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Best top loading stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Trilifter7, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey all,
    I'm looking to get a new stove and I was wondering what stoves you all recommend for a top load stove. I am currently heating with a VC Resolute. I really like this stove but I wish it had longer burn times. My house is around 1800 sq ft and fairly well insulated. My top three right now are the Harman Oakwood, Lopi Leyden or the Avalon Arbor. Any thoughts on these stoves or others I should look at would be great. Thanks!

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  2. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    Harman also makes other top loading stoves, T-300, etc.. Harman's have the option to use a drop in grill that allows you to cook over a wood fire.
    I think there is another company (can't remember it at this momment) that also offers a grill option.
    Another top loader that gets good reviews is the QuadraFire Isle Royale
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The Jotul F50 is a top loader.
    Scott2373 likes this.
  4. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Jotul F50 Wintergrill

    The Harman and Lopi/Avalon are downdraft stoves. You might want to read up on that technology before deciding. I've never burned a downdraft stove, but I have the impression that they can be a bit tweaky to operate.
    Scott2373 likes this.
  5. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I like that quadra fire Isle Royale! another one to add to the list, thanks mishmouse! I am not familiar with downdraft stoves den... I will look into that.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is no "best" top-loading stove. There is only the best one for your particular needs and tastes. Of all the top-loaders, the Jotul F50 and F55 and the Quadrafire Isle Royale are simpler designs. The Isle Royale is probably too large a stove for your application if the old Resolute is doing a good job.

    I went from top-loader (the Resolute) to front loader. At first I thought I would absolutely miss the top-loading, I don't really miss this feature.

    This is a big investment so I recommend focusing on the most important features you want in the new stove. There are many stoves with longer burn times if this is the actual objective. Some are top-loaders, but there are also very good side and front loaders.
    Scott2373 likes this.
  7. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    The resolute doesn't do too bad of a job but I could def go bigger. I know there isn't a "best" stove but I was more wanting people's opinions on what they like or don't like about them. I had a small century front load stove before the resolute and now that I have the top load I love it! I really like the shelves on the sides as well. I mainly want to update to an EPA stove to get better than 6-8 hour burn times. It doesn't have to be the longest burning stove out there, just hoping to get 12 hours + burn times out of it.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Woodstock Fireview.
  9. Scott2373

    Scott2373 Member

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    I 2nd the Jotul F 50 Rangley... :)
    II
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    V
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the suggestions until I read about liking the side shelves. For that reason I am going to add taking a look at the Pacific Energy T5 and T6. The Alderlea series has a unique trivet top that swings out. If you are using the side shelves for drying out mittens and raising bread, this top does the same job, yet closes up neatly when not needed.

    But if you just want great heat with a long burntime I agree with the Woodstock Fireview suggestion. Or for even longer burntimes look at a medium-sized BlazeKing stove.
  11. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    PE T5 and T6 are added to the growing list. I still have not warmed up to the soapstone look. The blaze kings are not my favorite look but I do like the burn time they offer. I will have to look into it more.
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Jotul Firelight 12: much longer burn times than any top loader listed so far, and a more attractive package than the F50. Also has side warming shelves.
  13. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Just to clear up any confusion for the OP, the Jotul F-50 is the top loader and front load. The Jotul F-55 is front load only. The Firelight #12 would be a great option, but is no longer made. If you are looking for a new stove then this wouldn't be an option.
    As mentioned above, these down draft stoves can be pretty picky. If you don't have the time to hang around the thing waiting for it to get up to temp before shutting the bypass, then I would look into other options. The top load is nice, but so is a side load. The Jotul Oslo is a great stove as well as the Firelight 600 from Jotul, but with side doors and front.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Good catch, webby. I changed my original post to read F50.

    True, the no.12 is no longer available new from Jotul, and while it's one of the nicest stoves Jotul ever made, it's not for everyone. It took me an hour last night from reloading on coals at 250F, until I had things all dialed down for an overnight burn. That's a little longer than usual, but sadly... only a little.

    It's funny that a top-load door was also high on my wish list, when looking for a second stove, but now I almost never use it. I spent most of my first year loading my old Firelight 12 thru the top door, and figured it was the way to go for the second stove, as well. However, many conversations this summer had me switching to front loading when I started burning again this fall. I still use the top-load door when I'm just tossing another two splits on an already going fire, but that really only happens weekends. Most of the time I'm stacking wood in the stove for batch burning, which really only happens thru the front door.
  15. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    Hmmmm, I'm starting to wonder if the downdraft stoves are not for me. One thing I like about my resolute is how easy it is to load it up, set it and forget it. Any thoughts on which of the above mentioned stoves are good low maintenance burners?? I'm somewhat shy to going to a catalytic style stove bc of all the maintenance and up keep i here involved with them. I also understand that some of the longer burn times are achieved with catalytic stoves, just not sure I want to go there yet. Any thoughts?
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    In my opinion, if you want looks and simple operation combined with low maintenance then anything from Jotul would do. There are a lot of low maintenance stoves out there, some with looks, and some without. It's hard to go wrong with the Oslo.
  17. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I was just now looking at the Oslo, webby. It is a nice looking stove, too bad it's not top load or I'd be sold! What kind of burn times are you guys getting from it? They list 9 hrs on the website... Is that about right or does anyone see longer burn times? I know this is very conditional but still curious
  18. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Mine of course ;)

    Pete
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The Resolute is a down draft stove.

    Not all cat stoves have a lot of maintenance. VC has the most, easily. Woodstock and Blaze king have very little maintenance.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The Oslo is a beautiful, simple workhorse heating many homes. The 9 hr claim is about right for hardwood.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  21. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Burn times vary depending upon your needs. If the stove is over-sized for your needs you can get more usable heat at the end of the burn during lower temps.

    But, for the most part, you can expect 6-9 hours of heat from the Oslo.
  22. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe this is arguing semantics but the resolute is actually a horizontal combustion stove. Now maybe that is the same thing as a downdraft stove but I've never heard it called that. I do know that VC's EPA stoves have a reputation for being very high maintenance, otherwise I would replace my resolute with an encore. The Oslo sounds ok but I can already get 6 hrs out of my resolute so not a huge gain there. I was hoping to get 10 hr+ burn times and possibly from a low maintenance top load stove if possible. What makes the downdraft stoves picky? I don't mind spending a little time tending to the stove as long as its a reliable burner like the resolute has been for me so far.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Which model Resolute do you have?
  24. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

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    I swapped from a top loading VC Encore Defiant to a side loading Woodstock PH.

    I thought I would miss the top loading, but I don't really miss it.

    I think I can get more wood in with the side loading . You just see things differently looking at the side not the top.
  25. Bluerubi

    Bluerubi Member

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    I hear you on the firelight not being for everyone. Mine burns great, and it puts out a ton of heat, but after breaking a pane of glass last night due to my own error I've decided to sell mine. It takes a bit more work that our upstairs stove as you mentioned, so my wife isn't really buying into the nostalgia of a classic stove. Way too nice a unit to collect dust, so hopefully I find someone who'll appreciate it.
    Joful likes this.

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