Best Pellet Stoves 2017
Pellet stoves have become a popular choice for homeowners looking to heat their home. They are extremely efficient, provide lots of heat - enough heat to heat a whole home in some cases. And they have good green credentials, as much of the fuel burnt in these stoves is recycled from old furniture and wood products.
If you have decided you want one of these stoves for your home then use our comprehensive guide to help you choose the best pellet stove. We provide pellet stove reviews for the top rated models available today, and a detailed guide to ensure your purchasing decision is fully informed.
The Best Pellet Stove Comparison Table
Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style 50000 BTU's Pellet Stove
US Stove R5824 Pellet Stove with Igniter Furnace
Comfortbilt HP61 Pellet Stove
Comfortbilt HP50 Pellet Stove
United States Stove Company Wall-Mount Pellet Stove Model 4840
Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style 50000 BTU's Pellet Stove with 120-Pound Hopper
The Pleasant Hearth stove can easily heat buildings and large rooms up to a total area of 2200 sq. feet. The hopper has a capacity of 120 pounds which can provide 24 to 70 hours of continuous heated air with output of 50000 BTU.
The heater is turned on and prepared for heating within seconds due to its auto-light ignition feature. On its minimum heat setting it can work really well for a whole day on as little as just one bag of pellets.
There are 5 different heat settings which will allow you to have complete control over the heating system. There is a thermostatic control for continuous heating on min or max temperature according to your choice.
The comfort control system feature ensures a constant optimal temperature for your room. The stove ensures clean heated air by utilizing its air wash system. This good-looking heater with a cast iron solid door and chrome spring handle has a ceramic viewing glass window. The heater is very easy to install as well.
It is important to note that the controls are a little complex and might take some getting used to. Some buyers complain about a faulty auger pellet motor which has occasionally failed a few days after installation.
This stove has a 5 years manufacturer’s limited warranty. If you do experience problems such as noisy operation, you can always contact the company under the warranty. The warranty time is long enough for you to enjoy the perfect working of this heating system without any complications.
US Stove R5824 Pellet Stove with Igniter Furnace
The US Stove R5824 ultra compact stove has electronic controls and auto-ignition. This automated pellet stove is capable of delivering high heat output and itself occupies a very small space.
The hopper capacity is 40 lb. which helps to cut the time spend in refuelling. It has an extended burn time of up to 20 hours with output of 30 000 BTU. For ease of access, it has magnetic side panelled door to reach the interior of the stove.
The unit has close clearance tolerance and a simple easy to install design which makes this unit a welcome addition to any type of room.
The modern design of the Forester stove will easily blend in with any decor. It features a large air wash glass window for viewing; the glass is capable of staying clean on its own.
No installation guide is included. The auto-ignition feature can reportedly stop working sometimes; you can ignite manually or get a replacement. It requires regular cleaning and maintenance for uninterrupted operation.
The R5824 is eligible for tax credit (burns clean), EPA certified with very little impact on the environment. This efficient unit has a mobile design making it eligible for outdoor use as well. The unit is EPA Certified, clean-burning (tax credit eligible) and has a low environmental impact.
It is an economical choice for smaller households, this energy saving heater costs less than a $1,000. The unit is outside air compatible for added efficiency and mobile home use.
Comfortbilt HP61 Pellet Stove
The HP 61 model can heat up to a total area of 2 000 sq. feet with output of 50 000 BTU. A remote control is included with the unit and the thermostat is programmable allowing a constant temperature heat.
The 55 pound capacity hopper makes sure that all pellets are used economically. There are five different power settings which allow continuous burn time of up to 24 hours. This unit is available in options of Anodized Bronze and Charcoal Grey colours.
The HP 61 has a large ash pan, air wash thermo-glass, high BTU and a very stylish design which makes it a good choice for your home. The ash pan does not need to be cleared for as long as 3 months due to its large capacity.
It works effortlessly; it is smart and requires low maintenance.
