Harman P61 Pellet Stove Review

harman p61 pellet stoveMost 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 stovesĀ  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

EPA CertifiedMobile Home Approved

 

 

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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!

21 thoughts on “Harman P61 Pellet Stove Review”

  1. Had my Harman going on 4 years now…….very satisfied. Maintain it properly and it performs flawlessly.

  2. Hello Steve- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for sharing your experience with your Harman pellet stove with our readers.

  3. We have our harman pellet stove for 17 years it does the job but looking to replace it with the p68

  4. Hello Jeff- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for offering our readers the benefit of your experience with your Harman Pellet Stove.

    Getting 17 years of use out of your pellet stove shows how well made the Harman is.

  5. Hello Scott- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for offering our readers the benefit of your experience with the Harman P61 A.

    Five years and four tons a year without any kind of problem is an indication of how well designed and constructed a Harman stove is. Many other brands of stoves are cheaper to buy, but require much more maintenance and don’t last as long as Harmans.

  6. Hello Anthony- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for sharing your experience with the Harman P61.

    I think details like the ash pan are often overlooked when people shop for pellet stoves. It’s easy to get caught up in BTUs and other features, but it’s usually the simple things like the size of the ash pan that makes daily use pleasant or a pain.

  7. proud owner of a P61, just wrapping up season 15. This is a workhorse
    and durability is second to none. If you go the pellet route Harman
    is the only choice.

  8. Hello Rory- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for sharing the benefit of your experience with our readers.

    Fifteen years of dependable service is a remarkable testament to how well made the Harman P61 is. It’s no wonder that so many Harman pellet stove owners are happy with their stoves.

  9. Live in old 2 story drafty farm house, I purchased p61 about 18 years ago and a p38 15 years ago. My extended family has also used same two stoves. All run each season. Only issues, how many tons of pellets do I burn before cleaning? I burn a ton and a half before needs cleaning either stove.! I only heat with the harman stoves. Live in nw pa, cold long winters, burn 8 tons on average, maintain them once a season, they are very reliable. Easy to clean, parts replaced most is combustion fan. Have not bought propane in 18 years now. Looking at the newer harman stove absolute series,.Hard to justify a new stove when these older ones work so well!!

  10. Hello Jamie- Thanks for reading Wood Pellet Facts, and for sharing your experience with your Harman pellet stoves with our readers.

    Getting 18 years of regular use out of a pellet stove is amazing. That’s a testament to how well built that Harman pellet stoves are. The fact that you’ve also had another pellet stove from the same manufacturer for almost as long means that your stove’s longevity isn’t a fluke.

    Most pellet stove reviews pay close attention to upfront costs. Harman pellet stoves cost a bundle compared to models from other manufacturers like Vogelzang or PelPro. However, it’s important to take into account the cost of owning the stove over its useful life. In your case, I’ll bet your pellet stoves ended up costing less per year than stoves that had really low price tags but only lasted for a few years before needing replacement.

    As far as cleaning, I’m not aware of a pellet stove manufacturer that doesn’t recommend cleaning their units after every ton of pellets. Of course the type of pellets you burn, and how much ash they produce can extend or shorten the time between cleanings.

    Thanks again for your useful comment!

  11. I just bought a two year old p 61a for 2000.00 with all the piping. I was wondering if it would be wise to burn half corn with the pellets for extravel heat. or should I just stick with hard pellets ?

  12. Hi Don- Thanks for visiting Wood Pellet Facts.

    We can’t recommend burning corn in your Harman P61. Pellets stoves like the Harman are designed for solid wood pellets with no additives.

    If you’d like to get extra heat from your stove, we suggest that you burn 100% softwood pellets. Check the BTU ratings on brands like Okanagan and Lacrete. They contain about 5-10 percent more heat than a typical hardwood pellet, or hardwood/softwood blend.

  13. After years of faithful use out of my Harman PC45 I purchased and had installed by my Harman dealer a P61A last fall. I have had problems with the stove not maintaining the room temperature within a degree as some days it works fine and other days it lets the room temperature drop up to 10 degrees before warming up.
    This new stove even shut down one evening even after I had cleaned the vent pipe. I have a 5 ft vertical rise on the venting on the outside and have the Harman fresh air intake. My dealer says I need to replace with a straight vent pipe out even though my venting was never a problem with my PC45. ? Any suggestions will be appreciated. I’m heating a story and a half older farm home that has about 900 square feet that I am heating. Is this stove too large for my heating area?

