Stove selection experiences (Lopi vs Jotul)

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The certified noncat hearthstones heated well enough but were never very efficient compared to others. Lots of hinge and latch problems. Dainty hardware. Dang pretty stoves though.

I can see how there could be latch issues, with the knife edge latch on mine that is used for closing the door. I can picture some people would probably wrench it down. First thing I taught my wife with the stove. Finger and a thumb is plenty tight enough. No reason to put a cheater bar on it. I would definitely not recommend the stove I own to someone that is looking for a stove that can be abused. We are so poor we don't really abuse anything.
 
We are so poor we don't really abuse anything.

Well, to be fair, you bought a very expensive premium stove. The cheaper stoves like drolets or englanders are just as efficient but built to last much longer. I found that even normal use caused rapid wear of the hearthstone, abuse is not required. Be careful with it, to get the most life. I liked a lot of things about the heritage but I just can't recommend a hearthstone unless those hinges and latches are improved compared to my 2006 model.
 
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Well, to be fair, you bought a very expensive premium stove. The cheaper stoves like drolets or englanders are just as efficient but built to last much longer. I found that even normal use caused rapid wear of the hearthstone, abuse is not required. Be careful with it, to get the most life. I liked a lot of things about the heritage but I just can't recommend a hearthstone unless those hinges and latches are improved compared to my 2006 model.
We were just at the right place at the right time when we found our stove, Right when the EPA rules changed and the dealer was willing to wheel and deal quite a bit. around $2500 for the stove, delivery, double wall stove pipe, install and an really nice chimney cap plus removal of the rusted out earth stove that was here. I think the total for everything after taxes was around $3100.
 
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We were just at the right place at the right time when we found our stove, Right when the EPA rules changed and the dealer was willing to wheel and deal quite a bit. around $2500 for the stove, delivery, double wall stove pipe, install and an really nice chimney cap plus removal of the rusted out earth stove that was here. I think the total for everything after taxes was around $3100.
People really liked the manny. Actual owners. The duck feet were unique.
 
New member, but long time lurker.

I’m in the process of selecting a new stove to replace a 15yo Hearthstone Bennington. The stove has started to leak in a couple spots and I was unable to disassemble to replace gaskets. Love the looks and performance, but disappointed by the failure.

The stove heats our 30’x30’ detached garage/workshop. The structure was built in 2002 and is fully insulated. First floor is open with cent floor and the second floor is about 15’x30’; ceiling on the first floor is open. The Bennington to get the space warmed from ambient to comfortable (60’s) and hold it there happily.

I’ve been stove shopping at dealers and would like to stay local and use a dealer that I can easily access if anything comes up/needs attention. Not super happy with attitude of original dealer who sold me the Bennington so went to another that sells Lopi and Jotul.

Firstly, I’m torn between a steel or cast iron stove. After my experience with the Bennington I’m paranoid about a similar problem happening again; not rational perhaps, but in my head none-the-less. My thought was a fully welded box would be less likely to leak. My parents ran a Garrison model II for 30y and never had a problem other than replacing door gaskets.

I was looking at the Lopi Endeavor Hybrid and Evergreen to take advantage of the tax break, but am more concerned about the ability to heat the space, build quality, future serviceability (access to parts & ease of replacement). The sales person also suggested the Jotul F55 Carrabasset and F500 Oslo would be good options.

A second shop tried suggested a Hearthstone Manchester (is this a “fool me once” scenario?) and Osburn 3500.

Lots to unpack in my ask, but I would appreciate this communities real world experience with stove to help guide my decision. I don’t want my own irrational concerns, lack of knowledge in stove construction/design/manufacturers, or salesmanship at a specific shop to mislead me.

Thank you all in advance for your thoughts and adding datapoints to my decision.
I bought a Jotul F500 V3 Oslo cast iron stove. Nothing but problems. Stove seals, including cast iron top of stove and body of stove leaked smoke emissions when cooling down, or if a piece of wood ignited in a flash within the stove. Seemed to be improper sealing of entire fire box. Catalytic combuster is a POS. I took videos and still photos of smoke pouring out of seals on sides and under top. It's as if the cast iron was not made snug enough to specs so it wouldn't leak.