This heavy gauge high quality stove with metal exterior has noise-free heating and is easy to clean. However, the hopper capacity is comparatively less given the huge size and heating power of this unit.
A common problem reported is that this unit shuts down for 30 minutes when switched between modes during operation. A two-stage burn in this stove will make sure that all pellets are used to their maximum capacity.
This heater is CSA and EPA certified with extremely low emissions of >2g/hour. It has an efficiency of 86% and easily qualifies for most municipality and state tax incentives. The qualities put together will ensure that you will get a good value for your investment.
Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller
All Castle stoves are stylish, affordable and practical. The Serenity stove is attractive with a space-saving design that will look good with any decor and fit well in any room. This stove has a Smart Controller which is a step ahead of the conventional heating systems.
The smart controller provides 3 modes of operation namely Weekly, manual and thermostat. You can set the heating regime according to your routine. Scheduling heat depending on your own needs in the house is an efficient power saving technique.
Castle Serenity wood pellet stove with smart controller presents a good way to manage resources and save money without compromising your comfort. In addition to personalized heating experience, it has 5 varying blower speeds and feed rates to control the heat output. Enabled with auto-ignition, it has the capacity to heat up to 2 800 sq. feet. With thermal efficiency more than 78%, this unit has an impressive output of 35 000 BTU. It has a hopper of 40 pound which once filled with pellets can last a whole day.
The classic design of this model is very easy to clean but the hopper is very small. The backlight cannot be turned off during operation and the fans are noticeably noisy while running. This unit is EPA certified but does not have any warranty. The absence of any warranty could mean additional repair expenses. The price of the 12327 model is around $1 500. In comparison to other models with similar features, this one is priced reasonably well.
Pleasant Hearth Medium 35000 BTU's Pellet Stove
The Pleasant Hearth Medium Pellet Stove has a heat output of 35 000 BTU and can effectively heat an area of around 1 750 sq. feet. For automatic lighting it has an auto-ignition feature and a 40 pound capacity hopper for constant pellet loading.
There are 5 different heat settings with a choice to run constantly on Max or Min. Depending up on the heat setting the burn time can vary from 12 to 24 hours.
It is equipped with a convection blower, an air kit for outdoor use and has approval for installation in mobile homes.
The heater has an exclusive system for Comfort Control heating. This unit has attractive looks; it can be assembled and installed easily. You can refer to the user manual which comes along for troubleshooting or installation steps.
It has an air wash system which is capable of cleaning the air, the unit itself is also very easy to clean. This unit comes with a limited warranty of 5 years from the company. It is made in USA only with high quality material.
This heater is perfect for a single family home or one big room depending on the structural layout. The ‘how to use’ instructions in the manual could have been more detailed and clear.
The hopper capacity is not enough and there have been complaints about the inside fans being a little noisy. This unit has an efficiency rating of 85% and it is EPA certified. It has an average price when compared to its counterparts.
Comfortbilt HP22 Pellet Stove
The powerful HP22 has a 50 000 BTU heat output which is perfect for heating large spaces of up to 2000 sq. feet. This has a large 55 pound capacity hopper that ensures longer operation without having to re-fill it occasionally.
More than 12 hours of continuous heating operation is possible with this unit. It has features like auto-ignition, remote control function and a large ash pan. The pan can be removed easily and needs to be emptied bi-annually when used on low settings.
The programmable thermostat can be set to a particular constant operating temperature.
This sturdy heater has a large viewing glass, push button start and a remote-controlled temperature adjustment.
It has a blower to circulate heat in the whole room to ensure that all space is heated evenly and effectively. It operates very quietly, you will hardly hear a thing and it has a good air wash set-up that keeps it clean. It is EPA certified and has a heat efficiency of 86%.
The heater requires minor initial assembly which is easy but the manual can be little difficult to read. Once shut down due to causes like power failure, it can take 30 minutes to restart.
