Stove Chow



So my pellet stove has been chowing down on some Stove Chow and I am ready to report some results.

First lets talk a little about where stove chow falls in the pellet fuel pecking order- they are near the bottom. They are the brand that Home Depot sells, and I suspect they are produced by Energex for home depot (a private label if you will). I can not say that definitively, but the producer of stove chow "premier pellet" company has locations in the same places as Energex.

So as I mentioned Stove Chow is a pretty low on the pellet fuel food chain (pun intended). The pellets  I tested lived up to that expectation. The pellets produce a dark heavy ash, and a lot of it. My Harman PC45 is rather resistant to clinkers, but these pellets seem to build up carbon more than average. Even in my Harman PC45 each bag develops about a 6" sub size ash cake. Better pellets would develop a much smaller lose ash pile, and not caked up like Stove Chow.

As you can tell by the picture the pellets are very dark in color, which as a general rule does not reflect high quality. I was pleasantly surprised by the very low amount of fines in the bags. Things does bring me to an important point about stove chow or any other pellet sold in a Home Depot and the like. When the PFI measures fines the are measured at the gate of the mill, this does not take into account how a pellet stays together after being handled. In the case of the Home Depot's and Lowe's of the world the pellets often get moved around several times after they arrive at the store. The later in the season the more true this is. I have seen them being hand loaded onto a pallet, and restocked some where else in the store. Of course then you load them into a cart, and then into you vehicle, and then from your vehicle into your storage area. Needless to say this has a real effect on fines. I intentionally grabbed my stove chow pellets from the middle of a factory mill loaded pallet, and I had very little in the way of fines. I have gotten pellets from these types of places that were half saw dust for the reasons mentioned above.

An other thing about Stove Chow is the actual pellet length goes from one inch to as little as 1/8 of an inch. Depending on the feed system your stove employs this may or may not be an issue.

Conclusion-

Stove Chow is a cheap pellet, and it performs as such. If you have a stove that is picky about the pellets it eats, don't feed it stove chow. If you have a Harmon stove that will burn just about anything, then stove chow will work fine with more frequent cleanings than a better quality pellet.

Ironically the cheap Englander stoves that Lowes and the Depot sells are pretty picky about the pellets they burn, and the brand of pellets they sell are the very type of pellet that often don't burn well in their cheap stoves.

Edited addition-

There are some fans of these pellets out there, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Stove Chow is a store brand (Home Depot) which means from region to region these can be totally different pellets from different manufactures. Energex (which I believe mine were) basic grade of pellet is a generally a poor pellet.

However, as a general rule never buy a ton of pellets without burning a few bags first, just don't do it. This site is meant to be a starting point from which to begin your search, it is not meant scare you to one pellet, or push you away from an other. I have burned every pellet I review and am giving my honest feedback.

25 comments:

  1. you couldnt be more wrong, i bought my englander in 1997 from tractor supply in lancaster pa for $1,500 and brought it home to marlboro ma,because at the time my area didnt know what a pellet stove was ,,stove chow at the time was made in adams ma,a couple years later my neighbor was so impressed with the cheapness of heat (both of our houses r electric heat) he went out and bought a harmon for $4,500 we started splitting truck loads of stove chow ,when the factory in adams closed and we couldnt get chow anymore we started buying different brands to see witch was the cleanest,we both were dissatisfied with other brands,since my purchase in 97 ive replaced the exhauset fan and maybe ill replace the firebox auger next year if i remember. my stove is run hard every winter and is probably the best money ive ever spent

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    1. In terms of englander stove I have know a few people that have had good luck with them, in fact I have a friend in Vermont that was very happy with his and heated his entire home with it. I found him a used Harman P61 for a good price and put the Englander in the garage. He was pleased with the Englander until he got the Harman. Way more heat, better control of the heat, much quieter, easier to clean, requires less frequent cleanings, and made in the USA (versus China). So Stove Chow and an Englander stove may function perfectly for your needs, but as a general rule there are better options.