Had stove maintenanced in Jan., Feb., and March 2024. Can't afford to keep having installer come back and maintenance once per month, when User's Manual says it should only be maintenanced once or twice per burning season (approx. 5 months). Defeats the purpose of secondary heating source. I would never recommend to anyone. Catalytic Combuster is a defective part of the stove. Stay away from catalytic stoves. They are NOT environmentally sound or healthy. They are a public health problem. Whoever designed it, didn't do their due diligence on how the catalytic combustor needs to be maintained at least once per month. Used wood at or below 15% moisture content and used several pieces of copy paper to ignite fire. When fire started, puffs of smoke came out of the seams of the stove. If a piece of wood was 18% or more moisture, it smoked up and emanated out of the stove through the seams. I was having huge smoke problems with it once a month, and it smoked out the entire house. Got "smoker's cough" from it, due to being [poorly] cemented seams that would expand and contract with heat and cool down. Once I stopped using stove in March, the "smoker's cough" went away. Someone recommended kiln-dried firewood to use in the stove. I priced it out. $250-$300 cord for seasoned firewood I could dry out over summer. Kiln-dried firewood would be needed in middle of winter (when "seasoned" wood tended to get somewhat wet). Cord of Kiln-dried firewood is twice the price of "seasoned" wood. One company wanted to charge $900 for a cord of kiln-dried firewood delivered (they said it comes from out of state). Jotul needs to re-do their Oslo and/or all cast iron stoves because of emissions leaks out of seams and catalytic combuster is a piece of junk and defective. Need to come up with another method, or use fully enclosed steel boxes.
 
Guess you aren’t familiar with modern stoves then. There’s a lot going on.
The modern stoves are not properly sealed and the catalytic combusters are a joke. I had a Jotul F500 Oslo. P.O.S. Had multiple problems with smoke escaping seals on sides and under top (which is bolted and screwed in). Cast iron is not snug enough to seal. Needs an fully sealed firebox, otherwise the seals are never tight enough. Got rid of Jotul wood-burning stove within 8 months of purchase. I had several other wood burning stoves in past, and an Avalon for 20 years. Never had the problems with them that I had with the Jotul. Smoke emissions out of seams isn't only a health problem, it's an environmental problem. I used dried wood with less than 15% moisture (had moisture monitor/sensor to test wood). Even cut a full cord of wood into kindling size pieces to get a hotter fire. Every month I was calling installer to clean out catalytic because one day it worked great, the next, it smoked out the entire house and gave me "smoker's cough" for a few days. After it happened each month for 3 months I contacted Jotul, demanded my money back because it's product is a health problem, and they are giving my money back and removing it for free.
 
I bought a Jotul F500 V3 Oslo cast iron stove. Nothing but problems. Stove seals, including cast iron top of stove and body of stove leaked smoke emissions when cooling down, or if a piece of wood ignited in a flash within the stove. Seemed to be improper sealing of entire fire box. Catalytic combuster is a POS. I took videos and still photos of smoke pouring out of seals on sides and under top. It's as if the cast iron was not made snug enough to specs so it wouldn't leak.

Had stove maintenanced in Jan., Feb., and March 2024. Can't afford to keep having installer come back and maintenance once per month, when User's Manual says it should only be maintenanced once or twice per burning season (approx. 5 months). Defeats the purpose of secondary heating source. I would never recommend to anyone. Catalytic Combuster is a defective part of the stove. Stay away from catalytic stoves. They are NOT environmentally sound or healthy. They are a public health problem. Whoever designed it, didn't do their due diligence on how the catalytic combustor needs to be maintained at least once per month. Used wood at or below 15% moisture content and used several pieces of copy paper to ignite fire. When fire started, puffs of smoke came out of the seams of the stove. If a piece of wood was 18% or more moisture, it smoked up and emanated out of the stove through the seams. I was having huge smoke problems with it once a month, and it smoked out the entire house. Got "smoker's cough" from it, due to being [poorly] cemented seams that would expand and contract with heat and cool down. Once I stopped using stove in March, the "smoker's cough" went away. Someone recommended kiln-dried firewood to use in the stove. I priced it out. $250-$300 cord for seasoned firewood I could dry out over summer. Kiln-dried firewood would be needed in middle of winter (when "seasoned" wood tended to get somewhat wet). Cord of Kiln-dried firewood is twice the price of "seasoned" wood. One company wanted to charge $900 for a cord of kiln-dried firewood delivered (they said it comes from out of state). Jotul needs to re-do their Oslo and/or all cast iron stoves because of emissions leaks out of seams and catalytic combuster is a piece of junk and defective. Need to come up with another method, or use fully enclosed steel boxes.
Too bad your stove operated so poorly for you. Leaking stoves are almost always a symptom of a poorly drafting chimney. It will leak air into the stove, not leak smoke on a properly drafting chimney. Sorry, I can already tell this comment will upset you. It’s true though. This isn’t a problem others have experienced from what I’ve seen. Failing cats are the issue from overfire and from parts that weren’t built to spec and have since been remedied from what I’m hearing.
 
This sounds it may have been due to puffback. If so, it has nothing to do with the catalyst. It is more likely due to wood that isn't fully seasoned. Weak draft and/or closing the air too quickly can exacerbate the situation.