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My pellet brands this year

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by crausch, Dec 24, 2008.

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  1. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I have been in the mood for trying various pellet brands and reviewing how my stove handles with the various brands and types. I am burning in a Harman Advance with the bottom feed auger setup. I am hoping that I can narrow it down to the type that burns best in my stove. Sor far here are my brands purchased:

    1. Turman (Hardwood) manufactured in VA. - Turman Hardwood flooring company. Burns very well with little Ash.
    2. Statesman Hardwood Heat (Hardwood) manufactured by Southern States. Burns good, flame not as active and a little more ash.
    3. Freedom Fuel (Softwood) Manufactured by Natures Earth in Alabama.
    4 Appling County Pellets (soft/hard mix) manufactured in Georgia.

    I stopped down in MD to pick up a few bags of pellets where I bought the Statesman pellets. I was not sure what they would have this time around. All they had were the Appling COunty Pellets. I bought 4 bags to try. After I returned home I searched the forum. Yeah, looks like these babies don't get good reviews. I'll see how they do in my bottom feed stove and report once I have burned through the 4 bags.

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  2. hardingta

    hardingta New Member

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    We have used an Advance as our primary heat source for the past 5 years and have used several of the brands you mentioned, and others.

    Generally, we have used Lignetics hardwood pellets with outstanding results. We normally have to empty the ash pan 2 – 3 times a year while cleaning the glass and fire pot area once a week.

    Right behind Lignetics in performance have been Turman and Hamer fuel pellets. Perfectly happy with these two. Only difference is slightly more fines.

    Once, I bought four bags of Freedom Fuel pellets (softwood), burned two and used the other two for kitty litter.

    Because of shortages this year, our dealer is not able to get either Lignetics, Turman, or Hamer and we have had to use Heat Resource pellets from Fiber Resource in Pine Bluff Ark. Although they are Oak, they produce much more ash on the glass and a thick sticky mass in the fire pot that tends to pile up quite a bit. It's Dec. 26 and we have already emptied the ash pan three times and cleaning the stove has to be done twice a week. Heat output is good and consistent, though.

    With our Advance, we expect for inside temperatures to vary no more than 2-3 degrees over a day when the outside temperature may drop from near 50 in the daytime to 7 at night. We see this performance with the best hardwood pellets but found as much as 6 degree swings with the softwood ones with a much narrower outdoor variance.

    Recommendations, Lignetics, Turman, and Hamer. Stay clear of softwoods and pellets that don't declare that they are hardwoods.

    I hope I have been of some help.
  3. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    The best pellets I've used have always been softwoods... less ash and more heat...

    I'm using a local brand that's bagged here in WI but comes from Canada.... 100% pine. The only pellet that's been better has been a western fir pellet but I like the cheaper price of the pine.

    I quit buying hardwood pellets last year...
  4. Revig

    Revig Member

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    Loc:
    Billings, MT
    In our neck of the woods, we do not have any hardwood pellets per se', due to the fact that there is no hardwood material available in are areas of pellet mills. Our best bet is the pellets that are douglas fir or a blend of woods. I sell the Atlas Ultra Premium Pellets, from Couer D'Alene ID, that are red fir, tamarac and cedar - producing excellent heat output and very minimal ash content. Also sell the Bear Mountain Premium Pellets, Cascade Locks, OR, that are douglas fir and red cedar, again producing great heat output and minimal ash content. Never tried any hardwood pellets -
  5. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback "Advance-man". I have not tried the lignetics yet but I can agree that Turman are very good. So far the batch that I have been using barely have a tablespoon of fines in each bag. I don't think the Turman have been available too far north for the folks try. So far their my best. I also agree that with the Advance and hardwood pellets, my temp pretty much stays right on the money.

    I have not tried the softwood pellets yet so we will see how they burn for me. This morning I opened up the first bag of "Appling County Pellets". I'll be dumping them in later today. They are the mix of hard and soft wood.

    I have read alot of good reviews on the "red fir" pellets.

    I woke up yesterday morning on Xmas only to find that Santa had not left me a free ton of pellets in the driveway. Bummer...I think it is cause he got confused about which type of stove I have because he left me a lump of coal in my stocking. - lol

    Won't burn that!
  6. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Code,

    I've burned 4 different brands in my Astoria so far, NEWP hardwood, Freedom Fuel softwood, Lignetics hardwood, and Fireside Ultra (soft or hard?), and without a doubt, the Lignetics are far and away the best pellet....very little ash, good heat, and no clinkers at all.

    They are what I will be searching for this spring, and if I find them for a decent price, will be the ONLY pellet I will burn next winter. As a matter of fact, I will even be willing to spend a little more than other pellets to get them....they are THAT GOOD!
  7. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    macman, Sounds like I am going to have to get some and try'em.

