Our Top Pick for 2018: Castle Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller
Read our full review.
Heating a home can be expensive. Fuel costs are high, and wood stoves require a chimney, which means a large installation process. An alternative option that is being considered to heat many homes is a pellet stove. The high combustion levels of these types of stoves are more cost efficient when it comes to fuel as well as more environmentally friendly, as they produce very little air pollution. If you are thinking of committing to a pellet stove to help heat your home, there are a few considerations you may wish to make first. In this guide, we will delve into the considerations that you must make and the reasons that they are important for your family. We will also introduce you to three great pellet stove options as well as a budget friendly one that may fit your needs.
Let’s Have a Quick Look of Our Top 4 Picks:
|Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller||80 Reviews||from $1,199.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Pleasant Hearth 50,000 BTU Cabinet Pellet Stove||138 Reviews||from $1,071.19||Buy on Amazon|
|Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU||90 Reviews||$1,999.00||Buy on Amazon|
|US Stove R5824 Pellet Stove with Igniter Furnace||6 Reviews||$500.00||Buy on Amazon|
#1. Castle Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller
Our gold pick, which is Castle’s Serenity wood pellet stove, is a great way to heat your home. The exterior of the stove is black steel, which will look good in any home. Since it is a free standing unit, you will most likely have the stove in a location that it will be seen. The space saving design is 34 inches high, 18.25 inches wide, and 23.75 inches deep. It is a relatively large unit that weighs about 186 pounds, so having it professionally installed will be a much easier concept that attempting to do it yourself.
This unit has a 40 pound hopper, so you will be able to fill it with pellets and let it go for a while. At full capacity the Serenity will burn 16 to 18 hours on one hopper full of pellets. It burns at 35,256 BTU’s, so you can expect to heat an area that is roughly 1,500 square feet. This stove is designed to heat your home more effectively while using less fuel; in fact, it actually is about 85 percent effective. In addition, this unit is fitted with a three inch exhaust, which gives you a little bit of choice as to where you will place the stove. Since the fuel is burning so efficiently in this pellet stove, there is minimal ash build-up.
The Serenity pellet stove is a unit that is easy to use and completely customizable. It has an auto start ignition to make lighting the fire a breeze, and it also has a heat exchanger that is designed with 2.5 feet of extra space that allows for a maximum level of heat exchange. The fan is designed to be whisper quiet, which means that you will not hear it blowing the heat into your living space. Insofar as feeding the pellets into the stove, this stove uses a top feeding method. It is easy to reach and allows the device to burn each wood pellet more efficiently.
The smart controller on the unit features a LED display that allows you to fully program how the stove works. There is also a remote that is included in the packaging that makes it so that you can control the unit without standing close to the unit. You are able to choose between three modes, which are manual, thermostat, and schedule. When you select the manual mode, you will be able to choose between five different burn levels. With thermostat mode you will simply set the stove at the temperature that you want to be maintained in your home. The third option is the most customizable. With this mode you can schedule the stove to be warmer when you wake up in the morning if you want as well as cooler while you are away at work. This mode makes it easy to save fuel and energy while you are not home, which is a great way to help save the environment.
Cleaning this pellet stove is designed to be a simple process. The unit does not have tubes that the heat is pushed through, hidden chambers, or extra panels that you will need to consider. Simply cool the stove before you attempt to clean it. Then, dump the ash pan, dust of the interior panels, and sweep out the exhaust pipe.
If at any time the ash is built up too much or there is any obstruction inside the stove, there is a safety shut off that will enable it to protect you and your home. There is also thermometer overload protection to keep the temperature of the stove at a reasonable level. If you need help figuring out why the stove is not working properly, there is a diagnostic mode that can be of great assistance. The Serenity comes with a one year warranty to cover the parts and the labor of repairs in the event that something goes wrong.
When it comes to reviews, there are only 32 available on Amazon, but 27 of those are positive reviews where the user gave the unit a four of a five star rating. Here is an example of one testimonial expressing how effective this stove is: “I love this pellet stove! I have a 1720 sq ft brick ranch with no insulation in the walls. I was running an old oil furnace whose radiators only heated the walls, and I had all the oil heat furnace and radiators in a bold move to improve the heating system. I bought this stove, had my chimney professionally lined, and the stove installed; and until yesterday, I have been running the stove on the low fan setting because the heat was enough to drive you out of the house! Temperatures sank below zero and I set the blower up a notch and remain toast warm.”
#2. Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style Pellet Stove
Our silver pick, which is the Pleasant Hearth pellet stove, is a beautiful looking stove that is perfect for smaller family homes or mobile homes. It has much smaller dimensions that our gold pick , but it is still an extremely effective choice when you are looking for a pellet stove. It is 24 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 25.75 inches high. It does weigh about 180 pounds, so make sure you can handle the weight of the unit if you decide to install it yourself. The stove only needs about a three foot clearance, so it can be set almost anywhere in the home. Minimal assembly is required with the purchase of this pellet stove, but since you will still need to assemble the vent, it may be safest to get a professional to install the stove to ensure that it is done correctly.
