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Advice for newbie: what to buy Hearthstone Mansfield or Quadrafire Isle Royale?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BASSFAN07, Feb 5, 2009.

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  1. BASSFAN07

    BASSFAN07 New Member

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    I am in the market for a free standing wood burning stove. I have a 1750sf ranch style house in NC I would like to heat with wood. All my past experience is with inserts, but I moved this house and have set it up and it did not have a chimney.
    What would you reccommend for my heating needs? Mansfield or Isle Royale. The stove will be installed in the corner of a 650+sq 12 ft vaulted ceiling room. I was about set on buying the quad, but due to their limited availability now, I found the mansfield(soap stove) and wondered which I should choose.

    Please impart upon me some sage advice.

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Something to consider: You are comparing a soap stone to a cast iron box. These will have some difference in their heating characteristics. The cast will heat up faster and have a sharper hot/cold cycle. Soapstone will heat up slower, but will have a softer hot/cold cycle.

    This comes into play when you consider what you are trying to do with the stove. Are ya gonna heat 24/7 or is this gonna be an evening/weekend stove with frequent relights?

    I personally have the Isle Royal and like it very much. It has been a trouble free and capable heater....but the 2 stoves you are looking at have more differences than just looks.
  3. BASSFAN07

    BASSFAN07 New Member

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    Ideally, I would heat 24/7. But our winters here in NC are not like those up north. We might hit the teens and stay there for a few nights, but generally winter nights are in the 20's and 30's, with days in the 30's, 40's, and 50's.
    Take today, last night was 16, today a high around 30, but tomorrow our high will be in the mid 60's.

    My experience with an insert has been load it in morning, get home in the evening and load again, and load again before bed. Will this be a realistic type cycle with a free standing stove? I know their fire box is not nearly the size of the inserts I have used.
  4. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Either stove will do quite well. Personally, I would choose the Isle Royale, but I'm a bit biased. I do think the cast iron IR is a bit more durable, and looks like it has about $1000 less on the price tag. I don't personally like the top loading, but you may, and you aren't gonna get that with the Mansfield.


    edit: either of these heaters might be a bit of a powerhouse for that house. How is the insulation?
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    This can be done with freestanders. I do it with mine basically the same way.


    Hmmm....from some of the info that you gave it is kinda swaying me into the soap stone category. 3.2 cu ft firebox is alot of firepower if not kept in check. A soapstone can help do that. Keep in mind that you will only need its "full" heating potential for a couple of the coldest winter months. After that, you will be running at a percentage of its output.

    Edit: KarriON is an IR Nazi and highly biased, but with darn good reason :lol:
  6. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Those must have been some pretty big inserts. What were the firebox sizes?
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    My IR is in a 1750 sqft house and sometimes I wish I had more stove. Other times I'm glad I don't.
  8. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I think you'll be happy with either one. Many happy owners of both on this forum. According to its owners,
    the heat of the Mansfield is softer, gentler. The soapstone holds the heat for a very long time once its up
    to temp. The Isle Royale puts out heat in a hurry, comparatively, and it drops off faster too. You can heat
    24/7 with either. My second choice would have been a Mansfield. You really can't go wrong. For your
    square footage and climate, I'd also be looking at the Woodstock Fireview.
  9. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

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    Where in NC are you, mountains, Piedmont, coastal?
    Is you house well insulated, average or poor insulation. If is is average or poor, you will need a stove that is rated for more than your 1750. My ranch house in Va is about 1900 sq ft and the Fireview will heat the area if the temps don't go below 35. I am saving alot of heating oil but I can't turn it off completely. If you are wanting a supplemental heat to heat up where the stove is, those stoves may be fine.

    Do you want to burn 24-7. The soapstone does require a longer time to heat up than a metal stove, so if you are looking for only burning on weekends of such, the metal stoves may be better, they heat up and cool faster where the soapstone is a more even heat, but not the hot blast from you can get from a metal stove.

    Are you installing your self or the dealer? If using a dealer, you may be better off on your decision based on the better dealer vs the stove.

