Got a fireplace that you’ve pulled a wood heater from and want to replace with the best insert pellet heater you can find? The good news is there are some great insert heaters out there that will fit nicely into your old fireplace and keep you warm. The bad news is insert pellet heater models are few and far between. The majority of people buying pellet heaters purchase freestanding models. However, below you’ll find what I think is currently the best insert pellet heater in Australia in 2023 to help make finding the right one easy.
Here’s what I think are currently the best insert pellet heaters in Australia:
- Piazzetta IP 11 pellet heater
- Piazzetta IP 9 pellet heater
I love the IP 11 Piazzetta and think it’s the best insert pellet heater in Australia. However, it’s also good to have choice and coming in a close 2nd behind the IP 11 is the IP 9. Yes, another Piazzetta pellet heater and for good reason which I go into detail about below. If you live in Tasmania, check out my best insert pellet heater in Tasmania as we’re lucky and have a wider range of insert pellet heater models to pick from, such as the Grace insert pellet heater. Otherwise, read on below to learn more about the best insert and what to keep in mind when looking at insert pellet heaters.
Best Overall Insert Pellet Heater
The number one winner in my books is the Piazzetta IP 11. Here’s a quick look at the specs of the IP 11:
- 4.6kw to 11kw heat output is enough heat for anyone
- 22kg hopper reduces frequency of refilling wood pellets
- 68cm x 55cm x 78cm size
- Retails for around $6,500
What’s Good about the IP 11
The IP 11 Piazzetta is good for a few reason. Basically, I chose it because of the great hopper capacity, it’s excellent heat output and also the dimensions or size of the insert.
First, and what I consider to be very important, is hopper size. They’ve managed to squeeze a 22kg hopper into this insert heater. If you look at other insert models, Piazzetta included, many have a much smaller hopper. The obvious reason for this is an insert pellet heater has to fit into a fireplace. However, some have such a small hopper that if running on high heat and in the middle of winter, I think you’d be refilling the hopper at least once a day.
Now, some people don’t mind but remember inserts, at least compared to freestanding models, can be more difficult to refill. It’s not hard but they generally aren’t as easy to open because of their compact size. Many have a tray which you pull out and tips pellets into. Compare this to a freestanding pellet heater where you can take the whole hopper lid off and tip pellets into. Inserts are just a little bit more of a hassle to fill with wood pellets, so a 22kg hopper means you won’t need to do this very often.
The next good thing about the IP11 is the heat output. On low you’ll get 4.6kw of heat and on high 11kw of heat. That’s enough for 185m3 to 315m3, which in plain English is enough heat for any room and definitely enough heat to warm your house. Freestanding heaters max out at about 13kw, so this insert packing 11kw is close enough. I love high heat output because it means you can heat any space up quickly. The reality is pellet heaters, insert or freestanding, most of the time aren’t running on high but I personally think it’s better to have the option of more heat, especially when you are feeling the cold in the middle of winter.
Size and Fit
Despite having a massive hopper and good heat output, the IP 11 isn’t that big. It’s the same width and depth as the IP 9 and only 10cm higher. Considering you get a hopper that is about 70% bigger, the IP 9 has a 13kg hopper versus the IP11 22kg hopper, and the same width and depth with only a little extra height, I think that’s great. It also means that if your fireplace could fit an IP 9 insert it could most likely fit an IP 11 insert or if not only a little extra work would be needed to resize the fireplace to fit the pellet heater.
Finally, price of the IP 11 Piazzetta insert pellet heater is also very good. Now, it’s obviously the most expensive insert they sell because it is the biggest model but it’s not that much more expensive than other smaller Piazzetta insert models, especially when you look at additional hopper size and heat output you get. The IP 7, the smallest insert Piazzetta sells, cost about $5,300. The next model up, the IP 9, about $5200.
The IP 11 retails for around $6,400 depending on where you live. So for about an extra $1,000 you get much more heat and a much bigger hopper. Now, I understand $1,000 is a lot of money, but considering you are already paying $5,000+ for the smallest model and you’ll be using the heater for potentially more than a decade, I think it’s great value considering what you get for the extra money.
What’s Not Good about the IP11
The only negative about the IP 11 is the size. Yes, above I said it wasn’t really that big considering what you got but there’s no denying it is a large insert pellet heater. It’s 10cm higher than the IP 9 (but same width and depth) and has more width, depth and height than the IP 7. However, the IP 7 is the smallest insert model, so naturally the largest model is going to be considerably bigger. The downside here is the IP 11 may not fit into as many fireplaces as smaller models. This means you’ll either have to do some work to make your fireplace bigger or if that’s not possible get a smaller model.
