I'm buying new, curious why some woodstoves so much more expensive than others

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fireboss1237

Member
Nov 25, 2015
35
Dillsburg PA
Title explains it fairly well. I am replacing my old Fire Boss and I was amazed by the prices. I have not purchased yet, but was looking at a Jotul, ended up settling on a Blaze King Ashford. Because they have good reviews and had the color my wife liked. Before I pulled the trigger, I wanted to look at cheaper options and found Englander and Drolet stoves for more than half the price of the Blaze King with still great reviews. The cheaper ones only come in black and have a much shorter burn time. But they except bigger logs and have higher BTU outputs (80-90k lab tested) than the more expensive Blaze King (50K real world) . Can someone explain what I'm paying for with the more expensive stoves. $4700 is a big investment, is it worth it?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,646
South Puget Sound, WA
Worth is dependent on the individual. There are a lot of factors besides just burn time that differentiate stoves. The long burn times for the BK are mostly in milder weather. Once the stove is being pushed for heat, the burntime comes down closer to non-cat stoves. Do you have a good primary heating system or heatpump that can handle mild weather (45-60º) heating? If so, then this feature may not be of big importance. However, if the house is very well insulated and low steady heat is required for most of the winter, then it could be a very nice fit. The operational costs are higher with this stove, but it has thermostatic regulation that allows it to provide a steady heat.
There are other designs that accomplish more even heating via additional stove mass, but due to supply chain shortages, no cast iron jacketed stove is going to be cheap. The prices of the Jotul F45 and F55 and PE Alderleas have gone up this year too. The current low prices on some Drolets and Englanders may be short-lived. I would not be surprised to see them selling for over $2000 in 2022. They are good stoves, just more basic.
 
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fireboss1237

Member
Nov 25, 2015
35
Dillsburg PA
Worth is dependent on the individual. There are a lot of factors besides just burn time that differentiate stoves. The long burn times for the BK are mostly in milder weather. Once the stove is being pushed for heat, the burntime comes down closer to non-cat stoves. Do you have a good primary heating system or heatpump that can handle mild weather (45-60º) heating? If so, then this feature may not be of big importance. However, if the house is very well insulated and low steady heat is required for most of the winter, then it could be a very nice fit. The operational costs are higher with this stove, but it has thermostatic regulation that allows it to provide a steady heat.
There are other designs that accomplish more even heating via additional stove mass, but due to supply chain shortages, no cast iron jacketed stove is going to be cheap. The prices of the Jotul F45 and F55 and PE Alderleas have gone up this year too. The current low prices on some Drolets and Englanders may be short-lived. I would not be surprised to see them selling for over $2000 in 2022. They are good stoves, just more basic.
So would you say a Drolet or Englander stoves are a good buy? Also I do have a propane furnace, but wanted to save money since I have free wood
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,646
South Puget Sound, WA
There are some exceptional buys on those products right now as old inventory is sold. However, they do not qualify for the 26% tax credit, so factor that in when looking. The Ashford is a premium model, there are less expensive BK stoves that still qualify for the credit.
 

fireboss1237

Member
Nov 25, 2015
35
Dillsburg PA
There are some exceptional buys on those products right now as old inventory is sold. However, they do not qualify for the 26% tax credit, so factor that in when looking. The Ashford is a premium model, there are less expensive BK stoves that still qualify for the credit.
Look and Sqft heating is the reason we chose that one. We probably average mid 30's over the winter season including November. With the tax credit I'll be around $3500. The cheaper stove would be around $1500-2000 depending on model. So I guess I got to ask myself is looks and a thermostat worth 2K
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,646
South Puget Sound, WA
How much will the stove run? 24/7 from October thru April? If so, it will also need a cat replacement every few years or around 12,000 hrs of use.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,646
South Puget Sound, WA
Not at all, they are great stoves, but with pros and cons just like any other stove. I considered the Ashford for our house at one time too.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,189
central pa
Look and Sqft heating is the reason we chose that one. We probably average mid 30's over the winter season including November. With the tax credit I'll be around $3500. The cheaper stove would be around $1500-2000 depending on model. So I guess I got to ask myself is looks and a thermostat worth 2K
Not just a thermostat. There is a cat a bypass system etc for the stove itself.

