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Best wood burning stoves 2022

From The Stovefitter's Manual by Julian Patrick

Are you looking for a wood burning stove? We help you choose...

Stove installer and author of the Stovefitter's Manual, Julian Patrick, reveals his top 5kW logburners (a few are 4kW)

Ekol Applepie 4kW with log store, top oven, kettle pad and side plate

The wood burning stoves here are 4-5kW (suitable for the average sized British lounge) and over 80% of our sales are of made up of these models. Most are DEFRA approved.

Stoves are generally tested for a minimum of 40 hours wood burning time in our office, a large open-vaulted Chapel, and if Arran doesn't feel they perform then they don't make the list or the website (he can be rather harsh as he is quite cold-blooded).

"I was a stove installer for many years and I know what are the best 5kW stoves are on the market at the moment. Arran has worked for many years at Stovefitter's, and prior to this at one of the UK's largest stove retail outlets. I hope you enjoy our choices..." Julian Patrick, author of The Stovefitter's Manual

The stoves that made the grade...

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See more detailed descriptions of these 12 stoves further down this page

Need an installer?

When you purchase your stove or clip-together twin wall chimney system from Stovefitter's we can send you a list (usually 10-15 contacts) of fully trained and registered installers in your area.

Just let us know your order number and your list will be emailed to you within two working days.

What features to look for in a wood burning stove

What size logs?

Chopped logs for the fireDoes the 5kW stove have a reasonably-sized door opening, viewing glass and firebox (internal area where logs sit)? Don’t worry about this too much but bear it in mind - the more logs burning the more heat you get and the more glass then the more viewing pleasure to be had.

Five small logs actually burner hotter and catch more easily than two large logs so it is good practice chopping smaller logs.

All stove product pages on our website have max. log length and exterior viewing window sizes (glass dimensions) and this helps when choosing.

Ecodesign?

Ecodesign IconIs the 5kW stove "Ecodesign ready" or "Ecodesign Approved"?

Stoves sold after 2022 will have to be so. Ecodesign stoves are the very latest models that have passed stringent environmental tests. Stoves already installed prior to the 2022 cut-off date are fully legal so don't worry if you have one of these (the rules are not back-dated).

Stoves do not have to be Hetas approved (Hetas is a private organisation for stove installers).

The stove I own is the DG Ivar 5, the best logburner on the market today as far as I am concerned

- Julian Patrick, site owner and author Stovefitter's Manual

Can you fit a 5" liner?

liner sticking out of a chimneyMost installations will require that you slide a chimney liner down your chimney (flexible metal tube 5" or 6" in diameter). Do you have a narrow chimney and want to lessen the risk that a liner might not go down your chimney? Then make sure your chosen stove can use a 5" liner.

Do you have to fit a chimney liner?

DEFRA-Exempt wood burning stoves with a 5″ collar can usually be fitted to a five inch liner rather than the usual 6″ minimum, making the installer's job much less stressful.

Use our filter system to find 5kW stoves that can have a 5" liner.

I seriously suggest any self installer fits a 5" liner unless they know their chimney is large enough for a 6"!

What is the best chimney liner?

Air vent?

metal room air ventWill your stove require an air vent within the room (some stone walls are very difficult to drill)?

5kW or under and wood burning stoves often do not require an air vent (new builds always require an air vent).

Do I need an air vent for a wood burning stove?

Output in kW?

heat output iconWhat size wood stove for your room? What is the maximum output in kW of your "5kW" wood burning stove? The majority of manufacturers just specify the “nominal output” and this figure means very little in real life. The nominal is a figure the manufacturer chooses to sell the stove at - the stove is capable of reaching at least this output with one fuel load. Nominal means "capable of". But it is not the maximum.

Check out the size of the area where the logs will go (firebox size) as this varies enormously. The kW output is completely dependant on the amount of logs burning at any one time - more logs burning equals more heat. If you can fit three logs in stove A and just two logs in stove B then stove A will be capable of throwing out 33% more heat.

DO NOT TRUST MANUFACTURERS’ kW RATINGS as manufacturers specify what output they desire to sell the stove at and testing allows for much “playing with the figures”. This is why you can get very small 5kW stoves (e.g. Aga Little Wenlock) and very large 5kW stoves (e.g. DG Ivar 5 by Dik Geurts which is actually rated 5kW but has a MUCH larger firebox than the Ekol Crystal 5 by Ekol Stoves). A Crystal 5k might get to 5kW and not be capable of any higher whilst a DG Ivar, despite being rated at 5kW, can get to 8kW with a full fuel load.

Note that, over time, one might damage the internal firebricks of a stove by running at a higher load than the manufacturer's suggest. Firebricks are easily replaceable.

Recess size?