Runner Up Best Insert – IP 9 Piazzetta
Choice is always good and that’s why I think the IP 9 from Piazzetta would be my runner up best insert pellet heater in Australia choice. Here’s a quick look at what it has to offer:
- 4.5kw to 9kw heat output is a good amount of heat
- 13kg hopper holds just under one bag of pellets
- 58cm x 55cm x 78cm size
- Retails for around $6,200
The IP 9 is still a good insert but there are a few things I prefer in the IP 11. First, the price. The IP 9 is still reasonably priced, especially for a high quality European pellet heater, but it’s only $300 cheaper than the IP 11. It’s not much of a difference in price considering a smaller hopper and less heat output.. However, the IP 9 still packs a good amount of heat at 9kw, which should be enough for anyone and as I’ve said pellet heaters rarely run on high heat for an extended period of time. The IP 9 is slightly smalelr also, meaning it’ll fit into more fireplaces due to its smaller size.
However, one thing I don’t like is the smaller hopper. While this size, 13kg, is about the same as in freestanding pellet heaters, the main difference is inserts are much more difficult to refill than freestanding models. I love large hoppers, I can’t stress this enough and I love them even more in inserts. You’ll fit just under 1 bag of pellets in the IP 9 and a bag of pellets last most people around a day in winter, so you’ll be refilling at least once a day depending on how hard you run the insert.
If the smaller hopper doesn’t worry you, then the IP 9 is still a very good insert pellet heater. It’s got plenty of heat, is a little bit cheaper and is smaller in size making it fit in more fireplaces. It’s also a Piazzetta, meaning extremely high quality. Below I go into detail about some things to keep in mind when looking for an insert pellet heater. I understand the IP 11 and IP 9 may not be to your liking or not available where you live. So here’s a few things to help finding the right insert pellet heater for you easier.
Tips for Buying an Insert Pellet Heater
Insert pellet heaters are great but the restrictions on size requirements to fit into fireplaces means there are a few challenges inserts face. First, generally speaking you’ll have a smaller hopper. Now, freestanding units have small hoppers also but similar heat output models can usually hold a few more kilograms than insert models. The smaller the hopper the more you’ll have to refill it. As I mentioned above, insert hoppers aren’t as easy to open and refill as freestanding pellet heaters. That’s why I like inserts with a big hopper so you aren’t refilling very often.
Size or dimensions of the insert are also important. You’ll probably find three possibilities when comparing the size of an insert with your fireplace. First, it could be just the right size and fit perfectly. Honestly, that’s highly unlikely. Second, your insert could be smaller than the fireplace. This isn’t a problem as most inserts come with a metal plate that goes around the outside of the insert on the wall and hides any gap. Finally, the insert could be too big. This is a real possibility and you’ll have to pick a smaller model or renovate your fireplace, which may or may not be possible and will increase overall costs.
Another thing to remember is ease of access. All pellet heaters needs to be serviced and freestanding units are obviously much easier to gain access to than inserts. If you are happy to DIY service your pellet heater than that’s fine and if you pay someone to service it then most likely it’s fine also. It’s just something to keep in mind because you won’t be able to as quickly and easily remove side panels to change parts or clean it out. People usually install rails that roll the insert in and out or place something on the floor to protect it from any damage that may be caused by dragging the insert pellet heater out of the fireplace.
Finally, there are very few insert pellet heater models on the market. There are heaps of freestanding heater brands, such as Palazzetti pellet heaters which are similar quality to Piazzetta, but inserts are rare. Besides Piazzetta you will find some Chinese brands but I’d be careful here. There’s nothing wrong with Chinese pellet heaters and as I mention in another post you should focus on service and support offered by the retailer. However, outside of Tasmania I think it’s currently better to buy European pellet heaters as the retailers are much more established than those that sell Chinese made heater.
My Thoughts on the Best Insert Pellet Heater in Australia
I think the IP 11 Piazzetta is the best insert pellet heater in Australia. It’s not overly expensive and actually quite cheap compared to other Piazzetta models. Part of this is because inserts sit in a fireplace, don’t have side panels and look very “plain” when compared to some of the beautiful designs Piazzetta has but it’s still an extremely high quality European pellet heater and for a reasonable price.
Also, you get a very good sized hopper, which is about the same size as large freestanding units, it’s not much bigger than other insert models and you get a good 11kw of heat, which is more than enough for any house. Despite the few things I don’t like about this insert, I think it’s the best insert pellet heater currently available to buy in Australia.
Finally, if the limited models of inserts is a concern, remember you could always cover up your fireplace and just go with a freestanding pellet heater. There are heaps of retailers selling pellet heaters in Australia and Tasmania. If you are in Tasmania then checkout my pellet heaters in Tasmania which lists all the retailers and I even look in detail at some popular retailers to see if you should buy from them or not, like Pellet Fires Tasmania. Until next time, happy heating!
Climatise – insert pellet heater retailer in Cranbourne and Melbourne (website)