Kuma Cascade vs Regency i2500 vs BK Princess PI29 vs Lopi Evergreen vs ?

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blazers

New Member
Feb 23, 2022
5
97008
I've been lurking and searching out similar threads in terms of models mentioned. While there definitely are, I'm interested in if people see aspects I might want to think about considering our space / climate / experience level..

We have a tri level home around 2200SqFt in a mild climate - NW Oregon - plenty of months we need heat but unusual to snow or be under 30 degrees even in January. We have a natural gas furnace with a variable speed fan that we can run on low for minimizing temp differences between rooms and levels (as long as power is on). The open fireplace we are looking for an insert on is on the main level, which is very open kitchen / dining / living room. It is also near a stairway that goes a half level up where there are bed & bath rooms. A half level down is a daylight basement that has another open fireplace that we will either add some kind of insert or have a freestanding stove in front of (not sure which fuel), but the space in question for now is the main level. At first I was going for aesthetics and something more modern looking (more flush and clean rectangular lines) but the more I read I like the idea of good radiant heating, especially for when the power goes out, and my wife really would like to be able to have it sticking out enough for a small water kettle for humidity (or perhaps some soup in a power outage). Even the most flush type inserts I've seen seem to require a hearth guard on the wood floor in front of the raised hearth that is 17 inches, so the idea of something sticking out onto our raised hearth has grown on me. Here are some pros and cons from our viewpoint of ones I'm thinking most about.

BK Princess Princess 29: Like the idea of the thermostat helping achieve long burn times and being able to dial down. My gut feeling is for our climate this one might be the best fit. I was surprised I liked the look in person because I was not as excited when just looking at the stock photo. I was originally going to look a the Siroco (though flush wanted to see anyway), but ended up being more intrigued by this one when I saw it inside and out. Although the window is on the smaller side for these 4, I like the style with it being a clean rectangle lines instead of having a curve. I like that the fan is hidden, but worry if this means it is harder to clean or maintain?

Kuma Cascade (or Aspen?): Like the idea of them being hand made by a single person. Overall we like the look but would like better of the door and window was a rectangle. I've had some people tell me that it might be harder to not overheat, and that our space might be better suited by the smaller Aspen. I am not sure I would like the look of that smaller model in this space and also figure it is easier to load things into the Cascade. I like the company a lot but am unsure about the sizing for my space.

Regency i2500: Seems like another logical choice from a respectable brand. Not really any strong feelings one way or the other on this one, at least so far. We do not like the rounded door/window top, but do like the glass bigger is bigger than the Kuma or Blaze King. Seems similar to the Kuma Cascade in size and that it is a hyrbrid - though not sure though why no one has mentioned sizing / low temp control thing like that one.

Lopi Evergreen: Like the rectangular door and relatively large viewing window. I thought my wife would like this one most as well for that reason, but she does not like the look of the split intake fan, and besides the look, wonders if it will collect a lot of dust in the nook in between the two fans. The split fan does not bother me, but while I doubt she'd say that is a deal breaker it may matter more than things about the other ones for me.

Quotes for all of these are very close, so that is not helping make the decision easier. For the Performance/Ease of use from what I hear and read the Princess seems to be well regarded if you want long periods of low heat being added. Our experience with wood stoves is minimal, so ease of use and temp stability are a big factor. Appearance is as well, but that aspect is different for everyone. So, any thoughts people have in terms of how easy these would be considering our circumstances?

Any others I might want to consider? We would like it to be able to stick out far enough and hearth to have a small kettle on improve radiant heat. We want it to be easy to control and efficient. I'm open to non tax credit qualified models if considerably less and reasonably efficient (needs to be well less than 26% as we'll have hearth guard, liner, install we'd get the 26% on). Also open to higher price inserts if awesome.

Thanks.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,416
SE North Carolina
Flush looks better ones that project out are more radiant. BKs are good products. That’s probably what I would choose if you are ok with the looks of the princess. We have nice looking jotul stove upstairs and the cheapest decent insert in downstairs walkout. Basement insert saw 20-30 loads this winter. Upstairs ran a bit over a cord through it. I like the secondary flame show. We have a heatpump and run it until the temps drop below 45. Once the heatpump goes off them basement temps drop and it can get cold down there once the stove has been running for more than a day. I will be installing a mini split down there. Running two stoves is more work than I want on a weekday.

Just my thoughts. Check out the pacific energy inserts too. https://www.pacificenergy.net/products/wood/?swoof=1&_sft_product_cat=wood&product_class=inserts

Evan
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
(While I always argue that stoves do both: convective heat input into the home as well as radiative heat input) I would qualify most inserts as less radiant and more convective. Hence the fans, airflow etc. Simply insufficient surface area exposed to the room for a lot IR radiative heat input into the room.

