So my pellet stove has been chowing down on some Stove Chow, and I am ready to report some results. First, let’s talk a little about where stove chow falls in the pellet fuel pecking order- they are near the bottom.
Pretty low on the pellet fuel food chain
They are the brand that Home Depot sells, and I suspect Energex produces them 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 pretty low on the pellet fuel food chain (pun intended). The pellets I tested lived up to that expectation. The pellets produce dark heavy ash and a lot of it. My Harman PC45 is somewhat 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 produce a much smaller lose ash pile, and not caked up like Stove Chow.
Very dark color
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 meagre amount of fines in the bags. Things do bring me to an essential point about stove chow or any other pellet sold in a Home Depot and the like. When the PFI measures fine, they are estimated at the gate of the mill, and 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 somewhere else in the store. Of course, then you load them into a cart, and then into your vehicle, and then from your car into your storage area. 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 penalties. I have gotten bullets from these types of places that were half sawdust for the reasons mentioned above.
The 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.
Who makes Stove Chow wood pellets?
What is the best price for these wood pellets?
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.
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 different pellets from different manufactures. Energex (which I believe mine were) primary grade of pellet is 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, and it is not meant to scare you to one pellet or push you away from another. I have burned every pellet I review and am giving my honest feedback.