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)

Expert Ratings of Gasifiers

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Pologuy9906, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Pologuy9906

    Pologuy9906 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Messages:
    101
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    Ok I've directed 4 other friends and family to this site. Gasifiers are unknown to the masses due to the fear, myths, and lack of ratings needed for someone without the technical where with all to make a sound choice. With all the great experts on the site, I think everyone should rate the following 10 units and rate them from favorite (1) to worst(10). Hopefully everyone will participate. The not so technical people need to look at the experts for a quick glance at what they are rating as good vs bad and making informed decisions from there. People also need to know who can assist with the install. Safety features and warranties are other areas of concern. Most items costing 5000+ are well known and a plethora of information and rating are typically available.

    Hopefully everyone looks at this as an opportunity to inform the masses and possibly make gasser more popular! I look forward to all your ratings.

    1. Vigas -7075
    2. Vedolux lambda - 10,500
    3. Vedolux - 6500
    4. Effecta - 6500
    5. Attack DPX - 4600
    6. Tarm innova - 7000(?)
    7. Biomass - 6000
    8. Eko - 5500
    9. Woodgun
    10. Econoburn - 6500-7500

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. leon

    leon Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    129


    I have nothing to add to the list other than the need for Kiln Dried firewood
    to feed them simply to make the wood dry and combustable with no issues
    with regard to efficiency wherein the kiln dried hardwood eliminates any guess work
  3. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,753
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    You missed Fröling. Myself I wouldn't want a lambda unit, nor would I pay so much, but every detail of the design shows the result of many years of refinement.

    Best boiler for the money is Vedolux. Great design, tall firebox, very easy to keep clean. Only drawback is the low pressure rating, I don't understand why it is less than the standard 30 psisg.

    Don't think you could go wrong with any of them, except possibly Woodgun, especially the SS units, Fred makes a pretty good case for being skeptical.
    mikefrommaine and BoilerMan like this.
  4. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,747
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    I don't see how someone can evaluate gassers without operating one. Even seasoned experts that have operated one for several years let alone just reading about one. Sure, they can doubt outrageous claims but that's about it. As I said in the past, nearly everyone loves their particular boiler but their only comparison is that they burned oil last year and are more comfortable this year. I once pointed out the guy I knew that absolutely loved the bi-fold door Franklin stove he had installed to keep warm in his drafty old shack and recommended it to anybody.

    I've only operated two gassers and have been very happy with one of them, (so far) but if you want a seat of the pants recommendation only from reading about the units the Vedolux uses a design that I find favorable not that I'm unhappy with my EKO.

    I think lamda units have their place but in my case, where I burn one hot fire per day and I am around to monitor it for the three or four hour duration, I don't believe I need the added hardware.
    mikefrommaine and BoilerMan like this.
  5. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    695
    Loc:
    Southern Tenn
    And Garn.... I'd limit the list to manufacturers. Generally if the company makes good products it's reflected in their whole line. I see at least one of those that could drop from a top 10 leaving a spot for the Froling and Garn. When topics like this have come up before, I personally see 3 tiers; High end class (Froling, Garn comes to mind... think Mercedes class), Mid level American and European products, and "Value" level Eastern Europe produced units. Just like purchasing a car, they'll all get you there, but some cars offer more class and efficiency. You could sort your list by price and be pretty close to my imaginary tiers. But I personally think your list is pretty good based on the fact that, for the most part.... all the owners of your product list that post here have been satisfied with their choice. Based on user comments here, it seems like almost a coin toss regarding customer satisfaction within those tiers with some here being fiercely brand loyal. Me? I picked an affordable "starter" boiler that has been great and the perfect choice for ME. Hard for me to be fiercely loyal when I've only owned one boiler in my life. Just my five years of observations/impressions of happy and pissed off posters. Others been here far longer and will add opinions, but lots of satisfied users in your list. Just at least make it a top 11 and add Froling and Garn.

    EW... how'd you get the little dots over the o? Next time I post something about Froling that would definitely add to my credibility. :)

    OH.... about a year ago someone posted a link to a WAY COOL German boiler that was coming to the U.S. The video was in German but OMG.... I had boiler lust for a week. Anyone remember that? .... I see leaves dropping here in Tennessee...... times a coming.
  6. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,362
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Shopping for boilers isn't like shopping for televisions, sadly. The offerings are so variable and constantly changing. Your personal needs and goals are just as important as the popularity of the boiler assuming you pick one of decent quality. As stated above a truly objective rating could only come from someone that has operated every unit. You won't find that here on hearth.com.

    I've said it a bunch of times before - I don't know that there is a better, simpler, more robust boiler than the Garn based on my personal experiences and readings. But I just flat didn't have room for one. I'd recommend my EKO to anyone looking for a simple, robust, not-so-flashy boiler that doesn't require it's own man-cave.