  14. Hello Keith- Welcome to Wood Pellet Facts.

    The Harman P45 was a great pellet stove. It was designed to burn corn, I believe, but was easily configured to use wood pellets. They were really well built, and lasted a long time. I’m not surprised to hear you got good service out of yours.

    Your new P61A is also a very well built unit. It’s a shame it’s not performing as well as your last pellet stove. The P61A makes a lot of heat, up to 60,000 BTUs per hour. Unless you live at the Arctic Circle, it’s unlikely that you need that much power to heat less than 1,000 ft2. That means that your pellet stove probably runs on low settings most of the time. Most pellet stoves work best on middle settings, not very low or very high heat settings. Your small house might make incremental changes seem more pronounced when the stove cycles up and down.

    As you may know, Harman stoves use sensors that compare the temperature of the exhaust gas and the interior air, and then adjust the pellet feed rate to make sure the unit only burns as many pellets as required to maintain your desired temperature.

    Your dealer may be on to something with his suggestion to change out the exhaust flue. A “candy cane” flue is efficient at inducing a draft as warm air rises through it, but it’s not helpful if your unit isn’t designed for it. The exhaust gas pressure might be building up in your flue, raising the flue temps, which will signal to the sensor that the stove is hot enough to heat the room, even though it isn’t. A straight flue is shorter, and less likely to have a pressure buildup.

    I’m sure your Harman dealer is better informed than I about the proper setup for your stove, so following their advice is probably wise. Their advice sounds sensible to me, also.

  15. I bought the Harmon P61 used 5 years ago now and it was 5 years old then. I have replaced the 2 blower motors in the last 2 years. The door was repaired poorly at one time and I cannot seam to get a good seal around the door glass. Lots of soot. I’m thinking it maybe time for a new P61A ? Your thoughts?

  16. Hello Robbie- Welcome to Wood Pellet Facts. Harman stoves have pretty solid warranty protections when you buy them new. Different parts are covered for different periods of time. Things like igniters and door glass for 2 years, firepots for 3 years, castings for 5 years. They even have some sort of limited lifetime warranty on the firebox. However, in our experience, pellet stoves that get regular use have a maximum useful lifetime of about 10 years. Some brands don’t last that long. Harman owners often report using their stoves longer than that.

    Your Harman pellet stove sounds like it’s nearing the end of its useful life. Air leaks around a door that won’t seal properly are a common cause of soot. Sooty exhaust builds up faster and makes the fan work harder and fail sooner.

    I’ll bet that you’ll be able to keep your stove running if you want to, but it will be inefficient, and need constant attention and repair. You need to factor in the cost of the pellets that poor combustion consumes without delivering heat. If your stove is running 10 or 20 percent worse than when it was new, it might waste a ton of pellets a season. That’s real money.

    I’d add up the cost of repairs, wasted pellets, and time spent tinkering with the stove and then compare it to the cost of a new Harman. If you like the P61, you’ll love a new P61a. Harman is currently (til about Halloween) offering a $100 rebate on stoves to American buyers on their website. They may have something similar if you’re in Canada.

  17. Bought my Hartman in 2002. Only cleaned it and replaced top metal on burn pot 3 times. They are meant to be replaced and got several Spares when I bought when I got the stove. Could not be more satisfied. I now buy in bulk and no longer have to carry bags.

  18. Hello Bob- Welcome to Wood Pellet Facts. Thanks for sharing your experience with your Harman pellet stove with our readers.

    Bulk pellet delivery seems like a great idea, but very few people have it. We have seen pellet furnaces and boilers that use a conveyor from a large pellet container to feed the burner. It’s a great way to replace an oil burner, and there’s no lugging and stacking the pellets. Most pellet stoves are standalone auxiliary appliances, not furnace replacements, so consumers will favor 40-pound pellet bags for the foreseeable future.

    We hope to see pellet stoves become more robust, and used more as a primary source of heat. That would make bulk pellet deliveries more common, and save a lot of effort.

  19. Had my Harman p61a for 7 years burning 4 tons a year with not one problem!! I clean it once a month that’s it . If your thinking of getting a pellet stove pay the extra and get a quality stove it cheaper in the long run.

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