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 editors of Alliance for Green Heat purchased six pellet stoves for a series of independent tests, assigning them comparative ratings in five categories including heat output, efficiency and cleanliness. Elsewhere on the site, they provide background on the wood stove decathlon -- a competition to design the best wood stoves -- and share four picks for reliable pellet stoves, based on service records from Scott Williamson, an independent pellet stove tech who also owns PelletStoveService.com.
Contributors to WiseHeat.com, which focuses on alternative home heating systems, give their opinions on wood stoves. There's a separate page for pellet stoves, and the site collects reviews for multi-fuel stoves (usually filed under the corn-burning category) and oil-burning stoves too. Standout models are rated 4 stars out of 5 or better after at least 10 user reviews.
Each year this industry association gives awards for the best hearth-related products, including the best fireplace, wood stove and pellet stove. There's no discussion of how or why the winners are chosen, and not every category receives a winner in every year, but this is still a good source for calling out top models in each type of stove. The 2016 and 2015 winners are worth a look, too.
Shoppers at eFireplaceStore.com rate and review the wood stoves they buy. This is one of the richest sources of stove reviews available online, with some models receiving dozens of user comments. Standouts average a score of at least 4 stars out of 5 after feedback from 25 or more owners. The US Stove 2000 almost makes the cut, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 after about a dozen user reviews.
Amazon.com is almost always a rich source of user reviews, and it does sell quite a few wood and pellet stoves. However, only a few models of wood stoves collect a significant quantity of owner feedback. In this case, standout models get at least 4 stars out of 5 after at least three posts from trustworthy reviewers. Pellet stoves are listed separately and have accumulated notably more user reviews in the last year.
HomeDepot.com sells several brands of wood and pellet stoves, including Englander, US Stove and Pleasant Hearth. Wood stoves are more popular than pellet stoves here, although pellet stoves do seem to be gaining in popularity. Our top picks in both categories average a rating of 4 stars out of 5 or better after at least 12 user reviews.
Lowes.com sells a few brands of wood and pellet stoves, including Summers Heat, US Stove and Pleasant Hearth. Most models collect at least a few comments from owners, but only a couple of stoves draw our attention for receiving an average rating of at least 4 stars out of 5 after 10 or more user reviews.