Best Wood Stove Reviews of 2020
Drolet HT2000 High-Efficiency 95,000 BTU Wood Stove
Ideal for big homes
High heat output makes this wood burning stove perfect for bigger homes.
1 Drolet HT2000 Review
What can be more pleasing than heating up in front of a wooden fire on those cold winter days? A wood burning stove can easily replace a fireplace, and the Drolet HT2000 is perfect for big homes.
Outputting up to 95,000 BTU, it can heat up to 2,400 square feet. Boasting a large firebox lined with firebricks, it accepts logs of up to 22 inches, just what you need if you want it to run all day or night long.
In fact, depending on the type of wood, this stove can run for up to 8 hours on a single load. Made from steel and cast iron, it also keeps your house warm for a long time once all the wood has burned, saving you both logs and kindling.
Perfect to place in a living room, this stove is also aesthetically appealing. Ideal to use with seasoned cord wood, this is the best wood burning stove for large rooms.
Pleasant Hearth LWS-127201 Medium Wood Burning Stove
Best for most homes
EPA-certified and highly efficient, this stove is perfect for most mid-size indoor spaces.
2 Pleasant Hearth LWS-127201 Review
The LWS-127201 by Pleasant Heart is a non-catalytic wood burning stove designed for highly efficient indoor zone heating. Designed for areas of up to 1,800 square feet, this unit is perfect for a living room.
It connects to a standard 6-inch chimney, and just like the Drolet, it impresses with a well-built brick-lined firebox that maintains heat when all the wood has burned.
A large door with ceramic glass window opens widely, so you can fit big logs and keep an eye on the fire. We also like the variable speed blower that gives you heat distribution control, and the convenient ash cleanout door.
Bringing true value for money, this wood burning stove also comes in other sizes for smaller or bigger homes.
Vogelzang TR004 Colonial EPA Wood Stove
Best fireplace stove
A superb colonial fireplace insert designed to heat up small to mid-size indoor spaces.
3 Vogelzang TR004 Review
If you like the looks of a fireplace but love the wood burning stove convenience, the Vogelzang TR004 could be the right unit for you.
A bit more expensive than our best-value, this stove is designed to go into a fireplace opening surround. It’s sleek and stylish, but it may struggle to warm up the claimed 1,800 square feet.
Nevertheless, it can burn up to 8 hours on a single load, and it even keeps the home warm for a few hours once all the wood has burned.
Meeting all EPA wood burning requirements and suitable to use in all states, this wood burning stove is great for homeowners looking for a fireplace insert.
Camp Chef Alpine CS14 Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove
Best portable wood burning stove
An inexpensive wood burning stove and cooker for wood cabins or tents.
4 Camp Chef CS14 Review
If you need a small wood burning stove to heat up your street food business or backyard tent in the cold season, check out the Camp Chef Alpine CS14.
This two-in-one wood burning stove comes with removable chimney and legs for easy storage and transport. The legs are also adjustable, making the stove suitable to place on all types of ground.
Two removable side shelves double as drying racks; together with the roomy cooking top, they make the stove perfect for your winter camping adventures. Also, perfect to use in a small cabin or home, this wood burning stove suits the 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:
- 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:
- Bunch some newspapers and lay them on the bottom of the firebox.
- Add a layer of 2-inch cardboard strips.
- Place a thin layer of kindling wood on top of the cardboard.
- Place a few split pieces of cord wood on top of the pile.
- Make sure the stove vent is open and light the fire.
- Wait until the cord wood pieces have burned for a few minutes, then place one or two logs on top of the burning pile.
- 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
Pleasant Hearth LWS-127201 Medium Wood Burning StoveBest for most homes
EPA-certified and highly efficient, this stove is perfect for most mid-size indoor spaces.