Best Pellet Stoves of 2019
Published Jul. 12, 2019
By Chris Brooks
There are a number of reasons why pellet stoves are becoming more popular among consumers. They're not only aesthetically appealing, they're also easy to use; thanks to the fact that they can be programmed, they have a power modulation, and they also come with an automatic ignition. If you are planning to buy a pellet stove, this guide will provide you with all you need to know about the best pellet stoves in 2019. It will also give you an idea on how investing in them could be the most economical heating decision you'll ever make.
We understand that choosing a pellet stove can be a tedious task. Hence we have created this guide to give you access to the best ones available by carefully reviewing and comparing them. Whether you're looking for a small stove that you plan on using occasionally or a stove to heat a large living space, there is a pellet stove to suit every requirement.
We have also provided information to answer the most frequently asked questions about pellet stoves. You'll gain insight into how they work and some of the benefits that they offer.
As with all heating appliances, safety is a major concern. We've got that covered in this guide too. Useful tips on safety and maintenance will ensure that you can be safe and make the most of your pellet stove heating experience.
Table of Contents [show]
- What is a Pellet Stove?
- 10 Best Pellet Stoves on the Market
- How did we Choose these Stoves?
- Types of Pellet Stoves
- Issues to Consider When Buying a Pellet Stove
- Heating Capacity of Pellet Stoves- Heat Output Range
- How Does a Pellet Stove Work?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Tips to Enhance the Pellet Stove Experience
- Pellet Stove Installation
- How to Maintain your Pellet Stove
- Pellet Stove Safety
- Pellet Stoves and Financing
- Pellet Stoves and the Law
- What are Pellets?
- Tips to Keep in Mind When Buying Pellets
- Storing Pellets
A pellet stove is a heating appliance that works by burning compressed wood or biomass pellets. These pellets are typically made from wood shavings and sawdust. Good quality wood pellets work effectively in providing a clean and constant flame output.
There are different types of pellet stoves available in a variety of styles to complement your home. In terms of design, a pellet stove looks similar to a furnace or wood stove and is appreciated for its vintage yet modern elegant appeal.
While a pellet stove is generally more expensive than a wood stove, the cost of installation works out to be cheaper and results in the total cost being almost the same for both heating appliances.
Comparison Table of Best Pellet Stoves
|Pellet Stove||Heat Output (BTU)||Size of Hopper (lbs)||Heating Capacity (Sq Ft)||Thermal Efficiency (%)||Burn Time(Hours)||Ash Pan Included?|
|Comfortbilt Pellet Stove- HP22-N||50,000||80||800-3,000||86||12-24||Yes|
|Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove||22,226||40||1,500||69.8||12-24||No|
|Pelpro Pellet Stove PP130||50,000||130||2,200||86.5||80||No|
|Pelpro Pellet Stove PP60||35,000||60||1,500||89.5||40||No|
|US Stove 5660 Bay Front Pellet Stove||48,000||55||2,200||70-83||60||Yes|
|US Stove 4840 Wall Mount direct Vent Pellet Heater||24,000||24||1,000||78||24||Yes|
|Summers Heat SHP10 Pellet Stove||42,000||40||1,500||70-83||15-25||Yes|
|US Stove GW1949 Wiseway Non-Electric Pellet Stove||40,000||60||2,000||75||36||No|
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove-HP22-N 50,000 BTU in Carbon Black
This pellet stove is ideal for larger spaces due to its heavy-duty performance. It provides a 50,000 BTU heat output and can effectively heat a home from 800 square feet to 3,000 square feet with a burn time of 12 to 24 hours.
With a carbon black outer body, this fairly large heating appliance can complement any room. The pellet stove is very quiet in its operation and provides a heating experience without any disturbances. It features a large 80lbs hopper that can hold a sufficient amount of pellets to last several days.
The Comfortbilt pellet stove offers a thermal efficiency rate of 86%. It has a thermostat to adjust the temperature and features auto-ignition. It is equipped with an ash pan and is available in different colors.
- Dimensions: 24” W x 30” D x 35” H
- 50,000 BTU
- 110-volt auger
- 80 lbs hopper
- 86% thermal efficiency
- Programmable thermostat
- EPA and CSA certified
- Large viewing window
- Easy to use
- Quiet in operation
- Available in different colors
- Costly compared to less powerful stoves
Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove
This pellet stove is ideal for heating smaller spaces. It can heat up to 1,500 square feet of space and is quick to get started. On its highest setting, the stove can burn for 12 hours and on its lowest setting, it can run for 24 hours.
Equipped with a smart controller, the pellet stove can be programmed and operated on a manual, thermostat or weekly mode. On manual mode, it can be set to 5 different heating levels. It offers a thermal efficiency of at least 69.8%.
While it is loud in operation, it hardly produces any smoke. With the majority of its components supplied pre-assembled, this stove should take no more than 2 hours to get up and running.
- Dimensions: 18.25” W x 23.75” D x 34” H
- 22,226 BTU
- 40 lbs hopper
- 69.8% thermal efficiency
- Smart Controller
- No cleaning fuss
- 24- hour smart controller
- EPA, ETL and Mobile Home Certified
- 5 manual heating levels
- Easy to install
- Not ideal for larger spaces
- Small hopper
- Loud in operation
- No ash pan supplied
- Backlight remains on
Pelpro Pellet Stove PP130
Featuring a large 130 lbs hopper, and a heat output of 50,000 BTU, this pellet stove can heat as much as 2,200 square feet of space. With a high thermal efficiency of 86.5%, this stove can provide an 80 hour burn time. This means that you can fill the hopper up once and not worry about topping it up for a good few days.