Will your wood burning stove fit in your recess WITH the required air gaps around it? This is obviously not an issue if your stove will be freestanding.

Air gaps to non-combustible materials (brick, stone etc.) are usually "as close as you like" legally but manufacturers will sometimes specify a recommendation. This recommendation is there to allow heat to escape from the recess into the room - so you get the heat benefit rather than the heat soaking into the building structure and being lost. If no gap to non-combustibles recommended then we suggest 50-100mm air gap left and right of stove, 50mm behind and 100mm above.

More about air gaps around wood stoves here.

Combustible distances are a lot larger

Smoke Control Area?

Smoke Control AreaAre you in a Smoke Control Area (usually built up areas)?

Choose your stove accordingly.

A stove must be DEFRA-Approved if you wish to burn wood in a smoke control area.

Efficiency

In simple terms if a stove has an efficiency rating of 70% then 30% of the heat from your logs goes up the chimney.

If a stove has an efficiency rating of 90% then only 10% goes up the chimney.

So think of this in terms of how many logs you have to chop/buy.

Example: A Saltfire Peanut 5 by Saltfire Stoves in Dorset has an efficiciency of 80%.

A tall chimney (6m or more) that is lined will be happy with an efficient stove.

Efficiency importance is overrated in my humble opinion and anything between 75% and 85% is fine. Go much higher and performance can actually suffer (smoke in room when opening door to reload, blackening of glass).

Hearth thickness

Many modern stoves can go on 12mm thick hearths. Others require full, 5″ thick constructional hearths. All of the stoves we sell state whether or not a 12mm hearth is suitable. More about hearths for wood stoves here.

Retailer service

5 Star TrustpilotCan you can talk to somebody on the phone should you need to after the wood burning stove has been delivered, especially if you are self installing? Will the staff at “wesellzillionsofstoves.com” be able to assist with any installation issues? What if there are any problems after install?

Do yourself a favour before ordering stoves or materials on the Internet: Go to Trustpilot and type in the company name before you buy. Some companies advertising at the top of search engines are not good news - check for yourself.

Why does my local shop/installer always recommend Clock Stoves, Woodwarm Stoves or Town and Country Stoves?

Because (at the time of writing) these brands do not allow customers to buy these stoves online, operating a strict "no Internet policy". This keeps prices high and means that installers or shop owners can recommend them without fear of that customer buying elsewhere or being able to compare price. This is why they say "Clock Stoves are the best" or "Woodwarm Stoves are the best" or "Town & Country Stoves are the best" Read more here.

When choosing a wood burning stove how do you assess quality?

DG Vidat Triple stoveWhen striving to find the best 5kW wood burning stoves you will likely be bewildered by the choice. There are many to choose from. The question I get asked most in our shop is “why should I pay <£1,000> for this one when this other one is just <£500>?”. Here is the very simple answer: the cheaper wood stoves are made in China or Eastern Europe whilst the more expensive are made in Western Europe (or sometimes the USA). Here are a few examples where a more expensive stove might excel over a cheaper stove:

Aesthetics (more time spent on design)
Hinges (sometimes hidden on more expensive stoves)
Better quality glass
Thicker steel (longer life)
Improved door locking mechanisms
Longer warranty
Improved controllabilty of flame due to more resource invested on design of air flow within stove
Brushed steel fittings instead of cheapy chrome look

Open and close the door on a cheap Chinese stove. Then open and close the door on a DG stove, Arada stoves, Woodford stoves, Hamlet stoves or Saltfire stoves. You’ll understand the difference.

Stove pricing reminds me of wine pricing. A £20 bottle of wine is not double the quality of a £10 bottle of wine (the drinking experience might be improved by 20% as an example). We are talking “the law of diminishing returns here. They are all “fire in a metal box” at the end of the day.

Should I buy a Chinese stove?

Pictured is the DG Aste 5 from Holland (same as the DG Ivar 5 with slightly more traditional styling)

The best wood burning stoves 2021

Wood burning stoves on this page were tested for at least 40 hours and are my personal choice for 2022. The UK's best selling wood burning stoves during the winter of 2021/22 were the Saltfire Peanuts, Firewire range and the DG Ivar 5.

- Julian Patrick, site owner and author Stovefitter's Manual

Flavel Arundel 5

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The stove installer's secret weapon for customers on a tight budget, the Flavel Arundel is pleasing, basic and well made. Looking for a budget stove? Look no further

Ekol Crystal 5

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A 5kW traditional-looking and small cast-iron multifuel stove that is tremendous value for money. Heavy and well-built. Ekol great company to deal with (excellent customer service).

This is one of the best cast-iron stoves at this price.

5,8,12 kW sizes available.

