1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Consumer Reports Rates Six Freestanding Pellet Stoves

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by richkorn, Aug 29, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. richkorn

    richkorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    586
    Loc:
    SE CT
    New 2009 Oct. issue that came in the mail. They tested these 6 units only.
    Order by CR Ranking:
    1. Harman P68
    2. Napoleon NPS40
    3. Enviro Empress
    4. Quadra-Fire Castille
    5. Summers Heat 55-SHP10L (Lowes) (Englander at H.D)

    DON'T BUY: PERFORMANCE PROBLEM (Although if you take out the worthless chute flapper the problem disappears as stated and discussed on this forum)
    Lopi Leyden

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Stentor

    Stentor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    337
    Loc:
    North of Boston, Mass
    What's the date of the Consumer Reports comparison? The ones I googled were 2007 through January 2008.

    Pellets are still a low volume appliance compared to oil furnaces and the like, but increased attention form consumer organizations is a good thing. We'll all benefit from a larger market.
  3. doghouse

    doghouse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    194
    Loc:
    maine
    Can you post a link?
  4. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,268
    Loc:
    Lakes Region, NH
    Funny that you mention Lopi Leyden as problematic. Dealer in Dover NH told me that they were getting away from the Avalons (same as Lopi) because of too many problems last year. Wonder if they are referring to your issue and know about the mod made to yours.
  5. defield

    defield New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Messages:
    433
    Loc:
    South Central Maine
    Rickhorn,

    What!!! Your signature says Lopi - 2008! Does that mean that you have not hauled your Lopi to the local dump because Consumer Distorts . . .er . . . .Reports . . . gave it a "Don't Buy: performance problem". Surely you have gotten rid of your performance problem Lopi and have just not had time to update your signature.

    Sure wish that I had read that comparison before purchasing my Lopi, to which I was attracted because of the quality of the castings, the very nice fit and finish, the warranty, the favorable user reports, and the attractive appearance that reminded me of my former Vermont Castings Vigilant wood stove. Even though the Lopi has performed flawlessly for us and been a very efficient heating unit, and everyone looking at it has been impressed, and we are very happy with it, if Consumer Reports says "don't buy" , I may have to haul that disgusting performance problem out of my living room and throw it into Casco Bay. Oops, the DEP probably would not like that.

    Seriously, I have long disliked the sterile way that Consumer Reports tests many products and, therefore, when doing due dilligence before a purchase,I would much rather depend on reports from real world users, who are operating in real world conditions, like the good folk who post in this forum. People like Mike Holton who do lab testing as well as actually working on the stoves, as well as using the product himself, and solving a wide variety of problems for end users, can offer far more valuable information than the best pure lab tests.

    My rant for the day.

    Old Ranger
  6. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    652
    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    The article is from the Consumer Report just issued, the October 2009 issue. I have the paper version; not online. I did not get the impression from the article that the tester was very impressed with the idea of a pellet stove period. Here are several quotes from the article. "But owning one can still be a hassle. All pumped out ample heat in our tests, but you'll have to hoist 40-pound bags of pellets and empty the ash pan regularly." They mentioned other upkeep like cleaning the glass and having the vents and chimney checked annually by a chimney sweep. Obviously, this person does not have experience in living with a pellet stove. Also-
    "But we found you could easily pay $4000 to $8000 to buy and install a pellet stove or solar heater and wait years to recoup the costs. Those systems also need more maintenance, and one of the pellet stoves we tested has a glitch that could leave you shivering this winter." The "glitch" was the pellets they were using, which in the picture says Cleanfire, jammed the auger. When they switched to shorter pellets, the problem stopped. "The manufacturer touts a jam-free auger and lists no pellet size requirements." I found that funny and a little ridiculous. "A stove that's picky about pellets could be especially limiting if supplies tighten. And because sizes aren't marked on the bag, you could end up with longer pellets- a $750 mistake for a bulk purchase of the 3 tons usually burned in a year."
    that is why Lopi ended up on the not recommended list. Although I own a Harman P68, I feel Lopi got a raw deal here in the review.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,271
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    A lot of those concerns seem real...and that is what customers expect out of a pub that does not accept advertising.

    As nice as the folks here are, many of them have "special interests"......and would not always inform the potential customer about the cons of pellet stove ownership.

    On the other hand, I would take their particular reviews with a grain of salt. There is no way they could have tested enough products....to mean much.

    That is why, when it comes to cars - etc, they use "repair history" over 100's of thousands of the same model.

    In other words, the article may be more useful for folks to determine whether they want a stove at all, as opposed to which stove they should buy.
  8. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,830
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va

    thanks for the plug ranger, i should note that im far from being the only industry rep here, the many dealers and service techs who help in here deserve equal billing as i , but the testing i do is on my own products , i do not do "comparison testing" with other brands (though at the shows im dragged to them like a moth to a flame,pardon the pun, i love to see the innovations out there) consumer reports does that kind of work and im extremely pleased to see one of our units making their top 5. thats quite a coup for us selling in the mass merchant market as for the comment on the lopi product not having seen the actual report (a link would have been nice, i didnt google it yet) if that statement is actually in the report as posted would be interesting as there are far more than 6 available units out there and if it has a "dont buy" tag why would it be listed as the 6th best option when others are available? as for the quality of lopi's products , i have no brief on that. i dont really follow lopi that closely (nor do i other brands) when i see a thread with a person having an issue i read it look for the technical data i can find on the web and try to help just as others who are more familiar do. and i do not coment adversely on any particular brand of stove (being a manufacturer "playing" in this arena my own conscience will not allow me to do so) i would love to see a lopi rep respond to this (not a challenge but an opportunity for them, ive gotten good reviews in here and the prospective factory reps who would attend this forum im sure would recieve the same accolades, trust me , they are appreciated) as have metalfab, BTU , supercedar, and others i know im forgetting someone (my apologies). these guys should be respected as well for taking time to "hang" with "john q public"

