A compact wood pellet stove is an economical, environmentally-friendly and efficient way to heat a small to medium space. Pellet heaters offer you the unique warmth of a wood stove but with greater fuel efficiency and much lower emissions.
So, if you’re looking for a compact heater that runs on eco-friendly fuel, read on to find out how a pellet stove is exactly what you need.
Best small pellet stoves for 2023
To simplify your search for the best small pellet stoves, we’ve done the boring bit for you and trawled the internet to find the best models on the market.
Combining great aesthetics with fantastic energy efficiency, the Comfortbilt HP22 has everything you might want from a compact pellet stove.
With an 84% energy efficiency rating, the highest possible for a pellet stove, and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification, the HP22 has both excellent fuel efficiency and the lowest emissions possible.
With 50,000 BTUs of heating output, the HP22 will comfortably heat a space of up to 2,800 square feet. The 55lbs hopper means you won’t have to worry about restocking the HP22 every ten minutes. The HP22 will burn for up to 36 hours on one full hopper at the lowest heat setting.
To help oxygenate the fire, the HP22 has a powerful built-in fan and a programmable thermostat controller to keep the temperature consistent. The large bay window shows the fire inside off to the best effect. The dimensions of the HP22 are 24 x 25 x 32.5 inches.
Other features include a vacuum safety switch to automatically shut off the fire, a push-button ignition, and an easily removable ash pan. The HP22 has been approved for use in mobile homes and comes with a one-year warranty.
What we like:
- Energy-efficiency – The HP22 has both an EPA certification and an 84% energy efficiency rating, which is the highest possible for a pellet stove.
- High-capacity – The 55lb hopper means minimal refueling and can run for 36 hours on the lowest temperature settings.
- Safety first – The vacuum safety switch automatically cuts off oxygen to the fire if it detects a fault.
What we don’t like:
- Some control panel issues – Some users have experiences faulty control panels, but Comfortbilt quickly rectified this situation.
Overall, the Comfortbilt HP22 is an all-around excellent pellet stove with incredible fuel efficiency and a pleasant aesthetic.
So good we reviewed it twice, the HP22-N is the taller, if not the bigger brother of the HP22. The N-series is very well suited to any area where floor space is at a premium but height isn’t an issue.
The HP22-N has the same dimensions as the HP22 but is 7.5 inches taller.
You get all the many benefits of the HP22 (as listed above) and the added bonus of having an 80 lb pellet hopper capacity. That pushes the total burn time to nearly 52 hours on the lowest temperature setting.
The Castle Serenity 12327 offers those looking to heat a smaller space the ability to control when their heating comes on and what temperature it reaches. Compact and portable, this model runs at 69.8% thermal efficiency and can comfortably heat an area of up to 1500 square feet.
The main selling point of the Serenity is its smart controller. You can control the temperature manually or set the temperature to create a consistent temperature. You can also use the calendar and time-based heating options to manage when your stove turns on and off.
The design of the Serenity makes it both easy to install and easy to clean. Installation takes around two hours, and the unit can be directly vented, so you don’t need to install an additional chimney or flue.
When cleaning the Serenity, all you need to do is dump the easy-to-access firepot and ash pan and sweep out the exhaust pipe. Despite being only 23.75 x 34 x 18.25 inches, the Serenity 12327 has a 40lb capacity pellet hopper which can burn for 12 hours on high or 24 hours on low.
The Serenity 12327 is EPA and ETL certified and approved for use in mobile homes.
What we like:
- Automated heating – The Serenity can be set to come on at certain times and dates and maintain a constant temperature.
- Compact – This model is ideal for smaller spaces and mobile homes.
- Easy to install – Unlike some other models, the Serenity does not require a chimney and takes less than two hours to install.
What we don’t like:
- The hopper – Despite its 40lbs capacity, the design of the hopper makes it challenging to refill until it is entirely empty.
If you’re looking for a compact programmable heater to keep a smaller space or mobile home warm at all the right times, the Castle Serenity Stove 12327 is a fantastic choice.
The most compact stove on our list, the Cleveland Iron Works PS20W-CIW is ideal for when you need heat but space is at a premium.
At just 20.27 x 34.25 x 22.04 inches and weighing 142.7 lbs, the PS20W-CIW puts out 25,000 BTUs of heat. That’s more than enough to heat around 800 square feet of space. Built from solid steel and cast iron, the PS20W-CIW looks excellent and is extremely durable.
The PS20W-CIW has a 20lb hopper, easy access to service areas, and is EPA certified. It’s also wirelessly controllable through the Cleveland Iron Works Smart Stove app. The app is available for both IOS and Android.
Using the app gives you complete control over the settings and operation of the PS20W-CIW without ever needing to leave your comfortable place in front of the fire.
What we like:
- Wireless connection- The PS20W-CIW can be fully controlled through the Cleveland Iron Works Smart Stove app.
- Compact – The smallest stove on our list, the PS20W-CIW is an ideal heating solution for when space is at a premium.
- Easy to clean – The PS20W-CIW has been specially designed to be as easy to clean out as possible.