This stove starts up with an auto-ignition system and also provides 3 different heat settings. The pellet stove is equipped with a thermostat and a blower and doesn't need much time to be up and running.
- Dimensions: 22,8 x 24.5 x 36.5
- 50,000 BTU
- 130 lbs hopper
- 86.5% thermal efficiency
- 3 heat settings
- Equipped with a thermostat and blower
- Long burning time
- EPA certified
- High thermal efficiency
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- No ash pan included
Pleasant Hearth 50,000 BTU Large Pellet Stove
This pellet stove is suitable for larger spaces It can heat homes up to 2,200 square feet. Some of its features include an air wash system, a convection blower and an outside air kit. It has a large 120lbs hopper that can hold enough pellets to provide up to 2 days of heat without being refilled.
This stove has a high thermal efficiency rate: 85%. This will help you to reduce heating bills. The pellet stove is equipped with a dial-up thermostat and can provide 5 different heat settings. It also has an automatic switch-off feature that turns the stove off when the desired temperature is reached.
- Dimensions: 31 x 30 x 43.8
- 50,000 BTU
- 120 lbs hopper
- 85% thermal efficiency
- Comfort control system
- Air wash system
- Large ceramic window
- EPA certified
- Mobile home approved
- Easy troubleshooting with integrated diagnostics
- Loud operation
- A lot of cleaning is required
Pleasant Hearth 35,000 BTU Medium Pellet Stove
This medium pellet stove offers a 35,000 BTU heat output, making it suitable for heating a fairly large space of up to 1,750 square feet. It starts up with an auto-ignition feature. A large ceramic glass window provides a clear view of the flames.
The stove has a 40 lbs hopper that can burn from 12 up to 24 hours. It has a high thermal efficiency of 85%. The stove can be set manually to 5 different heat settings. It also features a comfort control system that enables it to run automatically on a MIN or MAX setting. This means that you can leave it on and forget about it while it works to keep your home at the desired temperature. The stove is also equipped with a convection blower and an outside air kit.
- Dimensions: 31 x 30 x 43.8
- 35,000 BTU
- 85% thermal efficiency
- 40lbs hopper
- Comfort control system
- Air kit
- EPA certified
- Good value for money
- High-efficiency rate
- Not as powerful as the larger pellet stoves
Pelpro Pellet Stove PP60
The Pelpro Pellet Stove PP60 offers a 35,000 BTU heat output. It is equipped with a 60 lbs hopper that is sufficient for heating a space up to 1,500 square feet. It has a simple dial control which provides 10 different heat settings, an auto-ignition feature as well as a red or green light stove status indicator. The stove serves as a practical option for those who require sufficient heat while still using less fuel.
- Dimensions: 22 W x 33 D x 22 H
- 35,000 BTU
- 89.5% thermal efficiency
- 60lbs hopper
- Simple Dial Control
- EPA certified
- Mobile home approved
- High-efficiency rate
- Steel body gets very hot whilst in operation
- Works best with premium grade pellets
US Stove 5660 Bay Front Pellet Stove
The US 5660 Bay Front pellet stove offers a 48,000 BTU heat output. It comes with a 55 lbs hopper that can heat a space up to the size of 2,200 square feet. This pellet stove has an auto-ignition feature as well as electronic controls.
This heater can enhance any living space, thanks to its unique design that features a set of faux logs depicting a traditional fireplace look. It has a 5 heat setting digital control board.
The stove's large bay front air wash glass window offers a view of the fire. It also comes equipped with a built-in temperature control circulation blower that provides even distribution of heat.
- Dimensions: 26.2 D x 24.2 W x 30.5 H
- 48,000 BTU
- 70-83 % thermal efficiency
- 55 lbs hopper
- Built-in temperature control blower
- EPA certified
- Easy to clean
- Large air glass viewing window
- Not durable
- Fan can be loud
US Stove 4840 Wall Mount Direct Vent Pellet Heater
The 4840 Wall Mount Direct Vent Pellet Heater features a European design and can heat small spaces up to 1,000 square feet. It has a thermal output of 24,000 BTUs. Its hopper capacity is 24 lbs.
This stove switches on using an auto ignition function. It comes with a remote control and built in digital controls. It also comes with a vent kit. A wall bracket, similar to the one used for installing a flat screen television, is required to mount the stove on to the wall.
- Dimensions: 12.4 D x 36 W x 27 H
- 24,000 BTU
- 78 % thermal efficiency
- 24 lbs hopper
- Digital Controls
- EPA certified
- Easy to clean
- Easy to use diagnostics
- Easy to assemble
- Slightly expensive
Summers Heat SHP10 Pellet Stove
The Summers Heat SHP10 pellet stove is manufactured using heavy-gauge metal that provides durability. The stove offers a 42,000 BTU heat output that can heat a space up to 1,500 square feet.
This stove comes with a side-mounted 40 lbs hopper that provides 20 hours of heat. It features a digital control panel and has a ceramic glass window equipped with an air-wash cleaning function. An auto-ignition system is used to get the stove started.
- Dimensions: 28 L x 24 W x 28.5 H
- 42,000 BTU
- 70-83 % thermal efficiency
- 40 lbs hopper
- Digital Controls
- Air wash window
- Durable outer body
- EPA certified
- Burns less pellet fuel
- Black finish on outer body may wear off
- No ash pan
- Not programmable
US Stove GW1949 Wiseway Non-Electric Pellet Stove
The US Stove GW1949 Wiseway Non-Electric Pellet Stove is ideal for heating large spaces. It is a non-electric stove suitable for areas prone to blackouts. Its gravity-fed design ensures silent operating pellet feeding.
