February 2009. This small steel-bodied stove radiates heat fast, so it's ideal for situations where you don't need consistent heat all season long -- such as a workshop, vacation cottage or home in a mild climate. It's rated for up to 1,200 square feet, but not for mobile homes. A glass window lets you view the fire. A blower is an optional addition, though a buyer's guide at FineHomebuilding.com says blowers usually aren't worth their extra cost. The stove's main drawbacks are that it holds a fire only for about eight hours -- not enough if you work away from home -- and loads only from the front (which tends to spill smoke and ashes). The warranty is for only one year. The Defender is EPA-certified and meets Washington state's strict emissions requirements, but still emits over twice the pollutants compared with the larger Vermont Castings DutchWest 2478 (*est. $1,550), which carries a three-year warranty and holds a fire longer.
Consumer Reports mentions Vogelzang in its buyer's guide, but doesn't rate or rank stove brands. The more recent buyer's guide in FineHomebuilding.com doesn't recommend brands either, but its general recommendations make clear that the Vogelzang Defender is a good buy. This specific stove is reviewed by a handful of owners at NorthernTool.com, based on their personal experiences with it.
Vogelzang is one of 17 brands mentioned in this buyer's guide to pellet stoves and woodstoves, but 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
2. Fine Homebuilding
This buyer's guide doesn't recommend specific brands, but does say that any EPA-certified noncatalytic woodstove should be a good choice. Add-on blowers, an option on the Defender, are judged not worth their extra cost.
Review: Is Wood Heat the Answer?, Matthew Teague, Sept. 10, 2008
A handful of owners give the Vogelzang Defender stove mixed reviews here, with half saying it puts out plenty of heat, half complaining that it does not. Even one of the least satisfied owners says it does hold a fire up to 12 hours.
Review: Product Reviews: Vogelzang Defender Wood-Burning Stove, Model# TR001, Contributors to NorthernTool.com