When choosing a pellet stove, it’s important to choose a model which is efficient, powerful and has a beautiful design, and the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style has all that- and much more. Clean, timeless design combined with serious heating power of 50,000 BTUs make this pellet stove both a beautiful addition to your home and reliable heating source.
Capable of single handedly heating any home up to 2200 square feet comfortably, Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style is a pellet stove that doesn’t disappoint. Rated with 85-percent efficiency score by EPA, this pellet stove is both efficient and energy saving.
Additional features like auto ignition, comfort control or air wash system, just to name a few, definitely make Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style feel and perform like a high-end pellet stove, the affordable price making the only difference.
Sturdy and robust, the Comfortbilt HP22 is a beautiful example of exquisite craftsmanship and heavy-duty heating power all in one. The large viewing area really makes this pellet stove stand out and allows for a great view of the fire, and the 50,000 BTU with EPA certified 86% efficiency rating can heat up most homes in no time.
If you’re looking a cheap pellet stove, the compact but tough US Stove R5824 is the choice for you. The 30,000 BTU heating power won’t be enough to make this pellet stove a standalone heater for larger homes, but, for spaces up to 1,300 square feet, it will definitely impress you.
Table of Contents
- How does a pellet stove work?
- Are pellets stoves better than wood stoves?
- How to choose the right pellet stove for yourself
- How we tested
- Our pick: Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- The step-up pick: Comforbilt HP22
- The budget pick: US Stove R5824
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping it up
How does a pellet stove work?
Most people thinking about buying a pellet stove to heat their homes know that they are highly efficient and help save on the electric bill, but the why and how behind the operation isn’t widely known. Some people assume they function the same as the wood stoves, with the exception of using pellets as fuel, and therefore make the wrong assumption that they are potentially dangerous and emit hazardous gasses. This, however is not true- and it’s the one of the reasons pellet stove are gaining more and more popularity, as people turn to safe, renewable heating sources.
Pellet stoves are fueled by pellets made out of biomass. The ones most often used are wood pellets, made out of compressed sawdust and other wood byproducts, making pellets cheap to make and eco-friendly- all of the materials are actually recycled, and their burning efficiency is through the roof.
The stoves itself have a hopper, and each model has a differently sized one, in which you place the pellets, leaving them to feed the fire for hours on end- making them perfect to safely and reliably heat your home even when you’re away at work. The motorized auger takes the pellets from the hopper and places them in the burn chamber, which is then ignited. The whole operation is mechanical and very user-friendly, and all you need to do is deposit the pellets into the hopper. The speed of the auger is determined by regulating the thermostat, so, according to the temperature you want, the pellet stove will spend more or fewer pellets per hour.
The heated air, filtered and safe, is then distributed evenly through space, and the ash from burned pellets collected in a separate chamber. The overall process is straight-forward and simple, and apart from regulating the thermostat and putting the pellets in the stove, there’s not much you’ll need to do.
Are pellets stoves better than wood stoves?
The sky-high electrical bills and the constant rise in prices on gas make people look into wood based heating. Wood stoves, fireplaces and other traditional wood burning appliances are the ones that first come to mind- and with them, all the mess they make and the health hazards they pose, making people reluctant to switch to wood burning systems. However, pellet stoves are a different story altogether- even though they’ve been around since the late 80s, their popularity skyrocketed in the last couple of years.
First advantage pellet stoves have over traditional wood stoves and fireplaces is definitely the fuel. Wood pellets are so much cleaner and easier to use than wood- which needs to be chopped, stored and brought to the house frequently unless you’re up for sawdust and dirt all around your home. Pellet stoves can be fueled with different types of pellets, but the most efficient and the ones most commonly used are made from wood. Wood pellets are easier to store and transport, don’t require any additional effort when purchased, and, the best part is- they’re much cheaper to use than wood, but have the same or even better results.
The second advantage is the price of the stove itself, as well as the easy installation. The first time you go window shopping for a stove, it’s quite obvious that the pellet stoves are less expensive, but it’s not that well-known that pellet stoves cost less to install, and can be install virtually anywhere. For wood stoves, in addition to the price of the stove, you’ll have to add the cost of installation, and even building a chimney if you don’t have one, but pellet stoves are much simpler than that. All you need to get your pellet stove up and running is a small hole in the wall, to place the vent pipe. You can even drill the hole yourself if you’re handy, but even if you need to hire a professional, the cost of installation is significantly smaller than it is with wood stoves.