    that said if you ever get down this way ranger , first beer is on me bro :)
  9. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,605
    Loc:
    North Georgia
    it's refreshing to see that many here recognize that Consumers Report is not very accurate in many cases. Yes, they don't take advertising but, if you've ever owned things that they rated poorly for many years with no problems, you must surely wonder if they take bribes. :eek:))) You would be better off buying what they don't like, IMHO. Eg: Dodge Dakota pickup, Amana washer and dryer, GE refrigerator, Tappan Heat Pump - all still going strong.
  10. richkorn

    richkorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    586
    Loc:
    SE CT
    I like your rant!

    Too bad the Leyden got boned on this one. unknowing buyers reading this issue now won't even look at the Leyden. If the tester just new that the chute flapper was the 'glitch' and not the size of pellets (flapper a new mod for 2008 and now Lopi is recommending we take them out) he would have tested one awesome pellet stove.

    I think I'll keep mine than you :exclaim:
  11. richkorn

    richkorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    586
    Loc:
    SE CT
    The article is in the new Oct 2009 CR paper issue. They only tested those 6 units. The Lopi wasn't listed as the 6th best option - just a Don't buy. The others were ranked from 1 to 5.
  12. richkorn

    richkorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    586
    Loc:
    SE CT
    Actually CR said it has problems. I have no problems with mine (except for conv. blower noise), it works great.
  13. Stentor

    Stentor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    337
    Loc:
    North of Boston, Mass
    This is the important point. The article probably says enough to save some people wasting their time. Unfortunately, doing due diligence to get the best stove for you isn't easy. I got lucky and got some good advice to point me in the right direction for me.
  14. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,605
    Loc:
    North Georgia
    Yes, this forum is 1000 times more informative concerning stoves than Consumer Reports could ever hope to be. It's probably true for auto forums and many other forums vs CR. Actually talking to owners is much more informative than some guy in a lab testing something he's never seen before.
  15. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Just curious as to what the lead time is for magazines to get articles written.....Travis Industries sent out the "fix" for the Avalon/Lopi stoves (removing the flapper) back in the winter (in fact, Nov. 8, 2008). See the post by Rod Poplarchick: www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/27973/

    I wonder when CR actually did the Testing? And I hope Travis sees the report, and contacts them with a "rebuttal" and a chance to re-test w/o the flapper.

    I have my Avalon, and like other Lopi owners here have mentioned, it runs flawlessly, gives great heat, and is easy to maintain and work on.
  16. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,916
    Loc:
    Chelsea Maine
    Your really have to wonder if they did the testing at all. In their comment about the Napoleon, they stated that "but it held fewer pellets and lacks an ash pan". The picture shown is of the NPS40, a free standing stove. I own that stove and it has a huge ash pan. One so large I don't have to empty it until a I have burned a ton of pellets. The fireplace insert model has no ash pan, but that has a different number and was not the one pictured. So much for accuracy. My stove's capacity is a whole bag, and with the add on to the hopper, I can load nearly two bags. Looks to me like the author did some reading, then some writing. But for testing? questionable.
  17. Dr_Drum

    Dr_Drum Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2009
    Messages:
    366
    Loc:
    Saco, Maine
    I guess I will chime in and just say my Leyden has also performed flawlessly, while my neighbors and a co-worker with a Consumer Reports "preferred stove" now regrets the purchase. Mine never came with a flapper, and I only have one season on the stove, so maybe time will tell? I'd be the first to crap on Travis Industries if I had any cause, but so far it's just a great stove.
    Mike -
  18. dac122

    dac122 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    348
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Agreed. I've heard and seen CR folks interviewed and they generally say to use their articles as a guide instead of gospel.

    I for one like the fact that pellet stove reviews are making further inroads into mainstream publications.
  19. minch

    minch Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    10
  20. TboneMan

    TboneMan Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    252
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I subscribed to CR for a time back in the early 90's. I worked as a market researcher for an HMO at the time. As a subscriber, I received one of their surveys. This particular survey had various topics they were collecting data on. One of the topics was health insurance.

    I WAS TOTALLY AMAZED and the amount of BIAS written into the survey questions. I would never have been able to write survey questions with the level of bias their items had. I threw out the survey and proceeded to cancel my subscription.

    I haven't believed a word they publish since.
  21. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,605
    Loc:
    North Georgia
    You just won me as a fan!!!!
  22. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,903
    Loc:
    central maine
    i just can't believe the napoleon was # 2.... i have seen them before, and have had many many customers trade them in for a harman... IMHO napoleon is a #2... a big stinky #2
  23. Utilitrack

    Utilitrack Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    287
    Loc:
    Central ME
    Ditto what Dr_Drum says!!!
  24. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    873
    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    I guess I'm glad my Castile is in there....phew. lol. My own experience for me has backed that up.....has performed more than I expected for sure.
  25. swerve

    swerve New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Central maine
    Great news! I just bought an NPS40 for $1500 plus the stove is certified for the tax credit. The CR rating is fabulous. Can't beat that. It may not have thermostatic control but, personally, I think connection to a thermostat tires the stove and igniter. Better to run it on low steady heat. I purchased the stove at Spring Brook Ice and Fuel Company in Waterville Maine. Incidentally, they sell venting and pellets cheap.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page