19/12/2019

Pellet Stove Buying Guide

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve taken a look at log burners/wood burners and you’ve stumbled across pellet stoves. Now you’re probably wondering which one to choose and what the difference is. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll go through all of the pros and cons, as well as what to look for when choosing your own pellet stove. 

What is a Pellet Stove?

In short, it’s a modern, stylish and environmentally friendly alternative, with all the benefits of a traditional wood burner. By burning recycled wood pellets rather than logs, pellet stoves can deliver sustainable, low-emission room heating whilst providing even heat throughout the room. At Prasino we use smart technology to give you ultimate control of your heating, through the press of a button on our app. This is also compatible with smart home devices such as Alexa, Google and Hive. 

How does a Pellet Stove work?

There are two main types of pellet stoves; these are referred to as ‘top-feed’ and ‘bottom-feed’. At Prasino, all of our smart stoves are top-feed to offer the highest level of efficiency. The stoves work by feeding pellets into the hopper. Using smart technology, the stove automatically controls how many pellets to release and when to adjust the flow rate so it can provide the optimum room temperature that is required. Ignition is automatic and combustion is fully controlled by smart technology, using a number of sensors to ensure the accurate temperature is given and to create even and consistent heat. All of which can be adjusted and controlled at any time using our app.

Top-Feed Vs Bottom-Feed Pellet Stoves

Both stoves are appropriately named, with top-feed referring to stoves where you pour the pellets into a hopper at the top of the stove whereas bottom-feed stoves are fed from the bottom.

Top-Feed stoves work by travelling down a chute from the hopper and into the stove. This prevents debris from burning back into the hopper. The downside to this is that the complex parts can become clogged. However, this can easily be prevented by using pellets that contain a lower quantity of ash.

Bottom-Feed stoves won’t require a specific kind of pellet but they are much less efficient than the top-feed options, meaning you won’t get the most from your pellet stove.

Advantages of burning Pellets

The recycled wood pellets used are manufactured from sawdust and other waste from offcuts left during the manufacture of wooden products. As the waste product would usually go into landfill, using them as fuel is much more sustainable than depending on oil or wood which would cause further unnecessary deforestation. Instead, these wood pellets can extend the life of original wood even further making these stoves a genuine renewable energy source.

Pellets also burn much more efficiently and more cleanly than wood - putting far fewer particles into the air. This is due to the fuel’s consistency and the stove’s combustion mechanics. The pellets burn at a very hot temperature so once the intense compression squeezes the moisture from the pellets, their moisture content drops dramatically to below 8%. The drier the fuel, the more heat it can produce and the hotter the fire burns, the more fuel it can consume. To find out how efficient a system is you should look for the overall efficiency rate. This is a measure of exactly how much fuel is converted into energy by an appliance. With pellet stoves, you can expect around 75%-95% for the overall efficiency rate.

Pellets also create much less ash than cordwood (also known as firewood) which leads to less creosote being produced. This is a common hazard with traditional wood stoves and fireplaces as it collects in chimneys and can potentially cause chimney fires.

Choosing the right pellet stove

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what a pellet stove is, how it works and the benefits. It may be time to dig a little deeper and find out which pellet stove is right for you and your home.

Don’t go power crazy

It’s easy to see a high amount of power and immediately think that this will be the best system available. However, this can often be untrue as many systems can be too powerful for your home, meaning you won’t get to see the advantages because the system will never work to the best of its ability. This can often lead to spending more money than you actually need to. Not only will you be out of pocket for something you can’t use, but it can also cause further issues down the line. Under-use leads to clogging which will require a lot more maintenance and build up unnecessary costs. If you’re unsure how much power you require, then contact us. Our expert team will be able to provide you with technical advice and expertise to find you the right stove for your home. 

Alternatively, you can or visit one of our showrooms. Local support is provided by our fully trained Select Showroom Partners who can demonstrate our products, conduct site surveys, and provide you with competitive quotations for the stove, flue and installation and take care of your order should you decide to proceed. Each Smart Stove Select Partner has access to fully trained HETAS registered engineers who will take care of installation.

Choose one that has a decent amount of burn time

The size of the pellet hopper is vital because it can help you to assess how long it can potentially be used before you need to top it up. However, that is not always the case. It’s a common misconception that the number of ‘burn hours’ solely relies on the size of the pellet hopper. For example, the Marianne Smart Stove has a capacity of 25kg and a burn time of 37 hours whereas the Adagio Smart Stove only has 15kg of capacity but has a whopping burn time of 58 hours! 

We suggest before buying any pellet stove that you ask about the number of burn hours. After all, the main reason for buying a pellet stove is to heat your home. Ours can be seen below.

Michelle - 25kg capacity, 37 burn hours

Cesare - 18kg capacity, 23 burn hours

Adagio - 15kg capacity, 58 burn hours

Marianne - 25kg capacity, 37 burn hours

Nina - 18kg capacity, 36 burn hours

Consider the style

One of the factors to consider when choosing which style of pellet stove you want is whether or not you will be able to see the fire. After all, what’s the point in opting for a pellet stove if you can’t have the comfort of a real fire. You may also want to consider the colour of the system. Here at Prasino, the majority of our stoves are available in a wide range of colours including black, white, cream, silver, red and more.

Size matters

When buying a new heating system there are a lot of factors to consider. One that can often end up forgotten about is the actual size of the stove. It’s no use going for the highest power, most efficient system if it won’t actually fit in your living room. Choosing the right size will also depend on the area you need to heat. This doesn’t necessarily mean that pellet stoves aren’t for you. If you don’t have a grand space to work with, then take a look at options like our Michelle Smart Stove, which is slimline to make optimal use of space. 

Pick one that’s easy to maintain

Stoves can be difficult to clean and often quite fiddly. That’s why it’s good to think about how much care it will need before you invest. All of our Prasino Smart Stoves have built-in Speedy Clean technology in place to ensure easy maintenance and less cleaning required. One thing to look for when you want an easy maintenance stove is a large ash draw, that makes light work of getting rid of the ash.

Make sure it’s easy to control and adjust

Is the system easy to adjust? Can it be customised and programmed to suit your lifestyle? Can you adjust your controls from an app, or will you need to be at home? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking. Thanks to smart technology, our stoves can be adjusted in your home, through the app and whilst you’re out and about. Prasino Smart Stoves are also fully compatible with home automation and connected control devices, including Alexa and Hive.

Take a look at the environmental benefits

Some pellet stoves are better than others. Likewise, some are more environmentally friendly than others. Looking at the environmental protection rating will give you a good idea of how much the system really makes a difference. It’s also good to look out for the statistics so you can understand. For example, at Prasino we know that our smart stoves give out as little as 0.06 emissions and neutralise up to 80% of particles & carbon dioxide.

Find a brand that you know and trust

It’s vital that you choose a brand that you can trust when deciding on a pellet stove. Choosing the right brand can make a world of difference when it comes to the maintenance, such as any tests and replacements it might need in the future. Especially when choosing your pellet stove for the first time, you’ll want peace of mind that can be provided through long-lasting warranties so that you can be sure your investment was worthwhile. All Prasino Smart Stoves come with a comprehensive product warranty and your engineer can take care of regular servicing to ensure your stove performs for many years to come.

If you have any specific requirements or further questions that still need answering, then please contact us. Our expert team would be more than happy to advise you.

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