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Best Wood Burning Stoves of 2021

Love the rustic feel of a wood stove? Warm up your entire house and save on bills with our review of the best wood stoves you can buy.

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Best Wood Stove Reviews of 2021

Drolet HT3000

Drolet HT3000 DB07300 on Pedestal EPA Certified Wood Stove

Best pedestal wood burning stove

Outstanding BTU output makes it perfect for very large living rooms and commercial areas.

Check price on Amazon

1 Drolet HT3000 Review

Whether you’re looking for the best wood burning stove for an open-space living room, a rustic restaurant, or mountain cabin, the Drolet HT3000 could be the best wood burning stove for you. It outputs up to 110,000 BTU and is perfect for rooms up to 2,500 square feet.

Using it is as easy as it gets. A large combustion chamber allows you to load sufficient logs for up to 10 hours of runtime, depending on the type of wood.

Replacing the popular HT2000 model from the brand, this wood burning stove also complies with all EPA standards. Powerful, aesthetically-appealing, and easy to operate, this is your best bet for large living or commercial spaces.

Best value
Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P

Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P EPA Certified Pedestal Wood Burning Stove

Best for most homes

Firebrick lining inside the stove enhances combustion efficiency and prolongs the stove’s lifespan.

Check price on Amazon

2 Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P Review

Design-wise, the Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P is similar to our best in class but more suitable for smaller living rooms. With its 68,000 BTU output, it can heat up spaces up to 1,200 square feet and is perfect for most homes.

Similar to the Drolet, this wood burning stove is firebrick-lined. The burning chamber is slightly smaller but still big enough for 18-inch long logs.

Checking out on your logs is easy, thanks to the large ceramic glass door. Its brushed nickel handle stays cool to touch and prevent burns.
As you’d expect from a last-generation wood burning stove, this model is also EPA-compliant and perfect for residential and commercial use. Very similar to the Drolet but more affordable, it’s the best wood burning stove your money can buy.

Also great
US Stove US1269E

US Stove US1269E 900 Sq. Ft. Log Wood Cast Iron Stove

Best cast iron stove

The two-in-one space heater and cooking stove is perfect for a log cabin or rustic kitchen.

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3 US Stove US1269E Review

If you want a vintage-looking stove you can fit in your countryside kitchen or rustic living room, the US Stove US1269E might be it. While it isn’t as powerful as our best value or best in class, it’s still ideal for smaller spaces and doubles as a cooker.

Made from cast iron, the stove distributes heat evenly across its surface. Two pot holes on the top covered with cast iron plates also make it easy to regulate the cooking temperature.

Accepting logs up to 19 inches long, the stove provides hours of continuous heat on a single load. Maybe it’s not the biggest stove out there, but for a smaller mountain cabin or living room up to 900 square feet, it is perfect.

Best budget
TMS Portable

TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove

A portable alternative

Perfect for tents with a stovepipe vent, this wood burning stove is all you need for winter camping.

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4 TMS Portable Review

Whether you’re looking to heat a large tent for winter camping or a smaller living area, the TMS Portable could be your best bet.

We particularly like its portable design that’s easy to install and even easier to dismantle. You can set it up anywhere you want, either outdoors, in a tent, garage, or small cabin. Like the US Stove, it can double as a cooking stove. Racks on the sides also give you plenty of space to dry out your clothes or camping gear.

Super-easy to use and maintain, it features front and rear airflow regulators for easier flame control. Cheap yet performing, it is a great choice for occasional use or homeowners on a budget.

Types of wood burning stoves

Wood burning stoves are a great alternative to a gas or electric heater. Energy efficient and using cheaper fuel, they can help you save some money during the long winter months. However, not all wood burning stoves were created equal. Before investing, you must first decide which type you want.

  • Radiant stove: Perhaps the most popular type, the radiant wood burning stoves are similar to the infrared heaters in that they radiate heat from their metal surface into the room. These stoves are usually made from steel or cast iron, and their fireboxes are lined with firebricks. The bricks stay hot for long after all the wood has burned, warming up your environment and reducing wood consumption. These stoves are also cheap, thanks to their simple structure.
  • Convection stove: More modern than the radiant stove, the convection wood burning stoves are equipped with side panels that draw in the cold air in the room, heat it, then blow it up back into the room. Because this process moves the air in your room rather than heating the objects, it is more effective in warming up bigger areas. Another great advantage is that the surface of the stove remains cold to the touch, lowering the hazards. These models are, however, expensive.
  • Wood pellet stove: These high-tech stoves are slowly taking over the wood burning stove market. They are very easy to use, lighting up with the touch of a button. These stoves are also easy to program to turn on or off at pre-established times and typically need little supervision from your side.
  • Cooker stove: Usually installed in kitchens, these wood burning stoves are typically made from cast iron and can replace the traditional gas stove. Food cooked on these stoves is often more flavorful than food cooked on traditional stoves, and you won’t need another heather in this room.
  • Outdoor wood stove: Also called tent or cabin stoves, these wood burning stoves are ideal for those who love to go camping or hunting during winter, but also for the food truck businesses. The main advantage of these stoves is their portability, and most models also double as cookers.

Catalytic vs. non-catalytic combustion

Another thing you have to decide before investing is what type of combustion to choose. Wood burning stoves have either catalytic or non-catalytic combustion.