This stove has a 40,000 BTU heat output and can heat a space up to 2,000 square feet. It has a large 60 lbs hopper that can provide up to 36 hours of heat. The stove has a modern design and is easy to install.
- Dimensions: 15 D x 24 W x 52 H
- 40,000 BTU
- 75% thermal efficiency
- 60 lbs hopper
- Adjustable feed rate
- Rear and side heat shield
- Starts easily
- EPA certified
- Comes with ash pan
- Hopper can be hard to fill
- No thermostat
Rating pellet stoves can be a subjective undertaking as a stove preferred by one individual may not be ideal for the next. With this in mind, we have carefully studied and compared the 10 pellet stoves we feature in this top 10 list.
Our choices are also based on customer reviews and ratings. We believe that the pellet stoves that perform well, offer value for money. This is the reason why they are rated highly by customers.
Pellet stoves are available in many styles and designs. We will first talk about their ignition types, automatic and manual. A pellet stove's ignition is the mechanism that starts the fire and gets the pellet stove ready for heating. The option of an automatic versus a manual ignition is a matter of personal preference.
An auto-ignition pellet stove makes use of electricity and sometimes requires the simple push of a button to start the fire. Using thermostat settings, these pellet stoves can run automatically even when you are not at home. Automatic ignition pellet stoves use more energy and typically cost more than manual ignition pellet stoves.
Manual ignition pellet stoves are simple to operate too and generally take around three minutes to get started. These stoves can be lighted using a butane lighter and a gel or solid accelerant.
Wood pellet stoves are of two main types, freestanding stoves and stove inserts or inset stoves.
As their name suggests, freestanding stoves stand upright and are fueled with pellets. Many freestanding stoves have windows that enable you to enjoy a view of the flame. Freestanding stoves are of two main types based on the way that the pellets are fed into the burn pot. These include top-feed and bottom-feed pellet stoves.
- Top-feed Stoves
Top feed or drop feed stoves have a design that allows pellets to be fed into the hopper from the top. These are the most common types of freestanding pellet stoves. The angled position of the auger transports the pellets to the top of the combustion chamber. Pellets can be poured into the hopper where they travel down to the stove via a chute. It is important to buy high-quality pellets to make the most of these top-feed stoves since the pellets that drop down into the ash bed can cause sparks and result in a clogged burn pot or combustion chamber filled with ash and clinkers. The use of high-quality pellets will keep the burn pot comparatively cleaner for longer.
- Bottom-feed Stoves
Also known as push feed stoves these pellet stoves are less common. Pellets are placed at the bottom in bottom-feed stoves. An auger is typically present at a horizontal angle allowing the pellets to be fed horizontally into the combustion chamber. Bottom feed stoves burn lower-quality pellets more efficiently since the fuel is continuously pushed in reducing the buildup of clinkers.
- Stove Inserts
Stove inserts or inset stoves are built into and fixed in the walls. They work well for space saving requirements since they are built into the wall and hence take up no extra space, thereby providing a clean installation. While stove inserts don't have many viewing windows, you can still view the flames from the main window at the front. One of the main advantages of these inserts is the presence of a fan used to distribute hot air back into the room. This is a useful feature since the heat can be transferred into a different room to keep multiple rooms warm at the same time.
When buying a new pellet stove, there are a few important considerations that you need to keep in mind.
- Glass Viewing Panel: Many pellet stove buyers love the aesthetics of of being able to watch the flame. If you have a more utilitarian bent, you could save money by buying a stove without a viewing window.
- Weight: Pellet stoves are heavy. While the smallest stoves (such as the Thelin Gnome) weigh as little as 75 pounds, larger stoves may weigh north of 400 pounds. Maneuvering a typical stove into place is generally the work of at least two strong people.
- Capacity: Choosing the right powered pellet stove is essential and keeping things in mind like the frequency of use and size of the room will help in determining the right power. For e.g. buying a pellet stove that is too powerful for a small sized room would force the stove to operate on its lowest setting, affecting its efficiency rate.
- Hopper Size: The size of the pellet stove's hopper is important, and it should depend on heating requirements. Larger stoves can typically accommodate a 40 pound bag of pellets, and run 8 - 12 hours. On the other hand, smaller hoppers hold less than a standard bag. Hopper extensions are also available for some models.
- Floor Surface: Pellet stoves need to be placed on fire-resistant surfaces. Therefore keeping the flooring in mind is essential. If the room where you intend to install the pellet stove is carpeted or has vinyl or hardwood flooring, the pellet stove would require a special fireplace hearth panel or hearth pad.
- Venting: The type of venting required for the pellet stove will depend on where the pellet stove will be placed and how close it will be from windows and doors. All pellet stoves will need some form of venting.
- Insulation: A home's insulation will have an impact on the choice of the pellet stove that you buy. A poorly insulated home would require a powerful pellet stove that has a high BTU rating. On the other hand, a less powerful pellet stove could suffice for a home that has been well insulated.
- Windows: Windows also play an important role. If there are a lot of windows with leaks, the pellet stove would have to perform harder and a heavy-duty pellet stove would be recommended. However, if windows are in good condition, the pellet stove will work effectively.
- Ceiling Height: Lower ceilings mean a smaller, confined space to heat. On the other hand, higher ceilings mean there is more space in the room and requirement for a powerful pellet stove with a high BTU rating.
