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Question for everyone that wants to answer. Oh boy this will fire a lot of people up.

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by kinsmanstoves, Sep 15, 2011.

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  1. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,354
    Loc:
    Kinsman, Oh 44428 Brookfield, Oh 44403
    I want to ask everyone why they did not buy a Harman or QuadraFire stove but settled for another brand? Yes I am a dealer for Harman, QuadraFire, and Heatilator stoves. I have sold other brands and I am familiar with most of the common problems related to each brand of stove. I am aware that there is also a slight price difference in some of the units but I want to address that issue as it comes up, because it will.

    I have had numerous people come into the store to "upgrade" to a Harman or QuadraFire. I ask them this question and these are the main answers.

    The top answers I get are,
    1.) They were just getting into the pellet stove area and they were not aware of the difference of quality in the manufacturers of stoves.

    2.) They got a good deal so bought the unit they have.

    I will leave it at this for now and see what answers I get.

    Thanks
    Eric

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  2. richkorn

    richkorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    585
    Loc:
    SE CT
    My first choice was a Harman XXV but they were on back order from my closest Harman dealer for like 4 months (3 years ago when fuel oil shot up). So my second choice was the Lopi Leyden from the same dealer, which I purchased and am very happy with it.

    The Quad Castille was also a second choice but I did not go to that dealer, although they are very close to me, since I already decided on the Lopi from dealer #1.
  3. JHASS

    JHASS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    122
    Loc:
    Jersey Pines
    I spent 2 years looking for a multi-fuel stove. After much research into many stoves including Harman and Quadrafire and
    many more the Enviro won out. Yes price did play into it but wasn't the only factor. I did not see where either stove manufacturer
    offered one with a stirrer, I could be wrong with that statement but at the time I couldn't find one.
  4. buildingmaint

    buildingmaint Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    459
    Loc:
    Oil City PA
    My friend has a Big E , and he liked it. I looked at Harman stoves , and my friend bought one, and I must say it is beefyier then my Big E, but it came with a 1 bag hopper. My Big E holds 3 ,so I don't have to feed it every day. Price, I bought my Big E in Washington state, had it shipped with all piping , cheaper then I could buy a stove near by, and I'm not talking $100.00 or $200.00 , more like $700.00.
  5. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,354
    Loc:
    Kinsman, Oh 44428 Brookfield, Oh 44403
    Nice, one hour into this and no death threats, I like it. This is great info, please keep it going.

    Eric
  6. doghouse

    doghouse Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    197
    Loc:
    maine
    Mostly price.

    Death threat (couldn't resist). :coolmad:
  7. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,188
    Loc:
    cortland ny
    Lack of knowledge when I had a last minute decision to buy a stove for the first time. Right now the prices and /or lack of funds. I regret to this day ( 4 years later ) not taking the time to educate my self on pellet stoves before I bought one.
  8. jdempsey

    jdempsey Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2011
    Messages:
    263
    Loc:
    kentucky
    In my research for a stove i specifically was wanting a multifuel unit. I read reviews from the top of the line stoves to the bottom of the barrel. Sure price played a role on my purchase of an Englander unit. Who does not want to save money. But on the same hand if the money saved will lead to probs down the road, well i want no part of that.

    Anything i buy online i read reviews and tons of info on different units. Yes i think harmon makes some of the best looking and probably most electronically advance stoves in the market but thats alot of cash. And looks is secondary to function for me. Before i purchased the 10-CPM i could find practically no info or reviews online until i happen onto this forum. Seems several on here recommend and love theirs and i found out that a guy across town has a 10-CPM i asked his opinion and he really liked his had no probs.

    Now if the stove i actually bought was being reviewed as being junk or having alot of probs i would have continued looking for something else. Who knows maybe one day ill get a top of the line stove. Im new to this game and ill cut my teeth on the cheaper unit i have, and use the saved cash for pellets and other family necessities.
  9. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,326
    Loc:
    NoPellettons, MA
    My dealer did not sell Harman's. It came down to the one I got and a St. croix. The deciding factor was hopper size and btu potential. I would put hopper size as my first priority next go around. I don't care much for which brand. I certainly am not an expert but they all seem very similar to me. Computer, two blowers, and an auger.
  10. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    915
    Loc:
    Limerick, Maine
    I'll chime in from the boiler front...

    Bad reviews, especially the ignitor. As well as, poor customer service/support. That was back in '08. Not sure if either have changed.
  11. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7,036
    Loc:
    Salem NH
    Hello

    Well I really like the 115 lb hopper and also the reliability. Also the historical records show that reliability was a major concern on improvements. Like going from a 250 watt to 200 watt igniter so it would last longer.

    I understand the Harmon's use a 306 watt igniter so let's take that for an example.

