Everyone that has come to my house wants one. It is not loud, even on the highest heat setting, as the other reviewer posted. In fact, it is so quiet that if I do not have the lights on I have almost forgot to turn it off before leaving the house. Yes, the heater can be ran with no lights. There are several heat settings, as well as, multiple color options and brightness levels, which are a gorgeous ambiance especially at night with the lights off. The heat comes out from the top of the unit. The unit itself does not get hot so if you place yours lower to the ground like I did mine it will not burn a child or animal. My dogs love laying in front of mine when the season turns cold. It was also fairly easy to assemble and install. I say fairly easy to assemble because my husband and I were a little confused at first how to install the glass mirror that goes on the inside but once we figured out you have to unscrew and remove the entire pre-assembled bar at the top the assembly took maybe 10 minutes after that. Highly Recommend!