It might be the summer right now, but there’s absolutely no harm in preparing for the upcoming winter. You can never be too prepared for the arrival of colder weather. The last thing you and your loved ones want is a winter spent shivering in the house, or on a family trip. In order to prevent this, it’s time to start thinking about methods to heat your home and other spaces.
Wood burning stoves are a highly efficient and cost effective source of heat. They also use a natural source of fuel, making it easy to obtain and easy to use. Here are some of the best small wood stoves currently on the market for your consideration:
7 Best Small Wood Stove Reviews
1. Dickinson Marine Newport Solid Fuel Heater 00-NEWSF – Small Wood Stove For RV
The Dickinson Marine Newport Solid Fuel Heater 00-NEWSF is a small and portable solid fuel heater made from stainless steel. It is designed for use on casual use on a variety of outdoor spaces, including boats that are between 20 to 25 feet.
It is also suitable for RVs. Can you imagine the possibilities, considering that you don’t have to restrict going out on the water depending on the weather? With this little gem, you can enjoy both boating and RV trips even during the midst of winter.
This unit requires 3-inch diameter chimney parts and a chimney that is between 4 and 8 feet (4 minimum, 8 maximum).
A 6ft tall chimney with a straight run works best, so this lies somewhere in the middle of the dimension restrictions. Bear these requirements in mind before purchasing, of course.
- Creates a dry heat which helps to expel moisture
- Removable ash drawer for easy cleaning
- Designed specifically for use in boats (also suitable for Rvs), so probably not the best option for your actual home.
2. EcoZoom Dura Camping Stove – Small Wood Stove for Mobile Homes
The EcoZoom Dura Camping Stove is the ultimate heating device to bring along on your next camping trip. It is designed with durability and efficiency in mind. For fuel purposes, this stove can run on either wood or solid biomass. This gives you more options regarding its use, and you might find you have a preference for one or the other.
This stove can be used not only for providing warmth, but also for cooking food. Alas, no more cold tins of baked bins while you’re roughing it out in the woods. Having a cooker like this that also keeps you warm on those chilly, starry nights allows you to have a greater variety of meals that are inevitably going to be tastier. Thus, your next camping trip will certainly be a trip to remember.
This unit includes a fully insulated vertical combustion chamber. This chamber forces gases to mix with the flames provided by the fuel source. This results in a much lower level of harmful fuel emissions. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about smelly fumes while enjoying your food or warmth.
At the same time, this unit has great fuel efficiency, which is a very useful feature for a camping stove. You don’t want to have to bring along lots of extra fuel, particularly because camping is supposed to be about minimal supplies. Therefore, you can simultaneously save money on the amount of fuel you use, and carry along less clutter as part of your general camping supplies.
- Durable design
- Highly efficient
- Not intended for use as a wood-burning stove in your home environment.
3. HiFlame Wood Burning Stove HF905U – Small Wood Stove for Tiny House
The HiFlame Wood Burning Stove HF905U comes with an array of impressive assurances for any consumer. It has been certified by both the EPA and Washington state, meaning that it has passed tests and regulations pertaining to safety and efficiency. As such, you can have genuine peace of mind when purchasing this product.
Every stove is different with regard to dimensions and the fittings it requires. This particular model fits a 6-inch stove pipe and can be fitted to both a top or rear flue outlet. Before buying any wood stove, always make sure the dimensions match the ones in your home or space you wish to heat.
This is designed with a firebox that is created using innovative technology. This ensures that the fuel emissions won’t be overly smoky or distracting. Essentially, it will keep the room a lot cleaner than models without this incorporated feature.
Moreover, this product is air washed. Air washing is a really nice feature to have in a metal wood-burning stove because it’s very relaxing to look at the flames through the glass door. The air washing process ensures the glass stays clean for longer, which means less cleaning and more enjoyment for you and your family.
- EPA and Washington state certified
- Includes a 5-year limited warranty
- Requires specific length of logs for fuel, which might become a bit of a nuisance
4. Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Stove HT2000
The Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Stove HT2000 is an EPA certified wood stove that has been deemed highly safe and efficient. This official seal of approval helps to give the potential customer peace of mind that their heating appliance is not dangerous and will not consume too much fuel. Thus, you can feel relaxed and save money if you choose to purchase this particular stove.