- Frequency of Use: How often you turn on the heating will also have an impact on the choice of the pellet stove. If the pellet source will be utilized frequently, then it should serve as your main source of heat and should have a high BTU rating so that it can keep your home warm as frequently as you require. If you intend to use the pellet stove occasionally, a less powerful pellet stove will suffice.
The heating capacity of pellet stoves is measured in heat output range. British Thermal Units or BTUs are the units used to measure the heat output range. Majority of the pellet stoves have 8,000 to 90,000 BTUs per hour rating.
A pellet stove with a 50,000 BTU is a robust appliance but the effectiveness of a pellet stove to provide good heat will still be dependent on various other factors like the climate. Pellet stoves would need to work harder and use more pellets in cooler climates. However, a 50,000 BTU pellet stove will work effectively in heating a large space, regardless of how cold it is outside.
Pellet stoves have five main components that include the pellet hopper, auger, electric blower, burn pot and heat exchange.
Pellet Hopper: The pellet hopper is available in different sizes and is used to hold the pellet fuel. Depending on the type of pellet stove, it is located at the top or the bottom of the unit.
Auger: The purpose of a motorized long screw-like auger is to transport or feed the pellets to the burn pot and provide a constant source of heat. The speed of the auger determines the temperature of the pellet stove.
Electric Blower: As its name suggests, the electric blower fuels the pellets by adding or blowing air to them.
Burn Pot: When the auger is turning, the pellets are transported to the burn pot. The burn pot is located in the combustion chamber. The burn pot carries out the process of burning by mixing the air and pellet fuel.
Heat Exchange: The heat exchange consists of a series of pipes located above the heating compartment. The heat exchange works like a furnace and is designed to provide your room with clean warm air. These pipes are used to catch the heat from the stove and prevent the outside of the stove becoming too hot.
How the Components Work Together
Pellets are poured into the hopper which is either at the top or bottom of the pellet stove. The larger the size of the hopper, the longer the running time of the pellet stove. The motorized auger transports the pellets to the heating chamber or burn pot. A thermostat present inside the burn pot monitors heat levels and determines the requirement of adding more pellets. When the burn pot is ignited, it mixes air and pellet fuel to create fire. Ashes formed as a result of burnt pellets fall into an ash pot.
Pellet stoves provide heat through a convection process. The electric blower takes in cool air from the room, transports it through the fire in the burn pot thereby heating the air along the way and enabling the pellets to provide a hotter flame. The heated air then travels across the heat exchanger that acts as a furnace and transfers the clean air into the room through a blower. Smoke and fumes are also blown out through an exhaust pipe or vent. The pipe can be vented to a chimney.
Although a chimney isn't required, a vertically installed pipe proves to work effectively. The pellet stove will run automatically delivering a constant source of heat depending on the setting of the thermostat.
Next, we'll cover some common questions and answers related to pellet stoves.
How Efficient is a Pellet Stove?
In regards to the heating efficiency of a pellet stove, we take into account the amount of fuel that is converted to energy. On average, the rate of combustion efficiency of a pellet stove is anywhere from 75 to 90 percent. The fire produced from a pellet stove is concentrated and is confined in the center of the stove.
Does a Pellet Stove Require Electricity?
The answer is yes, most pellet stoves require a constant source of electrical power because pellet stoves have motors that require electricity to operate. Therefore, pellet stoves are not suitable for people living in areas that have an interrupted power supply. However, you can still use a UPS as a backup power source if power outages are not that common where you live.
Many people are of the misconception that pellet stoves will be a costly investment due to their dependence on electricity, however, pellet stoves only require around 3 watts of electricity and some require even less.
Does a Pellet Stove Require Venting?
Venting is important because it gets rid of hazardous by-products as a result of combustion. Good venting is essential for the pellet stove to operate safely and effectively. Pellet stove venting kits are available from pellet stove dealers and can also be found online.
Pellet stoves can be vented in different ways. Unlike wood stoves, pellet stoves can be vented out through a side wall and do not always require a chimney. The pipes can be connected to an existing chimney with the help of an adaptor or in the case of direct venting, one can run the pipes so they vent directly outside through a wall. In vertical venting, the vents go across the wall and then out through the roof.
For safety reasons, it is important that the vent pipe is kept at least three inches away from any combustible materials. It is also important that the pellet stoves vent to a location where their openings are not at a risk to be clogged.
Many pellet stoves are equipped with draft producing fans that offer mechanical venting. These fans provide blow air to the fire and vent the exhaust gases. Always make sure that you purchase the correct vent size and all joints are correctly sealed with a quality sealant. It is also important to keep in mind the requirements of local building codes to ensure that your venting is up to a correct and safe standard.
How Long do Wood Pellets Last?
The number of wood pellets required will depend on various factors that include thermostat settings, how often the heating is turned on as well as the energy-efficiency of the building.
According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, one bag of wood pellets weighing 40lbs can offer solid heat for up to 24 hours. Two pellet bags may have to be used on a chilly day. Depending on personal lifestyle variations and climatic conditions, one may require 100 to 150 bags of pellets to last the winter season.
On a medium setting, wood pellet stoves need around 75lbs of pellets to offer optimal heat for up to 40 hours. However, not every house has the same requirements. Those that want a warmer setting and wish to turn the temperature up will end up requiring more pellets. Commercial wood pellet suppliers can assist in calculating how many wood pellets your home would require. Pellets can be stored for up to a year provided that they have been stored properly.
Why might you want to invest in a Wood Pellet Stove?
