Questions to Ask Before Buying a Pellet Heater

Before you fork out your hard earned money and buy a new pellet heater, here are some important questions to ask and keep in mind. When looking for a pellet heater, most people focus on price, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when buying a new pellet heater. It’s definitely important, don’t get me wrong, but there are a few other things you should ask regarding support, servicing and parts, to just name a few. This is by no means a complete list and would love to hear from you if you have something to add. Check out my Australian pellet heater retailer list if you want to find a pellet heater retailer near you.

questions to ask before buying a pellet heater
Make sure you buy from an established pellet heater retailer

Warranty: Understanding What it Covers

You are probably going to spend several thousands of dollars on a new pellet heater, so make sure you ask about the warranty offered. It’s not uncommon for pellet heater warranties to be anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Obviously the longer the warranty the better but remember warranties often don’t cover consumables such as igniters or burn pots. This is because by their very design these parts will eventually need to be replaced and how long they last depends on how often you run your heater. However, I’d recommend you ask the retailer for a breakdown of what the warranty does and doesn’t cover so you aren’t in for any surprises later on down the track.

Also, some people think expensive pellet heaters are better, like a Piazzetta pellet heater or other expensive European brand, such as Palazzetti. Spending more money on a heater does NOT guarantee the warranty is better or the heater and parts will last longer. I’ve seen some heaters being sold for $10,000 with a 1 year warranty, whereas other much cheaper pellet heaters come with a 5-year warranty. Make sure you find out what the terms of the warranty are and what it covers. Don’t assume a 1-year warranty will be fine because you’ve been told European pellet heaters are more reliable. All pellet heaters, regardless of model and cost need to be serviced and will need parts replaced.

Servicing: Availability, Cost, and Quality

If you are a DIYer then servicing may not be a problem as you’ll be servicing and cleaning your pellet heater yourself. However, for some people this isn’t possible, so make sure you ask the retailer about the servicing they offer. How much are servicing fees? What’s the typical wait time for a service and who does it? Does the service fee cover a set distance from the store? Some retailers charge a flat servicing fee if you are within a 50km radius of their outlet with travel outside this area costing extra. So make sure you find out what the general service charge is and the fine print around what it includes and how far they will travel.

Second, who does the servicing? Does the retailer have their own service staff or do they contract out? You might not think there is any difference but retailers who train and use their own staff for servicing shows they are invested in the pellet heater business. It’s a good sign they plan to stay in business long term because they’ve spent the time and money training staff. Retailers who outsource servicing may be small businesses who don’t consider pellet heaters their main product line or don’t want to invest too much in selling heaters. If a retailer stops selling pellet heaters, it may mean you have difficulty or are unable to find anyone to service your heater.

Finally, how long do you have to wait for a servicing once it is booked in? If your pellet heater suddenly breaks down and the retailer you bought from contracts out their servicing, then you may find you have to wait weeks or longer before someone comes to look at your heater, possibly leaving you without a source of heat in the middle of winter. This is why it is important to consider buying from retailers who have their own service staff if you aren’t a DIYer. You’ll most likely get booked in for a service much quicker and easier than a retailer who uses contractors.

Parts: Prices & Availability

Pellet heaters will at some point need parts replaced. If a retailer doesn’t keep stock on hand, then you may find you have to wait weeks for them to order it in. This obviously isn’t a good thing, even if you are a DIYer, if it’s the middle of winter and your heater isn’t working. A retailer that keeps the commonly needed parts in stock shows they are invested in the pellet heater business and providing support. There is nothing worse than having to wait for parts in the middle of winter. If you’d like to know more about the parts in pellet heaters and how often they need to be replaced read my post on pellet heater reliability.

