How to Choose a Stove

What style would you prefer - freestanding, inset, double sided?

When planning for a stove purchase, one thing you will want to consider is the style of stove that you prefer.

Stoves can be inset, double sided, or freestanding and determining the style that you desire will often help you narrow your choices and speed up the process of selecting the right stove.

Freestanding Stoves are very efficient wood stoves that are designed to need the least amount of space in the room. They provide the better heating value and a second big advantage is their portability.

An Inset Stove can be a fireplace insert designed to slide into an existing open fireplace to boost the efficiency to the quality of an actual wood stove. It can also be a high efficiency fireplace with an interior fire box of either cast iron or heavy steel covered by insulated shells that allows for the stove to be safe with close clearances to wood framing. Be careful of inset stoves called “zero clearance” stoves as these may be designed primarily to create the traditional look of a fireplace and thus are not as efficient as the insert or high efficiency fireplace.

Double sided stoves can be either wood burning or multi-fuel and can also be a freestanding or insert. A second feature of the double sided stove is the ability to use it as a focal point in two rooms and to heat one room at a time or both rooms simultaneously.

Do you need to heat radiators?

Stoves come in two styles depending on whether you want to heat water or not, they can be either boiler or non-boiler. Many models stoves are produced in both boiler and non boiler varieties.

Boiler Stoves feed into the central heating system of a house. The heat from the fire, heats the water which then travels round the house and into each radiator. Different sizes of boilers heat different number of radiators. As you'd imagine, the higher the kW output, the more radiators they heat.

Non Boiler Stoves don't have a facility to heat water. This usually means they are cheaper than their Boilder equivalent for a similar kW output.

Do you need to heat water?

A factor to consider when deciding which type of stove to buy is whether or not you want  to heat water so that it can be stored in your hot water tank to use later. This is done in a similar to the way that a gas or electric hot water tank heats and stores water.

In the previous question we discussed Boiler and Non Boiler stoves. If you want your stove to heat water, then you need a Boiler Stove. Your heating system can be configured to ensure you can also heat water using an immersion heater.

Whats the Difference Between a Woodburning Stove and a Multi Fuel Stove?

The primary differences between a multi-fuel stove and a wood burning stove are the way the bottom of the stove is made and in the type of air control that is available. To understand the difference between these two stoves, it’s worthwhile to know the difference between burning wood and burning multi-fuels, also known as solid fuels and mineral fuels. Wood needs combustion air from above in order to burn effectively whereas multi-fuels such as coal burn more efficiently with air combustion from the bottom.

It is due to this difference that multi fuel stoves come equipped with a grate that keeps the fuel up off the bottom of the stove for better air flow from underneath. Multi fuel stoves also have a riddling system.