Like many who live in cold climates, we embraced pellet technology a few years ago when heating oil prices soared to more than $4 a gallon. Given the rush to buy pellet stoves in northern New England at the time, we felt lucky to have scored the utilitarian black metal box that warms the back half of our house.
But envy is what I'm feeling today, looking at the new slim, slylish and colorful Toba pellet stove from Wittus.
This American company with roots in Denmark teamed up with designers in Italy to produce the stove, a highly efficient (93 percent) heating machine that can throw off 34,000 BTUs an hour. That's enough to heat up to 1,600 square feet of space.
Style isn't sacrificed to functionality.
About three and a half feet tall, the stove is just 20” wide and 20” deep. It vents from the top, keeping the front of the stove minimalist in design. A large viewing window is set into rounded, hand-made ceramic panels of red, white, black or burgandy. The other panel option is soapstone. The panels are not only distinctive, they retain heat after the stove is turned off.
The timer, operated by a remote control, comes pre-set with 60 daily and 10 weekly programs. The hopper holds up to 50 pounds of pellets, for a burn time of up to 40 hours at the lowest setting. With the stove running full blast, the pellets will last about 13 hours.
Other nice features of the stove are a self-cleaning firebox lined with firebrick, a cast iron door and burn pot, and an ash drawer that removes easily for emptying.