In addition you are comparing basic entry level stoves to premium ones. There is not nessecarily anything wrong with the basic ones but when compared side to side there are clear differences in quality engineering etc.

There is no way for us to decide for you if those differences are worth the money though.
 

bikedennis

New Member
Jun 21, 2021
47
Nor Cal
My new BK Sirocco all in delivered counting the 26% tax credit was around 1k more than a Drolet or Englander(dealer paid the 8% sales tax). I have been using 5 to 6 cords per year. Thats a lot of cutting, splitting , and stacking. So over time it was worth it thinking that I will reduce my work load by a third to half. $100/year after 10 years.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,502
SE North Carolina
BK’s are great. I couldn’t justify the extra cost for my second stove. So I needed up with a Drolet. I didn’t want a cat or really like the looks of BK inserts for my first install. Drolet a no frills value oriented product line. I didn’t have much of a chance of seeing the break even point with my first stove let alone my second. I really didn’t need any shoulder season wood heat as we have an efficient heatpump. No catalytic converter to replace does add up over the life of the stove. But I’m sure baffles and burn tubes used in the cheaper stove will need replaced. Kia versus Lexus. Both will get you from here to there. Preferences and priorities guide your choice.
Evan
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,646
South Puget Sound, WA
Not just a thermostat. There is a cat a bypass system etc for the stove itself.

In addition you are comparing basic entry level stoves to premium ones. There is not nessecarily anything wrong with the basic ones but when compared side to side there are clear differences in quality engineering etc.

There is no way for us to decide for you if those differences are worth the money though.
Yes, it's more a combo of what one needs and desires. A Honda Civic will provide years of trouble free transportation, but some people will pay the premium for a Lexus. Both will get the groceries in the same amount of time.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,002
Long Island NY
As noted above, the BK allows for a really even heat output. Set it and forget it for 12-24 hrs depending on the heat you need (for a 30 model). It also allows you to dial down more and still be efficient. Tube stoves need more heat to keep the secondaries going.

You'll find very few people that are not happy after buying a BK. There are folks though. @bholler is one. Well, maybe not unhappy, but also not the overly enthusiastic "BK fanboys" that a lot of (most?) owners are.

Regardless what stove you are getting, the modern ones will require some getting used to. But once the learning curve is done, they are fantastic.

They do need much drier wood though to deliver. Moisture content preferably below 20%.
 

fireboss1237

Member
Nov 25, 2015
35
Dillsburg PA
As noted above, the BK allows for a really even heat output. Set it and forget it for 12-24 hrs depending on the heat you need (for a 30 model). It also allows you to dial down more and still be efficient. Tube stoves need more heat to keep the secondaries going.

You'll find very few people that are not happy after buying a BK. There are folks though. @bholler is one. Well, maybe not unhappy, but also not the overly enthusiastic "BK fanboys" that a lot of (most?) owners are.

Regardless what stove you are getting, the modern ones will require some getting used to. But once the learning curve is done, they are fantastic.

They do need much drier wood though to deliver. Moisture content preferably below 20%.
I've heard about the need for dry wood on these modern stoves. Thanks for the reply
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,340
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I own one of each. Both work great and the cheap one has no shortcomings or quality problems. In my experience the extra cost for replacement catalysts is more than covered (actually twice covered) by the wood savings.

If the drolet specifications meet your needs then save your money and buy it. I really really like the 24 hour long burn times from the BK that provides 100% of our home heat.
 

fireboss1237

Member
Nov 25, 2015
35
Dillsburg PA
I own one of each. Both work great and the cheap one has no shortcomings or quality problems. In my experience the extra cost for replacement catalysts is more than covered (actually twice covered) by the wood savings.