There are different categories of the wood stove, and this one actually belongs in the XL wood stove category. This unit has the largest combustion chamber of all appliances in this category, so you certainly know you’re getting the best of the best in terms of sheer power.
Thus, it’s a bit of stretch to say it’s a small wood stove in this respect. However, the dimensions are certainly quite small: it is just over 28 inches wide, just over 29 inches deep, and just over 34 inches high. Therefore, it will be relatively easy to design the look of your room with this unit placed as a focal point; particularly if your home is a new build or you’re redecorating your living area.
This product is made of steel and has a cast iron door. It is certainly made to be durable, and also has a molded C-Cast waffle. These elements ensure unmatched durability and make this model one of the most sought after in the industry.
- Can hold incredibly long logs that are up to 22 inches in length
- Can heat an area of up to 2,400 square feet
- Very heavy: weighing in at 555 pounds
5. US Stove 1269E Cast Iron Logwood Stove – Small Wood Stoves for Cabins
The Cast Iron Logwood Stove 1269E is another model on this list that comes with the official seal of approval from the EPA. It has been tested and approved by the most recent qualifying standards, ensuring that both you and your family can enjoy this appliance with peace of mind.
This model is made entirely of cast iron, and it has a wonderfully pleasing aesthetic appeal to it. You can imagine fitting this wood stove in a log cabin, surrounded by forest. Its antique vibe is suited more towards country style homes as opposed to contemporary design, so make sure it will suit your interior décor before purchase.
This stove can heat an area of up to 900 square feet, so it’s perfect for use in the home. With its BTU rating of 54,000, it might not be the most powerful stove in the world, but for a small stove, it sure packs a lot of punch.
This model also includes a solid cook-top surface. How fun would it be to brew a pot of tea or coffee in an old-school kettle on this? If you’re looking for something that creates an other-worldly ambiance, this is definitely the small wood stove you’ve been waiting for.
- Made of cast iron
- EPA certified to the most recent qualifying standards
- Lower BTU power than some other models; but still has a great BTU rating for a small wood stove
6. Pleasant Hearth Small Wood Burning Stove for Shed
The Pleasant Hearth Small Wood Burning Stove has a slightly different design to some other models because even though it’s black and made of metal, it would look better in a contemporary home. This is quite unusual for black wood stoves, which usually look more at home in an environment that has a cozy décor scheme.
Another EPA certified product, this unit can heat large spaces of up to 1200 square feet. Thus, if you have very large rooms in your home, or if you want it to heat multiple rooms at the same time, this power definitely comes in handy.
This includes a 5-year warranty, so you can get it replaced or get a refund if the appliance malfunctions through no fault of your own.
It also has a glass window, which ensures you can enjoy looking at the fire while relaxing on the couch with a hot drink on a cold winter’s night.
- Heats up to 1200 square feet
- Large ceramic glass window included
- If you want to make the most of this product, you have to purchase a variable speed blower separately for quiet, powerful heat distribution
7. Solo Stove Titan & Solo Pot 1800 Camp Stove Combo – Small Wood Stoves for Tent
The Solo Stove Titan & Solo Pot 1800 Camp Stove Combo is the larger version of the original Solo Stove. This original stove is known as the number one wood-burning stove designed for backpacking. It is recommended by Backpacker magazine and a number of survivalists including Discovery Channel’s Matt Graham.
The design of this stove is patented and features a double wall on the body of the appliance. This double-wall means that the gasification process will result in ultra-clean emissions. It also creates secondary combustion for even more power and efficiency.
While you’re out camping, the forest itself will provide the fuel. You don’t have to worry about bringing an axe to chop wood because a very useful feature of this gadget is its ability to run on a wide range of natural resources. While you’re enjoying nature in a forest setting, you can use twigs, leaves, and even pinecones as a source of fuel.
You can boil water in 4-6 minutes using this stove, so you can heat up the water in your pot nice and quickly for your late evening cup of tea or coffee, or your meals.
- This product comes with a lot of recommendations
- Ultra-clean emissions
- Suitable for backpacking only; not intended for use in the home
Wood Burning Stove Buying Guide
So, you now know some of the best-performing wood-burning stoves currently available in the market. The next step is to pick the right one. The following considerations should help you make an informed decision.
