Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maine's Choice

I was hesitant to purchase the three tons of pellets on a “first out of the gate” pellet manufacturer but I gave it a try anyway- hoping for the best. These pelletsare sold in the 60 bags per pallet lot so you are getting more than a ton per pallet. I had kind of mixed feelings about the two imprinted moose on the bag – onereading a newspaper - but thought it was kind of the Bullwinkle approach (hoping it wasn’t the Captain PeachFuzz approach) to heating the home. Contrary to popular belief – hardwood is not the only way to go with pellets. I have read and confirmed that softwoods burn VERY hot as pellets and that they provide more lignite (a natural pellet binder) to hold the pellet together. The Maine’s Choice pellets are premium pellets (meaningless - because which pellets aren’t premium pellets?) and are a combination of hardwood and softwood which I would think is the ‘way to go’ – best of both worlds. The hardword side providespellet durability (hardness) with low ash and the softwood side for high heat and stable pellets (high lignite) – if they are made properly - without a lot of bark (dark pellets) - this is the way to go.
The pallets dropped in the driveway had NOT one broken bag. This was due to the conscientious use of the delivery equipment (fork lift) but also of the durability of the plastic used to make the bags. This was very much appreciated. I have had deliveries with many broken bags and after a rain - many ‘pregnant’ pellets trails left on the driveway.
Opening the pellet bag was an experience. The bag opening provided a sort of peanut-like aroma – not unpleasant - just different. One would expect wood pellets to smell like – well wood. They do not smell like wood - but mildly like peanuts. The pellets are NOT dark, which to me, is a good sign. However, they are mostly small in length which makes me think back to my Wal-Mart pellet experience but I won’t go there right now.
A few weeks after the delivery - we have a cold night and my wife, who could live on the surface of the sun, asks to have the pellet stove fired-up. My Quadra-Fire stove begins dropping the pellets but doesn’t ignite them during the combustion phase of the stove cycle – I think “uh –oh”. However, within about 10 seconds beyond the combustion phase – they ignite (slow ignition).
They are pretty hot pellets – not the hottest I have used but definitely OK for heat. After a few days of running the pellets – I notice very little ash in the shake down pan and NO CLINKERS – not a one. This cannot be. After a few more days of shaking down the firepot – very little ash and no clinkers confirmed.Very ‘clean’ pellets indeed.
So what we have here are low ash - no clinker pellets – adequate heat and attractively priced in my area (Central Massachusetts). I would give these pellets 4.5 out of 5 stars and a thumbs up. I would definitely purchase them again.
*Thanks to Bob Dewsnap for submitting this review


**Update 1/2011


As often happens from year to year pellet quality can change in the same brand, for that matter it can be month to month, or even Batch to Batch. (better manufactures less so)
This is a comment from user Cliff.


*This year I bought 4 pallets of Maine's Choice pellets, and I have to tell you these are the worst pellets I have ever bought. I have been burning pellets for 7 years and I only needed to clean the stove every 14 to 20 days. In that time span the ash pot would be less  than half full.  With Maine's Choice pellets I need to clean every week and the ash pot is almost full.  I don't know how Maine's Choice can claim these are low ash.  They do not look like premium pellets, they are very dark like they are mostly bark and I am using a lot more of them than usual.  I am very sorry I bought these, and will never buy them again.

13 comments:

