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Looking for HONEST answers.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Shano, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Shano

    Shano New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
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    Hello everyone, I am new to this forum. Please help me, I have been what seems to be on a horrible joyride looking for the best wood stove insert. Every dealer I go to seems to have something negative to say about every other dealer and there products.
    As of right now, it appears to be the Lopi Freedom. Any input or advice out there.
    Actually have a small deposit on a VC Merrimack (thinking of getting my deposit back)
    Also looked at: Napolean & Jotul.

    WHICH OF THESE IS THE BEST????????

    Sincerely, Shano

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    There is no best one. There are people on this site that own and like all of them. They are all quality wood stoves and the variable will be getting a stove right sized for what you want to heat and finding a dealer that stands behind the product since the manufacturers don't deal directly with the stove owner.

    For what it is worth I have never heard members say anything but great things about the Freedom insert.
    firebroad likes this.
  3. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    What's the best car on the road? Where's the best clam chowder in the world? My best anything isn't likely to be your best anything. If I was a salesman, then whatever I sold would be the best, hands down. ;lol

    Last weekend I bought a new car. My research included Mercedes, Audi, Infiniti, Volvo, BMW, and Lexus. Which one is best?
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    The best one is the one you wife likes the most.


    Matt
    Ansky, jdp1152, ColdNH and 6 others like this.
  5. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    Cadillac......:p
  6. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Putnam, NY
    The Yugo.
  7. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    Personally I would stay away from Vermont castings because of their long history of expensive parts, parts having to be replaced often, not honoring warrantees and the quality of there products has declined. Can't go wrong with the lopi freedom a lot of very happy lopi owners here including me, but the firebox is tapered in the back which can be kind of a pain. If money isn't a problem and you have the room in your fireplace I would go with the freedom bay because of the more rectangular firebox.
  8. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    New England
    I can't say anything about the others, but I am in the middle of my 5th season burning the Freedom. With the optional blower fan it does a great job heating my 2000 sq ft colonial. On really cold nights the far bedrooms may be only 60 degrees, but that is perfect for sleeping IMO.

    I wanted to go for the Jotul Rockland or 550, whichever is their biggest insert. Only reason I didn't is because they were backordered at the time and I didn't want to wait everlasting months.

    We have had no problems with the stove. I have replaced the door gasket twice, a couple of firebricks here and there, but otherwise no issues.

    I hope this helps.
  9. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    Jun 3, 2008
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    Loc:
    Maryland
    I did a ridiculous amount of homework before I bought my Blaze King Princess insert. No other woodstove begins to approach the burn times of these stoves, and anyone who has burned for a while can appreciate the advantages of a long burn time. It's absolutely incredible and I think anyone looking for an insert should consider one.
  10. NextEndeavor

    NextEndeavor Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
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    244
    Loc:
    Southern Iowa
    Love our Lopi, fantastic quality and like the benefits of the bypass damper. Wife picked it for looks. Great dealer support here too.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is no overall best insert, only the best one for your needs. Before giving an opinion, tell us about your house size, the area you want to heat and what the goal is.

    Also, is the insert going in a masonry fireplace or a zero clearance unit?
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    OK, now you have us hooked. What did you get? (I'm guessing the Audi 4 AWD)
  13. Shano

    Shano New Member

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    Feb 12, 2013
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    I live in a 1700sf ranch style home with a masonry FP. No real good spot for a free standing stove; therefore, an insert is what we need. I realize my question was comical to some; however, I am not familiar at all with these inserts and do not want to take any chances with a poor insert seeing that I would be playing with fire as it is.
    Any way, the placement of the FP is is in a perfect location at the far end of the house and faces the hall way to the other end. Seems to me that it should heat the entire house very well.
    After lots of research and some good feedback here, it appears that I am going with the Lopi Freedom. Furthermore, since I placed this thread earlier, I have managed to locate a slightly uses one for $500.
    Seems to be a no brainer to me.
    I am hoping to view and purchase with in the next couple of days.
    I will let you all know how I made out and hopefully let you know what I think of the unit.
    Thank you to all of you that gave good and helpful feedback.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That is an awesome price if it is in good condition. Good luck!
  15. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Southwest NH
    Funny, I am shopping too, but my research is including Honda, Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen.........

