Opinions of big box store 75+% efficient stoves vs. Old Skool USSC 6039, AES Magnum Countryside 3500, etc.?

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GearheadGrrrl

Member
Mar 11, 2019
4
southwest Minnesota
As noted above, I've got 16 years experience heating with pellets and corn, 5 years with the 6039 and 11 years and counting with the Magnum 3500. Given the age of these stoves and the tax credit I did some shopping, first thing I found was the old reliables like the Magnum 3500 aren't efficient enough to get the tax credit and a lot of the small American manufacturers have disappeared or are sold out for the year. What I found at least theoretically available by the end of the year was the PelPro, Pleasant Hearth, and Comforbilt stoves . This set off a bunch of red flags for me- None are made in the U.S. or at least a country known for modern technology for a start. All rely on computer controls and software too much, I like at least separate controls for feed/fan speed and stirrer. Heck, none of them even have a stirrer- I've run without a stirrer and even with a deeper burn pot I had to manually agitate and sometimes clean the clinkers out of the burn pot long before the hopper was empty. Then there's the auto ignitors- I'm quite capable of lighting the stove myself and would at least like that option.

So as Menard's 11% off and TSC's "Black Friday" sales end (for now), I decided to pass on the new pellet stoves. Has anyone found these new stoves to work as well as the old standbys, and did I make the righty choice?
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,042
Eastern Ontario
You are out of luck if you think you are going to find a new stove that's
not Chock O Block full of electronics. Also, any stove still built in North America
is a hi-end costly stove no big box stoves.
The two that stand out are Enviro and Harman and both run with little problem for years
Good Luck
 
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rona

Minister of Fire
Apr 2, 2008
1,033
southwestern Minn
As noted above, I've got 16 years experience heating with pellets and corn, 5 years with the 6039 and 11 years and counting with the Magnum 3500. Given the age of these stoves and the tax credit I did some shopping, first thing I found was the old reliables like the Magnum 3500 aren't efficient enough to get the tax credit and a lot of the small American manufacturers have disappeared or are sold out for the year. What I found at least theoretically available by the end of the year was the PelPro, Pleasant Hearth, and Comforbilt stoves . This set off a bunch of red flags for me- None are made in the U.S. or at least a country known for modern technology for a start. All rely on computer controls and software too much, I like at least separate controls for feed/fan speed and stirrer. Heck, none of them even have a stirrer- I've run without a stirrer and even with a deeper burn pot I had to manually agitate and sometimes clean the clinkers out of the burn pot long before the hopper was empty. Then there's the auto ignitors- I'm quite capable of lighting the stove myself and would at least like that option.

So as Menard's 11% off and TSC's "Black Friday" sales end (for now), I decided to pass on the new pellet stoves. Has anyone found these new stoves to work as well as the old standbys, and did I make the righty choice?
Look into the St Croix line for wringing more heat out and bringing it into the room rather then out the exh. Manually start and manually drop the clinker so less parts and less problems. Bixby was another good one as it has all the fancy stuff and very efficent actually once the owner catches on they are a great stove but they have a learning curve and no longer in production. The Bixby is no longer being built but you still can get most parts for it. It can be started once and then it will dump the pot automatically into the ash bucket so you could expect to start the stove and run it for 3 weeks 24/7 dumping the ash bucket and filling the hopper both on the go. Both of these stoves were multi fuel stoves and American built. Like you said China seems to be the provider of stoves now and some are better then others. Service after the sale is a big deal because when it breaks the box stores arent much help so you be aware you may get your hands dirty.
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
250
PA
Harman makes a few stoves that are analog instead of digital. The P43 and P68 at least. You're going to pay for them though... but in life you usually pay for what you get.

I don't doubt that you know how to start a fire, but it's a lot easier to flip the switch and have the stove take care of itself....

That said, I drive a manual transmission car, so I understand wanting to take care of things yourself.