The heater is also a bit on the expensive side when compared to others in this category. The manufacturers offer a limited 1 year warranty on parts, technical services and assistance. With the high price a better warranty period would have been better. Its durable construction offers a problem-free operation for many years.
Comfortbilt HP50 Pellet Stove
The Comfortbilt HP50 Pellet Stove has the capacity to heat an area of up to 1 700 sq. feet and the heat output is 42 000 BTU.
It is a good option for heating single story houses or huge rooms. The hopper capacity is 47 pounds and lasts for about 24 hours with continuous heating.
This compact size good-looking stove is capable of instant heating because of its high heat output capacity. This classy elegant looking unit will look good almost anywhere in your house.
The European design of this attractive charcoal grey coloured heater makes it easy to blend in with almost any decor. The viewing glass shows the great flame pattern produced by this unit. It has auto-ignition, a remote control, programmable thermostat and a powerful blower to go with it.
If the care and maintenance guidelines are followed properly then this robust unit will last for a long time. In long-term this device will prove to be very economical by reducing your heating bills.
The ash tray of the HP50 requires cleaning periodically depending up on the functioning time and heat settings. The service manual needs to be more detailed and there had been some complaints of poor customer service of this model.
There is a limited 1 year warranty from the manufacturer against any technical faults, which is a very less time as compared to its counterparts. It is EPA certified with thermal efficiency percentage of 86.2 and is safe for use in mobile homes.
United States Stove Company Wall-Mount Pellet Stove Model 4840
The wall mounted pellet stove by U.S. Stove Company is a very different looking stove. It has the features of a regular stove in a smaller version and can be installed on any wall.
It has 5 different heat settings which can be adjusted on the thermostatic dial according to your own comfort level. This heater is energy efficient, saves a lot of money and space in your room as well.
If you do not have enough space on the floor then this United States Stove company model is the perfect pick for you.
The small size of this heater makes it ideal for single rooms or small family homes. This stove is equipped to heat an area of up to 1 000 sq. feet and the heat output is 24 000 BTU. There is a convenient button with auto-ignition feature which turns the heater on instantly. This stove has a hopper with capacity of 28 pounds, which once filled can last for several days. To ensure that heat is circulated effectively throughout a room, this heater is equipped with a 120 CFM blower also.
It is a good choice for families with small kids or pets as there will not be any chance of injury if they are left unsupervised around this stove. No thermostat is included with this unit, only the 5 heat settings. Some pellet dust issues are also reported but otherwise this unit does not have many issues. It is a smart purchase; it does not require hearth installation which saves floor space.
Pellet Stove Buying Guide
What is a Pellet Stove?
Pellet stoves have become a very popular addition to the home heating world, due in no small part to their green credentials. These stoves burn using compressed biomass pellets or wood to create a heat source for either residential or occasionally industrial spaces.
How does it work? The fuel feeds steadily from a storage container called hopper into a pot area where it burns. It produces a constant flame, which needs little or no physical intervention.
Many environmentalist often prefer it as a source of renewable energy that can reach a high efficiency factor going to even 90 percent when compared to others that you can get in the market today. Most models selling today are self-igniting and can cycle themselves either on or off under thermostatic control.
Many units come with a remote control, which mean you can easily control your heating without inconvenience. The latest innovations includes stoves with integrated microcontrollers that monitor and ensure safe operation. They are also able to run on self-diagnostic tests to catch problems early.
A properly maintained and cleaned stove should never create creosote, a sticky flammable substance that causes chimney fires. Pellets burn cleanly and even create a fine layer of fly ash that acts as a combustion by-product. Note, the performance of the stove and the efficiency of fuel burning is affected by the grade of pellet fuel used. For ideal operation, you need to buy the best quality fuel.
The main pellets used in these burners are pelletized wood. Nevertheless, most pellet stoves will burn fuels like grain, corn, woodchips or seeds. In some cases, pellet stoves can operate well even if they have fuels mixed.