    Oh, and I have two family members burning Jotul inserts who love them
  16. Shano

    Shano New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Hello again, though I seem to be leaning towards the Lopi Freedom, I am now hearing that I should be looking at catalytic stoves vs non catalytic like the freedom. The vermont castings is listed as a non cat as well; however, it is said to be
    Once again, I am getting mixed info and advice out there. This thread has been the only true help thus far.
    I am looking to use this stove as my primary heat source.
    I understand that the cat lowers the emissions by reburning the smoke and such.
    Is there really a big difference in heat output?
    I am not sure where to go at this point.
    Please help me pick the right stove.
  17. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Eastern Kansas
    My friend installed a Lopi Freedom insert last year and he loves it. I think it is a good looking insert, and hasn't caused him any trouble at all. He burns it 24/7 in the heating season. I haven't seen a Freedom Bay, but if that design overcomes the tapered back issue, that would would be a plus.

    Whenever we cut wood together, he cuts stuff longer than me. I asked him about it once, and he said since his stove would take a longer piece, there was no since cutting shorter ones - so maybe that tapered back issue is not such a big deal anyhow?
  18. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    The best stove might be the one that is fairly simple to run has a good reputation and has a local dealer that stocks parts and very well versed on how to get the most out of your purchase. If you have a local dealer that sells the same brand that you bought you might have them do the install and look over the stove to make sure everything is there and safe. If you send them some work up front they are much more liable to want to help you out in the future if you have a problem. You might also do a accuratsketch of the fire place you want to install the stove and verify it will fit and meet all needed clearances up front so the install does not turn into a huge project that could have been avoided by selecting a differet stove.
  19. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    Good point here. I built a cardboard box model of the stove I eventually installed and I found tha tthe little bit of trouble was worth the piece of mind before dropping the $2-3K the insert costs. Maybe you dont have to build the model of your stove, but REALLY take the time to measure everything close.
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Subaru.
  21. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    You never mentioned your budget, if you are looking for a no frills insert that has long burn times I have heard that servicesales.com is having a sale on the Appalachian Bay 52's again, I know of at least one other member that has just bought one, it is one of the cheaper cat inserts out there.
  22. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Central Va
    Modern non-cats like the Lopi burn the smoke too. The difference is that a cat can do it at a lower temp/air setting, so you can get longer burns from a cat stove. Cat stoves generally are ~10% more efficient, but non-cats generally work better at higher output levels. I think the current VC stoves use both, calling the setup 2in1 or hybrid. I like cats, but the Lopi for $500 sounds pretty good to me, if in good condition. If it doesn't give you the burn times you need, sell it for $500 and get a cat stove.;) I would think that you'd be able to get at least 10 hours out of the big Lopi with a full load of hardwood . .maybe start another thread asking for burn times for it.



    BMW!
    . . .before they got fat ~15 years ago. Doh!
    BMW seems to be focused on building big cushy "Cadillacs" nowadays, while Cadillac is going after the "BMW" market with some good-handling cars. WTF!
    Oh, and. . .I'd take any of the above for $500. ==c
  23. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    As you are talking to multiple dealers, consider the install too. Much under-appreciated is the value of the proper chimney system. Having a properly lined and insulated flue with block-off plates could well make more of a difference in the results than choosing one of these stoves over the other.

    I'd suggest you do your research (reviews, BBB, etc) on whoever is going to be installing and servicing this stove. That may not help you choose the place to buy but may eliminate one or two contenders.

    Then of course no matter what stove you go with you need wood that is very dry to get best results. You rarely can find this so beware.

    As to the Cat vs Non-Cat question. There are endless debates here on this topic (bordering on religious). Bottom line is that if you have dry wood and a good install either technology will serve you quite well. The benefit of the Cat stove is in the times when you want long slow burns - i.e. fall and spring when you want to heat but not overheat the place. You can achieve the same effect in non-cat stoves by building smaller fires, but you are more likely to have to re-light the stove (vs start from coals) with the non-cat stove during these "shoulder seasons."

    Hope this helps!
  24. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    "Looking for HONEST answers..."
    welcome to the forum Shano.
    The nice thing about this place is that everyone is here to help. Do your own due diligence, and be weary of dealers that bad mouth their competition. Choose one who's superior service and knowlege of his/her product makes the other dealers look bad without them saying anything disparaging. Then you know you have a winner.
    Research will verify if your salesperson is being honest with you. And lastly, no need to specify that you are looking for "HONEST" advice here. You will get loads of it here and it will be fueled by the best of intentions so you can reasonably assume it will all be honest. Good luck and get that stove asap before it gets warm. It's no fun looking at a brand new stove all spring and summer having never burned it before. Dive in!
  25. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    You may want to think about the dealers also. I went with one that was very close and had a good reputation. I don't want to drive an hour to get parts which you will need in the future. I have a Lopi endeavor and I had a problem and they honored the warrantee after 4 years of me having the stove. If a dealer is bad mouthing some other brand maybe he isn't that confident about his own.

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