I'm not sure the pot of water on a BK is a useful thing. (I don't know the other inserts well) The double wall air-flow system makes the top surface less hot (less heating the pot). I don't know about the other stoves, but with my BK (freestanding, Chinook), the paint easily scratches. A pot and a single grain of sand will likely result in scratching. I did hear that the paint on BKs is top of the line - so I suspect other steel stoves won't differ much in this respect, but I can't guarantee others would not be better.

I believe the fan on the BK is easy to service (if needed) - I remember it can roll out.
 
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blazers

New Member
Feb 23, 2022
5
97008
Thanks Evan for the reply Evan.
Flush looks better ones that project out are more radiant. BKs are good products. That’s probably what I would choose if you are ok with the looks of the princess. We have nice looking jotul stove upstairs and the cheapest decent insert in downstairs walkout. Basement insert saw 20-30 loads this winter. Upstairs ran a bit over a cord through it. I like the secondary flame show. We have a heatpump and run it until the temps drop below 45. Once the heatpump goes off them basement temps drop and it can get cold down there once the stove has been running for more than a day. I will be installing a mini split down there. Running two stoves is more work than I want on a weekday.

Just my thoughts. Check out the pacific energy inserts too. https://www.pacificenergy.net/products/wood/?swoof=1&_sft_product_cat=wood&product_class=inserts

Evan
Thanks. I'll re-check out the Pacific Energy. My brother got one a couple years back. I stopped into a dealer that sold them when just starting to think about these and not quite sure of the details about the tax credit. They had a pellet stove insert with a note about the tax credit. I asked if the PE wood insert he was showing me qualified, and he said he did not know anything about that. Seemed fishy. Maybe that was really the case and he honestly did not, but kind of doubt that as he seeme knowledable up to that point. It would have been stronger to say it did not hit the % needed but explain reasons I may want to consider anyway. Perhaps another dealer has units they'd want to make a deal on.

What you said there about running 2 stoves is more work than you want on a weekday is something I ought to think about. I should probably lean toward a gas insert for the downstairs fireplace - it is very close to an existing line and where it comes into the house.
 

blazers

New Member
Feb 23, 2022
5
97008
(While I always argue that stoves do both: convective heat input into the home as well as radiative heat input) I would qualify most inserts as less radiant and more convective. Hence the fans, airflow etc. Simply insufficient surface area exposed to the room for a lot IR radiative heat input into the room.

I'm not sure the pot of water on a BK is a useful thing. (I don't know the other inserts well) The double wall air-flow system makes the top surface less hot (less heating the pot). I don't know about the other stoves, but with my BK (freestanding, Chinook), the paint easily scratches. A pot and a single grain of sand will likely result in scratching. I did hear that the paint on BKs is top of the line - so I suspect other steel stoves won't differ much in this respect, but I can't guarantee others would not be better.

I believe the fan on the BK is easy to service (if needed) - I remember it can roll out.
Besides the Princess intruding out a considerable amount I heard the Kuma can be installed about as far out onto the hearth as well. I realize neither would not be as radiant as a freestanding unit, but those are not be in the cards for this room without some pretty big rework to things. I do really like the looks of some of the freestanding units out there and wish that was more feasible.

The store with the BK sold little pots that went on trivets that were out on top of the inserts that protruded out into the room like the Princess. The thing the pot was sitting on seemed to stay in place when taking the pot on and off and I did not notice any scratches on the top of any (maybe it was magnetic or maybe just heavy enough). I did not notice scratches on the top surfaces and was looking pretty close how fit and finish looked. That said, given what you said about the double wall air-flow system making the top surface less hot makes me wonder if this thing that the pot sits on further separates the pot from the heat to the point of being useful. I am not expecting boiling water, but warming up some cocoa or soup might make a power outage more fun with the kids but not if it does not warm up to the typical temp for those things!
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
I hope someone with a BK insert speaks up.

The only thing I can say is that I have one of those thermoelectric "play-fans" on top, and it can go fast. I believe they work from about 180 F to 500 F or so (too hot and the element breaks).
I do think one can get 300 F on the top (of a freestander - affected by where the catalyst is, as that's the hottest spot). If that's enough to heat liquid in a reasonable time, I don't know.

Again, I don't know how that compares to other inserts. And I'm not bashing the BK - I love my stove. Ease of use etc. And that is the same tech as the insert. I'm only responding with my observations in relation to your wishes as I understand them.