BK Princess vs. Regency Pro-series f3500

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

DickNitro

New Member
Dec 7, 2019
10
Southern Illinois
Hello!
Long time reader, recent joiner. (I love this site and it has helped me greatly in the past. Sorry if this post is long winded, but I've learned to try and get as much info out as possible right away)

I'm selling my 2007 HeatmasterSS MF5000 OWB and upgrading my indoor wood stove to (after much research) a BK princess or a regency f3500 pro series. I'm gone 14hrs each day and prefer long burn times. My main level is 1700 sq/ft and well insulated. My old earth stove 1500ht will get the main level to 80df easily on low so I'm after steady low output.

So far I'm leaning to the BK but I have no local dealers. I can get one delivered for 3k, but I wont get parts easy if something goes wrong. I also also measured my cimney/flue today exactly. I'm at 13' stove top to top of cap. Based on from a different thread, I plan to install and see how it goes; adding more chimney and brace if necessary (BK states 15'minimum). That being said, I also hear of additional creosote problems with BK. I will be running it as low as possible most of the time, so this is a concern. I have an almost obsessive fear of chimney fires because most of my wood is burning while I'm away. I brush often. My wood is 1 year ~4"x20" split and stacked white and red oak exposed. MC tolerance is a factor for this season.

A local place quoted me a Regency pro-series f3500 for ~2900. This stove is a cat/tube hybrid. They deal more in tube stoves, but said that was best match to BK they had. Long burns and very clean. My research on that stove indicates that it's quite clean burning, but the cats are (anecdotally) weak and maybe last at best 2 seasons. Its aesthetically more appealing than the BK in my opinion but also has the old school inlet damper instead of the kick-ass bimetallic air inlet that BK uses (possibly largest point for me).

Anyone familiar with these enough to contrast?
Any and all help is appreciated!
 
Jun 23, 2019
27
the mts of WNC
I don't think you can get 20" pieces in the Princess without going diagonal. About 16.5 front to back and 18 side to side are max length.
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,829
Central Mass
You shouldn't have a creosote problem with the BK even low and slow b ut how much wood do you have? First year I had 5-6 cords of 18 inch wood and my princess insert only handled 16-17tops so I had to chop an inch or two off which was a pain, but it was a good stove and don't regret it.
 

DickNitro

New Member
Dec 7, 2019
10
Southern Illinois
I don't think you can get 20" pieces in the Princess without going diagonal. About 16.5 front to back and 18 side to side are max length.

4"x20" is a ballpark. I sift through them to get stove wood right now. I will cut them down if necessary. I harvested my wood for use in a massive OWB. I didnt decide to go back to indoor burning until recently.

Here's that link to the other thread I mentioned (if I did it right) before anyone wastes time doubling info or would like to take a peek

 
Last edited:

DickNitro

New Member
Dec 7, 2019
10
Southern Illinois
You shouldn't have a creosote problem with the BK even low and slow b ut how much wood do you have? First year I had 5-6 cords of 18 inch wood and my princess insert only handled 16-17tops so I had to chop an inch or two off which was a pain, but it was a good stove and don't regret it.

I have 4.5 cords of red/white oak mixed and 1 cord of poplar I use for my shed (old woodchuck furnace). My area USUALLY has mild winters. But temp trends are noisy. Like now temps are 40s-50s hi and about 30df low. But 2 weeks ago it got down to 8df at night and was 62 2 days later. It's about to get into 20df lows this week. My house is in open field so winds are always high. I have a propane furnace if I run out of wood
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
484
Erin, WI
Very few folks have free standing pro recency's and are active on hearth.com. I have a regency pro insert, love it. My cat doesn't seem to be lasting very long though. I want to say for the F3500 there is a 10-year 100% warranty on the cat. If you have a responsive dealer, go for it!
 

DickNitro

New Member
Dec 7, 2019
10
Southern Illinois
Very few folks have free standing pro recency's and are active on hearth.com. I have a regency pro insert, love it. My cat doesn't seem to be lasting very long though. I want to say for the F3500 there is a 10-year 100% warranty on the cat. If you have a responsive dealer, go for it!

Wow that's a pretty impressive! I did not realize that. Are you getting long burn times similar to BK?
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
484
Erin, WI
Wow that's a pretty impressive! I did not realize that. Are you getting long burn times similar to BK?
Sorry, I phrased poorly. I have the CI2600, which is regency "pro" but is an insert, not a free standing stove. I get 8-9 hours of usable heat, and can maintain the house at 70F when it's real cold like 0F outside. I can get a little longer burns if I'm using all oak or hickory. I do get longer burns, maybe 12 hours, if the blower is off. The F3500 advertises 24 hour burns, I'd be conservative and guess you'd get less burn time than that.
 

DickNitro

New Member
Dec 7, 2019
10
Southern Illinois
Sorry, I phrased poorly. I have the CI2600, which is regency "pro" but is an insert, not a free standing stove. I get 8-9 hours of usable heat, and can maintain the house at 70F when it's real cold like 0F outside. I can get a little longer burns if I'm using all oak or hickory. I do get longer burns, maybe 12 hours, if the blower is off. The F3500 advertises 24 hour burns, I'd be conservative and guess you'd get less burn time than that.

