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Background and Testing Details

Click here to download a pdf version of this background report.
This paper provides background and testing details for the report “Ratings of Popular Pellet Stoves.” After some introductory comments, this paper has sections on the 5 criteria that we tested the stoves for: Cleanliness, efficiency, maintenance, heat output and visibility of glass. At the end we include background material on how we tested hopper size.

It is important to remember that our testing was done under certain conditions and the performance of these stoves could be quite different if, for example, they were cleaned well every day or if a much higher quality pellet was used. See here for more disclaimers. Also, we tested the stoves only for one month, so we have no data on longer-term reliability. It is important for consumers to research on sites like hearth.com to assess reliability and repair costs.

For the rest of this document, the stoves will be referred to just by their manufacturer’s name: the England Stove Works 25-PDCVC will be referred to as the Englander, the Enviro M55 insert as the Enviro, the Harman Accentra 52i insert as the Harman, the Piazzetta Sabrina as the Piazzetta, the Quadra-Fire Mt. Vernon AE as the Quadra-Fire, and the Ravelli RV80 as the Ravelli.

Scoring system

Figure 1. Pictured from left to right: Harman, Enviro,
Quadra-Fire, Englander, Piazzetta and Ravelli.

For each of the five criteria, we had numerical data from the testing and the lowest scoring stove always got a “1” and the highest got a “5.” We then set ranges, such as 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80 and 81-100. If several of the stoves fell into the 61-80, for example, they both got a “4.” In one of the scoring areas, no stove got a “2”, and three stoves got a “5.” We decided to use this system, even though there are likely to be many stoves that perform better and worse than these on the market. A rating of “5” does not mean its five times better than a “1” and it may not even mean its twice as good, depending on the scoring criteria.