Harman Absolute 43 or Blaze King Ashford 20.2?

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escyr

New Member
May 5, 2021
6
Southern Maine
I've been wanting to add a pellet stove to my super-insulated, very well air sealed home in Maine for the last few years. While the mini-split heat pumps that heat/cool our house are very efficient, we miss the "feel" of a wood burning appliance.

My wife wants a wood stove, but I figured a wood stove would have to be tended to too much, not to mention all the work and dirt/bugs that comes with wood. She grew up with a wood stove, I grew up with an oil fired hot water boiler, but my grandparents next door always had a wood stove, then they switched to a wood boiler. I helped them haul, split and stack firewood for 10+ years starting when I was around 8 years old. I'm not looking to do that again. I would either buy seasoned firewood, or burn bio bricks.

Now that I'm researching pellet stoves, I'm realizing that most of them are unreliable and need a lot of maintenance. The only pellet stove that I'm considering now is the Harman Absolute 43 as Harman seems to have the best reputation and reliability and I need something with a relative low BTU/hr output. I really like the fact of not having to deal with firewood and the simpler install.

While researching on Hearth.com, I found people talking about the long burn times and automatic temperature control of their Blaze King wood stoves. I never knew such a thing existed! After reading more about Blaze King stoves, I'm wondering if I should get a Blaze King Ashford 20.2 instead of the Harman Absolute 43.

Any thoughts, experiences, pros/cons, general input of a pellet stove vs wood stove would be appreciated. I'm going to post this to the Wood Stove forum also.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
I do not know pellet stoves.

The Blaze King uses less wood than a pre-epa stove, has long burn times (the 20.2 is advertised to have 20 hrs on low).

But you'd still have to get enough wood (if you burn 24/7 always on low for 5 months, I think at least 2-3 cords per year), get some debris/mess in the home, and running the blaze king on low you would not see flames. Just a black box (covered window).

Compare the BTU output ratings (the BK site has the approximate output at 11,342 BTU per hour for 20 hrs running low).

So if you want to see flames and not cook out of a well insulated home, it seems to me that a pellet stove may be a better option (but, again, I don't know pellet stoves @SidecarFlip ?).

Also, the draft requirements (chimney set up) for a BK are stringent. Don't install it not meeting these requirements. If you do meet the requirements, BK will work well with you in case of problems.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
I do not know pellet stoves.

The Blaze King uses less wood than a pre-epa stove, has long burn times (the 20.2 is advertised to have 20 hrs on low).

But you'd still have to get enough wood (if you burn 24/7 always on low for 5 months, I think at least 2-3 cords per year), get some debris/mess in the home, and running the blaze king on low you would not see flames. Just a black box (covered window).

Compare the BTU output ratings (the BK site has the approximate output at 11,342 BTU per hour for 20 hrs running low).

So if you want to see flames and not cook out of a well insulated home, it seems to me that a pellet stove may be a better option (but, again, I don't know pellet stoves).

Also, the draft requirements (chimney set up) for a BK are stringent. Don't install it not meeting these requirements. If you do meet the requirements, BK will work well with you in case of problems.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
932
Western Washington
Not sure about the ashford but I’m able to get 30 hours on 7 Idaho press logs at $2 a piece on a low setting out of my princess model. Not sure how that equates to pellet cost but not much maintenance involved.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,422
Eastern Ontario
It is easier to control the heat output of a pellet stove
Than a wood stove. In a well-sealed and insulated home,
you will want that option
 
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railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
551
Perry MI
I think it's pretty hard to compare the 2. The wood stove must burn all the time once lit whereas a Harman pellet stove can cycle on and off as needed. I'm currently burning a bag every 2 days in this Michigan spring weather maintaining 70 degrees. I rarely burn more than a bag a day but my stove runs tag team with the furnace so I get air cleaning and humidification. My stove is in a very well insulated 820 sq ft room with a vaulted ceiling and can easily heat that room and most of the rest of the house by itself. If you want the looks of a wood fire the Blaze King is the way to go. If you want easy operation and maintenance the Harman is the way to go. Personally after burning wood for 9 years 100% and 11 more years as supplemental heat and now 5 years with a Harman I will never go back to regular wood. I'm sitting here 10ft from my stove and it just fired up. Thermostat reads 69 and will read about 71 when it shuts down in about 15 minutes. It's 45 outside and the Harman is handling 100% of the heat. I scrape the burn pot once a day and clean the stove every 30 bags or so.
JMHO
Ron
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
No, the blaze king won't give you the looks of a wood fire when running on low (b/c the OP said super insulated). And no, the blaze king does not require more maintenance: fill it once a day (just like your pellet stove). Empty ashes once every two weeks. Clean it once a year.