I see. The hybrid concept is interesting to me, but having tubes, I'm assuming it's hard to maintain a low and slow burn (although probably extremely clean emissions). The BKs may not be the prettiest fire show, but seems they're the most functional as far as milking the most btus from the wood. I'm probably going to rest with BK as the final decision
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
484
Erin, WI
Any cat stove, regardless of having tubes or not, should be able to do low and slow well. I cut off air almost all the way. BK's have a thermostat, so they do seem to milk the wood better.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,106
central pa
I see. The hybrid concept is interesting to me, but having tubes, I'm assuming it's hard to maintain a low and slow burn (although probably extremely clean emissions). The BKs may not be the prettiest fire show, but seems they're the most functional as far as milking the most btus from the wood. I'm probably going to rest with BK as the final decision
The only reason bks are better is the thermostatic air control. But that is a pretty big benifit.
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
One yr old red & white oak is not going to burn well in either stove.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashful

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,106
central pa
One yr old red & white oak is not going to burn well in either stove.
Mine does just fine. In a year. This year I experimented with a solar kiln and got down to 15% in under a year. With just a roll of plastic
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jan Pijpelink

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,307
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Any cat stove, regardless of having tubes or not, should be able to do low and slow well. I cut off air almost all the way. BK's have a thermostat, so they do seem to milk the wood better.
You would think so but for whatever reason, the bk stoves have the ability to run so low that their max burn time is 50% to 100% longer, yes double, that of their competitors. I can’t say whether that low output will be enough to heat your home but it is enough to heat my home about 90% of the heating season. This is why I chose bk in the first place and no other brand comes close for maximum burn time. It’s pretty great and hopefully the other new cat stoves can beat it so that we have some friendly competition.

Oh, that last 10% that the bk on low can’t keep up, I just drop to 12 hour reloads instead of 24. Works well with the schedule!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MacinJosh

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
Mine does just fine. In a year. This year I experimented with a solar kiln and got down to 15% in under a year. With just a roll of plastic

Yes, you've stated your thinner splits burn fine for you. But the majority have established 2-3 yrs.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
You would think so but for whatever reason, the bk stoves have the ability to run so low that their max burn time is 50% to 100% longer, yes double, that of their competitors. I can’t say whether that low output will be enough to heat your home but it is enough to heat my home about 90% of the heating season
tadmaz lives in WI, where I spent 30 years. It gets cold there and you need real heat, not a Pokemon stove putting out two candlepower in coastal WA. ;lol The BKs get the low burn by design features which are drawbacks for the most part, IMHO.
To each, his own, but I'll pass on BK. Besides, top-only venting isn't the most elegant solution here; I'm not tearing down my masonry chimney like you did, even though we have an earthquake risk here as well.
Yes, you've stated your thinner splits burn fine for you.
Plus, bholler is located on a windy ridge. My stacks are in the woods, getting a lot less wind. Three years for my medium Oak splits to dry enough for my cat stove.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,106
central pa
tadmaz lives in WI, where I spent 30 years. It gets cold there and you need real heat, not a Pokemon stove putting out two candlepower in coastal WA. ;lol The BKs get the low burn by design features which are drawbacks for the most part, IMHO.
To each, his own, but I'll pass on BK. Besides, top-only venting isn't the most elegant solution here; I'm not tearing down my masonry chimney like you did, even though we have an earthquake risk here as well.
Plus, bholler is located on a windy ridge. My stacks are in the woods, getting a lot less wind. Three years for my medium Oak splits to dry enough for my cat stove.
They got no wind completely wrapped in plastic. Just some vents cut in top and bottom. But it does need sun.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,717
Philadelphia
bholler is located on a windy ridge.
That's so he can see you coming, Woody!

1576541913797.png

Advantage Regency:

1. Local dealer support.

Advantage BK:

1. More hearth.com forum member support.
2. hearth.com BKVP support.
3. Longer burn times, maybe more than double, when you don't need maximum heat.
4. A known entity, there are a lot more posts and reviews of BK on this forum and others, than Regency.

If it were me, I'd be coercing a local hearth store to visit this forum, and see the "BK hype". If there's no local dealer, maybe they'll become one!
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
One yr old red & white oak is not going to burn well in either stove.
Mine does just fine. In a year. This year I experimented with a solar kiln and got down to 15% in under a year. With just a roll of plastic
This is the response to wildhog upon which I based my reply. It's possible that you meant you could only get Oak dry in one year with the shrink wrap, but that's not how it read to me..
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,106
central pa
This is the response to wildhog upon which I based my reply. It's possible that you meant you could only get Oak dry in one year with the shrink wrap, but that's not how it read to me..
No it isn't I can get it to 20% or just below with out the solar kiln. The kiln worked much better. But the last couple years here have been so wet it wasn't working as well as it had in the past. Which is why I did the kiln.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jan Pijpelink

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,106
central pa
That's so he can see you coming, Woody!

View attachment 253626

Advantage Regency:

1. Local dealer support.

Advantage BK:

1. More hearth.com forum member support.
2. hearth.com BKVP support.
3. Longer burn times, maybe more than double, when you don't need maximum heat.
4. A known entity, there are a lot more posts and reviews of BK on this forum and others, than Regency.

If it were me, I'd be coercing a local hearth store to visit this forum, and see the "BK hype". If there's no local dealer, maybe they'll become one!
They may also see the bk threads and see that many the owners obsess over every detail and realize they don't want to deal with them as customers.

But yes if you need long burns at low heatoutput there isn't much that can compete with bk. But many of us don't need that