American needs advice about where to buy a present for a British friend
December 29, 2017 9:46 PM   Subscribe

I am American and I would like to buy a present for an English friend. It is a Presto Heat Dish, a kind of space heater. There is a listing for this product on Amazon UK, but it is out of stock. What British online retail outlet do you recommend that I buy this product from? I see that it is available on eBay, and I'm willing to buy there if there is no other choice, but I would prefer a more conventional retailer.
posted by Surprised By Bees to Shopping (11 answers total)
Is there a version that runs on 240V and meets safety standards in the UK/Europe? My best guess from a bit of searching is that there isn't one.

The Amazon UK listing (if this is it) is deceptive because it refers to a 120V model. It appears that Amazon pulls over product listings from the US site for out-of-stock products that wouldn't work or wouldn't be safe in the UK.

Probably best to give up on this one. Some appliance categories don't cross borders well, and this is one of them.
posted by holgate at 10:50 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

No UK retail outlet sells this product, based on a quick look on Google UK.

The Amazon listing is just the US product, with US reviews and isn't actually available.

As holgate states, an import likely won't work as the voltage will be off. You are better off looking for a UK equivalent.
posted by macapes at 4:08 AM on December 30, 2017

In terms of retailers to find an equivalent, Argos has a bunch of portable heaters and may have a suitable equivalent.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:42 AM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I bought one from Costco several years ago. Try calling the Costco UK store nearest your friend and see if they sell it there and offer delivery. If you're not a Costco member, you might be able to buy and use a Costco giftcard to order it online, and have it shipped to her.

Costco also has the best return policy if something goes wrong or it arrives DOA. I'd much rather deal with Costco than an eBay seller or Amazon.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:56 AM on December 30, 2017

I was in a branch of Robert Dyas today and they had a bunch of different heating options that are, obviously, UK compliant. I'm not sure if you can order from the USA but as it's to a UK address, I don't see why you couldn't.
posted by essexjan at 8:04 AM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm not trying to not answer your question, but can you specify why this heater? It is likely we can help you address whatever problem you are specifically trying to solve with locally available products in the correct voltage and with EU compliant safety.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:16 PM on December 30, 2017

Thank you everyone for your answers.

To answer Darling Bri's question. I have a health condition that causes me to be very cold, and I just found out that my friend also has a health condition that causes him to be very cold. It is my experience that regular heaters don't help much, because they heat the whole room. This is probably fine for normal people, but if your body is bad at conserving heat, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

But I really love the Presto Heat Dish, because it focuses a beam of heat right at you. It doesn't heat the room at all, just the individual person. So I can sit for a while in the beam of heat and it actually raises my core temperature.

When I found out that my friend also had this problem, I wanted to get him the great product that had helped me. It appears that the Presto Heat Dish is not available in the UK, but I would be willing to choose a similar heater; this type of heater is called a parabolic heater. But it looks like the parabolic heaters that are available in the UK are gas powered and used for camping. I don't think I can give my friend something like that.

There is an electric parabolic heater on Amazon UK, but it's an unknown brand with no reviews.

Lucky Seven, did you buy it from Costco UK, or Costco in the US? I will call them.

I looked at the heaters at Argos and Robert Dyas, and none of them are parabolic. I guess there just aren't any parabolic heaters available in the UK, unless Costco has them and they aren't listed online?
posted by Surprised By Bees at 7:04 PM on December 30, 2017

Surprised By Bees, I should have clarified: I bought mine at Costco in the US, at my local store, but I've had good luck locating hard to find items that have been discontinued at my local store by calling Costco with an item or model number, and they've been able to find the item I need in their system at a different store or online. Here's hoping you get lucky too! And you're right; that heater is perfect for warming one person in a focused area. I love it.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:34 PM on December 30, 2017

I've never seen anything resembling a parabolic heater on sale in the UK.

I think the closest functional equivalent for "heat the person, not the room" would be a portable infrared heat lamp like this one from Beurer or the Philips InfraCare range, but they're designed more for therapeutic use on specific areas of the body.
posted by holgate at 10:34 PM on December 30, 2017

On reflection, I seem to remember that parabolic heaters are not legal in the EU because of the risk of fire. The heating coils can break off and spring out of the unit, lighting anything they land on on fire.

Have you considered a ceramic heater?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:07 PM on January 2, 2018

Sorry for the long delay in answering, I had a computer problem that took a week to resolve.

Thank you for all the answers and suggestions. Seems pretty clear that I can't get a parabolic heater. I think instead, I will get a halogen space heater. I have had some success with these by arranging them so that I'm sitting in the beam of the heat. And I see that they are available in the UK.
posted by Surprised By Bees at 12:50 PM on January 9, 2018

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