Italy occupies a special place in the pellet heater industry. It is, by some margin, the largest market for pellet heaters in Europe. There are over 1 million pellet heaters currently installed in Italy and in 2016 (the last year for which we have complete data), there were a further 170 thousand sold.
This early and enthusiastic adoption of pellet heaters has meant that Italy is now the location for the largest and most innovative pellet heater manufacturers. There are now approximately 30 pellet heater manufacturers in Italy, five of which are medium-to-large manufacturers (Palazzetti falls into this latter group).
The experience and scale that Italian manufacturers have are important for two reasons. Firstly, to make a pellet heater well (that is, to make one with high efficiency, low emissions, quiet operation and with easy to use controls) requires an enormous amount of technical knowledge. This technical knowledge is built on large amounts of research and development and a history of designing and manufacturing these appliances. Italian manufacturers have now amassed this knowledge and their volume of sales means they can recoup the R&D costs while still maintaining very competitive prices.
The second reason experience and scale is important is once a manufacturing design has been finalised, pellet heaters are manufactured in a similar way to a modern car. That is, the internal components (such as circuit boards, motors and fans) are provided by third-party specialist manufacturers. The heater company then fabricates the structural components of the heater and assembles all the components to create the final product. This favours larger, established manufacturers because the internal components can be purchased at lower cost (or better quality components can be purchased) if they are purchased in larger volumes. This combination of competitive pricing and high quality is passed into the final product to make Italian pellet heaters the leaders in the industry.