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There are plenty of advantages to using a wood stove as your heat source. Most models have a high-efficiency rating and are typically more cost-effective than oil, natural gas, or electricity. Perhaps the biggest advantage–if you're able to cut your own wood–is that you can heat your home for free. With an open fireplace, the majority of heat is lost up the chimney. Wood-burning stoves, particularly newer models that meet EPA standards, can operate at up to 80% efficiency. Since they provide low carbon and low emission heating, a wood stove might also appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
Wood stoves come in a wide range of sizes and can be used to heat everything from workshops and mobile homes to sprawling living spaces. In order for a stove to provide adequate heat in your home, the heat output and coverage area must be taken into consideration. A wood stove's heating capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Generally, a higher BTU rating means that the stove is capable of effectively heating a larger space. From contemporary designs to more rustic-inspired wood stoves, there is no shortage of styles to choose from.
To help you find the wood stove that’s right for you, we’ve rounded up the best products in a variety of categories. Here are our top picks.
Best Overall: Englander 2,400 sq. ft. EPA Certified Wood Stove
Powerful heat output
The Englander 2,400 sq. ft. Wood-Burning Stove is an excellent choice for larger spaces. Made of cast iron and steel, this stove offers a durable and classic design. Because it’s highly efficient and EPA-certified, this model will also appeal to energy-conscious homeowners. Measuring 30 inches tall by 31 inches deep, this freestanding wood stove allows for versatile placement options. It can accomodate logs up to 20 inches long and has the ability to heat rooms up to 2,400 square feet.
This unit features a high-tech firebox for a long-lasting burn, a blower to improve air circulation, and nickel handles that remain cool to the touch. The large viewing window has an air wash system that helps keep the glass clean.
Best Electric: Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove
Small form factor
Top is too warm to display items
The Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove provides the cozy aesthetic of a glowing fire, but it’s actually an electric heater designed to resemble a wood stove. No wood is required; you simply plug it into a standard wall outlet. Testers say the three-dimensional flame effect is surprisingly realistic, but the small size does make it harder to pass as a fireplace.
Equipped with a 5,200 BTU heater, this electric wood stove can warm rooms up to 1,000 square feet in size. Its lower heat capacity and compact design make it great for smaller spaces, it can be used with or without heat for year-round operation. User-friendly features include an adjustable thermostat, five flame levels, a timer, and a remote control. The plug has a built-in thermometer, and the unit will shut off automatically if it overheats—a great safety feature for added peace of mind. However, you should note that the upper part of the unit gets quite hot, so you can't really set things on top. We gave it a four out of five for design.
Best Pellet Stove: ComfortBilt HP22 2800 sq. ft. Pellet Stove
Easy to clean
Pellet hopper door could be bigger
The ComfortBilt HP22 Pellet Stove is our top pick for a wood pellet stove. Its sleek and modern design sets it apart from more rustic-looking models. This pellet stove is EPA-certified, which means it can heat your home as efficiently as possible. With a super easy, one-touch ignition, you can get heat within minutes. It has an easy-to-access ash pan and an air wash system that automatically cleans the ceramic glass window, saving you much-needed time. Choose from 5 different heat levels, which you can control manually or with the programmable thermostat, which can preset rooms from 61 to 82 degrees.
This wood pellet stove is designed for rooms up to 2,800 square feet in size. While the stove doesn’t need a chimney or flue, direct ventilation is required for safe operation. Keep in mind that pellet stoves run on electricity, and won’t provide heat if the power goes out.
Best for Large Rooms: Drolet HT-3000 Wood Stove DB07300
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Options/accessories cost extra
With an impressive heat output of 110,000 BTU, the Drolet HT-3000 can warm up to 2,700 square feet of space. Its large firebox can accommodate logs up to 22 inches long. Fully loaded, this stove can burn up to 10 hours. This highly efficient, EPA-certified is certified mobile home and alcove installation, making it a versatile option. Made of heavy-duty steel and featuring an insulated top panel, this unit is incredibly durable.
The Drolet HT-3000 is backed by a lifetime warranty to ensure customer satisfaction. Options such as a fresh air intake kit, firescreen, blower, and thermodisc are available at an additional cost.
Best Insert: Ashley Hearth AW1820E 1,800 Sq. Ft. Wood Stove Insert
Powerful and efficient heat
Easy to install
Fairly small firebox
If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your fireplace, the Ashley Hearth AW1820E is an airtight wood stove insert that meets EPA standards. This fireplace insert can accommodate logs up to 18” long and heat up rooms up to 1,800 square feet in size. The classic design of the AW1820E will make a great addition to your existing hearth. This unit features a durable cast iron door and cool-touch wood handles. The large ceramic glass window provides an excellent view of the burning fire.
The AW1820E comes with a hearth surround to fully enclose your existing fireplace. It also includes a spring-loaded automatic adjustment for easier installation.
Best Soapstone: Hearthstone Heritage
Provides long-lasting radiant heat
If you’re willing to splurge on an upscale model, you can’t go wrong with the Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, it has some advantages over other products. The cast iron construction and soapstone lining will provide radiant heat—long after the fire has gone out. Because radiant heat directly heats objects and people in a room, this stove maintains a consistent, comfortable temperature.
