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Defra approved stoves: the top 10 contenders for 2021

Our selection of the best Defra approved wood burning stoves are...

Most online sites have far too many stoves to choose from. They list every stove they can get their hands on. There are too many!

Surely they cannot all be the best? There must be plenty of mediocre performers amongst the hordes?

So let us narrow it down for you. What is the small pool that we at Stovefitter's would choose from?


Here are our top ten DEFRA approved wood burning stoves for 2021:

  • Ekol Crystal 5 (cast iron, multi fuel)
  • Ekol Clarity 5 (multi fuel)
  • Hamlet Solution 5 (steel, multi fuel)
  • Saltfire Peanut 5 Bignut (cast iron, multifuel)
  • Firewire (steel, wood only)
  • Ekol Applepie (steel, multi fuel small stove 4kW)
  • Firewire Curve(steel, multi fuel)
  • HETA Inspire 45 (steel, wood only)
  • DG Aste 5 (steel, multi fuel via a kit if required)
  • DG Ivar 5 (steel, multi fuel via a kit if required)


Further information on all of these Defra approved wood burning stoves further down this page.

We test a different stove every month during winter and give them all a good hard beating.

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).

More information on all of these stoves further down this page

What is a Defra approved stove?

Defra approved stoves are those that are allowed in law to burn specified fuels in smoke control areas, fuels that are usually disallowed in those areas. In the case of a stove (also referred to as a log burner) this means wood, the burning of which is otherwise disallowed in the designated area.

The control of correct fuel usage stems from the desire to promote clean air, particularly in populated areas.

If you see a stove that has SE after its name or the DEFRA logo and the word "approved" then this means that you can fit these approved stoves in a smoke control area and legally burn wood.

Stoves passed by DEFRA can be steel or cast iron and can burn wood or be multi fuel.

What is different in design terms?

The difference between DEFRA approved wood burning stoves and those stoves not approved is surprisingly little. Modern stoves can even, in some cases, be modified to become DEFRA approved with a kit (supplied by the stove manufacturer).

The kit makes changes to the stove’s air vents, changing the design so that the stove cannot be fully closed down to full slumber (when airflow to the fuel is almost completely cut off by use of the stove's controls). Users will often do this to keep a stove going all night but it is very bad for the environmentas the particulate number and size increases (often at night the smoke is not seen). Slumbering can also shorten the life of a stove, its components and flue system.

A DEFRA approved wood burning stove will not allow excessive smoke due to slumbering (they can still be turned down low so do not be tempted to overthink this).

What is a smoke control area?

Areas of the UK designated as such are usually well-populated: towns, cities and their suburbs where smoke can be a nuisance. You can easily check your area online.

What if I am not burning wood?

Can you install a stove, that DEFRA has not tested, in a restricted area, if you are not going to burn wood? In other words, if you are only going to burn smokeless fuel (an authorised fuel). Yes you can and below is a snippet from the DEFRA website 2019 that states this:

I have bought an appliance and now find I am in a smoke control area and it is not exempt what should I do? You could ask the manufacturer or importer if they have any plans to seek exemption. Alternatively, replace it with an exempt appliance from the list atExempt Appliances or continue to use the appliance but only using an authorised fuel. The list of authorised fuels can be found atAuthorised Fuels.

Do they any advantages over non-Defra stoves?

Aside from the fact they an approved stove is likely to emit less smoke and helps with clean air objectives, a major advantageof DEFRA approved stoves is that they can legally be attached to a 5″ chimney liner for the burning of wood ( if the DEFRA approved stove has a 5″ collar and the manufacturer does not insist on a larger diameter). In all other circumstances, Building Regulations state that a liner must be 6″ minimum when burning wood.

Note that a 5″ liner can be legally fitted to ANY stove, DEFRA certified or not, with a 5″ collar if (a) the manufacturer does not state otherwise and (b) only smokeless fuel is to burn within the stove.

A 5″ liner can be very desirable or even necessary if a chimney requires lining but is very narrow or difficult.

The Defra approved stoves that made the list

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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.

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There is something about this stove that makes it stand out in our showroom. It is quite a small 5kW stove but it has perfect proportions - it just looks right.

The Ekol Clarity 5 is a small 5kW steel stove with a cast iron door that has a neat, contemporary look.

5,8,12 kW sizes available. Log store versions available.

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The very latest version of the UK-manufactured and very popular Hamlet Solution 5. UK-made, strong, well built.

An excellent ten-year guarantee on the stove body provides reassurance. Multifuel as standard.

Other models available: Hamlet 4, 5, 5 Compact and 5 Widescreen

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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 sizes available.

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Okay it's 4kW but we love it.

A small, contemporary Ecodesign wood burning and multifuel stove that loves small spaces: snug, home office, shed, boat, caravan, bedroom, extension, conservatory, glamping, van and any small room that needs warming. Chic and very well designed.

Log store and oven modules available.

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We had this contemporary stove on test in our office (old stone Chapel, difficult to heat). It passed the "Arran" test (he did not pester me to end the test early so "we can get something warmer in"). Large glass, loads of heat and very controllable.

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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.
Not just that, of course. Finally, a contemporary stove range manufactured in cast iron. 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.
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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 :-)

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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.

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Using the same chassis as the superb DG Ivar 5 the Aste has a slightly retro, traditional appeal. Simply beautiful.

Huge viewing area.

Multi fuel kit available for this stove.

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.

Article by Julian Patrick, author of The Stovefitter's Manual. 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.