Conventional pellet stoves are great. However, they are not exactly suitable when a small portable pellet stove is needed. Conventional pellet stoves require an electrical supply to ignite the fire, power the feed auger and combustion fan. There is a growing demand for small portable pellet stoves, and the Clarry Pellet Stove is such an example. Originally developed for hunters, no matter what your views on hunting, this is a great little portable pellet stove with multiple potential uses. Below I’ll discuss why wood pellets are such a good fuel for a portable stove such as this. Because even in a stove with no electrical supply you can still achieve some level of automated combustion.
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Benefits of the Clarry Portable Pellet Stove
The key benefits of the Clarry pellet stove are that its a gravity-fed and non-electric design. Therefore this small portable pellet stove can be used in a range of off-grid scenarios. This small portable pellet stove is able to take advantage of one of the key benefits of wood pellets, their ability to flow like a liquid.
Wood Pellet Combustion Efficiency
When it comes to burning wood efficiently there are a few requirements. First, you want to use a dry source of wood. With premium grade wood pellets you are guaranteed a moisture content below 10%. This means you can achieve a very high combustion temperature with little to no smoke. Not only does a minimal amount of smoke mean you are burning the wood as efficiently as possible, but it also means you’ll have minimal if any creosote build-up in the stove. I’ve been burning wood pellets in my pellet boiler for over a decade. While I inspect and clean the chimney every year, I’ve never had any issues with creosote build-up in the chimney.
In the video above it is stated to only use premium grade hardwood pellets. You could try standard grade softwood pellets, however, I suspect that the higher ash content will block up the grate. Clarry also states to never use an open bag of wood pellets because they may have drawn moisture, sometimes described as wood pellets going bad. If the wood pellets have been left in a humid environment this may be the case. However, there is an easy way to test the quality of wood pellets.
If the wood pellets have drawn moisture, under horizontal force they will crumble and break into lots of small pieces. However, if you can snap the pellets with a clean break and minimal dust, then it’s still a good quality pellet. Also, if the wood pellets still have a good surface shine, that’s also a sign of a wood pellet which will produce good combustion results.
Taking Advantage of Gravity
Not only do you want to use a dry source of wood, but you also want to slowly feed the fire to maintain a constantly high combustion temperature. This is where the gravity hopper on the Clarry pellet stove comes into play. Small amounts of wood pellets are metered into the fire as required.
You can use wood pellets in any standard portable wood burner with a pellet basket. However, you will not achieve the same combustion results. When you use a pellet basket you will get quite a bit of smoke before the fire gets going. With a gravity system, almost no smoke at all is produced, even at the start of combustion. The other obvious advantage of a gravity pellet hopper is that it’s feeding the fire for you. With the Clarry portable pellet stove, you can get around 8 hours of heat from the gravity hopper before it needs filling again.
The Combustion Zone
As the wood pellets burn a void is created which is filled with new fuel falling from above. This is the advantage of wood pellets and their high density, they can flow through a hopper and not bridge. This same principle is also used in rocket mass heaters designed to run on wood pellets. To start the stove a small amount of gel fire starter is put in the ash draw next to the wood pellets that fell through. A couple of minutes after lighting the gell the wood pellets will be achieving a high combustion efficiency.
The Many Uses of a Portable/Off-Grid Pellet Stove
Clarry originally developed their portable pellet stove over a decade ago for camping. However, since then its become apparent there is a growing demand for portable gravity-feed and non-powered pellet stoves, these uses include:
- Off-Grid Homes and Businesses
- Tiny Houses
- Large RV’s and Motorhomes
Clarry has also noticed a trend of people wanting to use their stoves in various other off-grid applications. Therefore they have amended their instruction manual on how to integrate the stove safely into permanent installations avoiding combustible materials.
Conclusions On The Clarry Portable Pellet Stove
There is a growing demand for portable pellet stoves. Many consumers are looking for a pellet stove that doesn’t require electricity to efficiently burn wood pellets. Along with a gravity hopper its possible to get many hours of heat without having to tend to the stove. The Clarry portable pellet stove is just one example of such a product, below is an image of another example.
This QStoves portable pellet stove has recently come onto the market. I hope to write a post in future with more details on this interesting little pellet stove: Image – Amazon
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.