Firewire

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During the winter of 2018/19 Stovefitter's went in search of a modern, large screen, Ecodesign stove that we could retail between £599 and £799. We tested numerous models and it was the range that you now see that came out on top. The "Firewire" is a wood-only stove with a large viewing window and simple yet effective single control..

Three width sizes available: 400,450,500

Hobbit

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So cute! The Salamander Hobbit small log burner is a traditional, petite cast-iron stove and probably the most famous small, multifuel stove on the market.

During late 2015 the Hobbit was featured on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

Low and log-store versions available.

Lowry 5

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Available in three different sizes the Lowry is a great stove at a great price. A thick steel body and cast-iron door ensure longevity.

Saltfire Scout

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The Scout is designed to reside happily in small spaces: sheds, garages, snugs, home-offices, boats, vans or just any small room.

Built-in rear heatshield means very low distance to combustibles at rear (100mm) 4").

Saltfire Peanut Bignut

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Who needs kindling? Just add your logs and open the Saltfire Peanut 5's Primary air control: this concentrates airflow within a small square at the centre of the stove's base and is very powerful indeed: a wannabee fantastical flame-thrower. As long as you have just a few small red embers to work with, your logs will light, and at speed.
 
And that is just one of the reasons why we love the Saltfire Peanut 5 stove and the Salfire Bignut.
 
Not just that, of course. Finally, a contemporary stove range manufactured in cast iron (Peanuts). Here at Stovefitter's, this makes us very, very happy. There are examples of cast-iron stoves till going strong after a hundred years of use so well done Saltfire for such an innovative range of Peanut stoves - and Ecodesign Ready and can be used in smoke control areas as well.
 
Models in the Peanut range include: Peanut 5, 5 Bignut, 8. Log store versions also available.

Hamlet 5 Widescreen

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This is a wider version of the classic Hamlet 5 manufactured by Arada, in the UK (Devon), under the brand name Hamlet.

Applepie 4kW

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Also known as "Apple Pi" the Ekol ApplePie is a small, modern Ecodesign wood burning and multifuel stove that loves a small space: snug, home office, shed, boat, caravan, bedroom, extension, conservatory, tent (glamping), van and any small room that needs warming.

Ekol Applepie small 4kW modular stove

Heta Inspire 45

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We did not choose this stove as is usually the case - this stove was chosen by our customers. We added the Heta Inspire to our site following a particularly high demand for quotes for the stove from our customers, despite the fact that it was not on our website - this being a sure sign that a stove is a potential winner :-)

Multi fuel kit available for this stove.

Low, High-leg and log-store versions available.

DG Ivar 5

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"When you unwrap it you will understand. When you light it you will understand. Some things are worth spending a little more on and we have yet to find a finer contemporary wood burning stove on the market".

Multi fuel kit available for this stove.

Low, High-leg and log-store versions available.

"I think the Aste and Ivar are the best 5kW wood burning stoves available on the market today."

- Julian Patrick, Author of The Stovefitter's Manual.

Heta Ambition 5

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The Danish HETA Ambition 5 wood burning stove follows on from the best-selling Inspire 45 with a large glass being the primary differentiating feature. A single air control adds simplicity. High quality throughout.

Low and log-store versions available.

Ps. There are a variety of "best wood burning stoves articles you might find at the top of the Google search. I would take many of them with a pinch of salt. An example is by The Telegraph in February 2020: "The best wood burning stoves that will survive Michael Gove's new laws". The list appears to have been created by a journalist ringing round a few shops. The recommended stoves are a strange choice indeed.

Best little wood burning stoves (3-4kW)

Duraflue Twin Wall Flue Wood burning stove in a shed 3m chimney kits (shed, garage, gazebo, home-office or small room)

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Duraflue Twin Wall Flue DTW Chimney Design (design free, prices for example only)

Silvacore Flue liner 904 316 Chimney Flue Liner Silvacore 5

By Julian Patrick

Julian Patrick is the author of The Stovefitter's Manual and an experienced wood burning stove installer (including solid fuel heating systems).

Laid down tools in 2013 to write The Stove Fitter's Manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut). Launched Stovefitter's Warehouse soon after due to fast growth of sales.

Own stove is a DG Ivar 5.

£ PRICE MATCH £

We will happily strive to match any price you may have from any other supplier as long as the other supplier has it in stock.
Offered an "ex-display" or "shop soiled"? We will strive to offer you a new stove for the same price.

Julian Patrick, author of the Stovefitter's Manual

Stovefitter's Warehouse is owned and managed by Julian Patrick, blogger and author of The Stove Fitter's Manual. Julian was previously a full-time installer of wood burning stoves (including solid fuel heating systems). He laid down the tools in 2013 to write his stove manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut, soon to grow into The Stovefitter's Warehouse).