For a long time, pellet stoves have been a popular form of home heating in Europe. Now they’re starting to catch on in the UK. If you’re interested in buying a pellet stove and would like to find out more, read Direct Stoves’ pellet stove buying guide now!
What is a pellet stove?
If you’re not too sure what a pellet stove is, we don’t blame you!
Whilst they’ve been found in homes across mainland Europe for decades, they’re still a relatively new phenomenon here in the UK.
Put simply, a pellet stove is a stove which burns compressed wood or biomass pellets to create a source of consistent, controllable heat for the home.
Pellet stoves operate in a very different way to traditional wood burning stoves, in that they steadily ‘feed’ pellets from a storage container into a burn pot area.
This means that pellet stoves can precisely control their heat output and also be highly-efficient. Some models of pellet stove can reach an efficiency factor of more than 90%.
How do pellet stoves work?
As we’ve mentioned above, pellet stoves function in a very different way to traditional wood burning stoves.
Pellet stoves make use of modern mechanical and electronic components to create a highly-efficient and controllable form of home heating.
Your standard pellet stove will operate in the following way:
- Once plugged into an electricity socket the pellet stove can be turned on
- Operation begins when the ignition has been hit. The fuel pellets which are stored in the storage container (also known as the fuel hopper) are moved within the stove to the combustion chamber. The pellets are moved using a device called a mechanised screw auger
- As the pellets burn in the combustion chamber (as a real fire), the resultant smoke and combustibles will be removed using an extractor.
- This waste air is moved, via the extractor, through a flue and out into the air outside your home
- This movement of smoke creates negative pressure, which pulls fresh air into the combustion chamber, thus feeding the fire. Fresh air is either pulled into the stove from your living room, or from outside via a duct (depending on the model of stove).
- Warm air from the fire in the combustion chamber travels out into the room via convection.
What really makes pellet stoves special is the fact that all of the above processes are monitored and carried out via a series of temperature and pressure sensors.
For example, the mechanised screw auger won’t just continually deliver wood pellets into the combustion chamber. It’ll only do so when sensors tell it that more fuel is required in the chamber.
This means that pellet stoves can operate autonomously (sometimes for as much as 12 hours under full load) and don’t have to be continually tended like a traditional wood burning stove.
What are the benefits of pellet stoves?
As you’ve probably already started to gather, pellet stoves have a wealth of benefits over their more traditional siblings.
Let’s take a look at those benefits in more detail below.
The wood pellets that pellet stoves use are a very affordable form of fuel.
Search the likes of Google Shopping and you’ll find large 15kg bags of wood pellets available for just under £10. That can provide several days’ worth of heating depending on how long you run your pellet stove each day.
When compared to the cost of electricity or gas, it quickly becomes apparent that pellet stoves offer a very cost-effective way of heating your home.
Once you’ve turned on the pellet stove, filled the fuel hopper and hit the ignition button, it’ll be able to run itself all day.
On average, you’ll only need to fill the fuel hopper once a day (if you’re running the stove continuously). Compare this to a traditional wood burning stove, which needs new firewood added to it every few hours, and you can see why pellet stoves have become so popular with busy households!
The wood pellets used by pellet stoves are very environmentally-friendly.
Not only do they create almost no ash when burnt, but they are also generally sourced from sustainably-managed forests.
They are also considered to be carbon neutral, as the amount of CO2 they give off when burnt is equal to the amount of CO2 the tree absorbed when it was growing.
Some wood pellets are made from wood off cuts, sawdust and shavings. Which are all materials which would otherwise go to landfill. So, wood pellets also help to reduce the amount of waste going to UK landfill sites.
Pellet stoves represent an incredibly energy efficient way of keeping your home heated.
This is because wood pellets have a very low moisture content, meaning they give off a large amount of heat.
Not only is the fuel source highly efficient, but the pellet stoves are too. Because they are typically fitted with an array of sensors, they ensure that fuel is only added to the combustion chamber when it is absolutely necessary.
As we mentioned above, the very best pellet stove models can achieve an efficiency factor of over 90%.
If Apple made wood burning stoves, they’d make something like pellet stoves. Pellet stoves are clean, sleek appliances which will fit in even the most elegant and modern of homes.
Because wood pellets generate barely any ash, pellet stoves don’t generate the sort of burnt materials of traditional stoves that have to be carefully emptied lest you get mess everywhere.