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    2. I have an Englander stove and a Lopi Pioneer. Both are well over 10 years old and burned every day all day all winter in New England. I replaced a blower fan on the Lopi and one Auger motor on the Englander because my idiot tenant burned paper cardboard and wood in it and caught the hopper on fire and then poured water in it to put it out. ENERGEX ARE GREAT PELLETS!! They throw 1/3 more heat then many of the so called Super Premium snob pellets in both of my stoves. I go out of my way to buy them. YES they do have more ash but you don't burn as many of them and I have a 10 gallon shop van to empty them. If you are getting lots of clinkers you are not putting enough air in to the burning chamber. I am burning Stove Chow right now as it is $1 less and bag and it also throws lots of heat. Both burn fine in both my stoves. There is nothing wrong with Englander stoves they are workhorses. Note on clickers: If your pellets were not stored in a very dry place before or after you bought hem you are going to get clinkers.

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    3. I have an Englander stove and a Lopi Pioneer. Both are well over 10 years old and burned every day all day all winter in New England. I replaced a blower fan on the Lopi and one Auger motor on the Englander because my idiot tenant burned paper cardboard and wood in it and caught the hopper on fire and then poured water in it to put it out. ENERGEX ARE GREAT PELLETS!! They throw 1/3 more heat then many of the so called Super Premium snob pellets in both of my stoves. I go out of my way to buy them. YES they do have more ash but you don't burn as many of them and I have a 10 gallon shop van to empty them. If you are getting lots of clinkers you are not putting enough air in to the burning chamber. I am burning Stove Chow right now as it is $1 less and bag and it also throws lots of heat. Both burn fine in both my stoves. There is nothing wrong with Englander stoves they are workhorses. Note on clickers: If your pellets were not stored in a very dry place before or after you bought hem you are going to get clinkers.

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    4. Hello Mr Forbes you must not be burning Stove Chow Pellets Because if you was your pellet stove would also be pitch black with massive dark ashe everywhere I purposely take pictures of my pellet stove before and after just in case and believe me when I tell you those pellets scare me. And can't forget about the big chunks of clay that's left in the square pot when it's done burning they look like black bricks.. horrible product.

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  2. I agree Mike, people think the more they spend on something means they got a better item, which in fact is not the case at all. Stay warm.

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    1. I am going to stick with you get what you pay for, certainly there are exceptions, but it is generally a true statement.

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  3. I do not agree with this review. I have used this pellet(stove chow) for 4 years and found it to be fine. Consistent burn with heavy ash as stated. I prefer heavy ash because it reduces the dust in the house when stove is open. The stove is also cleaner because of the heavy ash. As for the quality compared to other pellets, it might not be as good which I can't really gauge, but I can gauge the price. $209 per ton. Better quality pellets are not close to this price. Most people are purchasing pellet stoves for one main reason, save money on heat. $209 with this quality pellet fits that bill nicely.

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    1. STOVE CHOW pellets ARE GARBAGE I have never had so much ash and never had to clean my pellet stove so much and it make my pellet stove completely BLACK THEY ARE BY FAR THE WORST PELLETS WE EVER USED. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. STOVE CHOW LOW QUALITY PELLETS no GOOD .

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  4. I have to agree with the author, for this year. Last year, Stove Chow was great. Very low ash, no soot, no clinkers. It was terrific. This year, different story. Tons of ash, very dirty stove, heavy black soot buildup. We clean our stove religiously, and this year, that is necessary. We even get lack of ignition due to the number of clinkers that build up quickly in the fire pot. I don't expect a perfect consistency from any company, but this is obviously a case of different quality than last year.