The prices of oil, gas and electricity continue to fluctuate and many people are left to find alternatives that can supplement or replace their primary heating source and be easy on the pocket too. Not many people are familiar with pellet stoves as they are still relatively new heating appliances. An overview of the benefits of pellet stoves will provide you with better insight as to why these pellet stoves are becoming a popular heating solution.
- Cost-Effectiveness: A standard 40lb bag of wood pellets can provide around 40,000 BTU of heat which is enough to offer sufficient heating at a medium setting. Pellets can be purchased in small quantities as and when required. Pellet stoves also keep the energy bills low because they only require a little amount of electricity to operate.
- Safety: Pellet stoves are safe heating appliances because their fire is contained inside the unit. The design of the pellet stove also keeps the outside of the unit from heating up. Pellet stoves are safer than traditional fireplaces because they emit less smoke and harmful pollutants.
- Simple to Operate: Once you understand the basics, pellet stoves are fairly simple to operate. You simply load the pellets into the hopper and ignite the flame. An auto-ignition pellet stove makes the ignition process quick and simple. You may only need to top-up with additional pellets during the day if required. The heat is also easy to control and can be adjusted via the thermostat.
- Easy to Maintain: Pellet stoves are easy to maintain. While they do require cleaning, the process is simple and does not cost much. Ash vacuums can be purchased to make the cleaning process easier.
- Pellets are Easy to Store: Pellets are available in bags that can easily be stacked and stored away in a cool and dry place. Once a bag is opened, pellets can be stored in air-tight storage bins.
- Eco-Friendly: Wood pellets are a renewable energy source made of recycled materials. Pellets are compressed to remove most of the moisture content enabling them to burn cleaner and for longer. Good-quality pellets also result in less ash build-up.
- Elegant Fireplace: Pellet stoves offer a traditional yet elegant aesthetical appeal. They look much like wood-burning stoves. One can choose from a range of sizes and designs to complement your homes.
- Efficient Heating Appliances: Pellet stoves are highly efficient heating appliances. Not only can you look forward to reduced energy bills but you also have peace of mind.
How long will a Pellet Stove Last?
On average, pellet stoves can last 15 to 20 years. However, the life expectancy of a pellet stove is dependent on the quality of stove purchased as well as how well it has been maintained. As long as you follow the recommended maintenance guidelines, you can rest assured that your pellet stove will last you for a long time. On the other hand, not cleaning the pellet stove as recommended can cause an excess buildup of ash and clinkers that can result in poor performance.
What Size Stove Should I Buy?
Choosing the size of the pellet stove can be tricky, especially when there are so many sizes available in the market. Pellet stoves are available in many heat output rates, some far more powerful than others. Choosing the right level of heat output is crucial in ensuring that the pellet stove can work at its best. There are a few considerations that can help determine the size of the pellet stove that will be suitable for your requirements. Keep in mind the number of rooms that require heating as well as their size, quality of insulation in the rooms, the location of the pellet stove, as well as personal heating requirements. Heating professionals can assist in choosing the right size stove by carrying out an energy audit or by reviewing your heating bills. Pellet stoves come with owner manuals that provide extensive information that can help determine whether or not the stove is suited for your requirements.
While the ultimate purpose of a pellet stove is to heat the room, there are a few tips that can help take the heating experience to another level and enable you to make the most of your pellet stove investment.
- Invest in Quiet Pellet Stoves: Some pellet stoves can be noisy and disturbing. Bottom-up feed pellet stoves are quiet due to their pellet feeding mechanism that deposits the pellets quietly through a worm screw.
- Buy a Wireless Thermostat: While pellet stoves are equipped with built-in thermostats, wireless remote thermostats can also be purchased for added convenience.
- Experience the Joy of Seeing the Flame: There's something satisfying about being able to view the flame of the stove as it heats the room. Many people enjoy the sight of the fire. If you are one of them, purchase a pellet stove that has multiple viewing windows to offer different angles of the fire.
- Consider a Quick Cleaning Solution: Pellet stoves can be a pain to clean, particularly if their wood pellets produce a lot of ash and clinkers. Investing in an ash vacuum will make the cleaning process quicker and easier, resulting in an easier-to-maintain pellet stove.
- Check Customizable Options: Pellet stoves can be simple or complex depending on the features that they offer. Customizable options include the ability to program and adjust the temperature of the pellet stove and some can be programmed via a tablet or smartphone app. Pellet stoves can also be customized in finishes.
Correct installation of your pellet stove is vital in ensuring that you can make the most of your investment and stay safe at the same time. The installation of the pellet stove will depend on the type of pellet stove that you wish to install. Pellet stove inserts can be fit into existing fireplaces while freestanding stoves require more space for even heat distribution.
Can the Installation be a DIY Project?
Pellet stoves are considerably easy to install for those who have had some experience in installing a heating stove in the past. Once the pellet stove has been delivered, the pellet stove needs to be assembled and placed into a secure location of the room.
Keep insurance policies and local county guidelines in mind to determine whether any inspections or permits are required. It is also important to thoroughly read through the instruction manual and gain a clear understanding of the steps involved. This will help determine whether you will need the assistance of a professional or not.
Should I hire a Professional?
A pellet stove that has not been installed properly can pose serious health and safety risks. It can also decrease the longevity and proper functioning of the unit. Not only will it be a cause of risk and hassle, but it will also end up costing you more money in repairs. For this reason, it is recommended to hire a professional, especially if you are not confident and lack the expertise and knowledge to install the pellet stove. While a professional installation may be costly for some, it will work out cheaper than having to deal with the issues related to an improperly installed pellet stove.