    I passed some of the Lignetics up a few months back. The ACE Hardware store in town had some but only would sell by the ton. If there is one thing I have learned here, it is to try before you buy. I'll probably find some before the season is over. If you would ever see "Turman" pellets from Virgina, don't be afraid to try those. So far they have been my best.

    Did you get any stove/pellet related presents? Oh...wait a minute, I seem to remember you buying a vacuum for yourself. How is that working out?
  8. imacman

    imacman Guest

    In the case of Lignetics pellets, I don't think the "try before you buy" applies to them....I have never seen on this forum anyone who had anything but praise for them......I'd buy a ton in a heartbeat.

    No, no other pellet stove Christmas presents. The little vacuum I bought a while back works great. Bought some drywall bags that actually are for different vac, cut them up, and made them fit......worked great, no dust flying.

    The Astoria is humming along. Did a big cleaning the other day (everything but the blowers & motors), and it's running great (as I knock on wood & my head....LOL). Except for the cleaning downtime, it's been running 24/7 for a month.

    Been burning NEWP hardwood....their a good pellet, but the Lignetics are still better. I still have 3/4 ton of the Lignetics hardwood left, and a ton of the Lignetics softwood.....saving them for Jan/Feb when it gets REALLY cold (I hope not).
  9. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Loc:
    Upstate New York
    In my limited experience, and living in upstate (WAY upstate) New York, I've gotten hooked on Energex pellets, as I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum. Based on the above, I would try Lignetics if I saw them. Does anyone else use Energex ?
  10. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    South Coast MA
    My first year I burned:
    Energex

    Last year:
    Green Supreme (NEWP)
    Energex
    Fireside Ultra
    Narragansett (think they are out of biz now)

    This year:
    Green Supreme (NEWP)
    Warm Front (NEWP)
    Energex (left over from last year)

    I prefer the Green Supreme over the other brands so far.
    Have not tried out the Lignetics but they seem to get rave reviews from many here.
  11. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I tried to get Energex since they have a plant here in PA. I was hoping to keep my dollars local to the state. By the time I checked the dealers that carried them, the shortage was already under way and everyone one local has been out. I have noticed that the Energex gets good reviews here on the forum just like the lignetics.

    This year I have just been trying different brands. Next year it looks like Lignetics, or Energex, or Turman.
  12. 32acres

    32acres New Member

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    Wrentham MA
    1 ton pennington (type a) light in color, lots of fines, dont burn that hot, not too much ash or clinkers
    1 ton pennington (type b) darker color, no fines, burn hot and little ash or clinkers
    1 ton fireside ultra- very little fines, little ash, burns hot, forms a clinker that fills 1/2 the burn pot every 18 hours or so
    1/2 ton green team-very little fines, little ash, burns hot, almost no clinkers(wish I had bought these first).
    had a ton of corinth, in the newer blue bags. FILLED burn pot with clinker in 2 hours and the smell of them sitting in my cellar was overwhelming, stank up the whole house. had to take 'em back.
  13. South of Boston

    South of Boston Member

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    Just opened a bag of Pres-to-logs got at Lowes in september. very litle dust no clinkers little ash. Seems like a good brand. THe bottom of the bag says from Lignetics of Idaho also West Virginia. Kind of wonder how many re-bagged pellet companies there are.
  14. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I have a feeling that there are alot of rebranded pellets sales out there. I bought several bags awhile earlier this year that said "Statesman - Hardwood Heat". I could not find anything on the web about the brand. The bag said they they were Southern States, which made sense, but I could not find anything on the SS site about them.
  15. South of Boston

    South of Boston Member

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    I know in the food industry most house brands are re-labled as well as most boxed beef. Kind of curious how many pellet factories are really out there. I have seen many different nam brands at HD and Lowes. I bought 2 tons of HEAT LLC from MO. seem to burn nicely.
  16. South of Boston

    South of Boston Member

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  17. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    I noticed that Southern States isn't on the list which means they are manufactured and branded for Southern States by some other manufacturer. After the shortage this year, I have read about many new manufacturers opening up around the states which I guess will only add to the mix. As long as their good quality, I'm not too concerned whos label they put on the bag. I think for consistency though, I would want to stick with a major brand.
  18. foldsct

    foldsct New Member

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    Loc:
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    I'm having issues with pellets............LOTS of clinkers and all that.

    I know I got my pellets late, got stove late and all that, so I know that this winter is going to be a learning one for me.

    WHERE in CT do most people go, and what brand is good? I'm already thinking about next winter..............

    Thank you!!