What is a Wood-Burning Stove?
A wood-burning stove (also known as a wood burner, log burner, or even wood stove) is a heating appliance that burns wood fuel and wood-derived biomass products, such as sawdust or bricks.
A simple wood-burning stove consists of a solid metal (usually steel or cast iron) closed firebox, lined by a firebrick and one or more air controls. The air controls can be manual or automatically operated.
A ventilating stove pipe connects the stove to a specially-designed flue that fills with hot gases once the fuel is ignited. The chimney or flue gases are hotter than external temperatures to ensure that combustion gases are drawn out of the fire chamber and up the chimney.
How Wood Stoves Work?
There are two broad categories of wood stoves; traditional and modern/certified. The two work slightly differently.
1. Traditional wood-burning stoves
Older, conventional wood stoves rely on a relatively inefficient burning process to generate heat. Once the wood is kindled, and the fire starts, the stove begins to heat up, with fresh air continually drawn into the stove through intake vents to fuel the fire.
The problem, however, is that most of the heat energy generated usually goes towards burning off moisture present in the wood used in the stove. This moisture, once heated, vaporizes and escapes up the chimney. Other byproducts of often include toxic gases, tar, and charcoal.
2. Advanced, certified stoves
To save the environment without taking this helpful stove from users, the Environmental protection Program started certifying wood stoves in 1990. EPA-certified stoves are much more efficient than the traditional stoves, as they use less wood and produce fewer toxic byproducts.
The stoves include a second air intake that introduces air into the hottest part of the firebox. This new air helps burn the gases that would otherwise escape up the chimney.
The rest of the heating process is the same. Once the wood heats up, it radiates heat through the walls and top of the stove. This heat, traveling through radiation, warms the immediate area and eventually reaches other parts of the room. Electric or convection-powered fans can be used to blow and circulate the air throughout the room.
Things You Should Know Before Buying a Wood Burning Stove
Although wood stoves are very popular, there are a few hard truths you’ll need to come to terms with before you make the purchase.
- Wood burning stoves aren’t cheap
Although they burn wood and wood products, the stoves cost a pretty penny. The upfront cost (purchase + installation) alone can cost you up to $3,000, with some units costing more. Also, their resale value drops rather fast, which makes wood stoves a poor choice if you’re looking for a long-term investment.
In addition to purchase and installation, you’ll also need wood or wood products and quality wood cutting tools. These cost money too and must be added to final costs.
- Heating with wood stoves is labor-intensive
You need to think about the time you’ll spend cutting and splitting wood from the offset. Cutting a cord or two of wood, splitting, and stacking the logs is pretty much a whole day’s work. You can buy your wood from a logger if you don’t have the time to cut the logs on your own or have a health problem such as back issues to contend with. But, that only adds to the expenses.
Also, wood stove fires require attention. Most of the fires must be tended to at least once every six to eight hours.
- You need an ample supply of dry wood
This can be a challenge in most cities where loggers aren’t readily available. Remember too that not all trees produce quality wood for wood stoves. Hardwood trees, especially hickory, oaks, beech, and hornbeam are the best options as they burn longer and produce more heat. Finding these trees isn’t very easy.
To reduce cretonne in the chimney and air pollution, all the wood should be seasoned or dried for at least 6-12 months before you burn them. Wood that isn’t properly dried or seasoned burns slowly and produces a lot of smoke. Remember to plan for wood storage, keeping in mind that the wood must be kept off the ground.
- How much wood do you need?
This will depend on your heating needs and the type of wood stove you’re using. But, the most important thing is to order enough wood.
Wood is mostly sold either by weight (in metric tons) or by volume (in cubic meters). Just remember that one (1) ton of wood is equivalent to two (2) cubic meters. If stacked together, you’d get a 1 x 1 x 2 (length x width x height) meters cube stack. Some people also buy or sell wood by cord.