  1. Got sme this fall and they do a great job. The glass stays fairly clean, put out great heat and not much ash.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just discovered your website on yahoo and see that you’ve obtained some wonderful thoughts in this post. I particularly appreciate the way you’ve been capable to stick so really much believed small pellet mill and waste paper pellet mill into a relatively short submit (comparitively) which creates it an thoughtful post on your subject.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish my pellets were as good as yours. I bought four pallets of Maine's Choice pellets from WoodPellets.com, and highly regret it. When I opened the first bag, I thought "WTF is this crap?". The pellets were very dark, as if they were made entirely from bark. And that's how they burn. There's a lot of ash. The stoves "fire pot" gets full and needs to be emptied after twentyfour hours. With other pellets, it could go five days before needing to be emptied. I am so disappointed with these pellets, that I sent WoodPellets.com a message. They called me and told me I got what I paid for, and the higher priced pellets would have been better for me. They also gave me a credit for future purchases. That's great, but what about the four pallets of crap that I have now? I suggest everyone stay from Maine's Choice bark pellets.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My first and secound ton of Maine Choice will be my last. May be a bad batch run but I can burn four ton each of two other brands and never have a plugged stove from fines etc where as I can only get about nine hours burn time with even correct air and delivery settings on stove to accomodate the pellets. More fines and near fine than actual strong bonded pellets. When I try sifting out only the fines I get 1/4 bag of powder for every two bags of pellets. Not good.
    but with out regulation on quality standards we are stuck with the luck of the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just burned 3 tons of Maine Choice and found them to be great - just ordered 3 more tons. All the pellets were light in color. I have not had any clinkers at all - in the burning of the three tons used in the last month and one half. Ash volume seems to be higher than the energex wood pellets that I used the in Nov and Dec. The problem with the energex for me was the formation of clinkers ~ thats why I changed to Maine's Choice - also a local company was offering free delivery -

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently bought several bags of these at Lowes to try them out. They will be my last. They produce significantly more ash than other brands. There are lots of fines in the bag and when I pour them into the hopper dust goes all through the room. I need to clean the ash pot nearly every day with these, and with other brands it's only every 5-7 days. These are very disappointing pellets.

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are the very best pellets I have ever used. They are VERY hot and anyone who complains about having to clean his stove once a week ought to be ashamed. Seriously. There are no clinkers and that means more wood. Clean up, by the way, is a dream. Look at the glass on your stove - after a week, these pellets barely blacken it. Like the author of the article, I have a quadra-fire, which is the Rolls-Royce of pellet stoves. These pellet stoves burn the pellets in a small cyclone of fire inside a deep crucible. This may be why people with less advanced stoves are experiencing inferior performance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We just bought a ton of Maine Choice pellets (which we have purchased before). This must have been a bad batch, as they are the worse pellets ever. They say 5% ash, but it is more like 95% ash. We can barely get through 24hours before the fire pot is full and needs to be emptied. I have been heating with pellet stoves for 19 years now and never had a problem with pellets like this. Will not buy this brand again.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been burning these for 3-4 years an really like them. I burn the blend not the 100% hardwood. My understanding is hardwood burns cleaner but does not produce the heat of a softwood. I don't know why anyone complains about having to clean their stove. I clean mine every day and it takes me about 2 minutes. Just vac out the pot and ash area. I never use the ash pan since I clean daily. Sometimes I let it go longer depending on the rate of burn. I burn my stove on high all the time since it is in the basement and I want to heat the entire Cape Cod. I tried a few tons of Green Supreme this winter and they are loaded with clinkers and block the burn pot air after 24 hours. So no more of them for me. At 197 a ton and 10% Vet discount, you cannot beat the price or the pellets.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We also must have gotten a bad batch of Maines Choice of premuim pellets! I bought 6 bags at Lowes in Woburn, MA to try them out. They dont seem to burn as hot, the window is filthy after 12hours of use and the amount of ash in the burnpot is double of other brands. My stove is an England Stove Works 25-pdv and yes no matter what brand pellets I use....I clean it all out faithfully every day!! The search continues for a decent pellet.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am very disappointed in what this company produces. The first 3 tons were ok, but the quality is so poor now. Why not sell quality and not junk? What kind of ethics does this company possess?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I finished up last season and began this season w/Maine's Choice Hardwood. They light much faster, do not go out, produce an average amount of ash, NO clinkers,and less soot than other, pricier brands that I had been using in my Enviro Empress stove.I wish I could find them nearby so I wouldn't be paying an enormous delivery fee.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have a Harmon xxv and purchased 3 tons at my local lowes these pellets are dark don't really throw out heat and make a ton of ash .

    ReplyDelete