    Why 306 watts? Does Harmon have any plans to go less for reliability?

    Can you or I put in a lower wattage igniter into any of the Harmon Models for more reliability?

    Reference the Igniter heavan post
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/78371/

    Attached Files:

  12. GrahamInVa

    GrahamInVa Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    513
    Loc:
    Eastern, Virginia
    I did not buy a Harman or any other brand mainly because of price. I could buy almost two stoves for the price of one Harman. I researched and found great reviews on the stove I purchased and also their great customer service, which is hard to come buy these days. Not that Harman's or others are any different.

    With that said.. i'm new at this..

    EDIT: Also, I didn't really see a Harman and I liked the looks of too much. I wanted a big bay window and didn't like the look of the Advance.
  13. timss13

    timss13 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Loc:
    Peterborough, NH
    I went with Quad Mt Vernon insert for a few reasons. Quality, appearance and great dealer to work with were at the top of the list. This is a centerpiece in our living room so I wanted something that would work with the old colonial farmhouse look. This is our 4th season with it and still love it.

    I did not consider any other than Quad and Harman since my choices were limited (insert rather than free standing)
  14. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,354
    Loc:
    Kinsman, Oh 44428 Brookfield, Oh 44403
    From what I heard from the Harman techs when I was at the plant they briefly tried a different ignitor and that is the one that failed. They have since went to the 306 watt ignitor and that is the one they are staying with. This pictures you posted will not work in the Harman stoves. Harman has an air pump aasisted electric element in some of their units.
  15. JBiBBs5

    JBiBBs5 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    I did a lot of research and almost purchased a Harman P43. Then I did some more research and decided I wanted a multi--fuel stove. Found a great deal on a very sharp looking Enviro M55C. Considering I'll be paying just about the same I would have for the P43, I feel like I'm getting a lot more bang for my buck.
  16. festerw

    festerw Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    When I bought my Englander it was over a $1000 cheaper than any other stove I considered fully aware it was a lower end stove I jumped and haven't been sorry.

    Other than 1 exhaust blower and a lower auger assembly and motor (replaced under warranty last year) I've been very happy with its performance having run 24/7 for the last 5 years.
  17. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,463
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    I saved a bunch over the P68 with my Omega! So put me down for price. And the plus is it will eat the same diet as the P45, But with more hoss power!
  18. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I bought my first stove (Avalon Astoria) used, from a local dealer who was going out of business. Main reason was price, but I had read some reviews that they made a good stove.

    The decision on the Englander was because of superior customer service, multi fuel, price.
  19. unklechuckles19

    unklechuckles19 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Snydersville PA
    We just got done with our biggest advertising events of the year here, a local fair (approx. 151,000 people through the gates this year and about 80% of our total stove sales come from here) and I do a lot of talking to folks who have all kinds of stoves. When I speak with these folks I often ask them what drove them towards a stove OTHER than the Harman, St. Croix, Quad etc. and half of the answers I get are "I wish I would have researched more, I bought the first one I saw" and "price". I can also speak for my mother, who purchased her Thelin based almost solely on the look. After looking at the Harman's, the Quad's, the St. Croix's she settled on the Thelin because of its looks. They all had auto ignition, all ran on a thermostat, so they were all the same except for looks. I will note this, she purchased the stove before I worked in the industry, so I wasn't an influence.
  20. ebengel

    ebengel Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    134
    Loc:
    nw nj
    When we started looking 3 years ago we went to our closest dealer, who is a Harman dealer. They did not want to be bothered talking to us. So we figured if that is the attitude before the sale how bad will it be after the sale. We went to another dealer about 20 miles away who handled Quad's, saw the Thelin while we were there and loved it. They installed it and have been great with any info and parts that we have needed since.
  21. DMZX

    DMZX Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    211
    Loc:
    NE. Oregon
    I was a total noob to pellet stove when I begin looking around for one.

    First stop was to look at Home Depot. They sold Englanders special order only, but when I talked to the contract guys about lining up an install they shrugged. They gave me the feeling that they had other more important things to do. Whatever.

    Next stop was a dealer that was 50+ miles away and sold Quadra-Fire. When I got to his shop he was out and his 20 something son kept saying his Dad would be right back. The dealer also sold and repaired chainsaws, and his son was the chainsaw guy as he seemed to know nothing about the pellet stoves in the very cluttered showroom. He gave me a pamphlet to look at. I waited around for about 30 minutes and told him I would come back later. I noticed that the outside of the shop looked like a huge chainsaw/wood stove/motorcycle bone yard. Unimpressed and impatient, I did not go back.

    Next stop was a masonry guy that was in the Yellow Pages under pellet stoves. He sold a brand I was unfamiliar with, but said he could do the hearth and chimney install as long as he did not have to climb on the roof, stating he was too old for that and had a bad heart. Pass.

    Next stop was a Lopi dealer, I found looking in the Nickel classified ads, that was nearby, selling out of his farm implement shop. His wife owned the business. They were quite helpful and had a list of several contractors that could do the installation. They gave me a estimate on the stove, accessories and installation, which even though it was nearly $1k than I had budgeted for but, I accepted it for these reasons:

    -I got a good quality stove that fit my needs perfectly
    -I got very high quality pipe and hearth
    -They had a good supply of parts and could provide maintenance support as needed
    -They seemed to want my business, were very friendly and very helpful
    -They sold Bear Mt pellets

    1 month later my stove was set up and ready for fire.
  22. stallau

    stallau Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    75
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    You covered my reasons pretty well already. It was my first stove and it would have been about $500 - $1000 over my Big E. I had one child in college and another headed shortly so money was a driving factor but since I used 5 tons of pellets but just 93 gallons of oil it has definitely helped cover college. I can see and feel the difference as I look after having my stove but mine is in the basement and if I had it in the living area I would definitely want a different stove due to the volume of the fans.

    I do also like the 3 bag fill which means I can go a few days at a time even though I do check it daily anyways.
  23. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,649
    Loc:
    North Georgia
    We wanted inserts. The closest dealer sells Harmans and wouldn't budge on the HIGH price. Also, the salesman didn't know even how to open the door let alone how to do the maintenance. Had no idea if they installed them either. So I got out of there and went to another dealer farther away but he had 6 or 8 (can't remember) stoves hooked up and fired each one up for us to show us the operation of each and the plus or minuses. Also he had a whole wall of repair manuals for each brand and showed up his certificates from his visits to the factories' tech classes. Very knowledgeable. He also heated his house next door with an AE. We were able to get both stoves with the rebates that were still going on with Quad at the time (2+ yrs ago). They did both installs including complete relines plus some special 'tin knocking' to get the Sante Fe to fit within my narrow oak mantle for $900 including 1 1/2 hour drive each way and a ton of pellets.

    I'm a hands-on engineering manager (retired) and trained in the Navy in nuke power, electrical, electronics, etc so I've been able to understand the operation of the stoves and do what little (knock on wood) troubleshooting was necessary. To me, a knowledgeable service dept is a must for those less handy or too old to screw with it, which is coming into my realm shortly! Price is not everything with these beasts, as you know. I'm happy with my Quads. Not overly impressed with the Chinese workmanship but they are simple and perform adequately. My only regret is that I didn't put a 1200 in place of the Sante Fe to get a few more BTU'S.
  24. VTrider

    VTrider Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    191
    Loc:
    Northern New England Burlington Vermont
    For me, I was looking for

    * Quality product / stove which meets my needs
    * Dealer Support / relationship
    * Price

    I have two well established Harmon and Enviro dealers within 20 minutes. Since I needed a big A$$, no frills, well-built, 60,00btu+ pellet stove with a great track record, the choice was easy - Enviro Maxx or Harmon P68

    It's my opinion that 'either' stove would have met my needs, but I went with the Enviro Maxx for the following reasons:


    * Maxx comes with 130lb hopper compared to 76lb hopper on the p68 (Harmon hopper extension is available to 136lb, this is extra = more cash)
    * I wouldn't say significantly, but purchase price on the Maxx was less than the P68 and this did factor in on this case
    * I've been an existing Enviro pellet stove owner (Windsor model) for 7+ years and they haven't let me down, very impressed w/company
    * Most importantly (for me), is that the Enviro dealer is a family owned business who's been in the community for a long time with a well established customer support record. I'm fairly independent with a decent set of DIY skills, but I know if I'm in a jam - my dealer will come through for me.
  25. Nicholas440

    Nicholas440 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    344
    Loc:
    Northeast Oh
    I was totally new to the pellet world and knew absolutely nothing about them. I have a Quad Castile insert, for 3 years now, and I hope I can unload it next year and buy an insert that holds 40 lbs of pellets or more, runs quiet, does not howl, sqeak, rattle, or growl, has quiet fans and gives me some control over the airflow and not just a 3 position rocker switch. Some added info, I take meticulous care of my Quad , it looks as clean and new today as it did when I had it installed, I tear it down every year, clean and repaint the interior as well. But I'm just not happy with it.

    In my opinion the Quads are over rated and not very well designed. The Quad was also more expensive than other brands I looked at when I bought it. And as I said when I bought it I did not know a thing about how they worked , what to look for etc . Now I have the knowledge thanks to this forum and my next insert will be one that I can be happy with. My Quad will most likely end up on Craigslist soon.
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