Big box store pellet stove recommendations

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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
Hey everyone,

I got a wood insert last year and really liked it but my house is a standard colonial house with the opposite of an open floor plan. With that, I had trouble heating beyond the living room (which has the insert), kitchen, and bit of the foyer. My family room and dining room remained cold all year despite the insert's efforts.

As a result I'm planning on installing a pellet stove in my family room on the opposite corner from the insert to help it out. However, I plan on installing the stove myself to save some money (roughly a $4k savings in my area to do it myself) where as I had a local place install last year.

Most/all local installers will only install their own sold stoves, obviously, so I'm left looking at big box places and was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a medium stove or a more reputable brand. The main ones I find are PelPro, Comfortbuilt (which I don't care for the look of), Pleasant Hearth, the Tractor Supply brand Grand Teton, Cleveland Iron Works, and US Stoves. I'm sure there's other super high end stoves out there but this is more of a supplement to my insert, so not looking to spend 4k on a pellet stove alone. Any insight would be appreciated.
 
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Shank

Member
May 21, 2022
90
Ohio
Hey everyone,

I got a wood insert last year and really liked it but my house is a standard colonial house with the opposite of an open floor plan. With that, I had trouble heating beyond the living room (which has the insert), kitchen, and bit of the foyer. My family room and dining room remained cold all year despite the insert's efforts.

As a result I'm planning on installing a pellet stove in my family room on the opposite corner from the insert to help it out. However, I plan on installing the stove myself to save some money (roughly a $4k savings in my area to do it myself) where as I had a local place install last year.

Most/all local installers will only install their own sold stoves, obviously, so I'm left looking at big box places and was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a medium stove or a more reputable brand. The main ones I find are PelPro, Comfortbuilt (which I don't care for the look of), Pleasant Hearth, the Tractor Supply brand Grand Teton, Cleveland Iron Works, and US Stoves. I'm sure there's other super high end stoves out there but this is more of a supplement to my insert, so not looking to spend 4k on a pellet stove alone. Any insight would be appreciated.
I think a good move would be to watch facebook or craigslist in your area for a preowned Harman or similar if you’re willing to go with something used. I am in the process of installing my $600 Harman.

I did a fair amount of research with a similar goal as you and ultimately decided going to a better quality, but preowned, was the way to go.

The box store stoves can be made to run right but it seemed they would be more temperamental.
 
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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
I think a good move would be to watch facebook or craigslist in your area for a preowned Harman or similar if you’re willing to go with something used. I am in the process of installing my $600 Harman.

I did a fair amount of research with a similar goal as you and ultimately decided going to a better quality, but preowned, was the way to go.

The box store stoves can be made to run right but it seemed they would be more temperamental.

Thanks for the response. I was looking at that as well. I can find Englander stoves all over marketplace near me. Do you think a $500 used Englander is a better option than a brand new big box stove? I'm unfamiliar with most of the stove brands beyond what I read here and Englander seems to have a pretty good reputation.
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
282
PA
Can you draw a floor plan and show us what you're thinking?
 

Shank

Member
May 21, 2022
90
Ohio
Thanks for the response. I was looking at that as well. I can find Englander stoves all over marketplace near me. Do you think a $500 used Englander is a better option than a brand new big box stove? I'm unfamiliar with most of the stove brands beyond what I read here and Englander seems to have a pretty good reputation.
I am far from an expert, but Englander is what I was going to go with initially. From reading, they can be a bit of a pain to get to run right, but once you do they seem to run well. They will likely be more picky on types of pellets than something like a Harman. It seems a lot of the better quality stoves will be MSRP $3,000 and up, while an Englander is sub $1,500. If you're willing to do some messing around, an Englander will likely be a good option.

If you can find a marketplace Harman (or similar, more can speak on other good brands) for around $1,000 in good shape, you may be happier overall.

Just to note, I am over $1,000 in vent piping, but I have to go through the roof.
 

Juddct

New Member
Feb 7, 2021
29
New England
I went this route last year and got an Englander on close out for $400, new. I now just picked up a used Harman and the difference in the stoves is pretty crazy, at least construction wise. I could never get the Englander to put out much heat despite several different pellets and settings.

If it was me, I’d look for a used Harman.
 