This stove is designed to burn extremely efficiently; in fact, it has more than an 85 percent efficiency level for burning wood pellets. It will burn about 5.8 pounds of wood pellets each hour, which is a decent rate for any pellet stove to maintain. The hopper is larger than the previous pellet stove that we reviewed, as it holds a full 180 pounds at one time. This means that you can fill the hopper and have enough fuel for about 30 hours of continuous burn time. If you have the heat set on a lower setting, you may be able to get as much as 70 hours out of a single hopper full of wood pellets.
This Pleasant Hearth pellet stove is capable of burning at 50,000 BTU’s an hour, which means that you will never be able to say you are cold while this stove is heating your home. It effectively heats a 2,200 square foot area without any issues keeping a constant supply of heat to warm your home. This unit features a comfort control system that is designed to adjust the temperature to your liking. It will allow you to keep your home at the exact temperature you prefer instead of overheating like some stoves do. There are five distinct heat settings that can be used or adjusted by simply turning the control gauge. In addition, the temperature gauge can run on both the min and the max settings if you desire. This stove also has an auto ignition to make it easy to use.
Aesthetically speaking, this is a great looking pellet stove. It has a black steel body that comes complete with a beautiful cast iron door that is arched to give it an elegant look. The door has a ceramic glass viewing window that makes it easy to see the fire as it burns, and since this unit is designed with an air wash system in place, you will always have a clear view of the fire. Smoke or ash will not cake on the window or blur the viewing area in any way. This system also is designed to release cleaner air than many pellet stoves on the market. The door is also fit with a beautiful chrome handle that stands out against the black stove. The only caveat with this stove is the fact that the blower tends to be a bit loud, which can disturb your daily routine a bit.
This pellet stove is designed to be a durable solution to heating your home efficiently for years. The manufacturer has included a five year warranty with the purchase of this unit to cover any issues that may arise, but you should expect to have this pellet stove heating your living space for 40 years or more.
When it comes to reviews, 46 of the 65 testimonials posted on Amazon were rated with four or five stars. Here is an example of one such review: “This pellet stove changed my life and the lives of my roommates. We live in SF, not the coldest city, but it can be pretty miserable when you live in a giant warehouse with no heating and terrible insulation. By terribly insulation I mean there were/are windows missing and we often have a strong draft through the space. We tried space heaters but they would just blow out circuit breakers on our poorly designed power system. The whole house would lose power, except my room; I was sitting pretty.”
#3. Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22
The Comfortbilt HP22 is a beautiful stove to see in any home. Starting with the dimensions, which are 24 inches wide, 29 inches deep, and 36 inches tall, you will notice that the stove is one of the largest on our list, but it does not bring a bulky look to your décor. It is also one of the heavier units we have reviewed, as it weighs a full 285 pounds, which means that it will be difficult to install on your own. It is always safer to have a professional install such a large unit, simply to make sure it is done correctly. If you do decide to install the unit on your own, make sure that it has a clearance of four inches from the wall.
This pellet stove is capable of burning 50,000 BTU’s each hour, and it will burn the pellets at a 86 percent efficiency level, which is actually one percent higher than the other pellet stoves that we have reviewed thus far. It can effectively heat an area of 2,000 square feet, which is a more than acceptable amount of space. This unit has a 55 pound hopper that can be filled to capacity, which should give you about twelve hours of burn time at the maximum heat setting and 24 hours of heat at the lowest setting. In addition, this unit features an auto ignition feature that makes it easy to use.
Aesthetically speaking, this pellet stove is one of the most beautiful we’ve reviewed so far. It has a charcoal grey exterior that is designed to resemble a bay window design. It has a large viewing area that is split into three separate windows. There is a LED display that is located on the top of the unit that can be used to program the temperature that you want the stove to maintain. A remote is also included to allow you to set the thermostat without being next to the unit. The blower on this pellet stove is quite powerful, but it still maintains a degree of quiet that we all desire from a fan. The manufacturer has included a one year warranty with the purchase of this pellet stove.
Insofar as reviews, there are only 56 posted on Amazon, but 52 of those were rated with either four or five stars. Here is one five star testimonial that was written by a satisfied customer: “This stove is comparable to the stoves that cost over $3000.00. We have owned this stove for a month and it literally heats our three bedroom ranch. Stove is in the family room at one end of the ranch and heats the entire house to 75 to 80 degrees depending on what temp we set stove at.”
#4. US Stove Pellet Stove with Igniter Furnace
Everyone needs to keep their home warm, especially if you live in an area that tends to have a few months of below freezing temperatures. Those of you who are ballin’ on a budget may not easily be able to install a top of the line pellet stove to heat your home, but an option like the US Stove is an option that is easier on your wallet and is capable of heating your home just as well. Our last pick is designed to work in any home, but it is a great option for mobile or modular homes as well.
This pellet stove has a compact look that can fit almost anywhere. It is 26 inches wide, 25 inches deep, and 35.25 inches high, and it weighs a little over 200 pounds, which makes it a bit heavy for self installation. It burns 48,000 BTU’s an hour to heat a space of about 2,200 square feet. The wood pellets burn at about an 80 percent efficiency level in this stove, which is still a great percentage.
