Help me pick the best stove!

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New Member
Aug 6, 2023
Madison, Ohio
Greetings! I am looking for a pellet stove to heat my house. I have 15-1600 sq ft to heat, plus a basement that I don't really need heated. I have grown up with pellet stoves all my life, but now have a house that operates on fuel oil alone. I am not interested in being stuck with >$5 per gallon of fuel oil for any longer than I have to and am looking to use pellets instead. I grew up using a Quadrafire Santa Fe for a long time and cant say we had many issues with is other than small replacements and routines. However, there are a lot of other brands out there that I am learning about. I am trying to get the pellet stove that's going to last me 20+ years that I know I can count on, without spending $5,000 for a Harman....I need some help.

SO from what I have found out, Harman is the Cadillac of the pellet stove world. However, I dont plan on spending $5,000+ for a pellet stove. There are tons of other options. Pel Pro, Englander, Quadrafire, etc. I have heard that Englander has the BEST customer service, but I'm concerned about the company size and if they get bought, what impact might that have on future issues with the stove, etc. Maybe Im just paranoid. Pel Pro is a brand you can get at Menards, which makes me question quality. And I have heard of Quadrafire having more issues than most other brands......SO please help me out and give me your opinions! Thanks so much in advance!

Welcome to the forum.
The best advice I can give is to buy the stove your better half likes !!
I would buy an Enviro as my first choice. Easy to set up and fairly easy to clean
I have had an Enviro fe3 for the last 22 years Have replaced the circulation fan once
that's the only repair that has ever been done. I like the Harman but they seem too finicky
and take more to keep running. Maybe it is just me but more threads about Harmans
with problems than some other brands
Just my nickles worth Your results may vary.
Thanks for the reply. I've heard some things about Enviro and I don't recall hearing anything bad about them. They don't seem quite as popular as other brands but I love that Enviro can operate on a separate thermostat. I'm in the Midwest where Temps fluctuate pretty much all spring and fall and I'd like to control the temp in a location that's not directly next to my stove!
Going into our 11th heating season with our Harman P43. Heats our 1600 sq ft house just fine. Nothing finicky about ours. Give it a good cleaning every ton (for us around 4 weeks) and it's fine. Haven't had to replace a single part in 10 years. Ours is on a wireless remote thermostat. Was expensive 10 years ago, expensive now. But worth it in our opinion.

Got Harmon XXV in April 2018. Minor problems. Buzz from screws impacting distribution fan. Easy Fix. Paid $3500 with tax. I clean it when the ash pan fills up. Does great job. You might snag used one or Floor Model. Ours was floor model.

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Don't forget there is a tax credit for buying pellet stoves. And I believe that it is 30% (check with the IRS first though). There is an efficiency level that has to be hit to be eligible and according to the link, some of the cheaper stoves won't qualify (but IDK, so again, check with mfg/IRS).

I have two Harman's; a 2013 P61a bought early 2014, and a 2012 P43, bought a couple of years later. Neither is finicky, have been very reliable, and are easy maintenance for DIY. Did have to change out the exhaust blower for the P43 - but it was used, bought from the owner, and who knows what kind of maintenance they actually provided? I've changed out door gaskets for the P61a, but that is not uncommon.
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Man, you guys are starting to talk me into a Harman.....that's a good point about a floor model, maybe I can find someone local who would have one I can negotiate for. I gotta say, the external thermostat with ON/OFF control is a priority for me, which mostly narrows it down to Quadrafire or Harman. I know you can make other brands cooperate with a thermostat, but I've heard that they weren't meant for such use and can shorten the life of your igniter and other parts. Quad and Harman being made for thermostat control makes me feel more comfortable with those options.
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Once I start my Harman for the season it don't get shutdown except for the one ton cleanings, I scrape the burnpot every couple days which I can keep the stove on to do, other then filling the hopper I don't touch it.
Which model do you have? Thinking P43 since it's the cheapest but also sized right for my house.
It's also about the airflow in your house as well. Ours is mostly open downstairs, P43 sits next to stairs so get good heat upstairs.
Some will say get more stove than you need cause you can turn a P61 down but can't make a P43 put out more than it's capable of. It's your money so we can only offer opinions.

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Which model do you have? Thinking P43 since it's the cheapest but also sized right for my house.
I also have a Harman Accentra insert in our family room and a P-43 in our basement. Both stoves are 12 years old. I did have to replace the distribution fan on the P-43 a few years ago. Other than that, the stoves work very well! I highly recommend Harman!
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I don't use my basement a ton so I think the 43 will always be enough. If I ever need to spend extended time in the basement in the winter, I can always use a space heater or something.