Ocelot

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2010
119
Hudson Valley, NY
Englander was big box store stove, not sure if it still is. I bought my first pellet stove from Lowes back in 2009 and it was an Englander EP-25 bay front stove. Although for the Lowes stores, it had a different model number, but the same exact thing. I think it was somewhere around $1400 back then. Anyway, It served us well for 12 years until I replaced it with a few year old Harman P43 last summer. The Englander was our main heat source in our small house for all those years and did it's job pretty well and I don't regret buying it. Depending on how bad the winter, I burn between 3 1/2 to close to 5 tons per year. When I bought the used Harman, I sold the 12 year old Englander for $450 last summer.

Having said that, last winter was our 1st year with the Harman P43 and I have to say it's a night and day difference. While the Englander did heat the house, it required much more daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance to keep it running its best. I replaced parts on the Englander over the years like a few auger motors and combustion motors, but that's to be expected and it did it's job. I was amazed last winter at the lesser maintenance and how much easier the similar maintenance tasks were. It also runs smoother, and quieter than the Englander did. When I bought the Harman, it was a few years old, but also sat in a garage for over a year as well, so before I installed it, I completely overhauled it and upgraded cosmetic features and a few parts keeping the old ones for spares. I was impressed how easy removing installing motors, augers, etc was compared to the Englander which I had also done a few times over the years.

Overall, The Englander served us well, but I'm very glad to now have the better stove.

Ray
 
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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
Thanks for all the responses. I'm definitely toying with the Harman. The biggest snag is my insurance company wants professional installation, which is easy if buying a new Harman but local dealers only install what they sell, so scouring FB Marketplace or CL isn't an option. As a result, if I want a Harman I'm gonna have to fork over the big bucks which has me looking at some others, such as the Quadrafire, for comparison and one thing I noticed about Quads was that they look nearly identical to PelPro stoves I can grab at Tractor Supply. I know Harman, Quad, and PelPro are all owned by HHT but would the Quad be that much better than the PelPro? Particularly the Outfitters. Compare the Outfitter II to PelPro p130. Those two could be twins. Is the engineering and materials distinctly better in the Quad than PelPro? I'm aware that I'll still need professional installation of a PelPro, but it just struck me as interesting when comparing the options.
 
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Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
Updating and answering my own question, again Incase someone has the same question in the future.

I emailed PelPro asking about the difference between the Quadfire Outfitters and PelPros. In a nutshell, they're the exact same stove except the Quadfires have the ability to make use of an external thermometer and the differences end there. The primary advantage is that the Quad comes with the expertise of a retailer/pro installation and eventual servicing by the retailer while the PelPro is geared towards DIYers.

Basically if you're confident in your ability to install and service, the PelPro will save you a grand. If you're not mechanically inclined then the Quad is a safer choice.

Hope this helps someone, certainly helped me.
 
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lowb35

Member
Mar 6, 2020
31
Allegany County, NY
Just saw this after your post on another thread as well as the one about homeowners insurance. Based on your original list the PelPro looks like a good choice since it's an HHT brand and may be better quality than the other options (I'd definitely choose any HHT over any US Stove brand). I have a CAB50 which is the old model rolled into the Quad line about a year ago and replaced by the Outfitter II. It's super easy to clean, maintain, and work on and other than the burn pot and external thermostat only it's pretty similar to the PelPro PP130 in that regard. Not sure having the ability to hook up an external thermostat is worth a grand. I almost bought the PP130 a couple of years ago and got a used CAB50 instead, and if I knew Quad would be retiring that line for rebranded PelPros I would have gotten a new PelPro. Love love love having the 130 lb hopper.
 
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kneljoy

New Member
Nov 5, 2022
3
Vermont
Updating and answering my own question, again Incase someone has the same question in the future.

I emailed PelPro asking about the difference between the Quadfire Outfitters and PelPros. In a nutshell, they're the exact same stove except the Quadfires have the ability to make use of an external thermometer and the differences end there. The primary advantage is that the Quad comes with the expertise of a retailer/pro installation and eventual servicing by the retailer while the PelPro is geared towards DIYers.

Basically if you're confident in your ability to install and service, the PelPro will save you a grand. If you're not mechanically inclined then the Quad is a safer choice.