The temperature is easy to dial in too for the BK as it has a thermostat keeping the temp constant, though not with a quantitative number of degrees. The BK does not cycle like a pellet stove, and the BK does not have a BTU output rating as low as the pellet stove (googling gives me an output for the Harman of 75% of the minimum of the BK - though I'm not sure whether that's the high or low end of the pellet stove).

Hence my suggestion that indeed the pellet stove may be better for the OP.

(I also note that for a superinsulated home an outside air kit may be necessary, regardless of which route you go.)
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
943
Newport, Wa
I switched from BK King in 2018 to Harmon XXV. It's hard to adjust the heat on the Wood Stove. But biggest reason I switched was I was getting old and tired of all the Work with Wood. Saleman said there were 3 phases of Heating with Stoves. Wood, Pellets and Gas. I really enjoy the less cleaning with Pellet Stove. The mess with the Wood. Sawdust, Moss, Bugs. Downside I have to buy the Pellets. I find 40lb bag lots easier to manage than wood. Lets not forget the burns with Wood Stove or Smoke you let out loading it.
 
Feb 2, 2013
20
south eastern MA
I burned wood for 20 years in my small VC intrepid. When it got to much I switched to a pellet stove, st Croix element. 10 years later i just retired it for a Harman xxv.

the pellet stove is much less work and has far more adjustability then a wood stove.

Yes, there is maintenance, but I find the Harman less work then the wood stove or the st criox. your fuel will be consistent and you can fill it and not have to worry about it for at least 12 hrs. scape the burn pot and empty the ash pan every week. much less then a wood stove. Keeping the glass clean is a pain in the butt with all of them.

i was in my 30's with the wood stove and now 60's with the pellet stove. Maybe you can adjust with age like i did.

most chimney setups can be used for both applications. so if you start with a wood stove like I did, you can switch later on.

I do miss watching the wood stove, but not the work.

Either way make sure you enjoy it. Don't make it just about saving money and you will look forward to the colder months.

good luck with your decision
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
Yes, there is maintenance, but I find the Harman less work then the wood stove or the st criox. your fuel will be consistent and you can fill it and not have to worry about it for at least 12 hrs. scape the burn pot and empty the ash pan every week. much less then a wood stove.
I think you do not know a current Blaze King. It IS set it and forget it for more than 12 hrs. And there is no maintenance other than emptying out the ashes once every two weeks and a once a year cleaning.
On 20 hr runs one fills it to the gills once a day. That is all there is to do. No finicking. Nothing else. The beauty of a stove with a thermostat.

It appears to me you are describing stoves from the 90s.

Regardless, as I said before, a pellet stove does seem better here.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,795
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Since the OP is not posting, I read from his post that he has a perfectly adequate central heat source so this wood/pellet decision is about a supplementary “fun” heater that is part time and to provide entertainment. A woodstove does a much better job with that. Silent, excellent flame show, intense radiant heat, much more dependable, much less maintenance, no electric needs.

We can’t assume the full time heating challenges of wood/pellets have anything at all to do with his decision.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
Yes. But a Blaze King then does not seem ideal (as what the OP compared a pellet stove to) as it does (in a super insulated home) not often give a flame show unless the dress code is ok to change...

The pellet stove (if one can stand the flame visuals) then is nice with it's "switch on, switch off" characteristics and heat output that can be tuned lower than the BK.
 
Feb 2, 2013
20
south eastern MA
you don't under stand, I loved my wood stove. the wood parts is what to much work. other wise is would still have one. the pellets are much easier to deal with. they are delivered into my barn and i bring them in with a wagon to the house, with is attached.

I am 62 years old with a crushed vertebrae in my back. my wife also has a bad back. when we burnt wood she was very much involved in the processes. she would clean the stove and fire it up. I would cut down 9' logs and split, then when to delivered cut and spit. then i stacked and

I did not know the blaze king will go for 12 hrs , but there is much more of a learning curve to burning chunk wood, moisture, stacking drying, etc. if a could have keep my wood stove, i wouldn't have. if i was going to supplement my electric heat the pellet stove was my best option. i am cheap that why I burn in the first place.

also the harman has a beautiful flame. not as nice as real wood but I like it and that's what is important.

everybody's situation is different I so just tell him my story, why so mean are you guys just haters or something. don't like pellet burners or something? just give i guy a break.

by they way i just figure out what op meant. ya I'm a boomer
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
you don't under stand, I loved my wood stove. the wood parts is what to much work. other wise is would still have one. the pellets are much easier to deal with. they are delivered into my barn and i bring them in with a wagon to the house, with is attached.

I am 62 years old with a crushed vertebrae in my back. my wife also has a bad back. when we burnt wood she was very much involved in the processes. she would clean the stove and fire it up. I would cut down 9' logs and split, then when to delivered cut and spit. then i stacked and

I did not know the blaze king will go for 12 hrs , but there is much more of a learning curve to burning chunk wood, moisture, stacking drying, etc. if a could have keep my wood stove, i wouldn't have. if i was going to supplement my electric heat the pellet stove was my best option. i am cheap that why I burn in the first place.

also the harman has a beautiful flame. not as nice as real wood but I like it and that's what is important.

everybody's situation is different I so just tell him my story, why so mean are you guys just haters or something. don't like pellet burners or something? just give i guy a break.

by they way i just figure out what op meant. ya I'm a boomer
I apologize for the misunderstanding. I did not intend to be mean. I only noted that your description of the wood stove operation was inconsistent with the characteristics of a blaze king, i.ethe stove the OP was asking about (and consistent with other, older stoves).

I did note that a pellet stove might be the better option here ,and I did note that "wood work" was still needed.

I bear no ill will to pellet stoves - or any way that keeps our bones warm.
 
Feb 2, 2013
20
south eastern MA
I apologize for the misunderstanding. I did not intend to be mean. I only noted that your description of the wood stove operation was inconsistent with the characteristics of a blaze king, i.ethe stove the OP was asking about (and consistent with other, older stoves).

I did note that a pellet stove might be the better option here ,and I did note that "wood work" was still needed.

I bear no ill will to pellet stoves - or any way that keeps our bones warm.
that's the way it sounded to me, but that's the problem with not talking face to face, you miss the facial expression. I may have been a little sensitive about the what you said. sorry about that.

I was speaking from my personal experience with a wood stove and a pellet stove. An absolute 43 is a small pellet stove and I figured the blaze king he was talking about was also small like my VC intrepid.

I looked at the blaze kings on line and there a nice looking stove. 20 hrs burn time on low? things have really changed. That would have been a nice size for my house. I could only get 6 to 7 hrs on a cold night with my intrepid . some times it would be stone cold in the morning.

he is getting some good advice from everybody and we'll see what he does.

happy burning

john
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
You too! All good. Be well
 

Oregun

Member
Jan 12, 2017
107
Oregon
Whoever carries the fuel and cleans the stove & chimney should be the one who decides pellet or wood stove.
I did the wood stove thing for 4 decades and my pellet stove of 4 years is much better at heating our house.
 

escyr

New Member
May 5, 2021
6
Southern Maine
Thank you all for the excellent replies and discussion.

Our house was prepped for a wood stove as my wife and I wanted to add one in the future because of the "warm your bones" radiant heat and we had both had experience with them. Now that we're getting older, as our four kids are older and more active, we have less time than we could have imagined so we thought about going with a pellet stove. After doing research on pellet stoves and all of their problems, it made us re-think everything.

This thread has helped me decide to stay with a pellet stove and hope we don't get a lemon.

Even though a pellet stove won't give us the "warm your bones" radiant heat, it will give us a nice boost to our heating system that we definitely need when it is -10degF and lower. It will also consumer less electricity than our mini-split heat pumps (MSHPs), so when we do lose electricity, our generator can power the pellet stove instead of the MSHPs.

Regards
Eric
 

ABusWrench

Burning Hunk
Sep 11, 2015
158
East Canton, Ohio
Thank you all for the excellent replies and discussion.

Our house was prepped for a wood stove as my wife and I wanted to add one in the future because of the "warm your bones" radiant heat and we had both had experience with them. Now that we're getting older, as our four kids are older and more active, we have less time than we could have imagined so we thought about going with a pellet stove. After doing research on pellet stoves and all of their problems, it made us re-think everything.

This thread has helped me decide to stay with a pellet stove and hope we don't get a lemon.

Even though a pellet stove won't give us the "warm your bones" radiant heat, it will give us a nice boost to our heating system that we definitely need when it is -10degF and lower. It will also consumer less electricity than our mini-split heat pumps (MSHPs), so when we do lose electricity, our generator can power the pellet stove instead of the MSHPs.

Regards
Eric
Remember, most pellet stoves will require pure sine wave/inverter generator for backup power.
 
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Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
943
Newport, Wa
Exactly your Pellet Stove will require Pure Sine Wave. I have AIMS 1250 and couple of 100ah Batteries for that. Backup plan is my 7k Generator for charging them if necessary. Longest power outage I have had was 10 hours. 1 Battery ran 6 hours and then we were left using Small 30ah battery. I went and got another 100ah Battery. For long term your going to need Generator if your current one does not do PSW.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,848
Downeast Maine
Since the OP is not posting, I read from his post that he has a perfectly adequate central heat source so this wood/pellet decision is about a supplementary “fun” heater that is part time and to provide entertainment. A woodstove does a much better job with that. Silent, excellent flame show, intense radiant heat, much more dependable, much less maintenance, no electric needs.

We can’t assume the full time heating challenges of wood/pellets have anything at all to do with his decision.
Silence cannot be overrated. Bio bricks, and other similar products, are pretty close in price to pellets and stoves burn them well without power or a PSW generator/inverter/transformer.
 
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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
708
Colorado
I read all these postings "Oh what fun"--people clearly have their preferences but they all have it from experience and one main thing that others have mentioned that I have in common with is this....."In a emergency situation wood stoves without the cat are the best"---that's what I say... Wood Pellet Stoves are wonderful and beautiful and clean and easy --no lumber jacking around and no bugs and on a thermostat as well so much easier--buy a bag of pellets-you have heat but but----in a emergency have a wood stove around somewhere or have relatives like you have with a wood stove---in a emergency one needs this--no electricity or 100ah batteries needed...For pleasure get a pellet stove so much easier but can you imagine going to buy pellets and they are all gone--like toilet paper--gone...For supplemental heat get a pellet stove they are so nice I have heard.. I just got my new wood stove and I am afraid of fire so I have not had my first burn as of yet but "I love it" because it gives me a peace of mind knowing "whatever happens" I have a way to keep warm...Enjoy your stove whatever one you get and enjoy these wonderful experience people on this forum as well..clancey
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,795
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I read all these postings "Oh what fun"--people clearly have their preferences but they all have it from experience and one main thing that others have mentioned that I have in common with is this....."In a emergency situation wood stoves without the cat are the best"---that's what I say... Wood Pellet Stoves are wonderful and beautiful and clean and easy --no lumber jacking around and no bugs and on a thermostat as well so much easier--buy a bag of pellets-you have heat but but----in a emergency have a wood stove around somewhere or have relatives like you have with a wood stove---in a emergency one needs this--no electricity or 100ah batteries needed...For pleasure get a pellet stove so much easier but can you imagine going to buy pellets and they are all gone--like toilet paper--gone...For supplemental heat get a pellet stove they are so nice I have heard.. I just got my new wood stove and I am afraid of fire so I have not had my first burn as of yet but "I love it" because it gives me a peace of mind knowing "whatever happens" I have a way to keep warm...Enjoy your stove whatever one you get and enjoy these wonderful experience people on this forum as well..clancey
Pretty sure that the pellet roasters buy more than one bag at a time, especially when it's their primary source of heat. It's the same reason I have already purchased my next catalyst for my woodstove even though they last 12000 hours. Have 3 years of fuel in the yard. Be prepared.

Admittedly, there are several more things that could fail on a pellet stove and leave you without heat from it. The list is long and unless you have a second parts stove on hand you will never have all of the pieces that may fail at the worst possible time.

Good for the OP making a decision. Harman makes a fine machine with an excellent reputation. I do believe that a pellet stove can burn with a lower steady output than any woodstove and despite what a vocal few may say, most of us want to run our stoves at low output most of the time. It is far more efficient and comfortable to keep your house warm.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
Pellets are cheaper by the pallet load usually. Sometimes a lot cheaper. Be sure to get good ones. Some of the bargain brands produce a lot more ash and clinkers and not as much heat. Folks here can help you out if you list what brands are available in the area. Also, if running the pellet stove on a generator (or anything with electronics) an inverter generator is going to proved cleaner power with less likelihood of damaging electronics.