I’ve lived in the Northeast most of my life. I like it here – the scenery is beautiful, the people are mostly down to earth, and I love the change of seasons. Sometimes, though, the seasons go on a bit longer than I’d prefer. Winter, for example. The sun comes up late and goes down early, and oh yeah: it’s cold and windy. When you have to spend several hours a day working outdoors, the experience is a lot less likely to make you miserable if you can take the chill off. Earlier this year, Ridgid introduced a new way to tell Old Man Winter to back off – the Ridgid Hybrid Heater. They sent one our way so we could take it outside and
play get some work done.
Got a convenient outlet? You can plug in the Ridgid Hybrid Heater, and run it ‘til the propane runs out – 12 hours when used at the lowest setting. No power available? Slap in any Ridgid 18V battery, and fire it up. The fan will run up to seven hours with a 5.0 Ah battery. Ridgid says the unit can take the chill off an area up to 1,350 square feet.
Just to eliminate any confusion, the battery or A/C power isn’t what brings the heat. That comes from propane; just connect the Ridgid Hybrid Heater to a standard 20-lb. propane tank with the supplied hose and connectors, and you’re ready to burn. The power is used to run the run the brushless fan motor and move that heat out – up to 60,000 BTUs of it! Here’s the list of specs and features from Ridgid, or you can listen to them from a manly Ridgid announcer:
• Hybrid technology: Power the heater fan with any RIDGID 18-Volt battery or extension cord
• High heat output with variable power dial – 30,000-60,000 BTU output to keep warm on the coldest jobsites
• Extended runtime – up to 7 hours of continuous fan runtime with 5 Ah battery (battery not included)
• Brushless motor technology – delivers more runtime and longer motor life
• Extended propane runtime – up to 12 hours of continuous tank runtime using a standard 20 lb. tank on low heat output (tank not included)
• Electronic ignition – easily starts up with an electronic igniter button
• Quiet fan operation- keeps the heater noise to a minimum
• UL certified with overheat protection to ensure safety on the jobsite and prevent overheating
The Ridgid Hybrid Heater – Prepping The Burn Unit
When the box with the Ridgid Hybrid Heater landed on our porch, I was ready to do some heavy lifting. I was amazed at how light it was; the heater only weighs 13.5 lbs. I opened it up, and was happy to discover that no assembly was required. All that’s required to get it lit up is to connect the included hose to the heater and propane tank, and choose how to power the fan.
To connect the hose to the heater, you’ll need an adjustable wrench to snug it up. The end that goes to the propane tank connects by hand. Note: The tank connection is a left-handed (counterclockwise) thread. Also, it actually gets inserted inside the opening on the tank, rather than on the big outer threads we usually use, for connecting to gas grills. Who even knew there WAS an inner thread!
Once the hose is connected, just push the Power button. A green indicator light will illuminate, the fan starts, and the ignitor starts clicking. Wait a few seconds, then press and hold the “Flame on” valve button in for five seconds, to lock the gas on.
Once the Ridgid Hybrid Heater is fired up, you can adjust the heat using the temperature control knob. The heater has a range of 30,000 to 60,000 BTUs, and it’s surprising how much heat the little unit puts out, even at the lower settings. Done for the day? Push the power button, and close the valve on the propane tank.
There are some important safety features incorporated into the Ridgid Hybrid Heater. The unit will shut off automatically if it runs out of propane, or the flame is accidentally extinguished. It will also shut down if it gets too hot, or the flow of air is restricted. Additionally, if the battery goes dead or is removed, or the extension cord gets unplugged, the heater will shut off. Smart heater!
The Ridgid Hybrid Heater Warms Up By The Pool
We bought a small farm south of Erie a few years ago, which we’ve been slowly renovating. The area has pretty constant breezes coming off the lake. During the summer, they’re not bad; in November, they are sometimes not as balmy as we’d like. They can also be pretty powerful; we frequently find the odd roof shingle in the yard, along with other random odds and ends that used to belong to various neighbors. They end up with our stuff, though, so it all works out.
During a recent breezy day, the wind was strong enough to get under the cover on our 24’ above-ground pool. It apparently whipped the cover around with so much force, it collapsed one side of the pool, twisting a few of the supports and destroying part of the side. Judging by the rust on various areas of the pool sides, the pool had been around a while; it wasn’t repairable, so I disassembled it for scrap.
Unfortunately, in addition to being windy, this area is also COLD in November. The overnight temp was 18 degrees, but it had warmed up to a sub-tropical 22 by the time I was ready to get started. I grabbed an impact driver, a reciprocating saw, and the Ridgid Hybrid Heater, and got ready to hit the pool.
I was skeptical how much good a heater would do in an open space outdoors. Surprisingly, it really did help take the chill off, even working 10-15’ away from it. It was also enjoyable to be able to go warm up my gloves from time to time. I suspect the Ridgid Hybrid Heater will get hauled out for many of my future cold-weather projects; I sure would have enjoyed having it when we did our porch-railing project a while back.
Let’s Take It Outside
When the Ridgid Hybrid Heater showed up, I was psyched. I have an unheated garage, and just finished putting up an unheated shop building. I figured this sweet little heater would be perfect for making my workspace nice and toasty, and when I first cranked it up, I used it to take the chill off my garage. Although it did a great job of it, something about the idea of burning propane gas indoors made me decide to take a peek at the manual.
As I should have suspected, the Ridgid Hybrid Heater is FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY. You shouldn’t use it in a garage or other enclosed space, assuming you’d like to live long enough to finish your project. The operator’s manual leaves no room for doubt; when you open it, this is the first thing you see:
And that’s pretty much the gist of the entire first page. There went my dreams of a cozy workplace, up in smoke. Colorless, odorless smoke. Ah, well, I’ll come up with another solution for inside; meanwhile, I’ll be way more comfy doing my outdoor duties.
Warming Up To The Ridgid Hybrid Heater
The Ridgid Hybrid Heater is a pretty slick product. It’s well-engineered, lightweight, easy to use, and has excellent safety features. And by the way, it can crank out some serious heat! It’s marketed to outdoor construction crews, but I’m betting plenty of homeowners would love to have one around to take the chill off when it’s time to split firewood, or handle other cold-weather outdoor DIY projects. Since we love sitting outside, ours will also be used to help extend our porch season.
The Ridgid Hybrid Heater is easy on the budget, too, with a suggested retail of $129. If you have any Ridgid 18V batteries, you’re set. If not, you can either buy one (or buy a tool that comes with a battery and charger; you can ALWAYS use another tool!), or just plug it in. The heater is covered by Ridgid’s 90-day money-back guarantee, and a three-year limited warranty. Try one out, and show Old Man Winter who’s the boss.
Buy now for around $129 from the Home Depot: