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Vermont Castings vs Dutchwest

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by leeave96, Feb 17, 2011.

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  1. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    I am going on Monday to have a look-see at a Dutchwest XL Cat stove. The dealer also sells Vermont Castings (which I know makes DW stoves too).

    What I want in a new stove, aside from reliability over a LONG period of time, are the following:

    Cat combustor
    Large firebox
    Easy on the eye looks
    Ash pan
    Easy to clean front glass via a front door
    Side loading (or in the VC's case - top loading)

    I think the Dutchwest fills the bill on all of the above - at a $2K-ish price point.

    But...

    When I spoke to the dealer on the phone, he was really pushing the new VC stoves with the 2 n 1 burn deal.

    My concern with the VC (and I would look at a Defiant) is the refractory material and the load of posts I have read about them crumbling, how expensive the stove is to repair and how some of these VC stoves need repair/rebuilding after a few years of use.

    How much better are the VC Defiant type stoves than the cat versions of the Dutchwest? Any quality difference I should be concerned with?

    My Dad had an old VC Defiant Encore and it was really nice on the eyes. It was a cat stove, but made a lot of creosote - likely from not burning the best of seasoned wood. From what I recall, the cat was a pain in the arse to remove to clean/replace too, but all in all it was a good stove and still in use today by another user to whom the stove was sold.

    I am considering several stoves, but keep coming back to the Dutchwest because of the features I want - but haven't really considered a VC Defiant.

    What do you think about the DW vs VC stoves?

    Thanks!
    Bill

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  2. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    I bought my CDW Small 2460 new 15 years ago. It has been a reliable, predictable heating unit. I know nothing of the VC stoves, having never had one I cannot comment on them.

    I've replaced the refractory once, 3 cats and some new gaskets, I can highly recommend the DutchWest Cat stoves. :zip:
  3. afptl

    afptl Member

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    My impression from the stove store last fall was the dutchwest you have to use an electric blower for it to work properly and the Vermont castings would work fine with out a blower. the VC will radiate heat out with out a blower. Important to me in case of power outage.
  4. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    I'd urge you to read some of the prior posts concerning warranty issues, parts availabilty, quality control and general reliabilty for either Dutchwest or Vermont Castings. Another brand might be a much better choice.
  5. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    The Dutchwest isn't a top-loader but the front door is handy for building a fire and knocking down ashes. If you could score a nice used one for cheap, that might be the way to go.
    I recently got a blower for my Small, and it really moves the heat out of the stove. I don't run it all the time, just when I need a quick rise in room temp. I put longer bolts in the block-off plates so that I can just drop them down without removing them, to let the natural convection work. Sometimes I don't want the fan noise.
    How much square footage are you heating? Keystone not cutting it? I'm expecting the Keystone to put out a bit more heat than the Dutchwest small.
    If you look here, the XL doesn't seem to put out that much more than the Small. I don't know how much stock you can put in their figures, though...
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    My BIL has a CDW for quite a few years and are very pleased to have it. They're replaced the CAT a few times but really love the stove.
  7. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    The Keystone is super and couldn't be more pleased with it. The next stove will be a basement install on a new addition to my house on the other end of the house. You will like the Keystone.

    Thanks,
    Bill
  8. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    DOH! Forgot to put the link in my last post. Like I said, I don't know how much weight their figures carry; Conventional wisdom here sez Bigger Firebox=More Heat.

    http://www.epa.gov/oecaerth/resources/publications/monitoring/caa/woodstoves/certifiedwood.pdf
  9. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    They show the 2461 (large) as outperforming the 2462 (XL), I'm thinking misprint.
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Dutchwest works fine with no blower as it uses natural convection and also you'll realize radiant heat as well.. I like the blower especially in cold weather and it moves the air better..

    Ray
  11. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Entirely possible. The Jotul F400 Castine and F3CBII figures seem like they might be reversed...
  12. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Bill,
    The DW is a convection stove, but by no means does it not work without the blower. I have a blower on 90% of the time because the stove sits inside a livingroom that is not part of an open floor layout. If I didn't have the blower the room would be even hotter. As Ray said they also radiate heat without convection, not only through the single layer side door and glass, but throughout the entire cast iron stove.

    As far as the Defiant, I would think it's similar to its little brother the Encore. There are lots of comments about it on this thread.
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/66655/
    I'm picking up an older Defiant Encore 2190 Cat stove soon and wonder how it'll compare to my DW. The 2190 is going into my basement, which may be overkill considering I only need to heat 750 sq ft down there. I hope to find the stove will heat the entire house from down there and I'll only burn the DW when it's in the teens and single digits. If I had the money to buy new I would certainly consider the 2n1.
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