Unlike wood stoves that operate exclusively on a chimney draft principle, a pellet stove uses special sealed exhaust tubing as a way to prevent exhaust gases from escaping into living space. They also need certified double wall venting during installation, and proper installation is vital for safe operation.
Choosing the Best Stove
Above we have looked at a range of top rated models. Choosing the best pellet stove for your home means you considering a number of important factors.
Types of Stove
Models are available in two forms.
- Freestanding pellets stoves
- Insert pellet stoves
Insert pellet stoves are designed to fit into an existing fireplace. Your choice of stove will of course depend upon your heating needs and the space available in your home.
They incorporate a fuel store, or internal hopper. This is where the unburnt wood pellets are await feeding into the burner. Typically, you can store approximately a day’s worth of fuel inside the hopper. Depending upon the heat output of the stove, this can be anywhere between 35 and 130 pounds of pellets.
Clearly, pellet storage is an important factor to consider when deciding on the best model for you.
Pellet stoves feed the pellets into the combustion chamber. The pellets are fed from the top, or from the bottom. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
A top fed stove has less of a chance of fire crossing over from the combustion chamber to the hopper store. However, in a top fed system the drawback is that the combustion chamber is more likely to be blocked up with ash and clinkers (reheated ash that has solidified). This problem is overcome by burning high quality wood pellets that produce little ash, but there is a cost implication to this.
Bottom fed stoves are not so dependent upon high quality fuel, but the unburnt ash will still need to be cleaned out at least once a week with continuous use. As noted above, there is a slight risk of burning pellets falling into the hopper.
Pellets are fed into the combustion chamber by an electric motor. As a result when considering where to install your unit you should ensure it is located near to a 110-volt outlet.
Choosing the Best Size for your Home
Pellet stoves burn fuel very efficiently. They can produce a great deal of heat. If you have limited space then it is important to get the right size of stove. If your stove output is too high it can make a room or space uncomfortably warm.
Equally valid is that if your stove is too small then it will not be sufficient to provide for your heating needs.
A good rule of thumb to apply when deciding upon the heat output your need from your unit is to divide the BTU output by 30 to give an approximation of its heating ability.
For example a 35,000 BTU model would be able to heat a home or room of approximately 1,000 sq.ft.
Pros and Cons
Is buying a pellet stove the best option for heating your home?
Apart from being efficient, they are also safer and easier to light when compared to other traditional fireplaces. Here are the pros and cons of this type of stoves:
- Wood pellet stoves can be operated safely by simply loading the pellets into the base of the unit, and then setting the stove to ignite. Combustion is instantaneous and within a short time, the heater will begin to produce the heat. You can also adjust the temperature using the thermostatic control.
- Pellets are easy store. They do not occupy much space as long as you store them in a dry place. Pellets can last for long time without losing their quality. Furthermore, wood pellets are safer compared to other fuels and therefore you should choose a pellet burner can be good for large families.
- The burning area is completely encased. Ventilation is via a sealed chimney tubing meaning there is little risk of by-products entering the room, such as carbon monoxide, smoke or odours. This means that the stoves are a very safe form of heating.
- The casing used in a pellet stove helps the heater from becoming too hot. Another important safety factor.
- They offer clean and extremely efficient burning. This keeps both the cost of fuel down and adds to the green credentials of these devices.
- Wood pellets used as fuel are made from wood wastes such as furniture and lumber – efficiently recycling waste products to use as a fuel source.
- They can be made to look warm and welcoming and can easily replace a fireplace as the focal point of a room.
- Pellet burning stoves are quite pricey. They can cost thousands of dollars, which can be too much for many people's budgets.
- They need professional installation to ensure safe operation adding to the overall cost.
- While pellets are an efficient and cost effective fuel, you will still need space to store them, especially if you buy them in large quantities.
- You need to make sure you can get hold of wood pellets from reliable source. A stove without fuel will not heat your home.
- Stoves use an electric motor to feed the fuel into the incinerator. This means that if there is a power outage then your stove can become unusable.