In fact, some models of pellet stove feature self-cleaning combustion chambers, whereby any ash or combustibles that are left after a fire are ‘burnt off’. This means there’s practically no cleaning or maintenance for you to do!
As we mentioned at the outset of this article, pellet stoves are still something of a rarity in UK homes.
So, if you really want to stand out from your friends, invest in a pellet stove.
You get to enjoy the warm glow of a real wood-burning fire in your home, but with none of the downsides of having to frequently re-fuel, maintain and clean a traditional wood burning stove.
Plus, pellet stove technology continues to advance, with features such as thermostats, instant ignitions and even smartphone control, making them easier than ever to operate.
Things to think about when buying a pellet stove
As we have seen, a pellet stove is an increasingly popular, modern, clean and efficient way of heating the home.
It’s understandable why more and more people are choosing to buy them for their own homes.
If you’re thinking of joining this exclusive club, then what should you take into account when buying a pellet stove? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.
Where will you be placing the pellet stove?
Where you decide to place the pellet stove in your home will influence what size and heat output of pellet stove you will need to buy.
Pellet stoves are available with a wide range of heat outputs, from under 5kW for very small living rooms, all the way up to 12kW or higher for the largest open plan spaces.
Pellet stove ventilation
Bear in mind that pellet stoves do need to be connected to a flue, so that smoke and other combustibles can be vented outside. As such, you’ll need to think about locating your pellet stove against an external wall of your home.
Pellet stoves also require a source of fresh air in order to feed the fire in the combustion chamber. Some stoves will be able to draw fresh air directly from your living room. Others will need to draw air from outside of your home. In the case of the latter, the stove will need to be placed against an external wall of your home to accommodate an external air duct.
Note – pellet stoves are forced induction appliances. This means they can usually vent their exhaust gases horizontally through the wall of your home. This can save you from having to create a flue running up through your home and out of the roof.
Powering your pellet stove
Whilst pellet stoves don’t use much electricity to operate, they do still need to be plugged into your mains electricity.
Don’t worry, they don’t need to be wired directly into your home’s electricity circuit. They will use a standard three pronged plug. So, you just need to make sure you’re placing your pellet stove within the vicinity of a standard plug socket.
Whilst pellet stoves don’t require the same level of maintenance as their traditional wood burning siblings, they do still require some maintenance.
So, look for pellet stoves that have features that make them easy to look after. Things like extractable burn pots (aka combustion chambers) make cleaning super easy.
Other things like highly-efficient combustion chambers will reduce the amount of ashes produced, thus reducing required maintenance and cleaning even further.
Because of their mechanised screw auger some cheaper pellet stoves can be quite noisy whilst in operation.
Obviously, you don’t want a distracting whirring noise in the background whilst you’re trying to watch Emmerdale, so make sure you select a pellet stove that operates quietly.
Here at Direct Stoves, all of our pellet stoves sit at the premium end of the spectrum, meaning they are designed to operate quietly. Our Duroflame pellet stoves in particular are very quiet.
Whilst pellet stoves are able to operate autonomously once they’re up and running, you need to make sure you’ll be able to get them up and running in the first place.
You’ll want to think about things like how the fuel hopper is filled (top-feed pellet stoves are usually best), how the ignition system works, how easy is it to program the timer or other controls?
Answer these questions to your satisfaction and you’ll end up with a pellet stove that you love!
If you have any questions about a particular pellet stove, feel free to contact our friendly team on 0161 516 9691 who will be happy to help!
Select a trusted brand
As with any home appliance these days, there are multiple different brands to choose from out there.
Some are more reputable than others, so be sure to buy a pellet stove from a trusted brand that has plenty of demonstrated experience of manufacturing high-quality pellet stoves.
Brands such as La Nordica and Duroflame have decades of experience building sought-after pellet stoves. These are brands that also routinely offer two year guarantees on their stoves, so should anything go wrong, you’ll have the backup to make things right again.
The best pellet stoves for UK homes
Is that it? Are you convinced that a pellet stove is right for your home? Then let’s take a look at the very best pellet stoves available right now for UK homes.
Below we’ve outlined some of our most popular models, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. You can explore our entire pellet stove range here.
La Nordica Teorema Pellet Stove
Hailing from the North East of Italy, La Nordica has been manufacturing stoves and related heating appliances for over half a century.
