Should I Buy a Stove or Fireplace from a Big Box Store?
Home owners across the nation often search for the lowest prices or best deals when it comes to making home improvements or replacing household appliances like fireplaces or stoves. When shopping for your next zero clearance wood fireplace, gas fireplace insert, or pellet stove, you may consider shopping at a big box store – but is this really where you will get the best deal? Read on to find out our take on the matter.
Big box stores and wholesale clubs make it tempting to purchase a stove or fireplace from them by bragging about discount pricing and special deals. In reality, these companies actually offer little in the way of customer service or quality products. Not to mention, the staff at these stores lack industry knowledge and are provided with very limited information on the makes & models they sell. Plus, the inventory is limited to just a few styles which can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to features and extras you’d like your stove or fireplace to have.
Here is a quick look at the difference between a big box store and a dedicated, brick & mortar hearth store:
It’s no secret that appliances, such as fireplaces or stoves, are far from being top-of-the-line at a big box store. Their low price comes at the expense of subpar materials, poor design, and less efficient components which will all greatly shorten the lifespan of your new heating appliance. As with any large purchase that you make, the quality of the equipment will directly impact your satisfaction with your buying decision. A dedicated hearth store will have a wide variety of fireplace and stove products that fall in a range of budgets. Not only will the variety of quality products be better, the appliances at these stores come from top manufacturers in the industry. Spending a little more on a high quality product will ensure that your fireplace or heating stove will last and work efficiently & effectively.
Knowledge & Expertise
Stoves and fireplaces come in a number of sizes, styles, heat outputs, and layouts and all have different features and installation requirements. Employees at a big box store lack real industry knowledge and expertise that a hearth store offers. Many of these part time employees only know answers to a few questions on how these products work which can leave customers feeling misguided or down right confused.
The sales staff at a specialty hearth store will be industry trained and know in-depth details on the differences between each fireplace or stove unit they sell. They will help customers determine the proper size and style of fireplace/stove that will meet both their heating needs and their installation requirements.
Installation & Service
The installation of a fireplace, stove, or fireplace insert is generally not a Do-It-Yourself type of project. It requires mechanical expertise and a thorough knowledge of appropriate building or construction codes. Many times when you purchase from a big box store, you are left to install your new fireplace or stove by yourself. Or, they will send a general installer that is neither specialized in hearth product installation nor NFI certified.
A brick and mortar hearth store usually has trained & certified installers and service technicians on staff who know the ins-and-outs of installing hearth products and handling delicate installation requirements.
In the end, you may spend less money initially at a big box store, but purchasing a quality hearth product from the professionals at a specialty hearth store will save you the trouble of costly maintenance and/or replacement shortly down the road. Not to mention, the advice and guidance you will get from industry professionals cannot be matched at your local wholesale club or law & garden store.
Contact one of our premier member stores in the United Fireplace & Stove network to find out more about how they can help you find, install, and enjoy a new fireplace, stove, or fireplace insert.