Last updated on July 29th, 2018 at 08:55 am
Burning wood is an economical option to comfortably warm up a home or to use as alternative cooking unit. It’s a more environmental-friendly option compared to other methods such as electricity and gas. If you are looking into using wood as a heat source, it is important that you have the right wood stove for the job.
Wood stoves are versatile; you can find them in different styles, price ranges, and with an assortment of features. For those of you going the route of wood stoves yet do not know where to begin, the information below will provide you with more than enough details. This includes walking you through what to look for in a good wood stove in addition to reviewing seven top-selling stoves on the market today.
Wood Stoves – Buying Guide
If you are new to the world of wood stoves, you may not know what to look for when shopping around for a quality unit. There are several factors you can consider that will make selecting a unit easier.
How Does a Wood Stove Work?
The functionality of wood stoves is rather basic. They warm an area or food through the use of radiant heat. They may or may not include a built-in blower that further contributes to distributing the heat evenly across a larger area.
Some wood stoves place more emphasis on cooking than others. This can be seen in how much surface cook space is provided. Other wood stoves are simply meant for warming up a home and fitting in with the décor.
Advantages of Owning a Wood Stove
Wood stoves are remarkably beneficial, especially if you have a high-rated one with quality performance:
- Alternative Heating Option: This can benefit those of you who live in areas that experience rough winter conditions, but it can help anyone no matter where you reside. If anything happens to the power, it can leave you in a cold home. Since a wood stove uses wood as fuel, you can fire it up and keep you and your loved ones safe and content.
- Alternative Cooking Option: Many wood stoves have optimal cooking surface so that you can create just as good of a meal as you would were you using conventional methods. Some wood stoves are even made to be portable so that you can use them in an RV or outdoors while camping or fishing.
- Save on Heating Costs: As you will only be using wood for fuel, you are not risking running up your heating or electric bills. This is yet another benefit for winter time when the cost of heating can skyrocket.
- Decorative Choice: If you decide to take the style approach, you can find a wood stove with a stunning appearance that can make it appear as though it were always a part of your home’s décor. This can replace the usually basic-looking fireplace to give your home that something more you’re looking for.
Types of Wood Stoves
Prior to choosing a wood stove, it is important that you understand the various types. Though you can find wood stoves in a number of different styles, there are three main types: catalytic combustion, two chamber combustion, and pellet.
This type of wood stove requires care when use in order for it to last for years. Smoky exhaust passes through ceramic honeycomb that is coated with a metallic catalyst. It is placed deep inside in order to have solid, long heat output.
These types of stoves were poorly designed years ago, but modern usage of them have improved their efficiency as well as made them cleaner. If you want a more user-friendly version of this, you can always find one that has smart technology such as an easier starter.
Two Chamber Combustion
Two separate combustion chambers exist in the same unit with this type of wood stove. It is seen as non-catalytic, and it manages to create combustion directly in the firebox for peak heat output. The chambers are usually firebrick lined, and there are separate air inlets for the combustion.
You can see this type with wood stoves that feature a glass door for viewing purposes.
These types of wood stoves utilize electronic regulators to function, and they automatically dump more fuel based on a timer or sensor. It all results in less smoke discharge while being more efficient in terms of combustion for the wood.
They are a more modern approach to wood stoves while still being able to produce quality heat like their traditional counterparts.
We touched on earlier about wood stoves being used for warming a room and cooking. Their function can often determine their design, and none are generally better than each other as it all depends on your personal preferences.
It is common to find wood stoves in a traditional rustic cast iron design of various sizes. Many of these are box-like in appearance, but there are some that have a more cylinder-like shape. Other wood stoves are even “pot-belly” in design.
Some wood stoves have a closed design; meaning, you cannot see the fire inside. Others feature unique glass door designs. That is the type you can most expect if you are looking to take a contemporary approach to wood stoves.
Keep Size in Mind
Wood stoves come in a variety of sizes. Focus on the size of the firebox more than anything. Some can be found with 3 cubic feet, while others may be around 5 cubic feet. You can determine the size that will work best for you by understanding the area that you need to heat.
If you are looking to get around 2,000 square feet of area warmed, then you can find something within the 3.0 to 3.7 cubic feet range. Smaller spaces do not usually require anything greater than that.
