Most people search for Harman P61 when they look for pellet stove reviews, but the latest model Harman pellet stove of this size is actually called a Harman P61A. Because a lot of Harman P-61 pellet stoves were sold and are still in use, any review of the newest model will include information about the stoves still in service and going strong. Unless you’re purchasing a unit that’s been on a dealer’s shelf for a very long time, you’re buying a P61A. We’ll refer to the stove as a Harman P61 throughout this review, because the units are basically the same.
Very few pellet stove manufacturers have the reputation of Harman. Homeowners who purchase Harman pellet stoves are a little like consumers that favor Apple products. They believe that Harman pellet stoves perform better, and they are manufactured with more attention to cutting edge design and handsome styling. Harman fans are willing to pay a little more for these benefits. Online message boards about alternative heat sources are filled with homeowners who have owned Harman products for decades, and swear by them. That means that new Harman owners are likely to be congratulated by the existing owners, and taken into a kind of club of Harman pellet stove lovers. There are many good reasons for Harman owners to be so fond of their products.
One reason so many consumers love Harman pellet stoves is because they’re made in the United States. Many pellets stoves like the Vogelzang VG 5790 produce as much heat as the Harman, but they’re made in China, and don’t have the same reputation for high quality.
Harman P61 Wood Pellet Facts
- Automatic bottom feeding pellet stove
- Produces from 14,200 to 60,300 BTUs
- Hopper holds 72 pounds of wood pellets
- Circulating fan pushes 135 CFM
- Burns at 79.4 percent efficiency
- Automatic ignition
- Can heat from 1,300 to 3,500 square feet
- 23-1/2″ x 29-1/2″ deep x 36-1/2″ high
- Limited lifetime warranty
- One-year warranty on all parts and materials
- Weighs 249 pounds
Harman Pellet Stove P61 Features and Benefits
There are only two ways to feed pellets into a pellet stove. Pellet stoves move pellets from the storage hopper to the burn pot using an auger. The auger is like a giant screw that picks up pellets and moves them along as it turns. Top feeders like the Vogelzang VG 5770 drop pellets into the burn pot from above. Others, like the Harman pellet stove, feed them in from below. This has pluses and minuses.
Dropping in the pellets from above is generally safer. One end of the auger is at the bottom of the hopper, and it lifts pellets up an inclined ramp to finally tumble in the burn pot. This separates the supply of pellets from the combustion chamber, making accidental ignition of the store of pellets unlikely.
When an auger moves pellets in from below, there is less separation between the pellet supply and the fire. In order to guard against problems with this arrangement, Harman pellet stoves use a unique Pellet Pro System to move the pellet fuel efficiently and safely. Here’s how it works:
Safety is only one benefit of the Pellet Pro System. Top feed pellet stoves make more noise than bottom feed stoves. That’s because pellets roll down an incline into the burn pot. This makes a sound similar to dice in a cup. Harman users love their stoves because they are quieter than other stoves without sacrificing safety.
The Harman P-61 also has an innovative ESP system to automatically regulate the amount of heat the unit puts out. This Exhaust Sensing Probe measures the temperature of the exhaust and compares it to the temperature setting on the stove and the temperature in the room. Harman says that allows the stove to stay within 1 degree Fahrenheit of the desired temperature. It also saves on fuel. Here’s how it works:
Pellet stoves can’t cycle on and off like regular oil-fired or natural gas furnaces. The Harman ESP system is about as close to a replacement for a traditional thermostat on a boiler or furnace as you can get. It keep a room at desired temperature automatically.
The Harman P61 is available with several cosmetic options. You can choose from trim and finish options for the burn chamber door, and also different silhouette scenes for the metal inlay on the base of the unit. You can also opt for ceramic logs to make the firebox look more like a wood fire if desired.
It’s possible to add a hopper extension to the P-61. It mounts on the very back of the unit, and changes its appearance dramatically. If you’re using the Harman in a location where looks are less important, and you want to have plenty of run time, the extension should be fine.
- Attractive styling looks good in any setting
- One of the most powerful freestanding pellets stoves you can buy
- Made from high-quality materials in the USA
- Very quiet operation
- Easy to clean
- Large removable ash pan
- Heavy steel enclosure for increased radiant heat
- Limited lifetime guarantee is an industry best
- Big viewing window
- Seven heat settings for maximum comfort
- EPA certified
- More expensive than other brands
- Hopper extension is unattractive, but it works well
- Only available through dealers
Final Word on the Harman P61 Pellet Stove
The Harman P61 pellet stove lists for over $3,500, but prices vary depending on options and discounts. Coupons are often available. If you want a turnkey operation, Harman dealers have a great reputation for customer service and installation.
Harman pellet stoves are built to last. They back their products with one of the best guarantees in the industry. If you factor in the amount of use you can expect from a Harman, the price difference between them and other brands shrinks. If you’re a homeowner that would like to use clean, renewable pellets, but don’t want to give up the convenience of a thermostat, the Harman P61 might be perfect for you.
Have a Harman P61, or Harman P61A? Let us know how you like it in the comments!