The next categories pellet stoves beat traditional wood stoves are eco-friendly factor, maintenance, and safety. The waste and CO2 emissions from pellet stoves are practically nonexistent, and the fire itself is contained and enclosed, which keeps you safe immediately and minimizes the exhausts that pose a risk to your health. Wood stoves are mainly disliked precisely because of the safety category, due to the high-level of emissions, as well as the fact that using wood isn’t a good choice for the environment.
And, in the end, pellet stove excels in two aspects of heating that are really important- ease of use and efficiency. The fact that pellet stoves need electric power to operate (albeit, very little power) makes them minimally dependent on the user- the whole process from ignition to keeping the fire burning is mechanical, removing the hassle and painstaking efforts that usually go into stoking the fire and getting the wood to burn in the first place. As if the sheer simplicity of use wasn’t enough, pellet stoves are much more efficient than any traditional wood burning heater. Rated by EPA, they use clean energy and don’t waste fuel, and their heat output is much more impressive than what you get with a regular wood stove.
How to choose the right pellet stove for yourself
When choosing a pellet stove, the first and the most important thing to check if its heating power will be enough for the intended space. An undersized stove won’t be able to heat the whole space, and can be only used for supplement heating, and oversized pellet stoves will require more unnecessary fuel, wasting your money on the long run.
Considering the square footage of your home, choose pellet stoves that have the heat output between 30,000 BTUs and 60,000 BTUs. Have in mind that the realistic heat output might be lower than it’s advertised, so always go for a slightly higher BTU output than you think you’ll need. As a guidance, pellet stoves with 50,000 BTU heating power are an appropriate choice for homes between 1,300 square feet and 2,200 square feet. Of course, you should always factor in other important information that could help you make a decision, such as the insulation and climate you live in. Insulated home in a warmer climate with milder winters will be heated more easily than a home without insulation or in an area that has really low temperatures during the wintertime.
When you choose the right heat output for your home, you need to consider another important factor- the location of the pellet stove. In order to maximize the efficiency and the heating power, you’ll need to locate the stove in a part of your home from where the warmth would be easily distributed throughout the house. It’s always the best choice to place the stove in the room you spend the most time in, whether it’s your living room, home office or the dining room- with pellet stove, you can choose the location without having to remodel. They’re easily installed and don’t require a chimney, so all you need to do is pick your favorite spot to curl up in front of the fire.
How we tested
In order to simulate the conditions when the pellet stove would be used, we conducted our testing in a 2,000 square feet home, relying on the pellet stove tested at that moment the sole heating source. During the course of 3 weeks we tested the stoves, the average temperature was between 12-14 degrees Fahrenheit, so factor in these conditions when choosing the stove for yourself. If you live in an area where the temperatures are significantly lower, you’ll have to supplement heating.
The first thing we rated is the design of the pellet stove, as the first thing that comes to one’s attention. Sleek, modern design that’s easily incorporated in different decors was a plus, and outdated or cheap styles were definitely a downside.
Next, we rated the efficiency and the heat output- we wanted to test the advertised BTU output and see for ourselves how well the models we tested actually heat the space. High BTU output which performed efficiently and warmed up space as advertised were rated the highest.
In the end, a truly magnificent pellet stove has to have something extra, besides being efficient and beautifully designed. In order to make it to our top choices, pellet stove had to have some additional features, like programmable thermostat or air filtration system- anything that makes the model stand out from the competition and can be of tremendous use to the final user.
Our pick: Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style
Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style
The first impression of the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style is how elegant, yet sturdy this pellet stove looks. The solid build of the made-in-USA stove is apparent on the first look, but the minimalistic design with sleek lines makes this a beautiful addition to your home.
