Vermont Castings Vigilant II Coal Stove - Good or Bad

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mgambuzza

Member
Mar 12, 2006
204
Syracuse, NY
I have been mulling over purchasing a Vigilant II Coal stove for quite some time. I've seen little knowledge in my area on these or any coal stoves in the Syracuse NY area. I am interested in anyone who has owned this stove and what their opinions are of this unit.
 

Shane

Minister of Fire
Nov 21, 2005
1,831
Casper Wyoming
Horrible stove, the shaker grate works too well, the high quality cast lasts too long, the top loading feature is too nice.
 

Corie

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2005
2,441
Camp Hill, PA
HAHAHA

I've previously talked about the Vigilant and how much I like so many things about it. I'm sure you've done your research, so I won't go into great detail over all the features. But the grate system and looks of the stove alone should be enough to sell you on it.

I would mull no longer and put the money down. For the price, it's VERY hard to beat a Vigilant II, unless the heating capacity isn't high enough for your needs.
 

Corie

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2005
2,441
Camp Hill, PA
Dylan, I think you're confusing me with the other Corey.

I was originally, and still am, a Vigilant supporter. I personally think the grate system, the bypass gate and circulation of gases, as well as the tasteful top loading feature make it quite a nice stove. And I have known personally of two families who heat their houses entirely with the Vigilant and have done so for many years without any complaint.

It doesn't have the coal capacity (and heat capacity) to be a full house heating work horse, unless your house is on the small side. If one is hoping to heat a whole house, I'd suggest something on the larger end of the Harman line. Of course, that's a tradeoff in my opinion, because the harman coal stoves (besides the TLC-2000) are basically 1/4" steel boxes with grates.
 
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elkimmeg

Guest
If I did not have a free wood supply, and were paying for the fuel supply, I would have had the VC Vigilant long ago.
Really this stove is good for 1500 sq ft plus minus, Heat area, can not be compared with stoves hoppers holding 90 lbs or more
If it fits your criteria then this Vc stove is as good as it gets plus pleasing to the eyes.
 

Mo Heat

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
848
St. Louis, Missouri
The Vigilant claims an 18 hour burn at a max of 50,000 BTU per hour and 2,000 sq ft heating. Even if they're fudging 30%, that thing still has a 12 hour burn and some serious heat.

Is it realistic to think the Vigilant could burn with some serious heat for 12 hours on a 45 lb load of coal?

Does coal pretty much put out the max BTU per hour (50,000 in this case), or is it like a wood stove where the average BTU output is significantly less?
 
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elkimmeg

Guest
As I remember correctly the stove is setup for the coal you burn Anthracite or bituminous. You have to specify the type you intend to burn
 

berlin

New Member
Mar 6, 2006
299
Western NY
Right, the vigilant comes generally set up for bituminous, or at least it used to, so u have to specify anthricite when you order the stove.

"Is it realistic to think the Vigilant could burn with some serious heat for 12 hours on a 45 lb load of coal?

Does coal pretty much put out the max BTU per hour (50,000 in this case), or is it like a wood stove where the average BTU output is significantly less?"
well using anthricite as an example; it contains about 14,000btu/lb and at about 65% efficiency that is about 9,000btu/lb, now figure no more than 2/3 fresh coal or the fire will be put out and 1/3 carbon combusted on the fully flaming coal bed already in the firebox. So, 2/3 of 9000 is 6000 btu/lb for 1/3 of the coal. 1/3 of lets just say 50lbs because you can probably fit that amount in there is 16lbs @ 6000 btu = 96,000btu's + (the fresh coal at 9000btu's/lb @ 34lbs = 306,000btu's) = 402,000btu's. and since coal will easily burn at a farily constant heat output throughout the burn cycle for the purposes of this, 402,000/12hours = 33,500btu's/hour or as VC says 402,000/18hours = 22,300 btu's/hour or about 8 hours @ 50,000btu's/hour so i would say that based on reality it will not achieve 50,000 btu's per hour for a long burn.
 

Mo Heat

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
848
St. Louis, Missouri
berlin said:
... coal will easily burn at a farily constant heat output throughout the burn cycle for the purposes of this, 402,000/12hours = 33,500btu's/hour or as VC says 402,000/18hours = 22,300 btu's/hour or about 8 hours @ 50,000btu's/hour so i would say that based on reality it will not achieve 50,000 btu's per hour for a long burn.
Wow. That's still a lot of BTU's over a long time with very little tending. Adding coal twice per day sounds realistic. I'd guess you might need to shake the grate once of twice in between loads, but still, that's a fairly low maintenance heating appliance compared to a wood stove.

But of course, burning coal is a whole different ball game from burning wood, with lots of other considerations.

Thanks for the detailed BTU calculation, Berlin.
 

saichele

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2005
545
Making 50K BTU consistently with 2 reloads a day sounds pretty good. In the dead of winter we were keeping our WWL (also spec'd for 50K max) going pretty good most of the time, but we were reloading every 3 hrs or so, and not much left after 6 or 7 hrs overnight.

Of course
 
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