Factors to keep in mind when Installing a Pellet Stove
There are a few important factors that need to be taken into consideration when installing a pellet stove. These will ensure that the stove has been installed properly and can provide optimal functionality to keep you warm and safe at the same time.
- Floor Protection: Pellet stoves require floor protection and need to be placed on non-combustible surfaces. Investing in a quality hearth pad is recommended. The hearth pads are heavy-duty and fireproof. They effectively raise the pellet stove a few inches off the floor and reduce the risk of fire.
- Pellet Stove Placement: Pellet stoves are best kept in rooms where people spend a lot of time and should be installed in places that you wish to keep the warmest. Keeping them in central areas of the home or a room that has access to other rooms will ensure that the heat can be distributed more effectively. Also, ensure that furniture and anything combustible is kept at a safe distance from the pellet stove.
- Proper Venting: Good venting is essential in ensuring optimal performance and safety of a pellet stove. Always check the local building code for venting requirements. It is important to select the right diameter size of the vent pipe. Joints and seams need to be secured with a sealant.
Do you need a Chimney to Install a Pellet Stove?
Pellet stoves can be vented through walls and ceilings and do not require a chimney, however; the presence of a chimney can save hassle and money. Pellet stoves can be vented through masonry or an industrial chimney. When using the masonry chimney, it is essential to have the chimney inspected and cleaned prior to use to ensure that it complies with local code standards. Some chimneys may need to be lined with a PL vent or metal liner and therefore it is important to have a professional inspect the chimney to ensure that it is safe to use.
Pellet Stoves and Venting
All pellet stoves require a special type of venting pipe. Customers should not use PVC piping, dryer vents or other pipes that are not specifically designed for pellet stoves. The most widely used venting pipe for pellet stoves is the PL vent pipe, also referred to as the L-Vent type that is available in diameters of 3 and 4 inches. The PL pipe is a double wall pipe made of stainless steel.
Pellet stoves can be vented using different methods.
- Venting into an Existing Chimney: As mentioned earlier, pellet stoves can be vented into masonry and industrial chimneys. Inspecting the chimney, thoroughly cleaning it and a partial or full relining of the chimney may be required.
- Vertical Venting: In vertical venting, one of the most common venting methods, the chimney passes vertically through the roof and ceiling. This method has advantages because it provides a natural draft and also works well in keeping vented gases warm.
- Horizontal Venting with Vertical Backup Venting: A method used with industrial chimneys, this method also provides a natural draft and reduces the risk of an unexpected shutdown of the flame.
- Sidewall Horizontal Venting: This method utilizes a limited number of materials and works out to be the cheapest method.
Pellet stoves are sophisticated heating appliances. They require proper maintenance to ensure that their functionality and effectiveness is maximized. Buying a good-quality pellet stove suitable for your requirements is an essential first step toward easier maintenance. While maintenance tasks can vary from model to model, here are a few general maintenance tasks to take into account.
- Invest in Quality Pellets and Store the Pellets Properly: Buying quality pellets is essential in ensuring that the pellet stove can work smoothly without producing too much smoke and ash build up. You can always try switching to a different brand of pellets if you feel a certain type is producing too much smoke or isn't burning for as long as it should. It is also vital to store the pellets properly and keep them in a cool and dry place away from moisture. Moisture will affect the burning capability of the pellets and may result in more smoke.
- Keep the Hopper Filled: Larger hoppers can hold more pellets that will not require replenishing quickly. On the other hand, smaller hoppers may need to be refilled frequently. In both cases, keeping the hopper topped up with pellets will remove refilling hassles.
- Clean the Outer Body of the Pellet Stove: To keep the pellet stove looking good as new, clean its outer body with some soapy water solution. Vinegar can also be added to remain stubborn stains. The pellet stove must be turned off when cleaning and should not be turned on until the stove is completely dry. In the case of a cast iron stove, use a brush or vacuum instead of water as it can cause corrosion.
- Clean the Glass of the Pellet Stove: Cleaning the glass cover is essential in ensuring that you have a clear view of the flame. It also goes a long way in inspecting whether the pellets are burning properly or not. You can use a glass cleaner and a cloth to clean the glass. Be careful not to scratch the glass whilst cleaning as that can damage the window and result in a blurred view.
- Check the Color of the Flame: Any color of the flame that is not the regular fire color should be taken as a hazard and the pellet stove should be inspected to ensure that there is no issue with the internal functioning. A good flame is solid and steady and yellowish in color. An orange flame that flickers and produces black smoke also termed a “lazy flame” indicates that it is not producing a hot fire and requires more air. A flame that is blue or bright white in color indicates that the fire is too hot and needs to be adjusted.
- Empty the ash Drawer and Clean the Build-Up: It is important to clean the ash drawer at least once a week. Clinkers present in the burn pot can be removed using an ash brush. You can also use an ash vacuum to make the ash cleaning process easier but never use a household vacuum as the hot ash can damage the vacuum.
- Clean the Vent Pipe: Getting the vent pipe inspected and cleaned at least once a year is important. If you feel there is a problem in the venting, get the venting checked as soon as possible.
- Empty the Hopper at the end of the Heating Season: At the end of the season, check the hopper and empty out any unused pellets and store them away. Pellets left unused in the hopper can cause rusting.
- Get the Pellet Stove Serviced Once a Year: Hire a professional to inspect and clean the pellet stove at least once a year. Not only will this help in ensuring that the pellet stove retains its longevity but it will also reduce the risk of potential hazards that you may have noticed yourself.