    Oh--I'm East of the River in CT if that makes a difference, but would travel some if it was worth it.......
  19. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    This evening I will finally get around burning the Appling County Pellets as I mentioned in my original post to this thread. When I bought them I had a full hopper of Turman hardwood pellets that I wanted to burn so that I could analyze the APC pellets fairly. Then we had a couple warm days where I didn't hardly burn at all. Last night I only had a couple cups of the hardwood left in the hopper, so I went ahead and filled the hopper with the APC pellets.

    A short time later I went to check on how things were burning and just my luck, I had my first hopper jam and of course I had just filled the hopper to the top. I was able to bore my hand down through the pellets deep enough to disturb the bridged pellets and then I could hear the tink...tink...tink of pellets falling in the auger again. As the pellets came into the burn pot I could tell these were still the hardwood pellets by their length and color, so I can't blame the jam on the APC pellets. By the end of tonight I'll have a feel for how the Appling County Pellets look to burn in my stove.
  20. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    foldct, did you try Eastern Ct Pellet Sales? Here's their site- http://www.pelletsdelivered.com/home. I haven't used them, but a friend did and he was very happy. Right now looks like they are selling Lignetics for $299/ton.
  21. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    Got a call today that dry creek will be offering pallets of pellets again next monday at 246 per ton. I'll be there.... Dry creek and lignetics are by far the best pellets.
  22. davester02

    davester02 Member

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    True

    Our Southern States carries a pellet labeled as Southern States but the owner told me they are actually Hammer.

    I think this being the first year and with the pellet shortage I have been most happy with Hot Hammer
  23. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    davester02...I took another look at the last empty Statesman bag and it didn't say "manufactured by" but did say "distributed by" Southern States. The address was in Virgina.

    Something I noticed when I bought these last four bags of Appling County Pellets is the strong oder coming from them. My hole basement smells from just the four bags. They smell like wood but there seemed to be something else in the ordor that smelled familiar but I just could place what it was. Then today I was reading an article where some manufacturers include vegatable oil in the process. The oil is used to lubricate their pellet die. Once I read that, it dawned on me that is what the odor smelled like...vegitable oil.

    The first bag I poured in seemed to have a softer, duller finsh to them compared to the pure hardwood Turmans or Statesmans. When I get home tonight, I'll see how they have been burning.
  24. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    And I can finally finish what I started, so here is my review of Appling County Pellets (ACP):

    PROs:
    1. Good length. All pieces average about an inch, maybe even smaller.
    2. Seems to light/ignite quickly.
    3. Burned with fierce flame, high flame, producing hotter distribution air compared to other brands.
    4. Amount of fines in a bag was around 1/4 cup or a little more. Not bad but not excessive

    CONs:
    1. First off the pellets emit a strong wood+ odor even through the unopened bags. My whole basement smells. The wood+ means it smells like wood but something else also. Could possibly be vegetable oil used as a die lubricant.
    2. My sinuses and eyes seem to react to the ACP dust more than the other brands I've used.
    3. Lots of ash and fly ash. This is the most ash I have had from any of the brands so far.

    My conclusion is that I would burn them again if my options were limited. Right now I am just now into wanting to thoroughly clean my stove and pipe any more than I have to. Turman pellets are my best so far. I still need to try the Freedom Fuel softwood pellets. I will definitely pick up Lignetics to try some day.

    ...THE END!
  25. mark d fellows

    mark d fellows New Member

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    I got my Harman Accentra-2 installed on November 4,2008 and burn 24/7

    I have thoroughly cleaned the stove about 4 times.

    I scrap the burn pot twice a day in hopes of burning more efficiently.

    I have tried Hammer Hot Ones, Southern States, Statesmen, Lignetics, and Appling County Pellets.

    I will rate them in reference to performance.

    1. Lignetics. Large long pellets that burn very clean, with little ash and some clinkers. You have to stir the hopper accasionally as they can cause a kind of log jam since they are so big and long. Very few fines and about a half cup of sawdust per bag.

    2. Hamer Hot Ones, A decent pellet. Much dirtier than the Lignetics and maybe hotter. A decent pellet overall. Some fines. Slightly more clinkers

    3. Southern States, Statesman(yes made by Hamer) about as dirty as Hamers, maybe slightly more. More fines that make my Auger bind up and make a growning/screetching noise. They burn ok though and are hot enough. slightly more to the same clinkers as regular Hamers. Lots of "fuzzy" ash all over the inside of the stove.

    4.Appling County Pellets. ACP. Just put a bag in today. They are darker in color and there is a lot of fines. I will get back and let you guys know how they do. I am not impressed so far. I am expecting more auger screeching at least. Just based on how many fines are in the bag, I would probably not buy them again. They also stink. I think it is the pine in them. I often have problems around unpainted pine furniture. The smell doesn't bother me when they are burning but when I have them in the coal bucket in the basement.

    Summary:

    Lignetics keep my stove the cleanest and burn clean with little ash. So far, by far the best. I get clinkers no matter what I burn.
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