This EPA-certified unit is one of the cleanest wood-burning stoves on the market. The Hearthstone Heritage has a higher upfront cost, but it uses less wood and heats more efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
Best for Camping: Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove
Easy to set up and store
Lacks a handle
With both heating and cooking capability, the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove is perfect for camping trips. Its rugged steel construction and high-temperature finish will stand up to your toughest outdoor adventures. Measuring 20 x 11x 13 inches, this wood-burning stove is one of the smallest units on the market. The top surface doubles a cooking grate, and can be used to keep coffee and saucepans hot. The legs detach and the pipes nest inside the stove itself for easy transport and storage.
Keep in mind that this stove is not recommended for indoor use. If you plan to use it in a garage or workshop, the unit must be properly ventilated.
Our best overall pick is the Englander 2,400 sq. ft. Wood-Burning Stove (view at The Home Depot), which is packed with user-friendly features and has plenty of heating power, making it an ideal choice for larger spaces. If you're looking for an electric option, we recommend the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove. It combines the convenience of an electric heater with the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace for a cozy look and feel.
What to Look for in a Wood Stove
Wood stoves range in size and have a firebox ranging from one to five cubic feet. If your home has proper insulation and an existing primary heat source, a larger unit might be overkill. However, if your home is poorly insulated or you live in a cold climate, a larger stove might be necessary. If you are heating 1,500 square feet or less, a wood stove with a firebox between 1.5 and 2 cubic square should be sufficient. Larger spaces (up to 2,500 square feet) typically require a wood stove with a firebox measuring 2.5 cubic feet.
With the exception of the Duraflame, which is an electric model, all of the stoves included in this roundup burn wood or pellets. Burning firewood is usually more cost effective than heating with gas or electricity. However, the cost of fuel will vary by region. Pellet stoves and wood-burning models with an integrated blower usually require an electrical supply to operate.
For a wood-burning stove to run efficiently, firewood should be properly seasoned. Logs should be cut to an appropriate length for your stove—about three inches shorter than the firebox.
Wood heat vs. wood pellets
A pellet stove is an eco-friendly alternative to a traditional wood-burning stove. Instead of logs, they burn pellets—compact pieces made from recycled wood waste. Because pellets are denser and contain less moisture than wood, they burn more efficiently and create less smoke and ash.
An important thing to consider before buying a wood stove is the amount of heat it produces. A stove’s heating power is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Here are a few general rules of thumb: A stove rated at 60,000 BTU can heat a 2,000 square-foot-home, while a unit with 42,000 BTU can warm about 1,300 square feet of space.
How do you install a wood burning stove?
All wood-burning stoves require a proper ventilation system. The installation process varies by model; some are more complicated to set up than others. Most freestanding stoves can be installed in front of an open fireplace and vented through the existing chimney. More than likely, the chimney will need to be fitted with a stainless steel liner. Pellet stoves, on the other hand, are vented through an exterior wall or roof.
How do you clean a wood stove?
Various components of a wood stove–the interior, exterior, flue and the glass door–will require different cleaning techniques. When cleaning the interior of the stove, wait for the fire to completely cool before emptying out the ash. Ash should be collected in a metal container and stored and disposed of outdoors. Many modern wood burners come equipped with an ash pan, allowing for easy removal.The exterior of most wood stoves can be cleaned with your standard household vacuum. Use brush attachments to remove any stubborn dust or ash. You can also wipe down the exterior with a dry cloth. Never use a wet cloth because it can cause rust.
Cleaning your flue, stove pipe, or chimney is a more complicated job. During the winter, experts recommend burning your stove on high for at least 30 minutes per day. Not only will this help clear the flue, it should burn off any residue that has collected on the glass. You can use a wire brush to remove build-up on the inside of the flue. The most popular way to clean a chimney is from the top down using a brush and rod–but you will have to climb up onto the roof. You also need to seal off the fireplace or wood stove beforehand.
Are wood stoves safe?
A wood stove is only safe to use if it's properly installed and ventilated–in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and local building codes. The stove must be placed a safe distance away from any combustible materials. If you don’t have heat-and flame-resistant walls or flooring, you’ll likely need to install protective noncombustible surface coverings. Unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, it might be best to leave the job to a professional.
Can you leave a wood burning stove on overnight?
Yes, you can leave a wood-burning stove on overnight, however, you must do so with caution. To begin, you will need to start your fire a few hours before nighttime. Pack uniform pieces of wood closely together and shut off your wood stove's air vents to ensure a slow and steady burn that will last overnight. Make sure that any exhaust is still being directed and flowing out of your chimney and that your room is well ventilated by slightly opening your windows to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Then reduce your flames as much as possible before you go to sleep to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.
Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a wood stove?
In short, yes. A wood stove that isn't ventilated properly can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in your space. To avoid this, it's important to make sure your wood stove is installed correctly and that you maintain the proper maintenance to keep it clean and functioning normally. You can also install carbon monoxide alarms if you don't have any installed already to help detect if there's a leak.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a freelance writer who covers home appliances for The Spruce. A native of New England and no stranger to cold weather, she’s thoroughly researched space heaters, heated blankets, and more in the home heating sector. For this roundup, Sage considered dozens of wood stoves, evaluating each model’s heat output, functionality, and features. To find the highest-rated products on the market, she consulted user reviews, third-party reviews, and tester feedback.