    Good luck. Jeff
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Don't make the mistake of comparing the firebox volume of a soapstone stove (max temp of 600) to the volume of a steel stove (max temp of 800-900). That's apples to oranges in my opinion.

    The mansfield is rated for 1800-2500 SF so will be fine. Normally it is recommended to go up one size bigger but the next larger soapstone stove is way bigger.

    The quad is rated for up to 2500 SF so should also be fine. I've got to admit that the IR is prettier and should heat quicker and have more available btus plus open door burning! Cost is significantly better on the Quad too.

    You've got too much house for any woodstock product. A freestanding stove will always be more effective/efficient than an insert.
  11. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Here's my advice - pretty much any stove will do the trick, so don't study on that too hard and regardless of what stove you choose get next years wood now. Not this spring, not this summer, not this fall. Get it, split it, and stack it now. Estimate how much you think you'll need, then double it.

    Don't be that guy who runs out or doesn't bother till the last minute and badmouths the wood guy for delivering wet wood in the middle of winter.
  12. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    I've seen a few threads about people getting cracked stones on Hearthstones when driven hard, but within the manufacturer specs. I've also seen a bunch where people never have any issues with them at all in many years of service.

    I'm in a rental property that had the Isle Royale already installed for several years when I got here. I've had it severely overfired(I'm talking nuclear orange here, didn't know any better), as have many tenants in the past, and the stove still stands strong as silent sentry in my dining room, no worse for wear.

    I can't comment on the heat qualities of the Mansfield, but it very well may produce more heat with that extra 0.2 in the firebox. I do know it will hold the heat longer and output the heat much more evenly than any cast iron or steel stove can.

    As an earlier poster mentioned, if it's two different dealers supplying the stove, and you feel better about one dealer over the other, then it might be an issue of choosing the better dealer.

    Comparison:

    Loading:

    Isle Royale: Front or top loading

    Mansfield: Front loading



    Construction/aesthetics:

    Isle Royale: Ornate Cast iron, symmetrical double doors, very solid construction. Isolated reports of Quadrafire's baffles and firebrick being low quality.

    Mansfield: Square simplistic design, beautiful stone tiles, asymmetrical single door(asymmetrical door takes a LOT away from it in aesthetics for me, but makes gasketing MUCH easier. you may or may not care about the symmetry) Isolated reports of stones cracking on some hearthstone models.



    Heat quality:

    Isle Royale: Fast, powerful heat. Peaks quickly, drops off moderately

    Mansfield: Slow, gentle heat. Peaks slowly, plateus for many hours followed by slow drop off



    Blower:

    Isle Royale: Available

    Mansfield: Available



    Pricing:

    Isle Royale MSRP: $2,499.00(base) - $3,249.00(all options*)

    Mansfield MSRP**: $3199.99(base) - $4149.97(all options*)



    The price would be the biggest factor in my opinion. It's a pretty major difference. I did, however, see a dealer offering the Mansfield for 2499.99, which matches the base MSRP for the IR.

    * note that all options on the IR include porcelain finish, Blower, Horizontal Vent Kit, Warming Shelves, Warming Shelf Brackets with Mitten Rods, Fire Screen, and Outside Air Kit. Options on Mansfield include porcelain finish, rear heat shield, blower, and outdoor air kit.

    ** I did NOT find the MSRP for the mansfield on hearthstone's website, but found it listed on the site that offered it for 2499.99 - 3328.97. The website did not seem very professional, and I have no idea of the reputation of this dealer. I won't post a link. A post on arboristsite.comdated 04-17-2006 quotes mansfield base MSRP at $2449.00, going up to $3216.00 with the most expensive porcelain finish and all accessories.
  13. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I'm not so sure. With his Fireview, Todd heats 1800 sq feet and sees a lot of below zero weather
    in northwestern Wisconsin. At 1750 sq feet in a more moderate climate like North Carolina, I'd
    be looking at the Fireview. At $2319, it's cheaper than the Isle Royale or the Mansfield, and it's
    going to eat less wood.
  14. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    double post somehow, please delete
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