Nobody has mentioned the Baker insert as of yet. After looking at the Hitzer and Harmon units I decided to buy a Baker insert this year, and am very pleased with it. First I might mention that it was almost twice the price of the Hitzer 983 and maybe that is why they are not as popular. The Hitzers are an excellent stove for the price and the Harmons are nice too, but in the end I was willing to pay more for the Baker because I like the design better. If you like the hopper feature the Hitzer 503 is the way to go. The Baker is like the 983 in that it has no hopper to get in the way for burning wood on mild days in the fall and spring. The things I really like about the Baker is that it has an external shaker grate handle like the Harmon, the Hitzer does not, it has the secondary air control knobs on the door to open when loading fresh coal to let the gases go up the chimney instead of leaving the loading door open ajar, or for burning wood although not UL listed for wood. The Harmon does not have the door air inlets and to get them on the Hitzer 983 you have to get the double doors. The flue on the Baker is 7" as apposed to the 8" flue on the Hitzer 983 If you plan to line the chimney with stainless steel to the top instead of just to the top of the smoke shelf you better have a big chimney, or compromise and reduce the flue. You can also order the Baker with the flue at the top for recessing the unit in the fireplace, or out the back, like I did so the unit sits on the hearth outside the fireplace like a freestanding stove to let the radiant heat off the top and sides into the room instead of being absorbed into the fireplace masonry. The thing I like most about the Baker is the heat exchanger. It has a double wall behind the firebox made of 1/4" steel that leads to a rectangular box above the fire that extends from the rear half way to the front like a flame deflector. five 1 1/2" heavy steel tubes come out of the the heat exchange box and extend to the front of the stove where all the heat blows out, an excellent design I believe patented by Baker. I was told their design puts the stove in the 90s% efficiency. I've seen other stoves with similar heat exchange. All in all an excellent stove built like a tank. The company also gives excellent, worm and friendly service. Just my over winded two cents.
Last edited by Pete69
on Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:24 am, edited 2 times in total.