Is buying a stove online good for a better selection?

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Judge80

New Member
Aug 23, 2022
28
Midwest
I was curious if buying a stove online and having a local company install it is a good idea? I only have about 5 companies to choose from near me at two local dealers. They are Vermont Castings, Hearthstone, Lopi, Jotul, and Stuv.

There are other brands like Blaze King and maybe Pacific energy but those dealers are at least 50 miles away and in a different state. Are there laws/licensing that would prevent a company from another state installing a stove they sell?

I am really having a hard time deciding on all this and I feel I’m teetering on the edge of buying something just to have it before prices go even higher next year and before stock runs out for this year. This is a big expense but my wife and I decided it would be for the best with looming supply chain and energy issues in the future. I don’t want to make any rash purchases either.

Curious to see what people have to say because I know there are some installer/dealers in here. Thanks!
 

Propane_Poor

Member
Oct 20, 2018
79
Ohio
Where are you located? I highly recommend getting to a large dealer.
I just picked up a blaze king Ashford 30 today at a dealer 100 miles away, near the Ohio/PA line. Getting it for $800 less than the closer dealer made it worth it. They were also an Amish business and super nice.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,208
Long Island NY
Many installers don't want to install a stove they didn't sell.

If something doesn't work well, who is responsible?

I would ask for quotes from the out of state folks. If they don't come over to see what things look like (understandable but wrong), send them lots of pics.


Note that if you have an existing chimney, many stove installations also need an insulated liner to be safe and according to code. But if the stove qualifies for the tax credit (26 pct), the liner will too.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,525
SE North Carolina
If you can’t get what you want local then online makes sense. My first stove was a local hearth and home store. Bought from and installed by them. I didn’t know much other than they said they could get the the stove I wanted. Second stove (a Drolet) I bought online from Costco. Not a chance anyone local could have matched the price for any insert of similar quality. I installed it myself. Some brands aren’t really sold online.

Call around many times local chimney sweeps will install stoves.

From the brands listed. Lopi makes good stoves. Jotul F45 and F55 are good. But I’d probably want more choices that just that.
 
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Judge80

New Member
Aug 23, 2022
28
Midwest
Where are you located? I highly recommend getting to a large dealer.
I just picked up a blaze king Ashford 30 today at a dealer 100 miles away, near the Ohio/PA line. Getting it for $800 less than the closer dealer made it worth it. They were also an Amish business and super nice.
I’m near the Wi/IL line. So you bought the stove and who will be installing it?
Many installers don't want to install a stove they didn't sell.

If something doesn't work well, who is responsible?

I would ask for quotes from the out of state folks. If they don't come over to see what things look like (understandable but wrong), send them lots of pics.


Note that if you have an existing chimney, many stove installations also need an insulated liner to be safe and according to code. But if the stove qualifies for the tax credit (26 pct), the liner will too.
I understand the stance of not installing what they don’t sell. I have 5” piping in a chase so that will have to be totally removed and replaced with stuff that will work with whatever stove I go with.

Part of me doesn’t even want the tax credit although it would save a significant amount for the install. I feel like these companies have greatly raised their prices so they can sell for higher due to the tax credit. “Oh demand is high and so are prices, but hey get 1/4 of your money back”.
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,213
St.Louis
You may run into the same issue I had 8 years ago. I decided on a BK. No one in St.louis sells them. There is a nice place north in Troy that sells them but they are too far away so they dont install this far. They were really nice and worked with me to get all the pieces I needed and walked me through what I was unsure of. This forum was a huge help as well.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,208
Long Island NY
My only advice would be to get as many quotes on paper (to hold.them to it) as you can.

And then ask here about the quality of the stoves you are looking at.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,685
Northern NH
I live in NH, there is no sales tax, folks from Mass and NH drive over the line all the time to buy large goods and not pay taxes. Maine is 5% Mass is 6.25%. Technically residents of both adjoining states are supposed to pay that sales tax on their tax forms but enforcement is technically difficult. Generally its recomended to pay cash on those purchases as on very rare but highly publicized events the adjoining states may try to track down the scofflaws via the credit card companies by forcing them to release records. NH businesses are supposed to report on line sales to out of state buyers and collect taxes but if someone drives to the store they do not ask. Thus a lot of stoves and large appliances get bought over the state line as the stove is not one bit different for 5 or 6.25% less.

The trade off is if someone is new to wood stoves a good local dealer can make it easy. They will probably deliver and install and hopefully train the owner. If the stove is bought from a distant dealer with someone else doing the install, if there is an issue, fingers can get point between the stove seller and the stove installer on who gets to fix. Many folks really do not know what model stove will fit their homes and dealer with showroom is quite handy but raises the cost of product to cover the overhead of the store. IMO its pretty sleazy for someone to go to a local stove dealer, ask a lot of questions and get help selecting a stove and then going home and shopping the model selected on line to get the cheapest price. The other aspect is if there is need for support many stove manufacturers requite service by the selling dealer. This can be problem if the selling dealer is two states away.

To me the benefits of a good local dealer for a new stove buyer probably outweighs some cost savings on the front end the local dealer is good. On the other hand for an experienced wood burner who knows what they want I would advocate shopping around including the local dealer.

Note I am referring to good dealer with sales service and installs. Some dealers just treat it as a seasonal business to fill in a slow time of year, the salesfolks are on commission and they are going to push what they have on the floor.
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
Another side of the equation is a dealer that really isn't that good. I knew his products way better than he did. He was giving incorrect factual information. I dont know if he just didn't know or was trying to lie about it. I wasn't about to let him install my stove.
 

Judge80

New Member
Aug 23, 2022
28
Midwest
I don’t blame you. If you’ve done your research and come in “armed” it’s also harder for them to fleece you over.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
If you buy outside a dealers service, you may be able to hire a CSIA Chimney Sweep. If you want a top quality "online" stove, try Woodstock Soapstone. They have superb customer service. I'm not saying this just because the owner is a dear friend, but because it's true!

You may want to have a sweep or dealer come do an in person inspection. Several are now doing virtual visits, which is cool and trending.

Regardless, you've got time to do your research. You can call the manufacturers as well to get more specifics.

Good luck in your search!

BKVP