  • Non-catalytic combustion: Contains an oxygen pumping element placed into the firebox which allows the fire to reburn the smoke before exiting the flue. Thanks to this type of combustion, the stove produces heat faster. Nevertheless, these stoves are usually insulated with firebricks that still maintain the heat for quite long after the fire has gone off. Due to the constant air flow, the wood tends to burn faster.
  • Catalytic combustion: Is achieved through a different type of element called honeycomb. This element burns the smoke directly inside the firebox. This extra heat gets the element very hot. Thus it radiates more heat into the room. These stoves also consume less wood, as the element doesn’t need constant air flow. However, the element heats slower. Due to more complex construction, catalyst elements also tend to break quite easily and need constant replacement.

Heat output and square footage

The most important thing to check before buying is the heat output and covered square footage of the stove, to match the stove’s capabilities with your needs.

Like most heaters, wood stoves have their heating capacity measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). In most cases, you will need between 20 and 40 BTU per square foot. However, you should also consider the volume of your room, because rooms with higher ceilings might need more BTU.

In broad lines, you might need:

Surface (square feet) Stove size BTU
1,200 Small wood stove 50,000
1,800 Medium wood stove 65,000
2,400 Large wood stove 95,000

What type of wood should you burn?

Wood burning stoves are designed to work with seasoned cord wood. It is, however, common for homeowners to use other types of wood, especially if you live in an area with forests. Regardless of what type of wood you decide to use, always avoid the following types:

  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Other conifers
  • Treated wood

All these types of wood can produce toxic fumes or damage your stove due to resin build-up.

Insert vs. cassette vs. freestanding wood burning stoves

Once you have decided what type, combustion, and BTU you need, perhaps you’re wondering how to install a wood burning stove. Before thinking about installation, consider where you’d like to place it. You can choose from three types of stoves:

  • Insert wood stoves: Are designed to be installed, as their name suggests, in a fireplace insert. These stoves are highly aesthetically appealing and fit wonderfully in a living room or master bedroom. However, keep in mind that installing them anywhere else might result in a fire hazard.
  • Cassette wood stoves: Are similar to the insert, but an installer can mount them at any height into the wall, not necessarily at floor level. Like the insert type, they have a fixed position. Mounting such a stove might require you to alter your wall; this type is also quite expensive.
  • Freestanding wood stoves: The most popular and least expensive, can be installed anywhere, as long as the floor beneath them is heat resistant. Some freestanding stoves mimic fireplaces, while others may double as cookers. The nice thing is that you can place them in any room in your home. Moreover, these units are also great garage heaters.

Regardless of what type you want, remember that the wood stove installation must be performed by a professional.

Other important features

Besides the features above, there are a few other important features you should check before buying:

  • Built-in blower: It blows the heated air into your room; it is frequent on conversion stoves, but some radiant stoves also come with a blower that promotes air circulation to heat your room faster.
  • Ash drawer: Collects all the ash for easier cleaning of the stove. You can usually take off the drawer and throw away the ash without hassle.
  • Air wash system: Another feature designed for easier cleaning. It helps keep the door glass cleaner for longer.
  • Log capacity: If you want to let the stove run overnight, it might help to invest in a stove with higher log capacity. Some of the best wood burning stoves can run for up to 8 hours on a single load.
  • EPA certification: Regulates the emissions and ultimately, the tax you pay. Some states have even banned non-EPA wood stoves.

Wood burning stove FAQ

Many people feel intimidated by wood stoves. Starting a fire, using the stove, and cleaning are common concerns. Below, we answer some of the most frequent wood stove questions.

Q: How to start a fire in a wood stove?

The key to successfully starting a wood stove is in layering the right materials. You need more than logs. Here are a few easy steps:

  1. Bunch some newspapers and lay them on the bottom of the firebox.
  2. Add a layer of 2-inch cardboard strips.
  3. Place a thin layer of kindling wood on top of the cardboard.
  4. Place a few split pieces of cord wood on top of the pile.
  5. Make sure the stove vent is open and light the fire.
  6. Wait until the cord wood pieces have burned for a few minutes, then place one or two logs on top of the burning pile.
  7. Wait until the logs are well ignited, then adjust the vent to the desired heat output.

Q: How to use a wood stove?

Provided it is installed correctly, once you have started the fire, you can simply operate the air vent to control the heat output. A fully open vent allows more air to go into the firebox, creating a higher fire and more heat. If you want to turn off the fire, close the vent completely to prevent the oxygen from entering the firebox.

Q: How to clean a wood stove?

Regular cleaning of your wood stove is essential. You must remove the ash regularly, clean the exterior, interior, glass door, and flue periodically.

The exterior, interior, and glass door should be cleaned at least once a week. The flue should be cleaned twice in the winter and once during the warm season.

Weekly cleaning involves scrubbing the exterior of the stove with stove paste or polish and thorough cleaning of the ash. A vacuum cleaner might help during this process if you don’t want to make a mess in your home. Clean the window with lukewarm water, but avoid using any chemical cleaners.

Regarding the flue, there are many flue cleaning kits on the market; follow your kit’s instructions to clean all smoke and debris. Alternatively, opt for professional flue cleaning.

Best Wood Stove for the Money

Best value
Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P

Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P EPA Certified Pedestal Wood Burning Stove

Best for most homes

Firebrick lining inside the stove enhances combustion efficiency and prolongs the stove’s lifespan.

Check price on Amazon

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