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.

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  1. 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

  2. Englander Wood Stove

    Englander wood 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; $899.

  3. 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; $2,999.

  4. Pleasant Hearth Wood Stove

    Pleasant hearth wood burning stove

    The 2,200-square-foot model from Pleasant Hearth comes highly rated by Amazon shoppers, who love the unit for its efficiency and large glass viewing door. With a front-loading cast iron door and brick-lined firebox, the Pleasant Hearth is a good choice for spaces up to 2,200-square-feet, and energy conscious buyers will enjoy the the EPA-certified 85% efficiency rating. Available at Amazon; $1,449.99.

  5. Pacific Energy Alderlea T4 Classic

    Pacific energy alderlea t4

    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.

  6. Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Stove

    Drolet high efficiency wood stove

    This high-efficiency wood stove from Drolet puts out a whole lot of heat—enough to keep a 2,400-square-feet home toasty warm. The spacious brick-lined firebox accommodates logs up to 22 inches long and an above-the-door air control feature makes this stove simple to operate. Available on Amazon; $1,509.99.

  7. Vermont Castings Defiant FlexBurn Wood Stove

    Vermont castings defiant

    Certified by the EPA, the Vermont Castings Defiant is made from 100% recycled materials and fabricated using renewable energy. While the top-loading design helps you burn hotter fires for longer, the thermostatic air control maintains a nice, steady heat. A limited lifetime warranty ensures that this stove will serve you well for many winters to come. Available at Blazing Embers; $3,159.

    Related: 7 Seriously Surprising Spots for a Fireplace

  8. US Stove EPA-Certified Wood Stove

    Us stove country hearth

    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; $1,109.99.