The Harman P series is one of my favourite pellets stoves, and that is why I like to do Harman pellet stove reviews. I have owned about a dozen pellets stoves over the last 7 or 8 years, 4 of which have been Harman’s (Advance, P61A, P61, and PC45). I could approach the P series as five separate reviews, but I think it is more useful to look at them as a group. The P series stoves have more in common than they do have differences.
Harman pellet stoves function in some fundamentally different ways than just about any other pellet stove on the market. I believe that Harman makes the best pellet stove on the market, and the P series represents the best of Harman pellet stoves. This review will hopefully explain how I arrived at that conclusion.
Let’s start with what all Harman’s have in stock in this Harman pellet stove reviews
Pellet Pro system
The first thing is what they call the Pellet pro system is another thing are what makes a Harman a Harman.
This system is about as close as you can get to a bottom feed system, without out being a bottom feed system. The reason you do not see bottom-feed methods is that they were prone to hopper fires. The pellet pro system makes a hopper fire almost impossible (or at least very unlikely) because it creates a separation between the pellets in the hopper and the pellets in the drill. To my knowledge, no other pellet stove manufacturer does anything like this.
This system is common to all Harman’s the very first series of pellet stove Harmon made was the Pellet Pro series. The other benefit to this system is that the variations in different size pellets do not affect feed performance. Harman’s have “ESP” The second thing that sets Harman stoves apart is the use of what they call and ESP probe. Now some of you might hear ESP probe and think it is a device used on ghost hunters, but that is not the case. The ESP (Exhaust Sensing Probe) measures the temperature of the exhaust and regulates the feed rate based on the exhaust.
By knowing the exhaust temperature, you can extrapolate the heat output of the stove. When you turn most furnaces to a particular setting, you are controlling the feed rate, and that rate is a fixed amount of auger rotation over a set amount of time. So the same configuration on the most stoves can equal somewhat different stove heat outputs based variations in pellets. As you know from this site, there can be some real significant variations in wood burning.
Harman Pellet Stove
By contrast, Harman stove temperature settings 1-7 reflect a particular exhaust output temperature and will automatically adjust the feed rate to maintain a consistent output at the given context. This system works exceptionally well, and Harman has been perfecting it for over a decade now, so it is a very sophisticated system. Stove Temp versus Room Temp. The other common feature to all Harman pellet stoves is the room temperature sensor. It is the temperature probe for the onboard thermostat.
So you can permanently set room temperature, and the stove will keep it, thereby raising and lowering the fire. If it does not call for heat over an extended period, the furnace will shut off, and then relight when the temperature is called for again (except the P38+).
Here is where I offer a couple of criticisms about the Harman system. It is difficult (not impossible) to hook in a programmable thermostat to the stove. The second is that running a Harman in room temperature mode is not nearly as efficient as stove temperature mode. I always run my furnaces in stove temperature mode, and they work great.
Though the stoves below are not Harman Pellet stoves, if you are on a (tighter) budget these are great stoves to buy!
|Details||Pleasant Hearth 35,000 BTU||Pleasant Hearth 50,000 BTU||Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU||Castle Pellet Stoves|
|Capacity||heats up to 1,750-sq ft||heats up to 2,200-sq ft||heats up to 2,800 sq ft||heats up to 1,500 sq ft|
|Item Weight||195 pounds||230 pounds||295 pound||186 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||24 x 21.5 x 30 inches||26.5 x 23.8 x 34 inches||N/A||23.8 x 18.5 x 34 inches|
|Manufacturer||GHP Group Inc||GHP Group Inc||Comfortbilt||Castle Pellet Stoves|
|Rating||4.3 out of 5 stars||4.7 out of 5 stars||4.6 out of 5 stars||3.6 out of 5 stars|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Description of the P series
I would say the best way to describe the P series is that form follows function. These are some of the most functional stoves made. However, they are not the most decorative or fancy one might even call the austere. Cleaning these are just one of the most simple ovens to completely clean.
- You open the door
- scrape the burn pot out
- scrape the accordion heat exchange (common to P series)
- brush the ash down into the ash bin
- open the bottom door and pull out the ash bin (which is enormous)
- pull off the exhaust fan cover and clean and vac out that area (be careful around the ESP), and you are done.
One you are experienced this whole process should take 20 minutes if you take your time. About once a year, you should also remove the door to the feed system and vac it out. This requires removing one of the lower baffles.
These are all straightforward tasks compared to other pellet stoves. One exciting thing Harmon does is that the housing for the combustion fan is part of the furnace, and it is offset in such a way that you can see straight out of the exhaust. I realize this is inside baseball stuff, but if you are a DYI type, it makes ownership of the stove a much more attractive proposition. Here are the differences in the P series:
Pellet Hopper Capacity
The P series generally has above average hopper capacity. Essentially the P series has three frame sizes- small (P38 and P43- 50 LBS), medium (P61 and PC45- 72 LBS), and large (P68- 76 LBS). All these can be increased with a sinfully ugly hopper extension, but if you are burning these in a basement, the hopper extension might be just the thing you need.
They typically add about 50 LBS of capacity and is a feature unique to all the P series stoves.
This is an area where Harman pellet stoves shine in general, and the P series in particular (even the P38 is pretty strong. I have heard it said that Harman pellet stoves put out heat like a wood stove, and it is true. As I mentioned before, I have owned several other pellet stoves, and none of them put the real world heat out like Harman. The P series, in particular, give you a considerable amount of radiant heat in the room they are in. Most other pellet stoves do not put out much in the way of radiant heat at all.
These are the USA made stoves. They are made in Halifax, PA, just a little north of the state capital of Harrisburg. Generally speaking, they are only a heavier made stove, the steel is thicker than a lot of other stoves. The fit and finish are also perfect, doors line up and latch as they should. I am actually in the process of refurbishing a 17-year-old P61 that was not cared for well, and with a little effort it will come up as good as new, and that is a testament to initial quality. Like anything parts will fail, but the frame of these stoves are rock solid. Differences within the P series.
The first thing to note is the number after the P in the model indicates the maximum BTU input to the stove in thousands. For example, a P61 has a maximum BTU input of 61,000 BTUs. P38+ versus P43These are pretty much the same stoves, but the P43 has auto light. In terms of the difference in 5,000 BTUs between the models, I suspect there is a minor real-world difference between the stoves. P61 versus PC45. These stoves are the same frame size, but there is a massive difference in the burn pots.
Harman pellet stove
The p61 is an s pellet stove; the PC45 is a pretty much anything palletized stove. The PC45 comes with an additional burn pot and two different agitators that connect to the end of the drill to stirs fuels like corn that want to clinker very quickly. There is also a series of dip switches that need to be set differently for different fuel types.
I currently burn a PC45 set up for pellets, and it seems to have a similar heat output as my P61 did.P61 versus P68The P68 is a minor increase from the P61. The dimensions of the stove are nearly identical, with the P68 being 2″ taller, and holding four more pounds of pellets. The burn pot is a bit larger as well. If you are trying to heat an ample space, this is your stove. This stove will put out more than many wood stoves, and was the highest output freestanding pellet stove on the market.
Conclusion of our Harman pellet stove reviews
As you can tell, I am a fan of these stoves. My recommendation of the P series stoves in the P61. It is powerful enough for most applications and just does almost everything well. I have found the loner I owned a Harman the more I liked. Eventually, I would like to get an XXV as it blends the great functionality of the P series with the great looks of a classic cast iron stove.
I look forward to writing that review.
You might want to read about one of our favorite wood pellets Lignetics