The unit is built with a strong iron cast door that looks great in any décor. It has a large viewing window that is complete with an air wash system that will ensure that your viewing area is clear from soot and ash. It features a 120 pound hopper, which means that you will be able to burn the unit for 25 hours at high heat and up to 75 hours at a low heat setting. The thermostat can be adjusted to five different heat settings, so make sure you are using a setting that you are comfortable with. This pellet stove is designed to be durable, so you can expect to use it for at least 30 years from now. Some users even claim that a stove of this quality can be used in the home for 50 years. With a lower price tag that comes in under the $1,000 point, you cannot ask for more quality and performance from this pellet stove.
When it comes to the reviews of our ballin’ on a budget option, there are only five reviews on Amazon, but if you look at other similar sites, you will see more reviews are available for this pellet stove. Even though there are only five reviews listed on Amazon, all of them are positive ones. Here is one example of a five star testimonial: “No problems, this stove puts out great heat, even on low my wife actually complains that it puts out more than its replacement. The outside gives off heat as well, so I put a heat powered fan on it and it spins well to distribute the heat. I tried three different pellets and all work well for the price this is a bargain. I have a 25 x 50 raised ranch, and the stove is in a three season room off the dining room; it heats all of that floor well”
Size of Stove
First and foremost, you will need to decide which sized stove you want to purchase. This may be because of the space you have to place the pellet stove in, if that is the case, then make sure you take the measurements of the area that you have free. In most situations the size of the stove is not really what matters; it is the heat output and the efficiency of the heat. This is all determined based on the size of your home, whether you are using the stove as a main heat source or not, the temperature that you like your home to be at. A pellet stove can range in BTU’s from a few thousand to over 40 thousand. Typically, the larger the stove is, the more heat it puts out, but that is not always the case. Take all of these aspects into consideration before deciding which size is best for you.
Type of Fuel
Before you decide to purchase a pellet stove, it is important to do some research into the different types of pellets that are available in your area and the cost of a bag. Wood pellets and corn pellets tend to be the most popular variety, but they can also cost a pretty penny to heat as the main fuel source. A standard sized bag of pellets can run you as much as $4 to $8 and that amount of fuel will only last ten hours at the most. Let’s say you get away with eight hours for each bag of pellets; that will mean three bags a day, which turns into at least 21 bags of pellets a week. In a 30 day month, you could end up spending $720 on pellets alone, unless you can buy the pellets in bulk for a lower price. Is this type of expense really worth getting a pellet stove? In most cases it is the cheaper alternative, but research the cost of the different types of pellets in your area before you make a decision. If corn pellets are sold at a lower cost in your area, you may want to get a stove that will efficiently burn corn pellets as fuel.
Installation and Maintenance
Should your new pellet stove be installed in the corner of your basement, inside of an already existing fireplace, or in the middle of your living space? It is difficult to know the best place to install your pellet stove on your own, but it will vary depending on the type of stove you purchase. The size of the vent and making sure that all the connections are sealed properly is also an extremely important aspect to take into consideration before attempting to install the unit. To make sure that everything is installed properly, it is best to have a professional installer do the work for you.
The motors and fans used with any pellet stove will need to be inspected and maintained regularly. The flue vents will also need to be cleaned regularly. At the end of the season when the pellet stove will be utilized, it is also imperative to remove unused or partially burned pellets, which will ensure that the inside of the stove remains in good condition until it is needed again.
A pellet stove works by using a fan to create a combustion air flow and vent combustion gases. It can either pull the air into the stove or pull it out; either way has its issues. If you have a stove that draws the air outwards, it can cause the fire to die out whenever the door is opened. When the air is pulled in ash and smoke can easily blow out. Decide which style is best for you, and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce any unwanted risk that may be involved.
Feed from Top or Bottom
Pellets are fed into a pellet stove automatically, but should you get a bottom feeding unit or a top feeding one? Top feed chutes have less of a chance that the fire will burn back into the hopper during use. Low ash pellets are best for top feed units. Bottom fed stoves may not be as efficient, but they are designed to push the burnt ash and soot away when new pellets enter the stove. Weigh the pros and cons of each type of pellet stove before you decide which option is best for your family.
Price and Warranty
A pellet stove is going to run you anywhere between about $1,300 to possibly over $3,500. The bigger the stove, obviously the most costly it will be. In addition to the cost of the pellet stove, you will need to consider the price that an installer will charge to safely install the stove in your home. Typically, this can range from $300 to about $600. Don’t forget the yearly cost of the pellets as an added expense.
Since you are planning to spend a decent amount of money on a new pellet stove, you will also want to ensure that it comes with at least a year warranty. This will make sure that you can see some savings in your electric bill or oil bill before you need to replace or repair any parts.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
We have looked at the different sizes of pellet stoves and the different types of fuel that can be used in them. We have discussed why they can be a great source of heat for your home, and we have looked at four pellet stove options in depth to give you a better understanding of your options. If one of the pellet stoves on our list fits your needs, your work is done, but don’t be afraid to invest some of your own time into doing more research on the topic to find the perfect pellet stove for your home. With a little bit of due diligence, you will have a stove that will keep your family warm for years to come.