend this product for someone looking to run it all winter long to cut down on their heating bill.

I would, however, recommend it for someone wishing to have an optional heating source available during emergencies. If the only choices are to freeze or find another heating source, this will unit will do the job well.

I believe the Cons (as stated) are typical of all portable kerosene heaters, so I will not fault this unit in those areas. With the exception of the misleading "runs for up to 12 hours", this unit does what it's supposed to do. That's why I give it five stars.
88 comments100 of 109 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2009
I'm a young kerosene lamp collector but never encountered an unboxed Kerosene heater before. Decided to give it a try this winter since many gas stations here in Philly dispense undyed and untaxed 1-K cheaply ($2.80 in October 2009) and heating bills last few years are $200/month on average for our well insulated house. After reading reviews around, I was pretty settled on this omni-radiant design, but had reservations with the actual burning time due to short wick per this site and Mile Stair's site (highly recommended).

Then I had a chance to pick one up several weeks ago. Only $10 as the seller was moving so I figured there's little to loose. It's a 2005 run in like new condition. While it's the first time I got my hands on a kero heater, mechanically there is really no difference between it and any center draft lamps, save everything is in bigger size! Lighted it up easily and enjoy the cheap heat every since.

Two things I'd like to elaborate on this heater:

1. It burns 15 hours on a single fill when the outside is in 40s and 50s and my 600 sqft second level is toasty 75-78 degrees with a slightly crack window!
Update on Dec. 1, 2009: The kerosene gauge on the heater must be designed for trial lawyers, not actual usage. If one religiously follow the gauge from "F" to "E", s/he may get 7 hours out of "one full tank" at most. Nowadays I fill it well into the red zone on the gauge and burn it down another 3-4 hours after "E" mark. This way I can easily get 15 hours. In case you wonder, the record time I timed is almost 19 hours (!) on Low setting before kerosene completely runs out and it starts to smell due to dry burn.

2. I start and extinguish the heater in the garage so there is no smell in the house. The heater is delightfully light-weight for a grown man to carry around very carefully. In comparison, my small 14-candlelight kerosene lamp gives off detectable smell. Of course the burn efficiency is different purposefully.

Maybe I'm lucky but this thing is doing everything right. This winter I will save hundreds of dollars easy with this baby.

I've been shopping at since its inception. This is the first time I'm posting a product review even though I did not purchase through the site. Need I say more on what kind of recommendation I'm giving?!

Updated on 10/1/2010: Fall is here and I'm looking forward to putting the heater into another winter of service. In the unusually cold and snow record setting 2009-2010 Philly winter, my total kerosene cost is mere $172, which is less than my monthly heating bill in the previous winters!
0Comment44 of 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 25, 2011
Assembly was a snap. Filled the tank with new K1 Kerosene and let the wick soak it up for an hour. Lit the heater and adjusted the heat to the highest setting in my garage, have to burn off all the manufacturing oils for a couple hours, it is smelly so don't do it in the house.

The heater worked great, the flame chamber was a nice cherry red all the way to the top with a 3/4 blue flame coming out of the flame chamber/catalytic element, just they way the manual says it should.

The next day I lit the heater in my basement, set it to high and the flame chamber was red 3/4 of the way up and never got redder or hotter as it did on the first start up.

In checking the internet, I found that the wick is the problem, it' either not installed right at the factory, or it's poor quality. So now I have to install a replacement wick which is a pain according to the instructions. Many folks reported the same problem as I am now experiencing. With a new aftermarket wick, the reviews I read say it will operate flawlessly.

I'm not real impressed with the wick situation. Quite frankly, it's frustrating to get a new Kerosene heater, only to have to replace the wick to get it operating properly. The heater is priced well, just not up to par with what I expected: A heater that operates well without maintenance after the first use.

UPDATE: after changing the wick the heater now burns normally. I moved the rating to one star because you have to unscrew the ENTIRE unit to change the wick. I am saying you have to DISASSEMBLE the entire unit to get to the wick, and even then it's hit or miss with getting the wick adjusted to the black line on the wick so it lines up with the top of the wick holder. There is a wingnut near the tip over protection system that I had to remove with a long tip needle nose pliers. Just a poor, poor design.

The wick does not reach the bottom of the fount, so there is at least 3/4 liter of kerosene still left in the fount even after a double dry burn suggested in the manual. I cut off the lower half of the original wick and placed it in the bottom of the sump in the fuel tank, now I get about 13 hours of burn time without refueling. The cotton threads of the wick bottom allow all the fuel in the tank to be carried up the wick to be burned.

Once again, a poor design. Sengoku needs to lengthen their wick by 1" in order to use all the fuel in the tank. I am not at all impressed with the amount of mods and screwing around I have had to do to get this heater to work properly and use most, if not all of the fuel in the fount. After all this, I cannot recommend this heater to anyone. It's just too much of a pain to get it operating properly, it should operate correctly out of the box, but my unit didn't.
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on January 21, 2006
Calamity Jane has it right - I can verify. I purchased this unit for backup in my cabin in case the generator failed - and it happened. We were in an uninsulated cabin. 5 big guys without a lot of clothing frankly, in the dead of winter near Bismarck North Dakota. Just back from hunting and all our clothes were soaked. Didn't look good but this little puppy came through in a pinch. No problems lighting, and it heated the 150 sq feet cabin in a flash - went all night and dried our clothes. Great when you need it.
44 comments33 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 3, 2009
I took reviewer Matt's advice to replace the factory wick and got great results; much less fumes and hotter temp. I wouldn't have thought wicks could be so different in performance but the improvement was amazing. A second heater I bought about 2 years later had a good wick with no problems.