So, Harman sounds great.....however it's $4,000. The Quadrafire Outfitter 2 is rated for similar BTU and half the price. Also, the QF can use an external thermostat as well. So my question is, a $2,000 Quadfire Outfitter 2 or a $4,000 Harman P43? Is it worth double the price?
Buy what you can afford.
If the price point is the biggest factor
if not buy the best Quality
I also suggest you buy more stove than you may need
You can't get more heat from a maxed-out stove
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Bought a Harman P43 in 2012, I have changed parts, 2 combustion motors, replaced the fan the first time in case I couldn't get the set screw out. The motors were not bad just had some bearing noise I didn't like. I am irritated more easily as I have gotten older.
I would buy larger than I needed, I only heat about 1000 sq ft. so it was the smallest at the time. I have a wireless remote stat hooked to mine, I can put the remote where ever I want for temp control, but usually just put it on top of the heat pump stat.
I had to put the side shields on because of the area I put it in and proximity to surrounding things. I think it would actually put of more heat with out them. Cleaning is one good cleaning a year, I take the ESP out so I can brush the exhaust, other than that every 4-6 weeks I shut it down and allow it to cool and empty the pan, vacuum out and clean the glass and the fines compartment. Maybe a 15 minute job. Mine tuns in maintenance mode all winter with the stat. Usually hold 74 through the day and 72 over the night.
I looked at several other brands, Kozi, Quadrafire,Breckwell, US Stove and one I really liked at the time and wish I would have bought it Thelin. I went with the Harman because I wouldn't need to clean it as often as the Thelin hat the same dealer sold.
Good luck in your search, buy what you can afford and buy larger than you think your need.
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Which model do you have? Thinking P43 since it's the cheapest but also sized right for my house.

A P43 will heat your house on paper, but as @scajjr2 said, it depends on how the airflows in your house. Also, it depends on how tight the house s, how much insulation you have in the walls and attic, and how much that winter wind affects your house. If you have a good central place to locate the stove, and the airflow pattern to rooms isn't complicated, a P43 may be fine.

It's a long story but the P61a in my basement, on paper, should easily heat the 650 sq/ft down there plus the 960 sq/ft of the main floor. But because of all 4 things I mentioned (but mainly airflow), it doesn't - maybe because I refuse to run it to 100* down there. Now I have a hugely oversized stove in the basement (I couldn't move it to the main floor) - but at least if the P43 goes down, I can keep the main floor from freezing by cranking it up to 90 down there. I still wish I'd gone with my orignal plan (that I got talked out of), of putting in 2 smaller stoves to start with (although I do love the stove)

I have both stoves wired into external thermostats and those stats are in areas away from, and around corners from, the stoves. I mainly run them in room temp mode (the stoves start up / shut down as needed). I have not had to replace an igniter (KOW). Once it gets down in the lower singles digits, and or the wind really kicks up and the stoves go into start up mode while the shut down is still taking place, I'll change over to stove temp mode (constant burn).
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Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm leaning Harman now since you all have convinced me. Seems like it will be worth it to go that route. Tough decision for me since $2,000 is a lot of money. Any recommendations for best thermostat to use for a Harman/Quad? Or does it really even matter?
I use a basic digital Lux thermostat that is non-programmable. They are not hardwired, I use batteries. But, I do run thermostat wire between the stoves and the thermosts as my basement ceiling is open.

The "Save" button will drop the requested temp by 5*. If you hit it again, it will raise it back to the set point. I just use for days that I am getting solar gain on the west side, while my thermostat is in a room on the east side, so won't warm up quite as quickly. But, I WFH so am always sitting 5' away so it is easy for my circumstances.

So I guess we need to know what you will use it for to give you a good answer. Do you want programmable? Do you want wireless (keep in mind that wireless may mean you have to keep the receiver within 20' of the detached unit)?
Programmable is preferred. Wired/wireless doesn't matter to me, as running a wire through a wall and into the attic isn't very hard for me. And I'm thinking of putting the T-Stat in my hallway about 20 feet from the pellet stove. I'll put a picture up where I'm thinking of putting the stove. I think this location optimizes air flow into my kitchen and the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. The Tstat would be right at the entrance of the hallway.
Help me pick the best stove!
Have you tried Nichols Fireplace and Stove. They are a Harman dealer. Usually have used stoves also. Have family by you. LOTS of snow up there!
There are Harmans that are programmable. I didn't want the fancy touchscreen goofiness on mine, but in there you can set the days and hours and temperature and things like that.

You need to get into a dealership and look at the stoves in stock and learn about them to make a decision.

With my Harman, it has a stove temp mode (just pick a setting and it burns at that rate no matter what happens inside or outside) and also a room temp mode (pick a temperature and it'll maintain that temperature in the room).

I don't have a thermostat set up anywhere, I just know if I set my stove to about 75 degrees with the tstat wire coiled up behind it, that my kitchen will be about 72 - 73 degrees. Once I figured out what temperature worked, I left it there.
I run mine in Room Temp Mode. Set it and forget it most of the time. Also in Manual Mode so it's not always shutting down and relighting.
Yikes Pellets cost $1200 this year for 4 tons. We burn about 3+ tons and I like to have extras in case they are out of Stock! (Delivery Costs $100 part of this)
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I’m pro Harman, but it’s what I grew up with and I’ve picked a few up cheap and refurbished them. P61A works amazing for our 1500sq ft with a temp probe…ease of operation and light maintenance. Cheapest one I’ve found used was $200
I had an Englander EP-25 Bay front for 11 years. It did the job and heated the house. However, 2 years ago, I bought a very lightly used Harman P-43 for $2000 and it's been a joy to use compared to the Englander. It heats better, requires about a quarter of the maintenance, and is so much easier to clean and use.