The 50,000 BTU heat output is enough to heat up to 2,200 square feet, and, considering we didn’t have to set the temperature to the highest setting, it’s safe to presume it can comfortably heat up spaces even a bit bigger than this. The burn time of this pellet stove is between 24 and 70 hours, depending on the temperature you set the thermostat on. The large 120-pound hopper is the reason for the long burn time- considering that on lower temperature settings, a 40-pound bag of pellets can last you for the whole day, it’s not a surprise that this pellet stove is such a beast. This is one of the many great features Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style has- just imagine, you fill it one bag of pellets in the morning, before work, and the pellet stove maintains the warmth for the whole day. This pellet stove is certified by EPA, with an 85% efficiency rating, which guarantees an amazing performance- and our tests confirmed it.
The way this pellet stove maintains the desired temperature is through their smart Comfort Control System- you can choose the stove to run continuously at the lowest or highest temperature, or just any other temperature level in between, and all that with just one touch. The dial is located in the back of the stove, and their ‘set it and forget it’ design for temperature control only adds to the overall ease of use.
Another useful feature of the Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style is the Air Wash System, which is pretty self-explanatory ‘it’s an air filtration system which additionally cleanses the air before being vented out. The Outdoor Air Kit, or the vent system for installation, is also included with the stove, which not only saves you money additionally, it makes the installation easier and complication-free.
The whole operation is automated- from ignition to feeding the burn chamber with pellets- and because of the large hopper, this model is one of the best when it comes to efficient, long pellet burning that heats the house without any effort. The warm air is equally distributed through space, and, with the heat setting slightly over medium, we managed to get our 2,000 square feet space toasty warm.
Considering the affordable price and the outstanding quality of this pellet stove, it’s not a surprise that there are many users who share our enthusiastic view.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although we didn’t encounter any problems while using Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style during our testing, some users complained about problems with the auger after a couple months of use. To avoid any potential problems with the auger mechanism, it’s necessary to do regular maintenance and clean out the debris and ash routinely. In case the auger starts to fail, it’s recommended to try running it without pellets, just to make sure everything is clean enough and there’s nothing blocking the auger.
Another thing that surely isn’t a dealbreaker, but it would have been nice to be included is a remote control for the thermostat. Although you can set the thermostat to the desired temperature and leave it that way indefinitely, it would be easier to have the remote control included. However, considering the already budget-friendly price for a top-notch stove, it’s a no surprise that there’s no remote control in the package.
The step-up pick: Comfortbilt HP22
The Comfortbilt HP22 in charcoal gray is a welcome addition to any living space. The stove itself is simple and high-end looking, but what really makes it stand out is the large fire viewing area, giving you undisturbed look at the crackling fire. The modern design combined with excellent craftsmanship looks luxurious, and the overall performance matches the visually stunning impression.
The 50,000 BTU heat output gave the same results as our top pick, comfortably warming up 2,000 square feet in no time, distributing warmth throughout the space effortlessly. The main difference was the thermostat- unlike our top pick which uses dial for setting the temperature, you can adjust the warmth level on Comfortbilt HP22 with a remote control or directly, through a modern programmable thermostat. Instead of adjusting the temperature through levels of warmth, you can pick the exact temperature in degrees- and the Comfortbilt HP22 will not let you down. The Comfortbilt’s hopper capacity is 55 pounds, which is a lot less than our top pick, but still more than enough to enjoy the warmth without having to feed the stove pellets more than once or twice a day, depending on the temperature setting.
Certified by EPA with 86% burn efficiency score, this pellet stove won’t be wasting your money, and the emissions it lets out the atmosphere won’t harm the environment. The heating power and the overall efficiency of Comfortbilt HP22 are truly amazing, and with the easy temperature setting, you can choose the exact level of warmth you want in your home.
Fully automatic, Comfortbilt HP22 is a force to be reckoned with- with the remote controlled programmable thermostat, high heat-output and a reliable performance, this pellet stove is a choice you won’t regret.
The budget pick: US Stove R5824
US Stove R5824
The US Stove R5824 is a blessing for people looking to buy a pellet stove on the budget or a less expensive heating source for smaller homes. Compact but extraordinary, this pellet stove looks great and performs reliably.
The 30,000 BTU heat output will be perfect for spaces up to 1,300 square feet, but, for bigger homes, like the 2,000 square feet one in which we tested, you might want to think about going for a stronger model. However, although the BTU output is too small for space we tested it in, we could get by in the moderately low temperatures, with the space being insulated- meaning that you could use this pellet stove for slightly larger spaces without having to supplement it with an additional heater.