    My humble opinion is that budget should drive most of our decisions on these things. Even the highest of high end boilers with full automation, complete feedback controls and a kitchen sink isn't going to get you "20% more efficiency" than the dirt floor gassers some of us are running. Once you step into gassification the difference between "super high efficient" and "efficient" is going to be a wheelbarrow or two of wood per year difference for most of us. But then again this is basically a hobby in many ways and I like having cool toys too. So maybe having iPhone connectivity to my boiler would be awesome? ha. Good luck with your decision!
  7. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,604
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    Some very good outlooks here. Few, if any of us have any expierance with all the boilers mentioned. Most are quite happy with their units. An argument can be made that some have flawed design, but again people buy Fords, and people buy Chevys both are happy and buy more, most would never think of buying the other.

    Personally, I will not recommend any particular brand over another (unlike some on here) see out sigs and what we burn in. If money were no object I'd own a Vedolux Lambda, 'cause I like Swedish stuff in general.

    There are only two brands that I know of (do your own research) on here that have had poor quality welding and the resulting seepage, this can, however, be from the "system" and not the boiler. Oxygen in a closed loop system WILL destroy anything ferrous..............including the boiler.

    TS
  8. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Here in the Oregon we are limited to only EPA approved wood burning appliances now. So the list is limited. It is similar in New England and New York state. In WA state they are restricted to WA state standards (EPA III?) and only Greenwood passes there (as far as I know).

    The EPA/state limits and the high price points will keep gassers very limited around here. My experience with boilers/gassers is with OWBs myself. Similar limitations apply to them now in the states listed, except in WA state where they are outright banned.
  9. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,211
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I would disagree. I would say that WHO you buy from is more important that WHAT you buy. You need it set up right, or no matter what super boiler you have.. if you can't get the heat into your existing system.. it's worthless.

    If you have problems in a week, a year, or a decade.. WHO you bought it from is much more important than a few hundred bucks. Very happy with my Vigas and Mark from AHONA.

    JP
    hobbyheater likes this.
  10. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,747
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    Do you suppose they have the < 30psi rating because of the limitation of the tanks? Are they square? Do they have stays?
  11. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,362
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    I would respectfully disagree as well. I can agree that dealer support can be necessary in some cases but in the case of a "bullet proof boiler" and a solid installation, whether DIY or professional, we should be able to limit our contact with the dealer network. I've dealt with my dealer exactly two times - the day I ordered my boiler and the day I picked it up. I personally wouldn't by a boiler I was less comfortable with because the dealer was 2 miles down the road vs the one I really want being 4 hours away.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  12. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,753
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    The tank is basically a box in a box like all of them. From looking under the covers and from the cutaway views you can see plenty of stays, but where the tubes curve up around to the front it looks like they may have needed to sacrifice pressure rating in order to incorporate the curved tube feature. The units are obviously highly engineered so I suppose they decided designing for a higher pressure rating wouldn't be worth it.

    The Vedolux 30 and 37 are rated for 22.75 psisg and tested for 31.2, which can work fine, but it does require more expense for expansion in a sealed system. In the northern European market I think they use more elevated expansion cisterns so maybe it's just not a weighty consideration to them.

    And to expand on the 'tall firebox' comment, I like the relatively short, narrow, and tall firebox that I think promotes the ability to run a smaller fire for a longer time, which helps minimize the need for storage because more heat is stored in the wood that hasn't burned yet. I like the Fröling for the same reason.
  13. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    251
    Agreed but not for the reasons listed. The buying masses have a strong predisposition to follow the herd and copy, imitate, regardless of right or wrong.

    It blows my mind every time I think about it, but I cannot understand how the entire population of the earth has been burning wood for the last 10,000 years, and the sum of this great wealth of knowledge and effort has them using appliances less than 25% efficient.

    Even NASA rocket scientists will buy a home and compare themselves to the masses, how many fireplaces, one or two? Rarely or never used, but probably sitting there with the flue dampers open and drafting their heat to the outside 7/24. They invest heavily in fireplaces that go unused while they burn oil. And at resale, the fireplace will have a positive value added, while a gasifier could be a tough sell.

    I will add that a masonry fireplace could be a tremendous heat bank and radiant emitter, Probably by using a factory built gasifiication combustion system and heat extraction from the flue gas to the surrounding masonry mass using "heat pipes". You should be able to bring the masonry up to radiant temp in four hours instead of three days required with conventional designs.

    I'm thinking now, I would love to set a Froling in the living space in a wall or bank of masonry, put a glass door on the secondary chamber, and run a pex zone in with the stonework.

    It really points to a lack of leadership in the market, the herd just wants to follow the herd. This is where gov subsidies and minimum requirements do work. Like with solar cells, uneconomical in many applications, but the subsidies goose the market to expand production volumes and take us from third generation to twelfth generation equipment. It's beyond comprehension, how we have been wood burning for 10,000 years and still be faced with third generation equipment on the market, with the bulk of the buyers still investing heavily in first generation fireplaces.

    Done successfully, efficiently, there's a tremendous quantity of heat in wood. I am very comfortably in the three cord annual range and have easily in the range of four years of heat in piles in the yard.

    Add in the European Passivhaus standard with rigid foam board fully enveloping the exterior of the foundation and you have the option of investing economically in perpetual "free heat".

