Keeping the home warm is always in the front of our minds. The trouble is, we also want to keep costs low at the same time whilst conserving energy. With pellet stoves, you have the ability to save cash on heating bills by coming off the central heating reliance and still have the ability to warm up your household effectively.
A pellet stove can and will heat either compressed wood pellets or biomass. That comes down to user preference, and what the unit is built for. Listed below, we have listed some of the most popular and top rated picks for you to browse through.
|Castle 12327 Serenity||$$$$||9/10|
|Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style with 120-Pound Hopper||$$$$||9/10|
|US Stove 5660 Bay Front||$$$$||7/10|
|US Stove R5824 with Igniter Furnace||$$$||8/10|
|BOSCA BCPS500BL Spirit 500||$$$$$||8/10|
The basics behind a good pellet stove
Bearing in mind the growing costs of heating the household electronically, or by gas, it should be of no surprise that more and more people are turning to inexpensive alternatives like pellet stoves. Looking through the basics of one of these burners, there are several things to look out for.
For those of you entirely new to the concept of using a heating product to warm the rooms in your home, you need to understand how it works. These units take small, compressed pellets, generally of wood, but it can be biomass, and heat them up to distribute heat from the hearth. The majority of modern products will be self igniting, but you’ll encounter some that require you to manually start.
Firstly, you need to see if it burns wood pellets or biomass as mentioned above. This comes down to the style of stove you have chosen, as well as user preference when buying a model. Wood tends to be much harder to renew, and generally non-renewable, whilst biomass usually comes from plants and can be a renewable fuel source for burning.
Next up, you should take time to research into the size of the hopper on offer. Most consumers jump in and don’t take these considerations into account, so it’s important to do so in the research stage of your buying process. The hopper size will give you an indication of just how much pellets it can store, which will also tell you how long burns can last for. There will be a vast amount of choice here, but as a rule of thumb, we recommend going for a pellet burner that can hold at a minimum of fifty pounds. This will allow you to burn for long periods, without needing to refuel.
Then you want a pellet burning stove that will take fuel that you know you can physically go out and get your hands on. There are many different types, so it’s sensible you know of a shop or market local to you that will sell you the fuel you need.
Also the Brand name used is definitely something we take into account, some have a much higher reputation than others, and we believe going with a make that has had success in the past, is a good starting point. Some reputable ones include Plesent Hearth and US Stove.
Finally, you’ll want to keep an eye on what sort of materials it’s made from. Normally, you find that the most popular options are made from a kind of metal like steel plate, not just for strength and durability, but for insulation and ensuring as little energy as wasted as possible.
What are the potential advantages of using one?
There are many ways a good pellet stove may be beneficial to you. The popular opinions relate with money spent on the actual product, along with savings made on heating bills.
Then you also look at specific unit specifications such as large hearths allowing for long burns, which will save users from refueling every couple of hours. The added benefit of being able to burn something means you can use something healthier like biomass, which is much better for the environment than more traditional fossil fuels.
Lastly you have the natural advantage of having a heat source regardless of the weather, electricity being out, or just being off the grid entirely.
Finding the best pellet furnace : Easy if you know what to look for
Numerous features and design aspects will contribute towards you finding a great pellet stove. If you have one but not the other, the rating of the product goes down in our eyes. But here is a short list of things to keep in mind whilst shopping in order to get the very best value for money.
BTU output – Much like it’s wood stove counterpart, the BTU output plays an important role towards how we form an opinion of the quality of a unit. Normally you will find anything between 50,000 and 100,000 on the market. We suggest aiming for 60,000 plus for the best heating results. What BTU means is the general ability a machine has to heat a home in relation to size. The larger the number, the bigger house or area it can warm up. In most cases, you will find they tend to have superior out put and distribution than many space heating products in the industry without the need to be connected to the electricity grid.
Simplicity of operation – As mentioned previously in this buying guide, you will want a stove that is easy to operate. You will need to look for specifics such as how hard it is to start up, and whether or not it’s self igniting or not. Then you’ll want to look at ease of maintenance, which will mean researching into a number of things, not least of all how easily it can be cleaned out. The only really difficulties you’ll face once its installed is consistently buying fuel for it to burn.
Type of feed – You will come across two kinds of pellet stoves. One you’ll place the fuel in the hearth, whilst the other will be fed from the top. Both have their own individual advantages, so ensure you understand what your product does before buying. You should also keep in eye on its stated burning time.
Consumer feedback – A surprisingly overlooked part of peoples research is to look at existing reviews placed on industry bloggers websites, along with real ratings from retail sites. Be careful though, you shall come across fake feedback to boost sales, so it’s not entirely reliable, but its definitely something you want to take into consideration when shopping, as many will be real, unbiased reviews that will highlight any difficulties they had and how it’s benefited them in their day to day lives,
Efficiency – Thermal efficiency is always important. Look for product that are more than 75% for best results.
Pellet stove prices – The general consensus
Whilst shopping online, you will probably notice that the majority of wood pellet stoves will fall into the $1000 – $2000 price point. We will call this the medium tier. Anything above this will be high end, and anything below, low budget options.
You can find models from all three price points, but this is almost entirely dependent on the brand name behind it, size of its hearth, the heat output, and the feeding system in place. You will find the heavier duty options are the most expensive, which is only natural, and the less sturdy ones tend to fall into the lower end or the scale. Truth is, you will find a model at each end of the spectrum and it really comes down to your individual budget.
Find out about individual specs from some of the top rated options in the industry.
Castle 12327 Serenity – The first thing specifications aside, you will notice about it, is the large window to the hearth. We think a larger window does wonders to how a pellet stove looks. Overall aesthetics should play a important role in your mindset, especially if it’s going to be placed in a room in the house that is used frequently.
The seventy eight percent thermal efficiency is another great feature included, which coupled with the impressive 2,800 square feet heating area limit, gives an insight into the overall effectiveness.
Comes with a blower that will help control temperatures and will allow you to feed pellets at your own speed, which is not always something provided by manufacturers. EPA certified, and a excellent choice from the mid tier range.
That is because, when looking through its specs, we found it’s got a one hundred and twenty pound hopper, enabling users to store large quantities of pellets, which in turn will also ensure you get a long lasting burn for convenience and effectiveness.
Then looking at pricing, despite it offering many top tier features, it’s still quite affordable, and well worth the investment.
US Stove 5660 Bay Front – With a highly reputable company behind it, this is certainly a pellet heater to watch out for.
For starters, lets look at the inclusions. You get six different heating settings to control temperature from the firebox. This is not unheard of, but it’s always great to know you can change the heat settings yourself.
Next, we look at the blower which does a great job in distributing air across the stove which also improves efficiency.
Finally, whilst the picture tell most of the story, it looks fantastic. It wouldn’t look out of place in a modern, or older styled household.
BOSCA Spirit 500 – A high end, pricier stove, that has many of the advantages and benefits you would come to expect from such a price. A modern exterior, with a large viewing hole for the embers is certainly one of our favorite parts.
Then we come to burn time. This machine has the capability of loading pellet fuel for up to 53 hours of burn time. That is an exceptional number, and very convenient if you’re the kind of person who dislikes performing the same maintenance tasks over and over.
Lastly, it’s automatic ignition and two speed blower system built in which is designed to make things simple circulate the heated air around the room.
These are some of arguably the top pellet heaters available for home use. Whilst no unit is perfect, these are the options we believe give the best bang for your buck in the various price points. Overall, we believe this type of heating beats traditional boiler style heating every time. The amount of money saved over time is excellent, however, there is still a fair amount of maintenance required to keep your unit in top condition.