Considering this pellet stove is quite compact and intended to be used in smaller homes, the hopper’s capacity is 40 lbs., making it the smallest hopper from our top three picks. This is the equivalent of one bag of wood pellets, which means you’ll have to pour the pellets to the hopper once or twice a day, depending on the temperature you’ve set it on. The temperature is regulated by a digital control board located on the side of this pellet stove, and you can choose between low, moderate and high-temperature level, depending on the weather conditions.
With the electric controls and temperature regulations, as well as automated ignition. US Stove R5824 is really simple to use, and, apart from loading it with wood pellets twice a day and regular cleaning, you won’t have to bother with anything.
The US Stove R5824 has EPA certificate, and is rated at 80% efficiency, which is quite good in terms of clean burning and energy saving, so you won’t be saving on the purchase of this budget-friendly pellet stove only- you’ll save up in the long run, too.
Best Pellet Stove for Fireplace Insert
Comfortbilt HP22i Fireplace Insert
If you have a place where you considered placing a fireplace insert but want a more cost and energy-efficient heat source, Comfortbilt HP22i Fireplace Insert is the best choice. Impressive looking and energy efficient, this pellet stove insert has a 42,000 BTU heat output, and can easily make 1,700-2000 square feet of space toasty warm.
Due to the limits of the design occurring when the pellet stove needs to function as a fireplace insert, the hopper’s capacity is 47 lbs, making it necessary to fill the hopper with pellets more than once a day, or, more precisely, 2-3 times a day, depending on the temperature setting.
Located near on the side of the front panel, there’s an electronic control board that functions as a thermostat regulator and the igniter. Same as our step-up pick, this pellet stove offers you the option of setting the temperature manually, rather than just choosing between different heat levels.
EPA certified for 86& burn efficiency, 325 Comfortbilt HP22i Fireplace Insert will keep your home warm and hazardous emissions-free.
Best Pellet Stove for Basement
Castle 12327 Serenity
Whether you want to offset the electricity bill or heat up your newly remodeled basement, the Castle 12327 Serenity is a safe choice.
Beautifully designed, this pellet stove has a heat output of 30,000 BTUs, which will heat most basement spaces easily, with some heat to spare and spread to the rest of the home. The capacity of the hopper is 40 lbs, which isn’t very impressive, and it will require going down and filling the stove with pellets probably two to three times a day when the temperatures are low.
What we especially liked about Castle 12327 Serenity is its amazing programmable thermostat which provides you with the option to program the temperature levels for the whole week in advance. The time-based heating option is great if you don’t want the pellet stove to be running at full capacity when you’re not at home- you can schedule it to save fuel when you’re not there, all the while keeping the warmth in the house. You can choose between five different temperature levels, from low to high, to customize the heat output according to weather conditions.
Best Pellet Stove for Small Spaces
Pelpro Pellet Stove
For spaces up to 1,750 square feet, Pelpro Pellet Stove is a great solution. Even if you live in a considerably smaller space than the maximum square footage the manufacturer advertises, you’ll find that this pellet stove is perfect for your needs- all you’ll need to tweak is reducing the pellet cost. Depending on the size of your home and weather conditions, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have to fill the 60 lbs hopper more than once a day, considering that in moderate conditions, this amount of wood pellets can keep you warm for up to 40 hours. The temperature is regulated via a dial, and between the lowest and the highest setting, you can choose between 10 levels of warmth. The compact size and the highly efficient heat output of 35,00 BTUs will keep your small home cozy and warm without a problem.
Best Pellet Stove for Large House
If you’re unsure that our picks until now can comfortably keep your house warm, the beastly strong Vogelzang VG5790 will definitely do the trick for you. The impressive out of this world design will automatically give you a hint at the superior performance of this pellet stove- with 65,000 BTUs heat output, it can easily be a sole heat source for spaces up to 2,800 square feet. This EPA certified pellet stove is extremely efficient even when the temperatures drop below the average, and with minimal pellet consumption, it will keep your house heated.
