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Best small wood burning stoves for your small room, cabin, shed, tent or boat

Best small wood wood burning stoves for 2020 are?

We test all stoves for a minimum 40 hours and here is a quick run down of the best small wood burners...

  • Salamander Hobbit (cast iron, multi fuel)
  • Ekol Crystal 5 (cast iron, multi fuel)
  • Saltfire ST-X4 (steel, multi fuel)
  • Saltfire Peanut 3 (steel, multi fuel)
  • Ekol Clarity 5 (steel, multi fuel)
  • Ekol Applepie (multi fuel small stove 4kW)

Find more information on these models further in this article.

The above are small wood burning stoves generally suited to "tiny" rooms. Looking for a small stove for a typical British lounge? Then check out this list of small stove Eco-Design over-achievers

Ekol Applepie range

Why might you need a small logburner?

Smaller wood stoves, with a small fire box, are ideal for the smaller room or fireplace. Fit a large 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 logburners. Imagine having your working day improved by the ambience of a real fire.

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 wood burning appliances since they were invented many moons ago and the small stove is a perfect fit.

How much warmth will I get from a small wood stove?

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 5-8kW, 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.

It is worth mentioning that a dry, well-seasoned log, ideally from an approved source, emit far more heat than damp or unseasoned logs.

What are the best small wood stoves? We pick our top 6 favourites...

The new ApplePie small wood burning stove range looks amazing on any hearth. This exciting new range is multi fuel, modular, with optional side shelves, oven and log store. The standard ApplePie design even includes a pizza cooker. This appliance has a 4" outlet. Price is a little more than other models but worth every penny in our experience. Generally good stock levels.

The cast iron and contemporary Saltfire Peanut 3 range is a lovely recent addition to the world of small stoves. 4" outlet as standard. Mid price and in stock as a rule.

Other wood burning stove ranges from Salamander, Ekol and Saltfire complete the small stove design lineup with all having both steel and cast iron stoves to offer.

The Hobbit, by Salamander Stoves, again with a 4" outlet, is only available in cast iron and this small stove design has been around for over a decade. It was made famous by an appearance on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces in 2015. The result was a national Hobbit shortage. The Hobbit is an exceptionally well made cast iron stove for the price and, as most of our stoves, we strive to keep a healthy level of stock.

All of the above stoves are DEFRA approvedwith 4" or 5" flue and all are designed to work best with a small log.

If you are in a smoke control area you will need to ensure that your stove is DEFRA approved. Stoves of 5kW or less do not usually require an air vent and, if DEFRA approved, can go on a 5" flue system.

Cast or steel? To be honest it really does not matter so much. Cast iron take a little longer to heat up but hold the heat longer at the end of a burning cycle.

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Width 300mm Height 460mm

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Width 395mm Height 540mm

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Width 395mm Height 489mm

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Width 348mm Height 480mm

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Width 397mm Height 533mm

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Width 305mm Height 470mm

Can I burn anything else on a wood stove?

All of the wood burning stoves mentioned in this article can burn wood, coal or smokeless fuel (they are all multi fuel) If you are burning wood, to get the maximum efficiency from your log burner, please ensure the wood is dry and seasoned.

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.

Are small stoves safe to install in wooden buildings or canvas tents?

Yes, if installed correctly. Small wood burning appliances do though have a surprisingly good heat output. A chimney is created from "clip together" insulated flue pipe (often called twin wall pipe). Insulated flue pipe can be as close to combustible materials as 5cm (maybe 7cm if boxed in or passing through a cavity). You will have to also be aware of the stove's requirements as this will require a hearth (to protect the floor underneath) and will have to be a certain distance from combustible materials. Please read our articles on hearths and on distance to combustibles and shields.

Wood burning stove in a boat or caravan (worth a look for a shed/shack as well)

A wood burning stove is a great way to heat your boat and many people do benefit from such a situation. Canal boats are often heated with small stoves. Click the image to the right for a superb information sheet from The Solid Fuel Technology Institute (opens a new page in your browser).

Wood burning stove in a shed

A wood burning stove is a great way to heat your shed or summer house. You don't have to worry about electricity or plumbing running out to your shed. All you have to do is build a fire when you want it, and your respite from the world will be heated. Wood stoves not only offer heat, but they also create a welcoming and relaxing feel to the space.

If you can choose the location of your stove so that it can be seen from your garden, then you can enjoy your fire all year round and make your garden a more enjoyable place to be. This can be ideal for dining al fresco, or for keeping a garden party going after the sun has set. Stoves and the warm glow of a fire can give your garden much more potential so you can use it long into the night.

How much does a stove suitable for a shed cost?

For a small wood burning stove, prices start from as little as £475 and range up to around £1,000. If you have a larger shed that can take a larger stove, then the price may be higher than this, depending on the style and make of the stove.

If getting an installer in you will also need to budget for the installation costs. The exact price for installation will vary a great deal depending on the exact locations and type of shed or summerhouse you have. You can expect prices in the range of £500 plus the cost of the materials (probably another £500).

Of course, if you are self installing it is just the cost of the materials and this kit will be perfect.

What type of stove is best when it comes to sheds?

There are a lot of styles of stove to choose from. For a shed, you will usually want a small wood burning stove. Some have integrated log storage which can be handy, as it will save you from going out in the cold when your stove needs topping up with combustibles.

Ultimately, it is a matter of preference. The best stove is one that fits in the space, and that you like the design of. Check out the small stoves on this page or view all of our stoves.

What size stove for a shed?

For most summerhouse spaces, a 4kW stove is probably the right choice. You can use a calculator to check what heat output would be best (you can find out more here). This is based on the space inside your shed. However, unless you have a huge shed, a 4kW stove output is probably the right size for you. While small, it will produce a lovely cosy fire and plenty of heat.

These are small wood burners that will heat the room well but not take up too much room. Remember, you must consider the available area. Please try to measure the height and length carefully – they can take up more space than you think!

Does it matter where the stove goes?

If you can, it is best to make sure that the flue of the stove will be more than 2.3m in length from the outer wall of your home (see the 6 minute video on this page). Flues closer than this have to be taller than your home. If it's beyond this distance, it only has to be 1m above the top of your shed's roofline. For best results a minimum m of chimney height above the stove is required (higher the chimney the better the draw). Inside the shed, the stove should be no closer than specified in the stove manual to the nearest combustible material. See our article Distance to Combustibles.

Can I legally put a wood burning stove in a wooden building?

Most sheds are compatible with wood burning stoves and, usually, if not attached to the main house no signing-off or permission is required. It's easiest to install them in outhouses that have wood or metal roofs. If your shed has a glass or plastic roof, then it can be more challenging to install the flue pipe and chimney (see our article about stoves in a conservatory).

How do you install a wood burning stove in a shed?

First, you choose the location. Then a heat resistant surface is placed (the hearth), if there isn't already one. The stove is placed on the hearth.

Next, heat shields are placed on any walls near the stove to protect them from getting too hot. A hole is made in the roof for the flue pipe and chimney which is then constructed. Finally, the roof flashing is sealed back up around the flue. Easy peasy!

Do you need planning permission for a log burner?

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.

What should I put behind my wood stove?

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.

Can I get small stoves from Stovefitter's Warehouse?

Yes. We keep these stoves in stock and offer free delivery. Please call us if you require further information on any of our products.

Also, check out our short chimney kit designed especially for small buildings

Chimney flue kit for sheds and shacks (click an image)

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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.