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Harman P68

Est. $3,900
Reviewed
December 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Harman P68

Best Pellet Stove

Pros
  • Large (76-pound) hopper
  • Exhaust sensor regulates temperature
  • Fairly quiet
  • Heats up to 3,900 square feet
Cons
  • Problematic igniter
  • Augers may wear out quickly

Bottom line

The Harman P68 pellet stove produces up to 68,000 Btu per hour and can heat up to 3,900 square feet. The 76-pound hopper holds more than enough fuel for a long, cold day or trouble-free overnight burns. An exhaust monitor keeps the temperature within 1 degree of the setpoint. General maintenance, cleaning and use are easy, although the auto-igniter is notoriously problematic.

Performance

Ample, efficient heat. The Harman P68 is rated for heating from 1,500 to 3,900 square feet, producing up to 68,000 Btu per hour. Its bottom-up feeding system reduces the risk of burn-back into the pellet hopper, which holds 76 pounds -- enough pellets for a long, cold day. The manufacturer claims 30 hours of burn time from a single hopper-load, or about two bags of pellets; some users say you'll get eight to 20 hours depending on settings. Still, most owners believe this stove earned its top score from a leading consumer research organization.

Features

A finicky igniter. One of the Harman P68's most notable features is an exhaust sensor that adjusts the flame to keep your interior heat within 1 degree of the setpoint. While this feature seems to work well, we found numerous owner complaints about the igniter going out, and a few concerns about augers that wear out too quickly. The latter may be due to an issue with the firepot, which can be remedied with a replacement. The P68 offers 127 square inches of viewing area, and users say the glass generally stays clean.

Safety

Not EPA-certified. The Harman P68 is mobile home approved but not EPA-certified, which is a voluntary measure for pellet stoves. It's subject to the standard warranty from parent company Hearth & Home Technologies, which includes a limited lifetime parts warranty on the firebox and heat exchanger, and lesser coverage for other parts. The hearth must extend 6 inches to all sides. Basic clearances are 14 inches to the sides with a heat shield, or 20 inches without. Corner clearances are 9 inches with a side shield, 13 inches without.

Ease of use

Maintenance remains essential. All pellet stoves require regular upkeep, but the Harman P68's demands seem to be gentler than most; several users at WiseHeat.com report that the stove runs reliably with just monthly and yearly cleanings. Commenters at Hearth.com say that even the deep cleanings are easy to do on your own. Still, insufficient upkeep -- mostly cleaning -- may be behind some of the complaints we found about frequent parts replacements. A leading consumer research organization gives the P68 a very good score for cleaning and an excellent score for its controls.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

The editors of ConsumerReports.org test the Harman P68 and five other pellet and wood-burning stoves, evaluating them for criteria such as handling, capacity and cleaning. About 25 users also share their opinions about this stove.

Review: Pellet & Wood Stove Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, February 2013

2. Wise Heat

Contributors to WiseHeat.com, a site dedicated to alternative home heating reviews and information, post candid opinions of how the Harman P68 pellet stove performs. It receives 4 stars out of 5 after about 10 user reviews; several complain about having to replace parts frequently.

Review: Harman P68, Contributors to WiseHeat.com, As of December 2013

3. Hearth.com

Various owners of the Harman P68 respond to an inquiry about stove maintenance and which pellets are best to burn. The general consensus is that the P68 is easy to clean, and provides reliable, effective heat when properly maintained.

Review: New Pellet Stove Owner - Harman P68 - Pellet Suggestions?, Contributors to Hearth.com, As of December 2013

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