Flue and Hearth: Installation and Cost

Pellet heaters need a flue and they must also be installed on a pellet heater hearth. Flues can either be through the ceiling or through the wall behind the heater if it is on an external wall. Going directly through a wall is usually cheaper than the ceiling and roof of your house but isn’t always an option. You’ll also need a hearth. You can use any kind of hearth but if your pellet heater will go on a non-flammable surface, like a tile floor, then you may not need one at all. That’s why it’s best to ask the retailer about flue costs and if you need a hearth.

It would probably also be a good idea to ask them about pellet heater ash vacuum cleaners. You can buy an ash vacuum anywhere but some retailers do sell ash vacs and it may be the same price or cheaper than if you bought from a hardware store. Definitely do not use a normal vacuum cleaner on your pellet heater. Also, depending on the heater you are installing they may be able to do you a discount on the ash vacuum.

Wood Pellets: Price and Availability

Finally, check to see if the retailer you are going to buy your pellet heater from sells wood pellets. If you are new to pellet heaters then it might come as a surprise that you can buy wood pellets in Tasmania at considerably lower prices and we have a much wider range of pellet brands than if you buy wood pellets in other states around Australia. Currently Pellet Fires Tasmania sells pellets for as little as $9.50 a bag as of August 2023 and on the mainland the cheapest is EcoPellets in Melbourne for $14.00 a bag. Mainland prices are higher partly because pellets are heavy and freight is expensive.

Pellet heaters are still relatively new and unheard of outside of Tasmania and because of this demand for wood pellets for heating is fairly low. To offset this pellet mills and retailers charge higher prices. You may also find that not all pellet heater retailers sell wood pellets and prices can vary greatly between retailers and states. Also, check to see if a retailer will offer bulk pricing on a pallet of pellets. The price you pay for pellets directly impacts your pellet heater running costs, so spend some time shopping around for the best prices on pellets in your area and it’ll pay off.

Questions to Ask Summary

Before buying a pellet heater you really need to find out the kind of support a pellet retailer will offer. This includes, warranty, servicing costs, parts cost, how much installation costs, what a hearth will cost and if they sell wood pellets. Pellet heater brand is important but so it the backup and support you get from a retailer. If you are in Tasmania and want some suggestions on pellet heater models check out my top 5 pellet heaters in Tasmania. Otherwise, my best pellet heater in Australia post has some great suggestions if you live outside of Tasmania.


What should I consider when buying a pellet heater?
While price is often a consideration, it’s also important to look into other factors such as warranty, servicing and parts availability, installation costs, and the availability and price of wood pellets.

What should I know about pellet heater warranties?
Warranties can range from 1 to 5 years. They usually do not cover consumables such as igniters or burn pots. Ask the retailer for a breakdown of what the warranty covers to avoid surprises later on.

Are expensive pellet heaters necessarily better?
Not always. A higher price does not guarantee a better warranty or longer-lasting parts. It’s crucial to understand the terms of the warranty and what it covers.

What should I ask about pellet heater servicing?
Ask about the servicing fees, typical wait times for a service, and who does the servicing. Also, ask whether the service fee covers a set distance from the store, as some retailers may charge extra for travel beyond a certain radius.

Is it important who does the servicing?
Yes, it can indicate how invested the retailer is in the pellet heater business. Retailers who use their own staff for servicing may be more likely to stay in business long term.

Why should I care about parts availability?
Pellet heaters will eventually need parts replaced. If a retailer doesn’t keep stock on hand, you might have to wait weeks for them to order it in.

What do I need to know about pellet heater installation?
Pellet heaters need a flue and usually a hearth. Ask about the costs and options for these, as well as whether the retailer sells pellet heater ash vacuum cleaners.

What should I know about wood pellets?
Check if the retailer sells wood pellets and compare prices. Pellets are a major running cost for your heater, so it’s worth shopping around for the best prices in your area.

What should I ask the retailer overall?
Ask about warranty, servicing costs, parts cost, installation cost, hearth cost, and whether they sell wood pellets. It’s important to gauge the level of support the retailer will provide, as well as the quality and cost of the pellet heater itself.

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