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Wood burning or multifuel stove? A stove fitter decides.

From The Stovefitter's Manual by Julian Patrick

Quick answer

“Wood only” means the stove only burns wood. "Multifuel" means the stove can burn wood AND coal/smokeless fuel. Sometimes a multifuel kit can be retro-fitted to a wood-only stove (although this will usually reduce the space available for logs). Over 75% of people who choose multi fuel end up burning only wood. Wood-only is the trend (2015-2020) as wood is a renewable resource so better for the environment.

Most people who buy a multifuel stove will only ever burn wood.

My advice is that you go for "wood only".

Why? Read on to find out more.

So should you purchase a wood or a multifuel stove?

Let’s first look at some terminology. But before we start: DO NOT buy any stove until you know that it will fit wherever it is that it is going to be placed. If it is to live in a recess then is the space large enough for the stove, with the required air gap around, to both combustible and incombustible materials?

Wood burning stoves is a term often used to cover all appliances that burn wood/smokeless fuel/coal but officially it means that the appliance is designed to burn wood and nothing else.

One advantage of “wood-only” stoves is that none of the space within the stove is taken up by a "grate plus ash pan" so the internal firebox is usually maximised. Another advantage is the smug feeling of being environmentally friendly ;-). Are you a wood scavenger? This can be great fun.

How much wood can you get hold of is an excellent question to ask yourself. You can purchase wood of course, but if you do not wish to pay then you have to source it, store and dry it. If there are times when wood is difficult to get hold of then being able to add smokeless fuel is a benefit (but you can always buy compressed-sawdust logs which burn beautifully, better than wood because they are so dry). You can burn pallets despite what some say online - as long as they are untreated (many are made of wood that is untreated).

The advantage of owning a multifuel stove, that can burn different fuels, is that you can choose your fuel. The choice of fuels, from 2020 onwards, is between wood and smokeless-fuel (coal is being phased out by law).

I like wood-only stoves because wood is a renewable resource.

Will you choose a wood burning or a multifuel stove?