Buyer's Guide: The Best Wood Stoves

Anyone who's paid winter home heating costs knows the feeling of sticker shock. Heating the home comes with a steep price tag—as much as 45% of the average household budget. That's why many happy homeowners have turned to one of the oldest, most reliable, and least expensive forms of heat: wood. Today’s wood stoves have come a long way from the smelly, dirty, and often polluting pot-bellied monsters of the past. This new generation of wood stoves are more powerful, more efficient, and cleaner than old wood burners. When choosing a wood stove, it is important to select a model that fits the space. Over- or under-sized stoves are not as efficient, waste fuel, and contribute to air pollution. Heating power is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU), and will give you a good idea of how much juice you'll need to heat your home. For instance, 60,000 BTU can heat a 2,000-square-foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 BTU can heat a 1,300-square-foot space. Wood stoves are available in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, and are constructed of cast iron, plate steel, sheet metal, soapstone, tile, or a combination of these materials. Many newer models boast large, see-through, self-cleaning glass doors that allow you to enjoy the firelight, without spending too much time keeping the window clear. Other modern conveniences that come standard on many of today's models include removable ash pans, insulated door handles, thermostats, and air circulators or blowers. Another thing to consider when purchasing a wood stove is ventilation. If you have an existing chimney in your home, you may need to re-line the interior with stainless steel pipe to make the chimney compatible with a new high-efficiency stove. If you need to add a chimney, you may want to use a prefabricated metal chimney; make sure to match the flue size to the stove outlet. No matter what installation options you choose, you'll want to also install a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector in your home to stay fire-safety smart. Read on to see which top-performing wood stove reviewers and shoppers like best, and get your search off to the right start.

Lopi Endeavor Wood Stove

Lopi Endeavor Wood Stove

The reliable, EPA-certified Lopi Endeavor produces enough heat to warm up 2,000 square feet. The Endeavor is approved for use in mobile homes and alcoves, and comes with a bypass damper that prevents smoke backup and reduces the need to rekindle the fire. To maximize its functionality, the stove can be fitted with optional accessories like a blower that distributes heat and an “auto-start” feature with built-in igniter and bellows. Available at Lopi dealers; $2,000.

Related: 9 Reasons to Bring Back the Wood Stove

Vermont Castings Encore 2in1 Wood Stove

Vermont Castings Encore 2in1 Wood Stove

From Vermont Castings, one of the oldest and most reputable makers of wood stoves, the Encore impresses not only with its fine, last-a-lifetime craftsmanship, but also with a suite of friendly features that make this unit a pleasure to operate, even as its thermostatic air control maintains a nice, steady heat. Available at Amazon; $2,999.

Pleasant Hearth Wood Stove

Pleasant Hearth 1,800 Square Feet Wood Burning Stove

The 1,800-square-foot model from Pleasant Hearth comes highly rated by Amazon shoppers, who love it for its efficiency and large glass window. With a front-loading cast iron door and brick-lined firebox, the Pleasant Hearth is a good choice for all but the largest spaces, and for energy-conscious homeowners, as the unit has been certified by the EPA. Available at Amazon; $899.

Drolet Columbia Wood Stove

Drolet Columbia Wood Stove

This high-efficiency wood stove from Drolet puts out plenty of heat—enough to keep a 1,600-square-feet home toasty warm. A mid-size unit designed for efficiency and built for durability, the versatile, certified Columbia may even be used in a mobile home. Available on Amazon; $1,018.74.

Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove

Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove

For an upscale wood stove it doesn't get much better than the Hearthstone Heritage. Constructed of heat-holding soapstone, the walls of this model provide gentle, radiant heat for hours after the fire has died out, all without becoming hot to the touch, like steel or cast iron. The effect is a machine that's safe enough to use in households with young children and pets. The EPA-certified unit is also approved for use in mobile homes and alcoves, making it perfectly versatile. Available at Hearth Stone Stoves; $3,099.

Pacific Energy Alderlea T4 Classic

Pacific Energy Alderlea T4 Classic

Wood stove enthusiasts find much to love in the Alderlea T4 Classic from Pacific Energy. Easy to use and efficient, the stove is equipped with a concealed cooktop and swing-out warming shelves to keep dinner piping hot. The convenient ash chute makes cleaning easier than ever. Available from Pacific Energy dealers; $2,000.

Englander Wood Stove

Englander Model #30-NCH 2,400-square-foot Wood-Burning Stove

This American-made wood stove heats a 2,400-square-foot house, in part thanks to a built-in blower that moves heat effectively throughout the living space. Note that the legs of the stove add height and lend it the look of a sculptural pedestal. Available at Home Depot; $999.

US Stove EPA-Certified Wood Stove

US Stove 2,500 square foot EPA Certified Wood-Burning Stove with Blower

This 2,000-square-foot US Stove model offers a range of features at a competitive price. The quiet blower ensures a cozy and comfortable living space, while the vented design traps airborne impurities. The elegant, arched air-wash glass door is as charming as it is easy to clean. Available at Amazon; $924.69.

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