Heat that doesn’t dry out skin
Hampton Bay Legacy Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove
We purchased Hampton Bay's Legacy Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Hampton Bay is one of Home Depot’s “house brands,” meaning Home Depot manufactures it, and you can find its products online or at Home Depot retail locations nationwide. The Legacy Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove is a different take on the faux cast-iron electric fireplace. It comes in a white—a refreshing rethink on classic black cast-iron fireplaces. It also acts as a space heater. We tested it in our Colorado home in early winter to see how the stove’s special features and power performed in our rooms. Read on to see what we thought.
Setup: Easy installation and first use
After unboxing, we attached the main unit's legs using a cordless screwdriver and the included screws. The rest of the unit comes entirely assembled and ready to go. Annoyingly, a couple of pieces of packing tape holding the doors together for transit left behind an adhesive residue that required us to break out the nail polish remover.
Choosing a location for the unit was somewhat difficult. Because it uses infrared heat, which can heat you directly akin to how an actual fireplace does, we wanted to put it somewhere similar to where we’d want a fireplace.
When we used the heater as supplemental heat, it made waiting for our woodstove or electric baseboard heat much more tolerable when faced with a cold house.
The first, most beneficial placement was under the desk in our home office, which can get cold and benefits from some supplemental heat. Additionally, since the Legacy’s bottom-mounted heater is infrared and directional, we were able to direct it to heat our feet while seated at the desk.
The unit’s feet are plastic and safe for various flooring types though we weren’t concerned about it on the carpet. Since the office desk is counter height, the heater fit with room to spare on top, and we could place items on top of the unit. The instruction manual recommends 36 inches of clearance above the unit. We thought this was an unnecessary precaution as the heating element is on the bottom of the unit and the top never even felt warm to the touch. The level top surface can be used as a shelf, but you’ll have to disregard their clearance recommendations to do so.
Placing the heater on the floor under the desk made the most sense, but we also experimented with it in our bedroom to help warm the room on cold mornings and in our living room to help augment the heat from our woodstove in this larger room.
Design: Attractive take on the cast-iron stove look
Like most stoves in this category, the Legacy Infrared Heater is designed to look like an old-school cast-iron wood stove, but this unit stands out from the pack due to its white paint job. We weren’t sure how this look would pair with our house's cabin chic–the only white we have is in the kitchen. However, the look grew on us quickly, and we felt it paired nicely with the light wood and teal built-ins of our home office desk.
The three-dimensional faux logs are visible from the sides and the front, adding to the realism. The “flames” are pretty 2D and aren’t fooling anyone upon close inspection. Still, as a background behind the logs, the fire effect is actually fairly convincing from a distance.
The two glass front doors swing open and are held in place magnetically, which helps avoid rattling when the fan is running. The doors also give you access to the controls, hiding them, and give the unit a clean look.
Operation: Simple switches and knob
The hidden manual controls are simple to understand and control a limited range of options. The main power switch is a simple on-off toggle that will turn on the flame, meaning you can’t run the heat without the decorative flame, though you can run the flame without the heat.
The knob allows you to set the desired temperature, which is fairly arbitrary and requires experimentation to find the sweet spot. A static cling sticker is used to label the knob with temperatures in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, but the sticker looks cheap, moves around, and makes us feel this device is not made with precision in mind. Another static sticker labels the switches and looks cheap as well. It would’ve been nice to have the information stamped on the unit instead. Luckily, the doors hide the controls and the flimsy stickers.
While working at the desk, we played with the dial until we found a setting that kept the room at a nice temperature. Once we found a sweet spot, we mostly left the dial alone, simply turning the unit on and off as we wanted to use it. Turning the knob up doesn’t appear to make the heat force stronger; it seems to increases the ambient temperature required for the heater to stop.
Performance: Large unit but best for small rooms
This heater is on the larger end of its product class at 25 inches wide, 28.5 tall, and 15 inches deep. Its 5115 BTUs are rated to cover 1,000 square feet. However, we don’t recommend using it as a primary heat source for your home, even if, like ours, your living space is less than the stated 1,000-square-foot capacity.
When we used the heater as supplemental heat, it made waiting for our woodstove or electric baseboard heat much more tolerable when faced with a cold house. Since our home office room can get a bit cold, having this unit there made it much easier to endure the warm-up period on cold mornings at the office desk. Even with that small room’s electric baseboard turned off, this unit was powerful enough to bring the room up to a comfortable temperature in less than 15 minutes.
In smaller rooms, we were able to point the unit directly at ourselves. We found that the Legacy was more pleasant than our electric baseboard because of its infrared heat. Unlike electric baseboard units, infrared heat doesn’t dry out the air, which in our low-humidity Colorado home was a welcome benefit. Folks in more humid climates may appreciate a heat source that dries out the air a bit.
Unlike other faux fireplace units we’ve used, the Legacy was relatively quiet when the heater and fan were running, and the doors thankfully did not rattle thanks to the magnetic stays.
Price: A mid-range, attractive heater with simple controls
At around $160, this heater rides the middle of the pack for the heating capacity it provides. It delivers zone heating without questionable features that drive the price up. You can get smaller units that provide similar heating, so that you may be paying a small premium for this model's size and color.
Unlike electric baseboard units, infrared heat doesn’t dry out the air, which in our low-humidity Colorado home was a welcome benefit.
If you spend more, you can get added features, such as a remote, timer, and programmability, but if you want a fireplace-style infrared space heater at a reasonable price, the Hampton Bay Legacy fits the bill.
Hampton Bay Legacy Panoramic Infrared Stove vs. Hampton Bay Legion Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove
For about $70 less than the Legacy, you can get the Legion Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove from Hampton Bay, and you’ll get essentially the same unit but in a smaller form factor. We tested both heaters and found they performed similarly and have equal heating capacities. The Legion is the better option if space is tight in your home.
Yes, buy it.
If you’re looking for a simple alternative to actual fireplaces and enjoy the white paint job, the Legacy offers supplemental heat in an attractive package that sets it apart from its category at a competitive price.
- Product Name Legacy Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove Review
- Product Brand Hampton Bay
- MPN EST-540T-50-Y
- Price $159.00
- Product Dimensions 25 x 18.5 x 15 in.
- Color White or black
- Max BTUs 5,115
- Warranty 1-year limited