The original wick wasn't held very firmly and using the trip switch to shut down the heater resulted in the wick getting jarred lower in the height control assembly so it wouldn't burn at full heat until it was repositioned. I just held the knob while depressing the trip switch and gently lowered the wick. The new wick is held firmly with no problems.

I left off the upper wire cage-guard when assembling and shortened the horizontal ends of the carry handle and bent it more to be snug against the top pan and reinstalled it. Leaving the top guard off allows cooking on the top pan, which gets to around 275F (350F now with new wick) or setting my aspen thermoelectric fan on it to blow the heat around the room instead of letting it rise straight up to the ceiling. (I highly recommend that fan if you use this heater very often to greatly increase its effectiveness--Really expensive now though.)

I use 1.75 liter liquor bottles with a plug-in pour spout to fill this heater, the spout stops flow when the level gets high and I can fill while the heater is burning if I shield the plastic bottle from the heat. Sure beats funnels.

3.5 liters fills the tank with the wick in it. I get about 13 hours from a tankfull; 5 gallons of kero gave 74-hrs(3-days) burn time. Using 135,000 btu/gal calculates to 9,122 btu/hr.

For newbs:
-wait 30 mins after fueling from dry for wick to wick up fuel before lighting
-light and extinguish in an unoccupied area because it fumes at these times
-keep yellow flame to a minimum so lower the wick a notch or three as it heats up and the flame grows
-even out flame by sliding burner with spring/handle toward high flame area
-leave a bit of ventilation for the oxygen it uses, 1/2 inch under-door gaps seem good but my old house probably has lots of little air leaks
-dry burn every three days or so (burn until it's out of fuel and goes out then raise wick to max, wait 30 mins and relight and let burn out again to remove tar from wick
-you should barely be able to smell this heater when it's working properly, if your eyes sting something's wrong and long term it's unhealthy to breath fumes
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VINE VOICEon January 24, 2009
I have used a unit similar to this one for years. Over the past two years my friend and I have had a small...well shack, down by a nearby lake with no electricity, plumbing or anything modern. It does have a small wood cook stove and a nice soft bunk which is about all we need, to be real honest. We have been using an old portable heater such as this one which was made somewhere in Europe in the late 1950s which finally sort of rusted out. We bought one of these Sengokus in hopes of replacing our beloved old heater. It worked! We have had not problems what so ever. It keep the small cabin (One and ½ rooms) perfectly warm and we are quite snug between it and the old quilts we use. It is easy to carry and pack in, easy to maintain and suits our needs perfectly. If and when we ever get real heating in the place, something I doubt, I am sure she and I will be able to find some other use for it. I really very much recommend this one. I will say though that if you are not familiar with this sort of heater, you need to read the directions quite closely and do a bit of experimentation on your own.
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on March 1, 2010
Bought this heater to substitute for central heating during power cuts & in case the furnace broke. Furnace broke this past week, and at 35-45 external temperature we were able to maintain comfortable heat inside (around 65) with this heater and an old electrical heater. Approximately 1,500Sqf, so no complaints. Generates even & pleasant heat with slight kerosene smell at light-up and shut-off but not during run. Would definitely buy again, more effective and cheaper to run than an electrical heater.
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on March 1, 2010
This heater is really easy to use and puts out a great deal of heat. We use it as supplemental heat to cut our gas bills.
The only "problem" we experienced was that the wick was not installed correctly when we received the new heater. Being a first-time kerosene heater user, I was baffled that I couldn't see a wick underneath the "chimney" at all. Well, it turns out the manufacturer had installed the wick about an inch too low, which I found out after disassembling the whole thing. Not too much fun if you are a newbie. Especially since the instructions aren't entirely correct, either.
Even after correctly installing the wick, the "chimney" won't glow red all the way to the top. I contacted the manufacturer regarding this issue to figure out if this is normal. Have not heard back yet.
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on January 9, 2010
Remember those old kerosene heaters that smoked while they were burning, and stunk up the whole house? My dad had one. The smell used to make me sick to my stomach. Well, this isn't one of those heaters. There is a slight odor for about three minutes after you ignite it. While it's heating I don't smell it at all. I've used this heater every day this winter. It DOES take a while to heat up a room. But after I've had it running for about three hours it gets nice and toasty. Then my electric baseboard heat stays off. I save about $75.00 a month on my electric bill using this heater in my living room (15ft x 25ft). And I spend about $25.00 a month on kerosene for this heater. My only gripe is that the fuel tank doesn't hold near as much as they advertise. And 12 hours on one tank is definitely stretching it. It's more like 6-8 hours MAX. On the other hand, 2 gallons of kerosene lasts me a week. Cheap heat! I might buy another one.
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