This is a Ford vs. Chevy argument (Mopar just plan old suck). They both have their good points. If not you would have seen a bunch of media coverage on pellet stove fires. Much less the non-Pellet Pigs on this board blaming the Pellet Pigs for Global Warming.
I need more coffee,
Peace out my Brothers and Sister or two on the Pellet Pig side of the house.
The Harman P68 is a bottom feeder and I don't have the sound of pellets dropping that another person indicated was bothering to him. But, like Eric said, if it made that much of a difference you would see all stoves made one way or the other.
The bottom feed stoves tend to go slightly longer regarding scraping the burn pot since the ashes are pushed out as the new pellets are pushed in. The top feeders have advantages to (might be slightly more efficient). Google your thread topic and you will probably get various explainations describing the differences. Both are safe.
The advantage I've always heard with top feeders is that there is a much smaller risk of a fire backing up into the pellet hopper. The problem with this is that I've never heard of a bottom loader suffering from a hopper fire. Maybe it's happened, but I've never read about one.
If you do buy a top-feeder, I'd look real hard at how the burn pot is cleaned. Some claim to be "self cleaning", and have mechanisms that dump ash out of the burn pot. I'm not sure how well that works, but if it isn't "self cleaning", be prepared to scrape the burn pot more often than with a bottom-feeder. With a bottom feeder, you won't hear pellets clinking into the burn pot. However, the auger itself will make noticeable noise.
I agree that it really is a Chevy versus Ford type argument. Both work fine. They just require a little different care.
I looked into this last year and Harman seems to really be the main bottom feeder, almost everyone else is a top feeder. We were initially going to go with Harman for the reason it was bottom feeder and Harman lovers really love it. Harmans also got excellent reviews here. But when we went to look at Harmans, the fan was louder than we wanted to tolerate in our main living area. Also we wanted one that looked more like a woodstove, and we also wanted an insert to plug up our fireplace so it would stop draining heat from our house and a stove which could heat or house so we wouldn't have to use oil. So it all depends on your priorities. Top vs bottom feeder is only one consideration in the evaluation of which stove will be best for you. The best thing is to go in person and talk to a few local dealers to find the best stove for your needs.
Depends on who you talk to. When we were stove shopping, the dealers we spoke
with that did not sell the Harman brand told us to stay away from the bottom feed as they were
problematic, however when we visited the Harman dealers, we heard the complete
opposite from them.
Well, you know, I probably shouldn't get involved in this discussion, since I'm pretty new to this pellet thing , myself. However, with that said, I just find myself drawn in by all the variables associated with this debate. (Yeah, maybe I'm just easy tonight, 'cause it's Friday, I've got most of the weekend off, I'm sitting here toasty warm with the Revolution idling away, and I've had a couple cocktails). Therefor, allow me to enlighten you.
1. Where do you load your pellets into the stove? From the top? Why? Because it's easier than loading from the bottom? Why? GRAVITY
2. Is your hopper higher than your burnpot? Yes? Why? Because GRAVITY is your friend.
3. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
Hope I didn't offend any of our sensitive members.
With the sound of pellets dropping, comes the flurry of fly ash up from the burn pot. Never seen a bottom feeded operate, but do they tend to produce less fly ash? That may be an advantage of the bottom feeder.