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Review of HearthStone --- Bennington (Cast Iron) -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only

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Review of HearthStone --- Bennington (Cast Iron) -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - Freestanding into metal Chimney
Date Reviewed: 2005-01-24 17:12:33

Satisfaction Ratings from 5 stars (best) to 1 star (worst)
Satisfaction with unit = ✰✰✰
Satisfaction with dealer = ✰✰✰
Satisfaction with manufacturer = ✰✰

Other Information about the Home and Stove
Room Size (Sq ft): 2000 | House Size (Sq feet): 3300
Bought in 2003 , Price Paid: $3300
Location : Tremont, IL 61568, USA
Purchased from: Fireplace Retail Store - Stove & Patio Shop, Peoria IL

Likes: Updated Review - Original review was one year ago. Now I've had a full heating season under my belt to tell you more.

Dislikes: Overall, this is not a good product. We have made ours work well, but I would not recommend it to others.

Comments: This my second (and updated) review or our Hearthstone Bennington stove. Have had ours one year now (writing this on 22 Jan, 05) and have gotten a good (or not so good) feel for its overall performance.

I DO NOT recommend this stove to anyone. Having said all that, I do enjoy our Bennington but feel there are much better stoves on the market. Your dollars would be better spent with another manufacture or another model. I really enjoy our Bennington, but would not purchase it if had to do all over again. It is too difficult to operate and can be unreliable if not constantly monitored.

Has front and side load doors. Smoke POURS out of the front doors into the room when reloading. They are worthless for reloading, unless you don’t mind filling your room with smoke. However, side load door works very well. Front load doors are only good for starting the fire or cleaning out the ashes. If you do install the Bennington, make sure you will be able to easily access the side load door.

Very week draw, even with the extra chimney we added. Hard to start. Slow to warm up. Then hard to control. This stove also does not like the harder woods. Since it has a weak draw, it does much better with the softer woods that start easily and burn hot.

Not nearly the BTU output advertised. Advertised at about 80,000 btu. EPA rating tag inside the stove has it MUCH lower, closer to the 40,000 btu range. Surprised Hearthstone has not been sued for this false advertising. But, if you noticed, Hearthstone says that the 80,000 btu rating is derived by “an independent source”. EPA says rating is a lot less than 80000 btu. So don’t buy this stove thinking it’s going to heat 2000 sq ft. You may be disappointed.

Short burn times. Hearthstone says 10 hrs or so. No way. I’d say 4 hrs to 6 hrs of usable flame. There may be a few embers in 10 hrs, but no useable heat. This stove will not burn throughout the night without getting up at 3:00 a.m. to reload.

Front door hinges chip off the enamel finish on the doors/hinges when opening and closing doors.

Ash pan is VERY small and almost useless.

Blower design is poor.

I’ve slammed this stove pretty hard in this second review, pointing out all the negative stuff. On the positive side, it is beautiful stove! I also creates a lovely flame when operated at high temps! We call it “Beauty and the Beast”. We also get a lot of heat out of ours, heating almost 2500 sq ft of our well insulated home even in single digit temps outside. However, we work VERY hard at this. A well designed stove should not be this hard to operate. This is our fourth stove and I know a good performing stove’s characteristics. If you want an easy to operate stove that does not require constant attention, this Bennington is NOT for you! Spend your money elsewhere.

You can throw stones at me if you want and say that I have a poor chimney design. But, I have talked to another lady in Oklahoma and she has had all the same problems that we had, even worse. I can get our stove to operate very well. She, on the other hand, has consistently poor performance and her chimney is at least as good as ours. Probably better.

I have looked all over the web and can not find any other ratings on the Bennington. Our dealer tells us they sell bunches of them. But I see no reviews. I wish some other folks would step up to the plate and share their experiences!

Good Luck and email if you have questions – Dan email: 60745@myswa.com

* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004