If the drolet specifications meet your needs then save your money and buy it. I really really like the 24 hour long burn times from the BK that provides 100% of our home heat.
So would you say the BK uses less wood
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,189
central pa
So would you say the BK uses less wood
If you need less BTUs yes. The turndown is blaze kings big advantage. If you need more BTUs like I do you won't see any wood savings over another good modern stove. I saw absolutely no wood savings. It does give nice even heat though.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,189
central pa
So would you say the BK uses less wood
Now you will see wood savings over your current stove with any of them. Assuming they are sized properly for your home you run it properly and have good fuel
 
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ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,223
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
FWIW I can get a Drolet 1800 at Canadian Tire for $1400, it has the same firebox as my Osburn Matrix but costs less than half of what I paid. The SBI (parent company of Osburn, Drolet, and others) 2.4 cuft firebox is a very good performer for $1400, for purely heating purposes it's not the same as a Blaze King though. A BlazeKing will be more efficient and has a more controllable burn due to the thermostat, but the cost is significant, I don't think I could touch a BK stove for under $4k.

I was in the same situation as you, I set out to buy a Blazeking for many of the reasons others have mentioned above, but bought this Osburn instead. I'm happy with it, its an effective heater and puts on an amazing fireshow, something a cat stove like a BK doesn't really do. It still provides about 2/3 of my winter heat, although burning more wood to do so, but I don't have to worry about changing a cat every few years. For my lifestyle a BK Princess longer burn times would allow me to heat more with wood, but natural gas is cheap enough for me not to worry too much about that, although I'd still like to try out a BK for comparison.

Ultimately only you can decide the value of these stoves, but I know in my case the economics would state that the Drolet 1800 would be my choice, at present time I'd never be able to recoup the $2500+ price difference in wood or natural gas savings owning a BK.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,340
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
So would you say the BK uses less wood
In my experience and for almost everyone else that has made the upgrade, yes.

I actually burned a modern noncat hearthstone heritage, a premium stove, on this same hearth for 7 years before switching to the BK 9 years ago. I am a nerdy engineer and keep track of wood consumption. I went from 5 cords per year to 4 cords per year. Every year. That adds up. 20%.

Cat stoves are especially efficient at lower outputs which is where I’m at 95% of the year since I keep the house warm all the time.

Here’s the thing, if you undersize your cat stove and need to run it on high all the time I don’t think you’re going to see the wood savings. Once you need high output all the time (extremely rare statistically), the cat stove loses the advantage.

Drolets are good stoves. If you plan to run it like a freight train glowing red all day then it’s a good choice. That’s why I own my Englander which is undersized for its job.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,502
SE North Carolina
If you need less BTUs yes. The turndown is blaze kings big advantage. If you need more BTUs like I do you won't see any wood savings over another good modern stove. I saw absolutely no wood savings. It does give nice even heat though.
I can make the argument that if you are 100% wood heating the turn down feature on the BK might mean you are more likely to burn rather than adding a sweater for a day or three (during shoulder season when a non cat stove would roast you out) resulting in more wood consumption. Go the cheapest good quality Stove route and add a mini split. If you don’t have AC this could really make you life more comfortable.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,189
central pa
In my experience and for almost everyone else that has made the upgrade, yes.

I actually burned a modern noncat hearthstone heritage, a premium stove, on this same hearth for 7 years before switching to the BK 9 years ago. I am a nerdy engineer and keep track of wood consumption. I went from 5 cords per year to 4 cords per year. Every year. That adds up. 20%.

Cat stoves are especially efficient at lower outputs which is where I’m at 95% of the year since I keep the house warm all the time.

Here’s the thing, if you undersize your cat stove and need to run it on high all the time I don’t think you’re going to see the wood savings. Once you need high output all the time (extremely rare statistically), the cat stove loses the advantage.

Drolets are good stoves. If you plan to run it like a freight train glowing red all day then it’s a good choice. That’s why I own my Englander which is undersized for its job.
Is that most everyone else who switched that are on this site or most everyone who switched to a bk in general? Because we all know anyone on this site expressing an unfavorable view of blaze king gets harassed for doing so.


So the princess I am using is severely undersized for my house even though a noncat the same size if not slightly smaller heated it easily? If that's the case why doesn't bks literature reflect that?
 
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