February 2009. Like most budget pellet stoves, the Summers Heat 55-SHP10L is noisier, requires high-quality pellets (or the warranty is voided), and carries a fairly limited warranty. There's no ash pan to make cleanup easy, and the 40-pound hopper needs refilling more often. The fire box carries a five-year warranty, but some owners report problems and breakdowns with other parts. Owners say it does get the job done at minimal cost, saving money over traditional heating fuels. It's self-igniting and comes ready to hook up to burn only outside air (to minimize indoor air pollution and drafts). It's rated for 1,500 square feet, with other models available for heating bigger areas. Similar Englander pellet stoves are made by the same company. Both brands are sold mainly at discount stores. For a better warranty and dealer support as well as a more convenient and quiet design, consider the top-ranked Harman XXV (*est. $3,000).
Consumer Reports publishes a buyer's guide to pellet and woodstoves that mentions the Englander brand, but doesn't rank it in comparison with others. A review at PlanetGreen.com gives more specific pros and cons for the equivalent Englander pellet stove made by the same company. Jim Dulley's bulletin on pellet stoves lists some features but doesn't mention drawbacks. Only ten owners review the similar Englander pellet stove at HomeDepot.com, but these reviews add an additional caveat.
Englander, the company that makes Summers Heat stoves, is one of 17 brands mentioned in this buyer's guide to pellet stoves and wood stoves. However, the article doesn't test or rate the brands or recommend specific models.
Review: Buyer's Guide to Pellet -- and Wood-burning Stoves, Editors of Consumer Reports, Jan. 2007
This review is enthusiastic about the Englander pellet stove (essentially the same stove, made by the same company), because it has all the basic features at a good price. The main drawback is that it requires burning expensive premium pellets or the warranty is voided.
Review: Buy Green: Pellet Stoves, Brian Merchant, Oct. 7, 2008
Household energy expert Jim Dulley lists the England's Stove Works pellet stoves among 14 brands recommended in this buyer's guide. Though the brands aren't rated, Dulley notes this brand's double augur system and variable-speed blower.
Review: Bulletin 880: Corn/pellet Stove Heaters are Efficient, Convenient to Use, Jim Dulley
The handful of owners reviewing the equivalent Englander 25-PDVC pellet stove say it heats well. Some complain that the hopper is inconveniently small, not even holding a full bag of pellets.
Review: Englander 1,500 Sq. Ft. Satin Black Pellet Burning Stove Model 25-PDVC, Contributors to HomeDepot.com