What every best Pellet and Wood Stoves has:
- Fuel that's readily available in your area.
- A large pellet hopper or firebox.
- A long, efficient burn.
The Harman P68 pellet stove is the most reliable and powerful model we evaluated, heating up to 3,900 square feet. Its hopper holds 76 pounds of pellets -- enough to keep the home fires burning all day or night -- and an exhaust monitor constantly adjusts the heat levels to keep your interior temperature within 1 degree of the set point. This stove is less finicky about pellet quality than much of the competition, giving you more flexibility when choosing your fuel.
The Castle Serenity pellet stove is reliable and well-made -- practically unheard of in a stove that sometimes sells for less than $1,000. A built-in heat probe and blower help the stove adjust its burn rate and then circulate the hot air, and maintenance is unusually easy for a pellet stove; just cool the stove, empty the ashes, then dust and sweep the inside of the stove and exhaust pipe. The company's customer service gets kudos, too.
The Sedore 3000 is an old-fashioned workhorse of a wood stove that's designed to last for decades. It's also a multi-fuel stove: In addition to burning just about any type of wood you can think of, including sawdust and wood chips, it's also capable of burning corn. Users love the Sedore 3000's simple, efficient downdraft design, and quite a few take advantage of the hot water coils that can be routed to your water heater or baseboards.
If you want reliable wood heat on a strict budget, the US Stove 2000 cranks out up to an impressive 89,000 BTU. Its plate steel construction heats up quickly and radiates heat well, although the firebox's shape and drafting is admittedly a little quirky. Still, this is a great bargain. Users say that with a little practice, this stove will provide burn times of around 7 hours or just about a full day; the fire-brick lining helps retain and radiate heat.
The Woodstock Soapstone Ideal Steel Hybrid stove beat out fierce competition to win the 2013 Wood Stove Decathlon. It's available in two models -- a basic fire-brick-lined stove, or a higher-end model with a soapstone liner and panels that provide lingering radiant heat after the fire has gone out. The hybrid catalytic/dual-combustion design can keep a fire going for 10 hours or more and, so far, user reviews show the stove's mechanisms to be simple and dependable.
The Quadra-Fire Mt. Vernon AE is the highest-rated of the high-tech multi-fuel stoves we evaluated. It's advanced features make it almost as convenient to operate as a conventional home stove, and the 80-pound hopper is large enough to heat up to 2,900 square feet all day (or night) without a refill. The Mt. Vernon AE can burn pellets, corn, wheat or sunflower seeds, and can be updated to burn other fuels as specs become available.
The Fahrenheit Technologies Endurance 50F forced-air multi-fuel furnace can be integrated into your home's existing ductwork, ducted directly into living areas, or run as a stand-alone heating stove. It can burn wood pellets, grain pellets, dried cherry pits or shelled corn, and the massive 112-pound hopper (with an optional extension) can last for days. Optional hot water coils let you link this furnace to your domestic hot water or baseboard heating.