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Big box store Pellet comparing! List and mini review!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by jtakeman, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. blues

    blues New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
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    Loc:
    western PA
    I did not know about the juglone (sp) toxin.
    Would hate to buy the pallet blind and end up being allergic to black walnut.
    thanks for the quick replys

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    My border collie LOVES grass pellets for "dessert", but not the coffee pellets.....go figure.
    :)
  3. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

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    Feb 7, 2010
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    1,418
    Loc:
    NW Oregon
    Starving politicians in Washington need your Help too :bug:

    I certainly can apreciate the work,time and effort that this took to do.

    Now this said, I will be honest, I have never shopped around for pellets other than to get the cheapest ton price I could.

    Around here $200 is about average cost and most all the local brands are Fir and burn about the same.

    Once in a while one of the big chain stores will bring in a couple semi loads of Pine from somehwere.

    I will use pine if I can get them.

    Makes the house smell great.

    Snowy
  4. ADVA

    ADVA New Member

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    Loc:
    N NJ
  5. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Northwestern CT.
    H Advance,

    Curran .38 lbs or 6.08 ounces or 0.475% (rounded to .48%) is what I got for results.

    Did you find different results?

    As with all pellets there are batch variance's. Hence the YMMV disclaimer. I picked up 12 more bags on a Lowes close out a few weeks back. I found them to be very close to what I burned in the test.
  6. ADVA

    ADVA New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    N NJ


    Yes & no.
    My results of high ash content were in line with "the level shown in the jar".
    Thats the point.
    look above on the chart.
    You will see the "same exact" numbers listed for the curran pellets as the pellet above it.
    Actually the Barefoots/Bayous/Currans all have the same % ash content & Weight of ash.
    However the jar shows them clearly at differing levels on the jar.
    Based upon the "ash level" pictures of the penningtons.
    Unless you used a different jar the "volume" I guess it should be called is near in line with the penningtons.

    I guess just look at the numbers & pictures of the penningtons/currans & compare to the volume of ash in the pictures & compare to the ash content numbers.

    Seems the question I should be asking is:
    Is your ash content percentage based upon weight or volume in the jar?
    I always thought it was the volume in the jar.
    But compaing the currans with the penningtons I presume this is not the case.

    Apology's for "critiquing" your fine work you have done here!
    I have learned much here.
    However you clearly state that the "HOT" pellet is the key.
    I do believe that to be the main key to a good pellet myself.
    You also state that there are the "variables".

    IMO-It would be nice to know how everything has an affect on the HEAT.
    However there is enough in your tests/pictures for me to make an informative decision
    That any test on Volume/Density/Burn Time will probably not change my mind.
    I however would be cool to know how they affect the "VALUE" of any given pellet.

    With these additional tests you could do calculations on BTU's/Value per bag.
    So even though you may be paying more for a pellet.
    It may be a better "Value".

    OK now my head is spinning!
    Gotta stop & spin the "other way" to unwind!

    LEN
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Northwestern CT.
    Len,

    Me too! Good thing I have an office chair, I spun my self the other way and good to go now!

    The Volume of ash is a visual for you(So you could see what would accumulate in the stove). And the percentage listed is by weight. Same as the PFI standard.

    Michigans were very high in volume(a full jar) but much lower in weight. So the ash has its own density level too. Funny how a 1/2 jar can have the same weight as a 1/3 full jar. The Inferno's were the kicker. About the same volume as the curran's. But the weight was heavier. And percentage was right at 1% total.

    In the thread(early on) there was some discussion's about this. I even posted the formula to figure out the percentage from the weight tallied. No Apology's for "critiquing" is needed. I hope I explained it well enough. One thing I learned from this testing is it isn't as easy as I first though it was going to be. Lots and lots of variables to hash through. The burn season is about done now, Maybe next season I can retest some brands. Nothing near what I did this year. No way I can spare this much time into it. But before I do. I will start with a what do you all want to see thread. Or a what do you think! Get every one in on what it is we need to track.
  8. pej4130

    pej4130 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
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    23
    Loc:
    Keene, NH
    Jay: I would like to see you do a test on BLAZER pellets (West Oregon Wood Pellets) if you can get your hands on them. They are the best pellets I have ever used bar none, but extremely hard to find. Home Depot in Keene, NH carried them last year, but I can't find them this year. High heat, very low ash, no fines to speak of.
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    13,490
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Actually. I probably will not be testing to much for this forum anymore. I have been invited to test with another forum. All I can say is the details are exciting! We will have to see how it pans out.

    On the Blazers, I have found them at Robbins.

    http://www.woodpelletsexperts.com/pricing.html

    I got to try them a few years back when HD was trucking them in to CT.. I too liked them very much. But as BTU said. Very hard to get your hands on them in NE. Robbins is too far to travel and the Blazers are not cheap. Figure in the travel puts them way out of my reach.
  10. Wachusett

    Wachusett Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
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    Loc:
    Wachusett Reservoir, MA.
    Say it ain't so! I'm a newbie, this is my virgin post. I have lurked a short while and learned much from the tests, followup, and debates.
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    13,490
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    That's the way it looks so far. Lets just say I got a better offer! I will still hang here as this is my home and I love the peeps! But I will have more admin support and no flack if you know what I mean! Seems my method was a hit and was noticed. No I will not be a paid tester, It aint like that either.

