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Harman Oakleaf vs Lopi Leyden

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Cold Madison, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Cold Madison

    Cold Madison New Member

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    I have been researching wood burning stoves and think I have narrowed it down to the Harman Oakleaf or the Lopi Leyden. Can anyone shed some light on my decision. I have looked for reviews of the Oakleaf but can't find any.

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  2. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    They have similar burn technology, but I believe the Leyden is about the size of my stove (Oakwood) while the Oakleaf is a bit smaller?

    Lopi has a better reputation for customer service than Harman, but consider also the service you will get from your local dealer, if you can get a feel for that.

    The downdraft/crossdraft burn technology makes these stoves a bit less user-friendly (for some, a lot less!) and maybe a bit more in need of babysitting - with a longer learning curve - than either burn tube or cat stoves. Also may need more frequent replacement of pricy burn-chamber parts and bricks, but again, that seems to vary widely with user. YMMV.

    These stoves like to burn hot, so I find the stove to be less than ideal in the warmer shoulder-season months (like now) but it is a real workhorse in the dead of winter. How many SF are you heating, and will you be using 6" venting all the way up?
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome cold madison. Branchburner has brought up some good points. Downdraft stoves don't work well for every situation and will be higher maintenance over the long haul. Before committing, tell us more about why you are choosing the stove, describe the space you are trying to heat, and tell us about the flue/chimney it will be connected to.
  4. lumbering on

    lumbering on Feeling the Heat

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    I purchased a Lopi Leyden this year. I did not know when I bought it that the downdraft stove would be more difficult to operate, but it has been difficult, and it has been a bit of a learning curve over the past month, (with a lot of help from reading this site). It is not tolerant of anything but perfectly seasoned wood, or shutting down the airflow too soon. It takes about 2 hours from a cold start to get going, but once it gets going, with a good coal bed, it can heat my entire first floor for the rest of the night. The top loading is a nice feature. It looks very nice as well.
  5. Cold Madison

    Cold Madison New Member

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    I will be using a 6 inch pipe all the way. Would like to heat approx 1200-1500 sq ft. I really like the top loading feature of both these stoves. Did not hear about the problem with customer support from Harman but DID hear about problems with Lopi's customer support. I will be going with a local vendor that has been in business for several years.
  6. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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  7. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    This sums it up well for my stove, too. Even after a few years, I still sometimes have trouble getting the air just right for a burn that is not too hot, or one where the secondary burn stalls out. In the dead of winter, when burning long and hot 24/7, it is less of an issue. But during this time of year it is a PITA.

    And x2 on the seasoned wood. The burn and air setting, and time until secondary burn starts, will greatly vary on the size, type, and dryness of the wood. One thing I've learned is I get best results from a cold start when using really dry branch wood and/or pallet scraps... that will bring that 2-hour time way down.
  8. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I would suggest you be two years ahead on your wood supply with this type of stove (but a good idea for any stove, when possible). This of course is tough when you first start - I was zero years ahead, and had to scrounge a lot of pallets and dead branch wood.

    The ideal situation, whether buying green or cutting your own, would be to start each winter with two seasons worth of wood. If you burn four cords a year, you would start the winter with four cords of wood aged 1-2 years for this season and four cords of wood aged 0-1 years for next season, and maintain that reserve.

    I have tried but not quite managed this. If this is impossible to do, or you have no access to dry branch/pallet wood, I'd suggest a burn-tube stove if you want to avoid any frustration. They obviously like well-seasoned wood, too, but seem a little more forgiving for many users. (A cat stove might fall in the middle as far as this goes, but others may differ in that opinion.)

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