Question: I am in the process of selecting a pellet stove to replace an aging coal burning insert. One dealer I went to swears that bottom feed mechanisms are the way to go- while another says that only the top feed are acceptable. Actually- the latter brought up a good point... he said that bottom feed stoves are more prone to back-fires. Can you shed any light on this subject? Answer: Back feed can happen with either type. Here's the basic scoop" 1. Top Feed ... More efficient by a few percent or more...can usually turn down lower...needs the best quality of pellets...fire goes out quickly if everything is not just so since the firepot only have a small amount burning in it...fire is not as realistic as bottom feed. 2. Bottom Feed....Can burn any quality pellets- some even burn corn....Have a large ember bed- so do not go out easily..have a much better looking fire....may be less efficient (depends on brand and design. Harman stoves has a good reputation for bottom feed stoves...Travis industries (Lopi and Avalon) for top feed..but there are many others worth considering also.