To determine how much you’ll be spending on using your wood stove, you need first to find out the BTU value of your wood and local wood prices (most wood logs are rated at 1,000 BTU). Once you have both values, divide the BTU of the fireplace by the BTU of the wood to determine the amount of fuel consumed per hour. For example, a wood stove rated 40,000 BTU consumes, on average, 40,000/1,000 = 40 cubic feet per hour. If wood costs 0.3 cents ($0.003) per cubic foot, then 40 cubic feet would cost 40 x 0.30 = 12.0 cents. So, you’ll be spending 12 cents per hour.
Benefits of a Wood Burning Stove
Wood stoves come with many advantages. The following are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy if you invest in one;
- Exceptional heating
The most significant advantage, as you’d imagine, is outstanding heating. Wood stoves operate on the principle of radiant heat, with some even combining radiation and convention to generate excellent heating throughout the home. Radiation is the faster of the two processes and also incredibly efficient. Convection, meanwhile, helps to disperse the warmth as far as possible. Remember also that the heat from wood stoves radiates from all sizes, ensuring uniform heating in the room.
- Complement your decor
Some people would have this benefit further down the list, but if you make the right pick, a wood stove can significantly boost your interior decor. Modern wood-burning stoves are available in many different styles, finishes, and sizes, making it easy to find one that’s perfect for your interiors. From classic models contemporary options, the choice is yours. In fact, many homeowners now use the stoves a focal point in their living spaces.
- Energy efficient
Although wood burning isn’t 100% energy-efficient, modern wood stoves are designed to maximize efficiency while reducing the environmental impact of these stoves. Traditional fireplaces which also burn wood, for example, are only 20-25% efficient while most wood stoves, in comparison, are 80% efficient. Additionally, wood is much cheaper compared to electricity, gas, or oil. To generate a kilowatt of heat using electricity, for example, you’d need 5x the amount needed to create the same amount of heat from wood.
Advancements in technology have helped ensure that we rarely have to worry about power cuts these days. Unfortunately, the winter weather can still prove a bit of a challenge. It isn’t uncommon for homes in some areas to experience power outages owing to flooding or freezing conditions. This can lead to essential electricity-powered winter heating systems during crucial times. Wood burners don’t depend on electricity, gas, or oil, thus can be a reliable alternative when other heat sources don’t work.
- Other benefits
As we’ll see shortly, there are dry and wet wood burning stoves, and the wet types have integrated boilers that double up as a source of hot water for the household. Also, some wood burning stoves can be used as stove tops. With a little practice in temperature adjustment and cookware placement, you can use the stove for cooking and warming different foods and meals. Woodstoves are also environmentally friendly and provide the perfect spot for spending time with your family.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Wood Stove
Not all wood stoves are the same. The following are several factors you should consider when choosing the right stove for your needs.
- Heat output
How much heat does the stove generate? Different stoves produce different amounts of heat. If you’re looking to heat a large area, it’s vital that you find a larger stove that generates sufficient heat. To determine the heat capacity of a wood stove, check the kW rating. For an average room, about 4-5kW should be enough. For a larger room, look for ratings above 8kW. Remember to take factors such as the age of the house into consideration when making the decision. Newly built homes typically require a fraction of the heat needed to warm older houses.
2. The efficiency of the stove
The efficiency of a wood stove is measured by how well the appliance extracts the heat in the fuel and delivers it to the room as useful heat. Often, you’ll find the net or gross efficiency rating of the wood stove indicated on the packaging. All you need to know is that the minimum gross efficiency of a wood stove is 65% while, for stoves with boilers, the value is 67%. If you can find a stove with a higher rating, perhaps in the 80s, that would be brilliant.
3. Is it a dry or wet stove?
Dry wood stoves are designed to provide heat directly into the room in which the stove is installed. The unit is attached to the house via a flue that leads out to the chimney. Wet wood stoves are a little different, the main difference being that the stoves incorporate boilers attached to water tanks. These boilers generate all the heat required for a household’s hot water needs. A wet stove system can be connected to solar power such that the stove is used for hot water needs in the winter months with the solar power taking over in the summer.
4. Is it continuous or intermittent operation?
These two terms describe a wood stove’s refill frequency. Continuous operation wood stoves are refilled no more than four times when using solid mineral fuel or 1.5 hours when burning wood. They also hold fire at a low burning rate and are only revived after at least 12 hours when using solid mineral fuel and 10 hours when using wood logs. Intermittent operation wood stoves, meanwhile, are refilled at intervals of one hour or more for solid mineral fuels and 45 minutes or more when using wood logs. Continuous operation stoves are often used as primary heat sources, while intermittent operation models mostly serve as secondary or supplementary heat sources.