Hope this helps someone, certainly helped me.
This helps me a lot as I was comparing these as well. I am completely new to pellet stoves and ideally wanting the option for wifi thermostat on my phone, but I didn't think the outfitter had that capability... or does it? It's not a deal breaker as the main thing for me is finding the best quality stove for the lowest price which it's sounding like the pelpro would fit that best.
 

VintageGal

Member
Mar 25, 2022
127
NorCal
Take this with a grain of salt, I had two new stoves installed last March. A pellet stove insert and a wood burning stove on opposite ends of the large living room. My pellet stove is a quadra fire classic Bay insert and my wood stove is a little Lopi Answer. Having run both of them for equal amounts of time, I would have to say hands down that the wood stove is a much warmer outfit! If I were you, I would consider installing a new wood burning insert. You can always get a big box pellet stove for another location in the house? I am biased because I've been burning wood for 20 years and though I'm getting older and the struggle is real, nothing burns like wood. I'm also happy with my quadra fire pellet stove because it has a thermostat and it will kick on when the wood stove goes out at night so my house is kept at 68° while I'm sleeping. Just my two cents.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,375
Eastern Ontario
wood stove goes out at night so my house is kept at 68° while I'm sleeping.
And that's the reason I went from wood to pellets in my summer kitchen
No rushing around to get a fire started and then sitting in a cold room till the fire warms it up
With the pellet stove, all I have to do is sit down and enjoy my coffee
 
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VintageGal

Member
Mar 25, 2022
127
NorCal
And that's the reason I went from wood to pellets in my summer kitchen
No rushing around to get a fire started and then sitting in a cold room till the fire warms it up
With the pellet stove, all I have to do is sit down and enjoy my coff

And that's the reason I went from wood to pellets in my summer kitchen
No rushing around to get a fire started and then sitting in a cold room till the fire warms it up
With the pellet stove, all I have to do is sit down and enjoy my coffee
Best of both worlds ✌️
 

lowb35

Member
Mar 6, 2020
31
Allegany County, NY
This helps me a lot as I was comparing these as well. I am completely new to pellet stoves and ideally wanting the option for wifi thermostat on my phone, but I didn't think the outfitter had that capability... or does it? It's not a deal breaker as the main thing for me is finding the best quality stove for the lowest price which it's sounding like the pelpro would fit that best.
No, it comes with a programmable thermostat but not WiFi. Works with millivolt thermostats only.
 

Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
293
Indiana
I have 2 pellet stoves. A PP130 and a USSC6500. They were both already installed when I purchased the property.

They are my primary heating source and have overall worked well. I would say the PP130 is a little easier due to it's electronic ignition. There was a vendor that made an adapter called a Pellet Miser that would allow you to hook a room thermostat to your PP130, but the site is no longer up. Too bad because I was looking to get one this winter. The dial thermostat does okay, but sometimes you have to mess with the location of the temperature probe to get it to behave the way you want.

I am surprised your home owners insurance wouldn't let you install it yourself. I wonder if they would except a letter from an installer stating it was installed to code.
 

Jls667

New Member
Jan 5, 2022
32
Pennsylvania
I have 2 pellet stoves. A PP130 and a USSC6500. They were both already installed when I purchased the property.

They are my primary heating source and have overall worked well. I would say the PP130 is a little easier due to it's electronic ignition. There was a vendor that made an adapter called a Pellet Miser that would allow you to hook a room thermostat to your PP130, but the site is no longer up. Too bad because I was looking to get one this winter. The dial thermostat does okay, but sometimes you have to mess with the location of the temperature probe to get it to behave the way you want.

I am surprised your home owners insurance wouldn't let you install it yourself. I wonder if they would except a letter from an installer stating it was installed to code.

I had mentioned a couple posts back on this thread that they did approve it. I must have initially got a rep who didn't know what they were talking about. I wrote an email, they ran it by underwriting, and not only was it approved but I could do it myself so long as I installed to manufacturer specs.
 
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Jeremy6500

Feeling the Heat
Jan 22, 2021
293
Indiana
I had mentioned a couple posts back on this thread that they did approve it. I must have initially got a rep who didn't know what they were talking about. I wrote an email, they ran it by underwriting, and not only was it approved but I could do it myself so long as I installed to manufacturer specs.
I missed that part. Glad you got it worked out.