Provided you follow the above tops, you can have peace of mind that your pellet stove will be safe and can last you for a long time.
The safety of your pellet stove is crucial, particularly if you have children and pets around. Here are a few important safety precautions to keep in mind to ensure that you can remain safe whilst using your pellet stove.
- Do not leave pets and Children Unaccompanied: Always make sure that children and pets are not left unaccompanied near a pellet stove. The glass window of the pellet stove is considerably hot during operation and can be tempting to touch. To avoid the risk of burns and mishaps, always supervise your children around a pellet stove and try to keep pets at a safe distance too.
- Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector: Alongside ensuring that there is proper ventilation, investing in a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended. Some pellets can produce a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide that is hazardous to health. The carbon monoxide detector will monitor the carbon monoxide level and assist in the safety of the pellet stove whilst in operation. Keep the detector within 10 feet of the pellet stove.
- Ensure the Pellet Stove is in a good Location: It is important that the pellet stove is kept in a good and safe location, away from combustible materials. It should also be placed on a heat-proof hearth pad. Ensure that there is good ventilation to prevent the build-up of harmful carbon monoxide gases.
- Only burn Recommended Pellets: Pellet stoves are designed for use with pellets only and burning any other fuel can cause serious hazards. Use the kind of pellets that have been specifically recommended by the pellet stove manufacturer. Burning anything other than the recommended fuel can affect the stove's efficiency.
- Always read the Product Manual: All pellet stoves come with their product manual and it is vital that you read through the manual before attempting to install or use the product. Not all pellet stoves work in the same fashion and your manual may have some important instructions or guidelines that you need to address.
- Ash Disposal Safety: Ashes should be disposed of safely. Do not throw them in the garbage can or keep them near combustible materials. Put the ashes in a metal container that has a lid.
Pellet stove manufacturers offer financing options that are based on different factors.
Your state may also offer incentives. For example, New York state offers two incentive options:
- Recycle your existing pellet stove, wood stove or fireplace insert in a primary residence and get a $1,500 rebate towards a new pellet stove.
- Lower-income housholds may be granted an incentive of up to $2,000 to buy a new stove.
Homeowners may also qualify for low-interest loans to assist in pellet stove costs.
In an attempt to reduce wood smoke and pollution, some jurisdictions have legal requirements in place. It is important to be aware of the restrictions involved in using wood pellet stoves in your area. Customers can search for EPA regulations by visiting the Regulations.gov website.
Quality impairments or burn bans can be called by local clean air agencies. In the first stage burn ban, those pellet stoves can be used that have been certified by the EPA as non-affected facilities. If the pellet stove is neither non-affected nor certified then it must not be used in the first stage burn ban. In the case of the second stage burn ban, only those homes are allowed to use pellet stoves that have no adequate source of backup heat. In reference to backup heat, this includes any heating system that can maintain a 70ºF temperature three feet off the floor. Regardless if the pellet stove is certified or not, customers are not allowed to use their stoves in a stage two burn ban if they have a backup source of heat. Some pellet stoves are “exempt” but this does not imply that they can still be used during burn bans. In regards to “exempt” pellet stoves, we are referring to those that are exempt from EPA certifications.
Determining the Type of Stove you Have
Check the pellet stove for a certification label, usually a metal plate that is found on the side or the back of the pellet stove to determine whether your pellet stove is certified and can be used during a stage one burn ban.
To determine whether the pellet stove falls under the non-affected facility, customers should contact the dealer or manufacturer who should be able to provide information.
Customers are advised to refrain from using their pellet stoves during a stage one burn ban if they are not sure whether their pellet stove is certified or falls under the non-affected facility.
While we've provided our top 10 picks for the best pellet stoves, we feel that there are three top pellet stoves that deserve the limelight and are good enough to give others a run for their money.
Best Pellet Stove for a Small Space: Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove
It's no wonder the Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove is one of the best-rated pellet stoves on the market. It's a small and sleek, eco-friendly and powerful pellet stove that is ideal for heating smaller spaces. It looks great and is a practical and affordable option. Its notable features include a programmable thermostat particularly useful for those who cannot be around their stove all the time monitoring its temperature. The different thermostat modes enable customers to program their stove and schedule it to run during their preferred times of the week. A pellet stove is also an environment-friendly option as it hardly produces any smoke. In the case of any issue, the customer service team of the brand is also known to be reliable, offering quick support when the need arises.
Best Stove for a Large Space: Comfortbilt Pellet Stove-HP22 50,000 BTU
Customers with large spaces to heat that may include open plan rooms and high cathedral ceilings often worry about how long it would take for the space to get nice and warm. This is where the Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22 50,000 BTU will help and make heating the large space a breeze! The powerful pellet stove is available in different colors that include carbon black, burgundy, green and apricot. These pellet stoves will instantly transform any room into an elegant living space. Despite it being slightly costlier than other pellet stoves in the market, it is a robust appliance that is designed to last. Regardless of how cold it is outside, the heat output of 50,000 BTU means that the stove can effectively heat a large space up to 3,000 square feet quickly and easily. Its large hopper can store a sufficient amount of pellets before they need to be topped up and the ash pan needs to be emptied only once every 3 days. The stove has a neat large viewing window and is quiet in operation. So, if you require a pellet stove for a large space, this one ticks all the right boxes!
