Pellet heaters are becoming more and more popular in Tasmania and Australia. The most affordable of these heaters are made in China but are Chinese pellet heaters good or are you better off buying more expensive European brands, such as Piazzetta or Palazzetti? The short version is yes, there’s nothing wrong with pellet heaters made in China. They often come with features some European brands don’t have and as pellet heaters aren’t high tech they all function basically the same. However, European heaters do have an edge in terms of design and some features. Read on if you’d like to know more about how Chinese pellet heaters stack up against their European counterparts.
|Chinese Pellet Heaters
|European Pellet Heaters
|Much cheaper and more affordable
|More expensive, typically twice the price
|Simpler, less visually appealing
|More unique, colourful, ceramic panels on exterior
|Fewer unique features and designs, but WiFi standard
|More unique features and designs, but WiFi often costs extra
Chinese vs European Pellet Heater Cost
One of the biggest reasons people choose to buy Chinese-made pellet heaters is cost. Pellet heaters made in China are about half the price as their European counterparts and sometimes even less. An example of this is a 12kw and 13kw Chinese made pellet heater for sale in Tasmania through Pellet Fires Tasmania as of 12/02/2023 costs just under $5,000. A similar Piazzetta model costs at least $11,000. There are a few European brands out there, so you may find something cheaper but the price difference is usually $3,000 more expensive but usually double the price for a European made pellet heater with similar specifications. That’s a massive difference.
The money you save by buying a Chinese pellet heater could be spent on other things, like buying wood pellets (could be several years worth depending on how often you run your heater) or having your pellet heater serviced (which needs to be done annually either by yourself or paying someone else to do it). Additionally, replacement parts for Chinese-made pellet heaters are often cheaper than European models. It doesn’t matter where a pellet heater is made. At some point the igniter will need to be replaced and probably the burn pot. It might take a few years but both Chinese and European made pellet heaters have parts that need to be replaced. Parts for European models are generally more expensive.
Chinese vs European Pellet Heater Design
One area where Chinese-made pellet heaters fall flat against European models is in design. European pellet heaters are known for their unique, colorful and stylish designs. The designs are beautiful and definitely stand out in a room. However, keep in mind that the “budget” European models, which still cost more than Chinese pellet heaters, often lack this flair of the luxury models. The budget ones still look good but often lack the beautiful colours and sleek looking exteriors of the more expensive models. Some of these expensive European models have ceramic panels on the outside of the heater, which look amazing.
In contrast, Chinese models often have a simpler and more basic design. You won’t find ceramic or any other high quality design or sleek, smooth curves. Instead, the pellet heaters usually come in just a few colours, usually black, grey or something in between and exteriors are made of light weight metal. You won’t find any bright colours and ceramic external covers like you can with some European models. However, while European design may be more visually appealing, remember it comes at a cost. And just like the parts inside a pellet heater, while the ceramic exterior covers looks great, they are fragile and if they cheap or break are very expensive to replace.
Chinese vs European Pellet Heater Features
Another aspect to consider when choosing a pellet heater is the features offered by the different models. Before I dive into this any further, pellet heaters, regardless of model and when they were made all essentially function the same. This means they have very similar if not identical parts and the technology behind how they work as not dramatically changed over the years. They all have a hopper, an auger that feeds pellets into a burn pot, an igniter which starts the fire automatically, a room fan that heats the room the pellet heater is in and an exhaust fan which keeps the fire burning efficiently. Made in America, China or Italy, this technology and parts remains essentially the same.
What you will find is the European pellet heaters tend to have patented technology or nice to have features Chinese made models don’t. An example of this is a sensor in the hopper which alerts you when the hopper is running low on pellets. Another example is having the exhaust on top in the middle of the pellet heater, like a wood heater, which can make installation easier since the flue doesn’t come out of the back of the heater like Chinese made models. Finally, some European models are designed so they are easier to clean and gain access to. None of these dramatically improve how well the pellet heater burns. They may increase efficiency slightly or make servicing and using the heater easier but that’s all.
While Chinese-made pellet heaters may not have as many unique or patented features as their European counterparts (Palazzetti pellet heaters come to mind), they do offer some perks. For example, most, if not all, Chinese-made pellet heaters come with WiFi as standard. It doesn’t matter what size the pellet heater, they all usually come with WiFi built-in for free. However, this isn’t standard for European models and WiFi still appears to be something you have to pay for, around $400. Chinese pellet heaters definitely don’t have the niche or unique features European models do, but those features don’t drastically improve the pellet heater.