5. Pure wood fuel stove or multi-fuel burner?
Finally, it’s also essential to consider the type of fuel the stove uses. Wood stoves can use either wood logs, solid fuel, or both. Pure wood stoves run exclusively on wood logs. If those you have access to quality wood logs with less than 20% moisture, then go ahead and buy a pure wood stove. However, if you feel that you may occasionally run into trouble finding these fuels, then you may want to invest in a multi-fuel stove that burns both logs and other solid mineral fuels such as anthracite. If you choose to buy a multi-fuel stove, remember to check its efficiency for different fuels.
Finally, extra features and qualities are always welcome. Automatic control, for example, can be invaluable. Stoves with automatic control, regulate air intake for maximum efficiency. Another feature you may want to look for in the air wash system. An air wash system prevents soot buildup on the surface by diverting hot air down along the front of the glass to burn off sooty particulates. Finally, high heat retention capacity is also essential. Heat retention is the ability of a stove to continue radiating heat even after the fire has died out.
How to Install a Wood Stove
Ideally, you should let an HVAC professional install your wood burner stove. However, if you choose to install it on your own, follow the steps below;
1. Get a chimney kit if necessary: Not all wood stoves come with chimneys. If the model you selected doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to purchase a chimney kit separately. Ensure to reach the manual of the stove before buying the chimney kit.
2. Decide on the location install it: There are a few things to keep in mind here. For example, if you want the stove to be the focal point of the space, then you should place it in an area where it’s visible from the rest of the room. Another thing to keep in mind is clearance or space from an unprotected wall. The manual will provide guidance here. But, if clearance isn’t mentioned, leave at least 36 inches from the top, sides, back, and front of the appliance.
3. Build a fire-safe base: For stoves set on legs or pedestals that provide at least six inches of ventilated space beneath the fire chamber or the bottom of the appliance (which is where most wood stoves fall), closely spaced masonry bricks/blocks that are at least 2 inches thing should be used as a base. Cover the top of the bricks/blocks with a metal sheet not lighter than 24-gauge. The base should extend at least 18 inches beyond the appliance on all sides. If there’s a problem, refer to the manual.
4. Install the wood stove and chimney kit: Installing both the stove and the chimney is a simple process; the clearance is the most important thing. For the chimney, the clearance should be at least 3x the size of the pipe. If the stove is heavy, it may take two people to carry it onto the base. When you’re done, use a stove sealant to seal the chimney pipes, so they don’t leak smoke into the house.
Wood Stove Maintenance and Safety Measures
Once the stove is up and running, all that’s left is to take good care of it so it can serve you effectively and efficiently for a long time. The following maintenance tips are recommended;
- Use the right fuel
Most wood-burning stoves are designed to burn wood only. Unless you purchase a multi-fuel burner, stick to wood logs throughout. Otherwise, you might destroy the stove.
- Keep a close eye on the chimney, flue, and temperature
A stack thermometer installed on the flue will tell you how much gas is leaving the stove. Try to keep the temperatures at 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for efficiency and to reduce pollution. Also, observe the smoke from your chimneys. The less smoke you see, the cleaner the burning process. If you see too much smoke, boost air quality by using drier wood and cleaning the air intake vents by removing excess ash.
- Plan for scheduled inspections
It is strongly recommended to have the wood-burning stove as well as the chimney pipes inspected at least once every year by a professional stove dealer or chimney sweep. The expert will check for signs of deterioration such as cracks, warping, leaks, baffle gaps, and creosote and recommend further maintenance steps. This will go a long way in preventing chimney fires – a significant risk for wood stove users.
We’ve seen some of the best small wood stoves. Considering their efficiency and relative ease of use, it’s no surprise that more than 12 million have invested in a stove for their living space. There’s nothing quite like a high-quality metal version that has a glass screen so you can enjoy the flickering flames with a nice cup of hot tea or cocoa. Now that you’ve considered some of the specifications of some of the best small wood stoves out there, you’ll know much more about what features you require when it’s time for you to invest in your own.