Best Pellet Stove for its Overall Value: Pelpro PP130 Pellet Stove
When we talk about the overall value, we take different factors into concern. These factors include a pellet stove that offers great performance, lasts for a long time, helps cut down on energy costs while being easy on the pocket. It sounds too good to be true but the Pelpro PP130 pellet stove has all it takes to deserve the award for the best overall value. This pellet stove can effectively heat a large space of up to 2,200 square feet with a high thermal efficiency of 86.5%. Its large 130 lbs hopper, one of the largest sizes available on the market means that there will be enough pellet fuel to keep the stove burning for as much as 80 hours! Like the Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22, the Pelpro PP130 also offers a heat output of 50,000 BTU as well as different heat settings to adjust the temperature.
A pellet is the source of fuel that is used to generate heat in a pellet stove. It is made by compressing biomass. The most common types of pellets are made of wood and waste sawdust. The sawdust is tightly compressed to form a small pellet shape. Other pellets of recycled biomass made from crops, lumber and agricultural waste can also be found.
Pellets are small and generally of a uniform size that makes them easy to pour into the pellet stove burner. Since the biofuel in the pellets is compressed, the pellets are dense and burn longer. Pellets are also sustainable and economical and do not produce smoke. The amount of heat the pellets produce can easily be controlled using a thermostat-regulated pellet stove.
Pellets are generally of two main grades:
Standard Grade Pellets:
Standard grade pellets have high ash content and tend to burn less efficiently than premium grade pellets.
Premium Grade Pellets:
Premium grade pellets have a low percentage of inorganic ash content that produces less soot when burnt and therefore tend to burn more efficiently.
Pellets made from corn are an affordable alternative to wood pellets and are also a renewable source of fuel. Heat produced from both wood and corn pellets is the same however, corn pellets require more maintenance due to their higher ash content.
Choosing one over the other is a matter of budget. Premium wood pellets will result in a higher heat experience that also requires less maintenance; however, those on a budget can opt for standard grade pellets. Corn pellets can also be mixed with standard wood pellets.
Pellets are generally available in bulks of 40-50lb bags and can easily be purchased from online wood pellet stove and pellet suppliers.
It can be difficult to buy quality wood pellets since there are a number of suppliers claiming to offer the best pellets. Buyers can easily be tricked into buying premium pellets at a bargain price that are actually standard-grade pellets. There are a few things every buyer should keep in mind to minimize the risk of buying cheap quality pellets.
When buying pellets, it is important to check:
- Size of the Pellets: It is important to buy pellets of the right size that will maximize fuel efficiency. Wood pellet stove suppliers can advise on the best size suited for the particular stove.
- Appearance and Smell: Though this option is dependent on the buyer physically going to the store and taking a scent of the dry pellets, it can go a long way in determining the quality of wood used in the pellets. Wood pellets should look and smell like wood. Wood has a pleasant smell and is easily distinguishable from an unpleasant or rather contaminated smell.
- Water Content: All pellets have a residual water content that should not be more than 10%. Wood pellets with high water content will not burn effectively.
- Ash and Dust Content: A good quality wood pellet should have no more than 0.7% of ash content and 1% of dust. Pellets with lower ash content burn more efficiently and produce less smoke. High ash content can indicate the presence of contamination.
- Wood Origin: Wood pellets must have a high content of wood in them. Avoid buying pellets with leaves, barks and branches waste as they result in more ash once burnt.
- High Heat Output: kW/h is also known as the standard measurement for the heat output of wood pellets. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration when comparing different pellets, their prices and performance.
While pellet bags are available in different sizes and weights, standard bags weigh 40lbs. Depending on how many pellets you require, pellet bags will require considerable storage space. Pellet storage solutions include storage bins and large bags.
Once a bag of pellets has been opened, storage bins are the most economical and easiest pellet storage solutions. Pellets can simply be poured into trash bins or wooden bins. Buckets and large containers can also be used to store the pellets. Pellets can also be stored in large bags. Pellets are usually supplied in bags and can easily be stacked up and stored away.
Storing Tips to Keep in Mind
- Wood pellets need to be stored in a cool and dry place. Wood attracts moisture; therefore it is important to ensure that the wood pellets do not get wet. Sheds and garages are a good place where there are no risks of rainwater penetration or condensation.
- Dust from wood pellets can be hazardous to health and the pellets themselves are flammable. Ensure that the pellets are kept cleanly packed away, far from any source of fire hazard. They should never be left open near a pellet stove.
- It is best to keep the pellets packed away in their original packaging to avoid hassle and risks.
- Provided you have enough room and a cool and dry space, storing the pellets inside the property is the most effective storage solution. If you purchased a number of pellet bags, the pellets can easily be stacked on the large wooden pallets that they were delivered on. Place cardboard over the wooden pallet and neatly stack the pellet bags on top.
- Always check the pellet bags when they arrive to ensure that there are no rips or holes in the bags. In the case of damaged bags, repair the holes by covering with waterproof tape or plastic to ensure there is no risk of moisture.
In this guide, we have offered insight into wood pellet stoves. We've discussed their specs as well as the pros and cons of using wood pellets as fuel. There are countless pellet stove designs available in the market. They are supplied in different sizes, styles and offer different burn times for various sized spaces.
We've also reviewed and ranked the best pellet stoves on the market so you can rest assured that there will be one that is suitable for your requirements. Provided you consider the comprehensive list of buying factors highlighted in this guide, you'll be able to make an informed decision. Not only will you have a good pellet stove suitable for your home but it will last for a long time and will be worth the investment.
Whether your concern is a small aesthetically pleasing appliance or a large pellet stove that can efficiently heat a large space, our top 10 picks filtered and compared in terms of essential concerns like heat output and burn time are sure to lend a hand.