Kinetic effects in the conversion of fast waves to Alfvèn waves and their subsequent deposition in low aspect ratio (spherical) tokamaks (LARTs) have been investigated theoretically. More specifically, we have considered the consequences of incorporation of kinetic effects in the electron parallel (to the ambient magnetic field) dynamics derived by following the drift-tearing mode analysis of Chen et al (Chen L, Rutherford P H and Tang W M 1977 Phys. Rev. Lett. 39 460), and particle-conserving Krook collision operator for the passing electrons involved (Mett R R and Mahajan S M 1992 Phys. Fluids B 4 2885). The perpendicular plasma dynamics is described by a quite general resistive two-fluid (2F) model based dielectric tensor-operator (Cuperman S, Bruma C and Komoshvili K 2002 Solution of the resistive 2F wave equations for Alfvènic modes in spherical tokamak plasmas J. Plasma Phys. accepted for publication). The full-wave electromagnetic equations, formulated in terms of the vector and scalar potentials, have been solved by the aid of an advanced finite elements numerical code (Sewell G 1993 Adv. Eng. Software 17 105). Detailed solutions of the full-wave equations are obtained and compared with those corresponding to a pure resistive 2F model, this, for the illustrative pre-heated START-type device (Sykes 1994). Our results quantitatively confirm the general theory of the conversion of fast waves with subsequent power dissipation for the conditions of spherical tokamaks thus providing the required auxilliary energy source for the succesful operation of LARTs. Moreover, these results indicate the absolute necessity of using a full model for the parallel electron dynamics, i.e. including both kinetic and collisional effects.