From The Stovefitter's Manual by Julian Patrick
From The Stovefitter's Manual by Julian Patrick
For stoves suitable for an average UK-sized lounge check out our top ten 5kW ecodesign wood burning stoves
If in doubt check out: What size stove does my room need?
Let us get straight to it. Below are our favourite small wood burning stoves for 2022. I am sure you are wary of these "our favourites lists", there are many out there. We feel we are different though. Firstly we have tested each and every stove on our test rig in "The Chapel" (our showroom and office) where we test a different stove every month. We also sell a LOT of stoves and, due to us providing extensive wood stove DIY install support, we have a lot of interaction with customers so we have a good feedbac loop going.
"Loved by installers as it just works"
"Traditional in style yet cutting edge internal design"
"Cast iron we like, fast flame we like"
"Salamander base their whole company on this one model and it shows"
"A good all-rounder at a great price"
"Built in rear heat shield and perfect proportions"
"Multifuel workhorse, heavy and strong"
"Innovative and modular - lots of optional extras"
"Modern version of the Crystal - just works"
"You'll need a chimney"
"Customise as you wish"
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. Example list here.
Smaller log burners (typically 4-5kW), with a small fire box, are ideal for the smaller room or fireplace. Fit a larger stove in a small space and you will soon find yourself sitting alone in your underwear (it can be surprising to customers how much output wood burner stoves can emit).
Tiny rooms and snugs are perfect candidates for the smaller steel or cast iron stove. What can be more relaxing than being warm and cosy on a winter's evening?
Glamping is the latest camping trend and stoves can often be an excellent method of heating this smaller space. Chimneys pass through canvas via safe "flashings".
Home offices are springing up in gardens around the UK and many will have small stoves. Imagine having your working day improved by the ambience of a real fire - as long as you do not fall asleep.
Sheds, long recognised as man's getaway cave, are perfect recipients for a lovely and renewable heating experience. Of course, men and women love sheds: for writers, potters, snoozers, hobbyists, DIY'ers and more.
Vans, caravans and boats have been warmed with smaller logburners since they were invented many moons ago and the small stove is a perfect fit.
Sheds, garages and outbuildings do not generally require any permissions when installing stoves as they are classed as not habitable. Obviously whether a building is classed as habitable or not is down to interpretation. If separate from the main dwelling and not slept in overnight would reasonably classed as not habitable.
The simple answer is: the more fuel you are burning at any one time the higher the output of hot air. So the bigger the inside of the stove, the more the heat output it has. Wood burning can throw out a lot of heat and all of the stoves mentioned in this article will happily service a room of 50-60 cubic metres of air (e.g. 5m x 5m x 2.3m).
The most common size of wood stove in the UK has an output of 5kW, as this is the perfect size for the average British lounge and fireplace. Small stoves will be 4kW-5kW and will have less width and depth to ensure only a certain amount of fuel can be burned at any one time. Dimensions (width, depth, height) can be found on each of the product pages.
For smaller spaces pick a 4kW stove or a small 5kW stove (small stove-body size).
It is worth mentioning that a dry, well-seasoned log, ideally from an approved source, emit far more heat than damp or unseasoned logs.
The stoves mentioned in this article can burn wood and a few can burn coal or smokeless fuel (they will then be designated as "multifuel"). If you are burning wood, to get the maximum efficiency from your log burner, please ensure the wood is dry and seasoned. The trend is towards wood burning as wood is a renewable resource and not a fossil fuel and so can be considered as carbon neutral.
Please do not be tempted to burn wood and coal at the same time. Logs can emit moisture which mixes with the sulphur from coal. The two combined create Sulphuric acid which will damage the stove, components and chimney liner/twin wall flue.
Building regulations sign-off? Sheds, garages and outbuildings do not generally require any permissions when it comes to installing stoves as they are classed as not habitable. Obviously whether a building is classed as habitable or not is down to interpretation. If separate from the main dwelling and not slept in overnight would reasonably classed as not habitable.
Planning permission? In most cases, the answer is no. You would have to be somewhere unusual to require permission and you would probably already be aware of this situation.
For a small wood burner, prices start from as little as £499 and range up to around £1,000.
If you are getting an installer in you will also need to budget for the installation costs (typically one day with an installer and his apprentice). The exact price for installation will vary a great deal depending on the exact locations and type of shed, garage or summerhouse you have. You can expect prices in the range of £500 plus the cost of the materials.
Of course, if you are self installing it is just the cost of the materials and the kit mentioned further down in this article will be perfect.
An insulated chimney (gets about as hot as a radiator generally), will cost as low as £500.
You can design your own but it it is easier to choose one of our shed kits (see below). Some people use the shed kit as an example to learn from and then design their own. Use this list of parts to design your own but remember that all flue pipes each need a narrow locking band.
For best results a minimum length of chimney height above the stove is required (the higher the chimney the better the draw). With modern twin wall chimney materials this can be as low as 3m (3m of chimney above the stove). The higher the better as draw is improved and any smoke is less likely to set neighbours.
Please watch our 6-minute video for more info on this topic.
Any vertical combustible surfaces near your stoves should be protected with a heat shield. This is a non-combustible material that will protect the roof and walls of your wooden building. Heat shields are made from non-combustible materials, and they are fitted with a small air gap between the wall and the shield.
Depending on the location of your stove, and the layout of your small room, you may need shields at both the back and side of the stove.
See our article Distance to Combustibles.
The 4kW Saltfire Scout has a supplied integral rear heat-shield and this ensures a very low distance to combustibles at the rear of the stove of just (100mm) 4"). So no heat shield on the wall required.
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.
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 logburners (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).