Installing Your Stove
Pellet stoves are very heavy and will often require two people to move them into position. They also need to be properly vented to ensure safe use. For this reason we recommend you get a professional to install your new purchase.
In this section we will briefly cover the main factors to consider prior to installation and for the installation itself.
Take a look at the space you wish to heat. If you wish to heat your whole home then it should be relatively open plan or you will need some form of forced air heating system with ducting to be installed at the same time as your stove.
As noted in our buying guide above, you should ensure your unit is installed in close proximity to a 110-volt outlet in order to power the motor.
Make sure your stove output is sufficient for the space you want to heat.
The vent must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations. It is also important that the installation meets local code requirements. The safe operation of your heater may depend on the venting so do not skimp on this step.
Important: Plan out your venting prior to deciding on the position of your stove as it will have a significant impact on your decision.
Flooring and Walls
The stove should be positioned on a non-combustible hearth pad. This pad will protect the floor from the heat output of the stove. To ensure full safety it should extend further than the front and sides of the stove by at least 6 inches.
In operation the outside of the stove does not actually become very hot. This means that your stove can be placed as close as an inch away from the rear wall without fear of heat damage occurring.
Position the stove, install the vent and secure the stove to the floor. Plug in the unit and away you go.
Stove Maintenance and Safety
During the heating season, pellet stoves frequently used for long periods. If you wish your stove burner to operate at its best ensure you clean and maintain it properly.
Types of Pellet
Before looking at the essential maintenance tasks it is worth noting that some pellets are better than others.
High grade wood pellets burn very efficiently, and often much more so that lower grade pellets. Unfortunately high grade pellets are also more expensive. We recommend you try different types of pellet fuel in order to decide which is the best wood pellet fuel for your stove.
Things to consider when deciding are the amount of ash and clinker residue that remains after use.
Each year we recommend you have your stove inspected by a specialist. If necessary have them professionally clean the stove’s flue.
The cost of an annual inspection and for peace of mind you can usually arrange for this to be covered by a service contract.
Regular Maintenance Tasks
Maintenance of a stove should not be a time consuming process. In fact it should really only take around 15 minutes once every 1-2 weeks.
- Clear the ash drawer.
- Inspect the combustion chamber to see if clinkers are being formed. Clinkers are hardened melted ash. They affect the efficiency of the stove and if allowed to build up will impede the air flow. Should you find any clinkers remove them with an ash tool or rake designed for this purpose.
- Clean the heat exchanger.
- Clean the glass in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Examine the combustion chamber for the build up of soot. If there is soot present then clean it off with a wire brush.
- Check the flame in the combustion chamber to see if it is burning bright yellow or white. If not then you should call a stove professional to service your heater.
- Ensure the hopper feed is clear and allows the wood pellets to feed into the combustion chamber easily.
- Do not store pellets in the pellet stove when not in use. They can become damp and will not burn as cleanly and efficiently if this is the case.
This type of stove can be expensive to install. Once in place they provide an attractive, efficient and powerful heat. By regularly maintaining your unit you ensure that you get the full benefit from your installation for as long as you need.
Pellet stoves are a compact, safe and efficient way to heat your home while benefiting from a natural heat source. They can be used as an attractive focal point in a room, or as a low profile background heater. They are versatile and effective.
We hope that our guide to buying the best pellet stove and our stove reviews contained herein will help you make the right choice for your home.
Remember, with all heating installations you should pay close attention to safety, ensuring that your unit is properly installed and maintained to ensure you get the maximum benefit. They also require proper venting and you should ensure that your chimney is regularly and properly swept to eliminate any problems in that area.
On first glance, pellet stoves appear to be expensive. They also require professional installation to ensure safe operation. However, once in place they are more than capable of meeting the heating requirements of your home.
A pellet stove is a great option for many homes requiring large space heating. Installing one will provide high quality heat at a very affordable price.