When it comes to pellet stoves La Nordica aims to produce ‘ultra-modern, classic and rustic style pellet burning stoves’.
We’re sure you’ll agree that La Nordica has certainly achieved this with the Teorema.
With clean, sleek lines, the Teorema will happily complement almost any home decor, whilst also creating a beautiful focal point. It’s available in a range of colours, so it’s easy to select the perfect look for your home.
But, it’s not just a pretty pellet stove. It’s a highly-functional and practical one too.
La Nordica have worked hard to make the Teorema’s controls as easy and intuitive as possible. It features a black LCD display, as well as a remote control, making it easy to turn the stove on and off, set timers and even set specific room temperatures.
It’s also a powerful pellet stove too. With a 10kW heat output, the Teorema will easily provide plenty of heat to make a large room feel cosy.
Other features of the La Nordica Teorema include:
- Auto-relighting after blackout.
- 1st and 2nd air auto-balancing.
- Glass cleaning system.
- Outdoor temperature thermostat input.
- Extractable burn pot for easy cleaning.
- Auto-adjustment of the fumes extractor.
- Hopper safety thermostat.
- Clean combustion.
- Room temperature thermostat.
- And more!
Duroflame Abel Pellet Stove
The brainchild of a Dutch craftsman, Duroflame has been producing very high-quality pellet stoves since 2014.
Their aim was to produce pellet stoves that resemble traditional stoves, but which are also packed with the latest technology.
The Abel is a great example of Duroflame’s philosophy in action.
Featuring a sleek, elegant finish, the Abel has both its controls and pellet supply hidden from view, making it the perfect stove if you’re trying to achieve a minimalist look in your home.
Not only does the Abel pellet stove look great, but it’s highly efficient and practical too. With an efficiency factor of no less than 94.8%, the Abel is both incredibly energy efficient and clean burning. It achieves all of this whilst providing a more than ample 5kW heat output.
Thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have an in-built room fan, the Duroflame Abel is one of the quietest pellet stoves currently available for sale.
La Nordica Ketty Evo Pellet Stove
A fusion of the traditional and the modern, the La Nordica Ketty Evo combines features such as a traditional cast iron stove door with a sleek, smooth stove body to create a highly-desirable pellet stove.
Providing up to 6.5kW of heat, the Ketty Evo will make larger rooms feel warm and comfortable on even the coldest of days.
Like all La Nordica pellet stoves, it’s a pellet stove which is packed with features and technology such as:
- Room temperature thermostat.
- Hopper safety thermostat.
- Auto-relighting after black-out.
- 1st and 2nd air auto-balancing.
- Glass cleaning system.
- Flue pipe safety pressure switch.
- Extractable burn pot for easy cleaning.
- And more…
Duroflame Pelle Pellet Stove
If you’re looking for a compact, discreet pellet stove, then the Pelle from Duroflame should be at the top of your list.
Despite its diminutive stature (it’s only 735mm high), the Pelle has a hefty 7.3Kw heat output, which will keep even large rooms well heated during the coldest months of the year.
The Pelle is fully programmable and can be relied upon to automatically provide warmth throughout the day. And, it’ll provide this warmth without breaking your wallet, thanks to an efficiency factor of 85.7%.
Here at Direct Stoves we understand that buying a new pellet stove is a big investment and that you may have some questions that need answering before you hit the ‘buy now’ button.
So, we’re happy to help and provide as much advice and guidance as you require!
If you want to find out more about a particular stove, or would like to talk about installation, maintenance or any other stove-related issues, speak to our friendly customer advice team on 0161 516 9601 or email [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.
Video survey service
At Direct Stoves we also offer a video survey service, which allows you to speak to a member of our team and show them the room in which you will be having your stove installed.
From this, our team can let you know if your home can accommodate a stove, and if so, what type of stove would be best, the level of kW heat output required, the installation requirements and more.
We can also provide you with helpful advice on the best way to install your stove and the parts and accessories you may require.
Find out more about our video survey service here.
Pick up a pellet stove today
If you’re going to buy a pellet stove, then buy it from Direct Stoves.
Not only are we the UK’s biggest online retailer of stoves, but we offer a host of great benefits to make purchasing your new pellet stove so much easier.
Shop pellet stoves at Direct Stoves now
For more stove buying advice, guidance and information, read the Direct Stoves blog…