What we don’t like:
- Low capacity- While unavoidable on a smaller model, the 20lb hopper means a lot more getting up to refill the stove.
If saving space is your number one priority when it comes to selecting a pellet stove, then the PS20W-CIW means you don’t have to choose between size and quality. Wireless controlled and exceptionally well built, the PS20W-CIW is a fantastic compact stove.
Things to consider when choosing a small pellet stove
Not that we’ve given you the lowdown on the best pellet stoves on the market, here are some variables you’ll want to consider before picking one out for yourself:
Electric vs. non-electric
The vast majority of pellet stoves are electric. The electricity is used to drive the augur that slowly feeds the pellets into the firepot. On specific models, it’s also used to run a fan that oxygenates the fire and circulates the heat, power a wireless connection, or power a digital thermostat.
If you’re somewhere without a power connection or where the power grid is unreliable, you can opt for a non-electric pellet stove instead. Non-electric pellet stoves use gravity to feed the pellets into the firepot.
Non-electric pellet stoves are more prone to blockages than those with the powered augur and don’t support digital thermostats or wireless control.
The BTU output
When it comes to figuring out what stove you need for your particular needs, there are two critical factors, BTU output and the size of your space in square feet.
The BTU, or British Thermal Unit, output of your stove is an indicator of how much heat it gives off. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a stove that puts out 40,000 BTUs can heat up to 1,200 square feet, while a 60,000 BTU stove can heat up to 2,000 square feet.
Thankfully, most manufacturers, and all the models we’ve listed above, will tell you the size, in square feet, of the room they can effectively heat.
Hopper capacity and burn time
While the BTUs of your stove can tell you what area of room it can heat, the size of the pellet hopper indicates how long it can burn.
Most models will give you a maximum and minimum burn rate. This measurement tells you how long it will take your stove to burn through a hopper full of pellets at its maximum and minimum temperature settings.
Features to look out for
When shopping for a pellet stove, there are a few features that you’ll want to look out for. Some of these include:
- Push-button ignition – It’s not a deal-breaker if the stove you like doesn’t have this, but nothing is more convenient than just pushing a button to get your stove lit.
- A digital thermostat – Being able to set your desired temperature and have your stove automatically regulate its fuel levels to maintain that temperature is ideal.
- Wireless connection – If your stove doesn’t have a digital thermostat, then the next best thing is to be able to control it from your phone.
- Energy efficiency – Pellet stoves are naturally energy-efficient. However, the more energy-efficient the model you choose is, the less you’ll need to spend on fuel and the more environmentally-friendly it will be.
- EPA certified – An EPA certification indicates that the stove you’re thinking of buying has met the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act requirements for low emission levels.
- Easy to clean – Since they are so fuel-efficient, pellet stoves don’t produce a lot of ash, but you’ll want to go for an easy-to-clean model anyway to make things as simple as possible.
- A pressure switch – An added safety feature, the pressure switch stops the pellet stove from working if the door isn’t securely closed.
- A vacuum safety cutout – Vacuum cut-outs stop air from getting into the firebox to dampen the fire if the stove detects a fault.
To help you make your decision, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about pellet stoves and their answers:
What’s the difference between a pellet stove and a wood-burning stove?
The principal difference between a pellet stove and a wood-burning stove is the fuel. Wood pellets are created from compacted sawdust, usually taken from the waste products of the timber industry.
Compared to logs, wood pellets burn extremely cleanly, release very few emissions, and in some cases can be carbon neutral. Because they burn pellets, pellet stoves are far more energy-efficient and release far fewer emissions than a standard wood stove. In fact, every ton of pellets used vs. oil reduces CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons.
How do you operate a pellet stove?
Pellet stoves are surprisingly easy to operate. Most electric models come with a push-button ignition, so all you need to do is load your pellets into the hopper and hit the start button. The eclectic augur will then feed the pellets into the firepot and ignite them.
Models that come with a digital thermostat will then regulate the amount of fuel that is added to the firebox to maintain a constant temperature.
Are pellet stoves safe?
As a rule, yes, pellet stoves are safe. There is an inherent risk associated with any open flame heating device, and a pellet stove needs to be monitored. However, because the flame is contained within the sealed stove, there are very few risks associated with pellet stoves.
Are pellet stoves energy efficient?
Yes, pellet stoves are extremely energy efficient. In fact, the energy-efficient rating of a pellet stove can be as high as 80%. They also produce far fewer particle emissions than a wood stove.
Should I install my own pellet stove?
We would always encourage you to find a professional to install any heating solution with an open flame and potentially emits carbon monoxide. However, most pellet stoves can be directly vented, making them particularly easy to install.
If you install your own pellet stove, we recommend that you purchase a carbon monoxide detector and a fire extinguisher to go with it. Better safe than sorry.
Wrapping it up
Pellet stoves are an excellent, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly alternative wood stoves or propane heaters.
By following our buying guide, you’ll know precisely what factors to consider when buying your own pellet stove, and we’ve already gathered together some of the best models on the market for you.
If you’ve got a pellet stove you think should have made our list or a brand of carbon-neutral pellets you’d like to suggest, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.