    I did this on my own with 2" rigid foam exterior to the foundation walls and under the basement slab. That alone may have cut the house heat loss by half. When I build again it will be 4" rigid foam, be contiguous including under the footings, and that will be all the storage I will ever need.

    The options are there now for the buying public, and they are also free to keep running off the cliff following the clueless and lazy herd.
    Bster13 likes this.
  14. pbvermont

    pbvermont Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    55
    Loc:
    northcentvermont
    Somewhere in that 10,000 years the masonry heater was invented. Other names for it were Roman "hypocaust", Korean "kang" both serpentine horizontal flues in the floor, and then there was the Russian or Siberian masonry heater, with a vertical serpentine flue in the chimney. All of these were basically using early gassification principles. The Europeans later used this technology and designed things like the Dutch and German "kakeloffen" or tile stove with serpentive flues to efficiently burn all flue gasses.
    I am constanly agast when I see the modern American house with a large masonry mass on the OUTSIDE and endwall, with 3/4 of the mass exposed to the outside. Inside is a gaping fireplace, maybe a Rumford if you're lucky, and it might have glass doors.
    The masonry heater does not suit the modern lifestyle. But then...neither does the fireplace.
    BoilerMan and flyingcow like this.
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,090
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Somebodies got to say it...........

    All those on the list above are good boilers which if installed an piped correctly will provide many years of service life. All of them are at their best with storage added to the equation.
    So if you add $3K for pumps, tanks, controls, piping and the labor of yourself or others you are basically at the price of a Garn Jr.

    Thoughts?
  16. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,090
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan

    I'd agree but I would parse that just a little differently. In some cases the issue is who you buy it from, but in all cases it is how well the boiler is installed. Some times the two go together sometimes not.
    BoilerMan, ewdudley and hobbyheater like this.
  17. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,753
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    Non-pressurized is a non-starter for me.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  18. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,664
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    In thread about a gasifier especially for the uninitiated, there should always be this warning

    No matter how high tech and well rated a gasifier is, if you don't plan to feed it dry wood (most likely dried undercover properly for two years), don't buy a gasifier as it will not work correctly. That's not related to brand or how much you spend, that's just physics. If you don't plan to follow this rule don't waste the money.
    BoilerMan and flyingcow like this.
  19. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,006
    You are to me one of the more knowledgeable posts on this site and this question is meant as a compliment to you! It would be interesting to know why you see non-pressurized as a non starter?
    The reason I ask is that I have run 1000 gallons storage with a open to atmosphere expansion tank. The boiler and storage sharing the same water; the open expansion tank one floor above, with two heat exchanger inside the storage for DHW and water to the registers.
    This system has operated for 30+ years without a problem.
  20. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,753
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    Sorry, I should be more precise with my terminology. I consider a system with an elevated open-to-atmosphere expansion cistern to be as likely to be trouble-free as a completely sealed system. Indeed, if you could seal the manhole of a Garn off, and then run a 1 1/2" pipe up to an elevated expansion cistern in the rafters of a Garn barn I think you might have the best of both worlds.

    And I'm not saying that Garns, OWBs, and other open systems are not viable, it's just that for me the pumps, heat exchangers, water treatment regimen are ongoing headaches I'd rather not deal with. There are an awful lot of very happy Garn owners who would disagree.
    BoilerMan and hobbyheater like this.
  21. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,006
    Thank you! Great explanation! :)
  22. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,390
    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    pologuy........how's this thread working out?

    heaterman has the best point....again.

    BTW, this is a great BB for biomass and everyone involved.
  23. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,211
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    yes.. I guess if you had a STRONG installer (which seems rare, heaterman excluded of course.) You would need much less help from the dealer.

    My plumber knew very little of what I was trying to do. I had everything from mark from electrical diagrams to pump and valve selections. The end product is much more dependent on how it's installed than what's installed. At least among similar setups. IE lambda or non lambda gassifiers.
    hobbyheater likes this.
  24. All the installer needs to know how to do is join pipes, do a little wiring and READ A SCHEMATIC. There are plenty of well designed schematics available here and at many of the dealer/manufacturer websites. Tarm biomass has provided quite a few that would work in most situations.

    I'd even bet that most owner manuals has a schematic or two.

    These boilers arent exactly complicated. In fact most of them are probably overpriced for what they are -- a steel box or two, some cement, a fan or two and a controller. If you have storage and a properly sized pump the controllers functionality can be replaced by a timer and an aquastat. (don't forget the wire nuts) Very happy with my 3m wire nuts and my dealer Rolly at Rolando's Electrical Emporium.
    flyingcow and hobbyheater like this.
  25. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,090
    Loc:
    Falmouth, Michigan
    Agreed that non-pressurized presents some issues that one needs to be aware of when piping. These are almost always solved by doing a little homework on pipe/tube size to keep system head low, which in and of itself is a good thing anyway in terms of reduced pumping costs.
    The only other thing I can think of is maintaining water chemistry of an open or semi open system which should be monitored annually in any system open or sealed.


    What am I forgetting?
    hobbyheater likes this.

Share This Page