    Sorry guys!
  12. ChandlerR

    ChandlerR Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Hampton, NH
    Jay, you mean there is ANOTHER forum for pellet stoves?????

    Chan
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Northwestern CT.
    Chan,

    I know its hard to believe, But yes there are actually several out there.

    jay
  14. pej4130

    pej4130 Member

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    Loc:
    Keene, NH
    BTU - JAY: I would love to see Jay's test of the Blazers despite the torture, what is the link to this test?
  15. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    My Blazer test was done long before I kept any records and totals. But the heat was above average and the ash was very low. Wish I had more for you. Very good pellets in my book.
  16. ADVA

    ADVA New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    96
    Loc:
    N NJ
    Jay,

    Have you run these?
    This is the first I have seen them.
    May be a hot one!

    Potomac Premium Pellets

    Potamac Premium Grade Pellets offer what others can't! Up to 8,800 super hot btu with only a minimal .35% residual ash you may find Potomac Premium Grade Pellets still burning when others need to be shut down and cleaned out!!!

    Softwood

    Made in the U.S.A.

    up to 8,800 btu

    Ash 0.35%


    Also was wondering if you were going to test this newest batch of the TreeCycles.
    I am picking up some samples tomorrow.
    Will let you know what I find.
    I will have then 3- types of the TreeCycles & will burn a bag of each & measure/inspect the ash & post my findings.
    Think I will also do the water test.
    Take a weighted sample of each & dilute them in water for a day till they break up.
    Then drain off the top leaving any sand etc. at the bottom.
  17. CT Mets Fan

    CT Mets Fan Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Watertown CT
    I am a new member to the site and a first time poster. I bought a 2800 sqft house with a Breckwell P23I stove installed. Stove it located in the lower level of a 2 Raised Ranch. This season I only burned at night, mainly because the wife and I were uncomfortable having a fire going without anyone home. We went through 4 tons of pellets, all Barefoot. Average tempurature throughout the season in my 20 month old's room was 68F, which is the furthest point from the stove.

    Seeing as my supplier has mentioned that Barefoot pellets would be extremely difficult to come by, can anyone recommend an alternative? Other brands this supplier carries include:
    Okanagan ($250/ton)
    Hamer's Hot Ones ($249/ton)
    Maine's Choice ($219/Ton, from what I have read, not really recommended as heat output is quite low)
    Turman's ($259/ton)
    Juniata's ($219/ton)
    Energex American ($239/ton)
    Geneva ($259/ton)

    Thanks for all your help.
  18. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    South Shore MA
    Welcome to the forum!

    For the price I think ya can't go wrong with the Okanagan but these three
    are all top notch super cold weather pellet according to forum members.
  19. mkling

    mkling New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central MA
    Your best bet is to pick up a few bags of each and burn them to see which ones are the best for yout stove. A pellet that burns great in someone elses stove may give you different results. Example, I primarily burn Lignetics and love them but wanted to try Okanagans to see how those did based on all the great reviews. For some reason they created a lot of soot and almost twice the volume of ash as the Lignetics, so I won't be switching to them and I am glad I tried them before I bought multiple pallets.
  20. epehubb

    epehubb Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    SWCT
    H ADVANCE,

    Can you state the dealer you speak of in your previous post? I'm looking for some of the brands you mentioned in my area.
  21. CT Mets Fan

    CT Mets Fan Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Watertown CT
    Xena,
    Thanks for the recommendations. Are the Okies the Okanagan pellets?
  22. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    South Shore MA
    Yes we refer to them as Okies.

    The other guys give good advice tho.
    Try a couple bags of a few brands if
    you can before buying a boatload.
    This will ensure you get the pellet
    that burns the best for you. There
    are some here that have not had
    good luck with the Okies but they
    burn hot and clean in my St Croix.
    Good luck!
  23. CT Mets Fan

    CT Mets Fan Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Loc:
    Watertown CT
    Well, last night I tried the NEWPs, was very underwhelmed by my results. The basement thermostat was a 63 at 6:30 when I started the fire, and this morning only was at 72 at 5:30 when I left the house.

    Bought 2 bags of Okies, 2 bags of Hamer's and 1 bag of Barefoot from CTPellet just to tide me over for a few days. Probably will pick up some more this weekend since the cold just won't go away!
  24. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
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    431
    Loc:
    South West NH
    I tried 3 bags of Okies over this past weekend and had some excellent results. Now I am burning 3 bags of Bearfoots with good results. Both are easily outperforming the NEWP that I have been burning. The Okies always had a nice flame no matter what the stove setting was at and produced very low ash. The Bearfoots were better at the lower heat settings but seem to have a hard time keeping the flame at the higher temp settings. The NEWP just filled my burn pot with clinkers and carbon and the ash pan would be full after about 3 bags had been run through the stove. Based on the 3 bags of Okies I burnt, I could easily set my cleaning schedule for weekend to weekend.

    I still have 1 1/2 tons left of the NEWP wich I will use on the warmer days. I'm going to purchasing 4 or 5 tons of Okies in the next week or so and then I should be all set for next winter.
  25. BradH70

    BradH70 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    South West NH
    Another note about the Bearfoots ---

    The 3 bags that I got seemed to have some very long pellets in them and quite often I can hear them getting snapped in half when the augur turns. I'm not sure if this could cause potential augur or augur motor problems but this is another reason I am going with the Okies, just trying to mitigate any issues that may be caused by this.

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