Jersey John wrote:From reading on Hitzer's website, it seems the 503 Insert has a hopper that can be used, though it does not specify the amount of coal that can be filled. The 983 on the other hand does not have a hopper. Since they are both inserts, do they have the ability to burn wood on the warmer days?
I bought the 983 last year and can burn both wood and coal(503 is coal only). I burn wood when when its warmer. Before owning the 983 I burned strictly wood with a buck woodburning insert. The 983 has several advantages over the old woodburning insert namely:
-your wood/logs sit on a grate which is a couple inches below the bottom of the door opening which means less chance of a burning log rolling out onto your hearth
-with a wood stove you should let the fire burn out when its time to shovel out accumulated ashes(every 1-1/2-2 days in my case). With the 983 ashes fall thru the grate and into a tray which can be emptied anytime without affecting the fire so you can burn continueosly.
-wood burns more completely because combustion air enter beneath the wood rather than at the same level or above the wood.
I've only burned coal for one season but it is very easy and reqires far less time tending to the fire. The only reason I got 983 is because I get some(not enough to heat my home for the entire winter) free firewood. If I didn't get this free wood I would probably opt for the 503 because It would reqire even less time to maintain the fire because its gravity fed vs the 983 which is hand fed.