The hopper’s capacity is 120lbs, which is quite impressive, and, combined with the temperature regulator, reduces the need to check out the stove during the day. The five different heat settings can be accessed via electronic led screen on the side or with a remote control, and when on highest, Vogelzang VG5790 can handle heating even bigger space than it’s advertised.
Best Pellet Stove for Mobile Home
Pleasant Hearth Medium
If you’re living in a mobile home, but want an energy-efficient and environment-friendly heater to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter months, the Pleasant Hearth Medium is the smart choice. Mobile home approved, this pellet stove has a heat output of 35,00 BTUs, which is more than enough to keep even the most spacious and luxurious mobile home warm.The 40 lbs hopper fits one bag of pellets, which, depending on the temperature setting, can keep the stove going anywhere from 12 to 24 hours without a refill.
Same as our top pick, Pleasant Hearth Medium has a Comfort Control System built in, allowing you to run the stove continuously either on the lowest temperature setting or the highest one, as well as choose between five different temperature levels in between.
Considering that it comes with the outdoor air kit included, the assembly is even easier and user-friendly than some other models we tested, and the installation is fast and uncomplicated.
Best Pellet Stove for Heavy-Duty Heating
US Stove Company Model 8500
If even our choice for heating large homes doesn’t cut it for you, you need a real heavy-duty pellet stove, and there’s nothing more impressive than the US Stove Company Model 8500.
This pellet stove has a mammoth heat output of 105,000 BTUs, and even though it’s advertised as capable of heating 3,000 square feet of space, US Stove Company Model 8500 is capable of handling much more. The hopper’s capacity goes with the overall theme, so has the unparalleled 240 lb capacity, meaning that, when filled to the brim, this pellet stove can run at least for 70 hours before the next refill. When it comes to the pellets, maybe the best part is that this model isn’t limited to wood pellets only- it can also burn corn, cherry and olive pits, alfalfa pellets and pelletized biofuels.
The controls are completely digital, allowing you to set the exact desired temperature with just a touch. If you’re looking for a pellet stove to heat up really large spaces without hassle, or have a large home without insulation, US Stove Company Model 8500 will work wonders for you.
Best Non-Electric Pellet Stove
US Stove GW1949
The most unconventional pellet stove we tested, but an impressive one nonetheless, is most certainly the US Stove GW1949. The unique design that’s unlike no other pellet stove from the competition isn’t only for aesthetic purposes, it’s what makes this pellet stove able to operate without using any electricity at all. Natural gravity feed system eliminates the need for the electric power, and makes maintenance much easier, reducing the risk of malfunction or faulty parts down the road. This unusual pellet stove is EPA certified, and the 40,000 BTU heat output will keep spaces up to 2,000 square feet comfortably warm. The hopper has a capacity of 60 lbs, which can keep US Stove GW1949 running up to 36 hours on end.
However, the downside of not using electricity means that there are no automated controls, such as temperature settings or automatic ignitions. You’ll have to use a propane torch for starting the pellet stove, as opposed to the on and off buttons commonly found on pellet stoves, but it’s not a big price to pay if you’re set on using a pellet-fueled heating source without the need for electric power.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use my pellet stove in the event of a power outage?
A: With the exception of the non-electric pellet stove from our list, all pellet stoves that are fully automatic need electric power to run. However, in case of emergencies and unexpected outages, SEC America suggest having a backup battery in place. A good marine battery can keep your pellet stove up and running for a few hours, just enough until your power gets back or you come up with an alternative solution.
Q: How much wood pellets will I need?
A: The amount of wood pellets per season needed to keep you warm throughout the whole winter depends on the size of your house, the temperature you set it on and climate factors. The National Energy Foundation estimates that, depending on your individual conditions, you might need anything between 2 to 4 tons of wood pellets per year, which is significantly less expensive than using wood.
Q: How to maintain my pellet stove?
A: In order for your pellet stove to be in great shape for years to come, you’ll have to clean it our regularly (once a week) and schedule a routine maintenance, two times a year, ideally before and after the heating season. However, according to HomeTips, you should keep in mind that the difference in pellet quality, the size of the hopper and the overall temperature you’re running your pellet stove at, will all have an impact on how often you have to do your regular maintenance.