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  5. Joe Martin, Western Ma.
    I could not agree less with this review, I have an old Pellet Pro II and installed in an 1830's farm house with little to no insulation. I've had this stove for about 7 years and have run about every pellet you can come up with thru it, especially last year during the great newengland pellet shortgage. I've tried Premium pellets, Super Premium pellets and bottom of the barrel pellets with names I've never come accross except for around the local area. Dollar for dollar and BTU for BTU in my little Harman Stove, Stove Chow is the biggest bang for the heating buck. And when its -15 around this place trust me you can tell which pellet is putting out the most heat. The do create a heavy black pancake ash but its super easy to pull right out of the burn pot into the ash pan and away you go, little to no fines at all. I give my stove one break down cleaning a year in the fall before the heating season. once it gets cold and I start it for the season it runs non stop until winter is over with, I've never had a serious carbon problem at all, a little in the burn pot but thats to be expected.. Just a suggestion but perhaps you didn't take the time to really dial in your stove for these pellets.. I just hope I can keep the little pellet pro II going with out a major break down and this year can actually find some Stove Chow pellets preseason so i can stock up..

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  6. Hello, I hope my husband and I can get some insight or information. We ordered pellets from our local Home Depot in New York in October. They are still not available but apparently in stock somewhere. I have been looking around other places in PA and Lowes, but no one has pellets available??!! anyone have knowledge where we can get them now and where? suggestions would be greatly appreciated...it's cooooold.

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  7. This review got it wrong.

    I bought a couple of bags of Stove Chows to tide me over while I waited for a delivery of Hamers. I liked them so much I canceled the Hamers and ordered a pallet of these. They burn very hot, do not leave residue on the glass of my Harman Accentra and the heavy ash was reduced to almost no ash by turning down the feed rate.

    These pellets may not be for everyone but there are enough comments here that contradict the review to justify trying them and ignoring the review.

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  9. Can someone tell me where we can purchase Stove Chow pellets? We have used them in our Harmon for years and now we can't find them locally. We live in lower PA and willing to go the distance to get them. Would appreciate any help.

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    2. Home Depot in Dickson city pa has over 100 pallets

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  10. The home depot in Shrewsbury had some the other day when I was there. Right out front in the entry vestibule.

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  11. Stove chow in Vermont is fairly decent
    .

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  12. I tried stove chow and all it did was jam up and caused my stove to shut down. Requires more clean than necessary. Won't but these ever again. Never had this problem with other brands.

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  13. Live 10 miles from Energex plant in Mifflintown,PA and can confirm that YES Stove Chow pellets are manufactured at Enegex plant

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  14. I love stove chow lots of heat with no issues at all 259 a ton in Maryland..

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  15. Stove Chow is Terrible, as the original post stated. Tons of heavy ash , you need to clean out the fire pot after every bag, the glass gets completely covered in soot, and the size of the pellets causes clogs all the time. I'll NEVER but it again

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  16. We just did a home test of different pellets we use stow chow it burns the hotest in our Harmon we get it at HD 240 per pallet, so we bought some new england stove pellets they are light in color and this morning it's 4° the output isn't hit at all I can keep my bare hand on the blower or the stove it's just warm air yesterday morning it was 1° had stove chow in our stove couldn't keep my hand on the blower I would be burneed last week we tried lowes green clean they where not good at all they were dusty and falling apart full of fines and did not burn hot at all they burned super fast we have all harmon stoves in our home two pellet stoves one is an insert the other free standing and the third stove is Harmon coal/wood insert that burns super hot if it was on my lower level of the house it would heat the entire home but the stove in the lower lever does its job with stove chow to keep it 78 I. There also put vents in the floor to send heat up stow chow has out beat all these other brands and here in the Poconos Pennsylvania it's always cold

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  17. I just bought 3 tons of stove chow and after the first 4 bags I an questioning that decision. Mostly my stove (ENGLANDER) burns anything but these are not burning well at all...lazy burn and ashy. I Xi just clea n my stove last week so I do not think that is an isse besides it worked fine in the high heats from last year.

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