Focus on Service and Support
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, when it comes to buying a pellet heater, I think the quality of after-sales support and warranty can make all the difference. I wouldn’t focus solely on Chinese vs European pellet heaters and which one you think is better quality or has the best features. I’d also look at what kind of service and backup support you will get from the retailer. Chinese and European pellet heaters are both reliable and a good choice no matter which one you opt for, but how good and reliable they are depends on the retailer service and support more than anything else. An expensive European pellet heater will not be reliable if the retailer isn’t able to provide you with parts, help you troubleshoot issues or service it if you can’t do it yourself.
What kind of warranty does the pellet heater come with? You may be surprised that some European pellet heater retailers in Tasmania only offer a 1 year warranty. So that $10,000 pellet heater has a 1 year warranty despite it costing so much money. Compare this to come Chinese pellet heaters that might cost $3,000 and come with a 5 year warranty. Ask the retailer about warranties, what parts they keep in stock and how much those parts cost. Again, I think it’s more important to buy from a retailer with a good reputation and an established history of providing quality products and support.
Recommend Chinese Pellet Heater Brands
If you’d like to check out what some good Chinese made pellet heaters I recommend and live in Tasmania, please check out my top 5 pellet heaters in Tasmania list. The most popular model is probably the Grace pellet heater sold by Pellet Fires Tasmania. Offering slightly less heat output but at a better price I’d say check out the Bass 02 pellet heater and Bass 09 pellet heater sold by Bass Pellet Heaters in Launceston, Tasmania.
If you live outside of Tasmania then sadly your choices will be limited. The majority of pellet retailers on the mainland in Australia sell European heaters. The two most popular being Palazzetti and Piazzetta pellet heaters. There are a few other European brands but there aren’t meany retails stocking these. Bunnings pellet heaters are no longer for sale anywhere in Australia at Bunnings stores just like BBQ Galore who stopped selling them some time ago. It’s not impossible to find a retailer outside of Tassie selling Chinese heaters but they are few and far between.
Should You Buy a Chinese Made Pellet Heater?
When it comes to buying a pellet heater, the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference, budget, and lifestyle. While Chinese-made pellet heaters can offer significant cost savings, European models may be more visually appealing and have more “niche” or handy features. If you are outside of Tasmania and want to buy a pellet heater, I think you’ll find that most retailers only stock European models, so keep this in mind. Regardless of the brand or model, it’s important to carefully consider the after-sales support and warranty terms to ensure that you are getting a product that is reliable and supported. With careful research and consideration, customers can find the pellet heater that is right for their needs and budget.
Are Chinese pellet heaters good?
Yes, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with pellet heaters made in China. They come with some features that even certain European brands may not have. However, it’s worth noting that all pellet heaters essentially function the same regardless of their place of manufacture. European heaters might have an edge in terms of design and certain features.
What are the cost differences between Chinese and European pellet heaters?
Chinese pellet heaters are significantly more affordable, often about half the price, or sometimes even less, compared to their European counterparts. For example, a 12kw or 13kw Chinese made pellet heater costs around $5,000 while a similar Piazzetta model costs at least $11,000. The money saved by purchasing a Chinese pellet heater can be used for other expenses such as buying wood pellets or servicing the heater.
How do Chinese and European pellet heaters compare in terms of design?
European pellet heaters are known for their unique, colorful, and stylish designs, with some of the higher-end models featuring ceramic panels on the exterior. Chinese models, on the other hand, have simpler and more basic designs. They are typically available in neutral colors such as black and grey, with exteriors made of lightweight metal.
Are there feature differences between Chinese and European pellet heaters?
Yes, there are some differences. European pellet heaters tend to have patented technology or features that Chinese models may not possess, such as a sensor in the hopper alerting you when it’s running low on pellets. However, it’s important to note that most Chinese-made pellet heaters come with WiFi as a standard feature, which is not always the case for European models.
What should be considered regarding service and support for pellet heaters?
Quality of after-sales support and warranty are crucial factors. It’s advisable to consider the service and backup support provided by the retailer. The reliability and longevity of the heater may depend more on the retailer’s service and support than the country of origin. It’s also important to check the warranty offered with the heater and compare costs for replacement parts.
Are there recommended Chinese pellet heater brands?
If you’re in Tasmania, popular models include the Grace pellet heater sold by Pellet Fires Tasmania, and the Bass 02 and Bass 09 pellet heaters sold by Bass Pellet Heaters in Launceston, Tasmania. Availability may be limited outside of Tasmania, as many mainland retailers in Australia primarily stock European heaters.
Should I buy a Chinese made pellet heater?
This decision ultimately comes down to personal preference, budget, and lifestyle. While Chinese-made pellet heaters offer significant cost savings, European models may offer more appealing design and handy features. Regardless of the brand or model, it’s essential to consider after-sales support and warranty terms to ensure that you’re purchasing a reliable and supported product.