When it comes to cooking on your wood stove, your focus should be more on the cooktop surface area. There are plenty of wood stoves designed with spacious surface tops that offer you more than enough space to cook more than one thing at a time. Others are only big enough for one pan. Decide what you need and go from there.
As with all products, the life of your wood stove is vital. Not all of them are initially affordable, so if you are going to invest in one, it is important that it last.
Wood stoves are usually made from steel or cast iron. As long as quality material is used, both types have similar life-spans. The durability also depends on the welding itself as properly welded steel or cast iron stoves can withstand years of use.
Everyone is looking for efficiency when turning to a wood stove. The more efficient the wood stove, the more money you can save as you are not burning through as much wood. This can be most beneficial if you are using your stove to warm a house in a harsh winter; you won’t have to waste time taking trips to find more wood.
High-efficiency means less time splitting wood to keep a strong fire going. This means that you don’t have to check on the fire every few hours. The best wood stoves can burn longer than eight hours before fizzling out. This can help you sleep comfortably through the night.
The value of a wood stove’s performance also impacts the environment. Try to search for a wood stove that meets EPA regulations. These regulations ensure a cleaner burn as well as one that is more powerful and effective.
Wood Stoves Reviews
1. Drolet HT2000
The Drolet HT2000 is a substantial, high-efficiency wood stove capable of heating a room that’s up to 2,400 square feet. It has a spacious firebox larger than 3.7 cubic feet where you can fit logs up to 22 inches. Generally, it can burn for around 10 hours, letting you sleep through the night without having to worry about splitting wood so often.
More with the firebox, it’s lined using high-density firebricks. These bricks further aid in conserving heat. In addition, they help to maintain consistent distribution of heat throughout the room. Another feature that contributes to its efficiency is the optional installation of a blower. The blower can further help redistribute the heat that usually remains trapped at the back of the stove.
Concerning its appearance, it features a modern design, especially with its unique ceramic glass door. The door allows the light from the flames to play off the rest of the room. It goes beyond decorative, however. By seeing inside, you can always monitor the wood. Although equipped with an internal air-wash to keep the glass clean, there are some reports of it blurring after long hours of use.
The Drolet HT2000 requires minimal maintenance, and it’s user-friendly thanks to the easy air controls located above the door. This wood stove can last years with its durable body and heavy-duty cast iron door. It may be overwhelming to use in a small home, but it can be ideal in large houses with big families.
2. HiFlame HF905U
If you require a small, yet effective wood stove, consider the HiFlame HF905U. It has an efficiency rating of 85%, and it is rated both energy-saving and eco-friendly. Those ratings are helped by the high-tech firebox. It features clean burn pre-heated tertiary air that pushes out as much heat as possible from your fuel so that nothing goes to waste.
To make it easier on you to use and maintain, the HiFlame HF905U has an independent ash door that is simple to remove. Otherwise, there is little else you need to do to keep this wood stove looking and performing as though it were new. It should last you a good amount of time thanks to its primarily cast iron construction.
Due to its size, some users have noted the need to get used to splitting wood about half the size they are used to though. In spite of its size, however, this wood stove from HiFlame is capable of delivering some remarkable heat to a small space. It claims to heat an area that is 800 square feet, but some users mention it being able to heat larger areas beyond 900 square feet rather well.
Other features of the HiFlame HF905U include a top and rear flue outlet. It also has air washed glass to create a better appearance. The overall look is seen as European contemporary.
3. EcoZoom Rocket
The EcoZoom Rocket is perhaps the perfect option to have for camping or for use in an emergency situation. It has a great compact design, and it features steel handles with silicone grips so that you can pick it up without worrying about heat transfer.
The rest of the build ensures it has the durability to withstand you not only using it, but moving it place-to-place. It has painted sheet metal body with reinforced doors, a refractory metal combustion chamber, and abrasion-resistant ceramic insulation. For safety, the stove stays in place well, and though the sides can get hot, it is never scalding.
When it comes to use, the EcoZoom Rocket utilizes wood, charcoal, or even dried biomass fuel. It is energy-efficient no matter what though. In fact, you can use a minimal amount of fuel such as a handful of sticks to cook an entire meal. Do be aware though that it can get a bit messy; you may notice an accumulation of soot on cookware at times.
This stove features two hinged doors that are reliable and easy to open. It also has a 3-pronged universal cast iron stovetop, an included stick support rack, and a damper door that helps to regulate airflow so you can turn the heat higher or lower.
4. Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove
Whether you need something to warm up a garage, or you want something sturdy to cook on outside, the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove can do it all. It is completely portable by design, so you can use it in more than one place. The legs can detach, while the pipe can comfortably nest. As for the rest of the stove, it can fit inside itself so you can store it and move it without problem.
The wood stove is made from galvanized steel, and it has a heat-resistant black finish to prolong the life of its appearance. Even so, there is a chance that the wood stove can develop rust on the outside due to exposure from the likes of rain. On the other hand, the stove is easy to clean, so with proper maintenance, it can remain looking like new.
For use, there is a front hinged cast iron door that has an adjustable air vent. The vent holes are easy-to-control so that you know you always have the right temperature for your cooking or heating needs. Do keep in mind that this builds up a good deal of smoke. So, it is vital that there is proper ventilation, especially if you decide to use it indoors like a garage or in a large tent.
When you get this wood stove, you also receive five pipes, assembly hardware, fire poker or door opener, and an ash rake.
5. Camp Chef Alpine
The Camp Chef Alpine Cylinder Stove is a smart investment for tent cabin camping. For one thing, it transport easily enough. All of the parts, including the removable legs and 5-piece nesting pipe, are designed to fit inside the stove. This is perfect for storage purposes as well.
As for its design, it has heavy-duty steel construction intended to last you a long time. It also has a wire spark arrestor, 5 inch damper, and 5 inch diameter chimney pipe that reach over 10 feet in total height. To keep the stove from overheating, there is a fire grate in the bottom.
This Camp Chef Alpine wood stove also features water tank brackets. The legs are not just removable, but they are completely adjustable. It is a feature that can benefit you if you happen to place the stove on uneven ground. In addition to that, this wood stove has a wide form shelf or drying rack. It is multipurpose as it can be used for dishes, drying off clothes, and more.
The flat top surface provides you with a good open area to cook on. You can control the heat well whether you are cooking or not thanks to the door damper. One thing to note though is that the vents don’t initially seem to seal all too well. This can lessen how long it can remain heated if being used to warm a room. It is a simple fix you can manage yourself, however.
6. US Stove 2000
If you want a mid-sized stove to warm your home, the US Stove 2000 can perform adequately. It has the ability to heat up to 2,000 square feet, and it warms up quickly. Also, it features a quiet blower as to not cause a disturbance.
This plate steel stove can accept logs in the 2.0 cubic feet firebox that are 21 inches in length. By doing that, it can increase the amount of time wood burns in the stove, which lessens the amount of time you have to spend tending to the fire. Something to keep in mind though is that the included ash drawer is not overtly large; it should be checked and emptied frequently to avoid mess.
Other features found on the US Stove 2000 are a heavy-duty cast iron flue collar and a cast iron ash plug for the ashpan. This is also made with a large, arched glass door that adds a touch of elegance to an otherwise basic stove. It has a built-in air wash element that maintains the clarity of the glass so that you can always view the flames.
This stove meets the requirements needed for the EPA Certification program, making it energy efficient as well as having a low environmental impact.
7. US Stove 2469E
Looking to add to your rustic home décor? The US Stove 2469E can fit in perfectly. It has a simple appearance overall that can bring in feelings of nostalgia. The body is made from heavy-duty cast iron that fits well in a home, cabin, or even a shop.
You can warm up a room as well as you can whip up a meal with this wood stove. The cooktop surface is solid and spacious enough. It is relatively easy to use even for those novice with wood stove setups. As it is a single-burn stove, you control the heat based on the fuel. For the purpose of safety, the 2-piece handle remains cool even while the stove is burning.
When it comes to smoke, some of it can leak from the seams, and you may see more when opening the door. This stove perhaps works best with slightly larger fires. To help reduce the smoke, it is best to keep an eye on how much fuel you add.
Concerning the fuel, the US Stove 2469E can fit logs that are up to 27 inches long. Keep in mind that the installation materials are generally not included with this, but they are easy enough to find.
We hope you’ve found what you were looking for, and that you’re ready to get that wood stove you’ve been wanting. But maybe you haven’t? If you’ve read through all of this and you’re starting to think a wood stove is not what your need, take a look around our site. We have helpful pages for all sorts of home heating options that you may find useful. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you again!