10 Most Efficient Wood Stoves On The Market: What’s the Best Wood Stove For Your Home?
“I’ve had this heater for years, and it works amazing!”
Cool. But did you hear that the EPA lowered their emission guidelines when it comes to wood stove safety
And just like that, you have to look for a safer wood burner that won’t poison your family. Luckily we have the 10 best wood stove options that are 2023 EPA certified. We even threw in an option that can heat your house for 25 hours straight.
So chop your wood, start seasoning it and let’s get fired up!
Stay Warm & Cozy With These 10 Best Wood Stove Models
Do you need a small stove or a massive one? Free-standing or pedestal? Not sure? Have a look at the best wood-burning stoves that are safe for your space.
Here is a short comparison table for our wood stove reviews.
Still unsure which wood-burning stove is best for you and your home? Continue reading for an in-depth review of each stove.
Wood stove manufacturer Drolet is one of the best and trusted brands in either big or small wood stoves for residential use. As a matter of fact, we have three Drolet models on our list, and we’ve crowned Legend III as the best wood burning stove or better yet the best wood burning stove in the world!
With 78% efficiency, it’s also one of the most efficient wood stove units on the market!
The Drolet Legend III unit is a middle-range stove with a good mix of size and efficiency for small to medium spaces. Here’s why it’s our top pick.
It heats a good amount of space using the least fuel possible. With this unit, you get a big firebox that holds 3.3 cu. ft. of 20-inch logs. In wood stove language, that’s more than enough fuel to last the night.
A full firebox gives enough radiant heat to warm up around 2,000 square feet of living space. For bigger areas, you can turn on the blower that comes with the package. Don’t worry, though. The blower of Drolet Legend III is larger and operates way quieter than the budget pick
Now it doesn’t have the same emission rating as the Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove, but it makes up for it by producing more heat per hour – 30,000 BTU more than our cleanest-burning wood stove pick! Since it outputs more heat, you don’t have to keep it running (or, in this case, burning) for hours, which saves you from adding more wood and inhaling harmful fumes.
If you want an even bigger unit, check out our review on the HT3000 model listed towards the end of this article.
You don’t have to chop off your legs and arms to get one of the most efficient wood stove insert models on the market because the Englander Wood Stove can keep your living room warm and toasty. It even comes with a blower at no extra cost to you.
Saving you from the extra expense and effort in reinforcing the living room’s heat-proof wall is its wrap-around heat shields. These shields are thick enough that you will have less installation clearance for unprotected combustibles like your couch or other furniture.
Not too near, though. We recommend keeping your valuables at least 4 feet away from the stove (1).
The insulation also traps the heat in so your stove burns longer – it can keep your house nice and toasty for up to 10 hours!
So, what about that freebie?
The complimentary blower circulates the generated heat across 2,000 square feet. However, it’s not something you’d want in operation while you’re watching TV in the living room – it emits an overwhelmingly loud humming sound.
It’s not a dealbreaker, though. Whenever the area is already warm, turn it off, and you can watch Netflix or read a book in peace. Or, if you are willing to spend the extra cash, upgrade to a larger blower.
Overall, you get a good-quality, all-inclusive wood stove insert. But don’t forget that it’s still 2020 EPA certified and comes with a freebie. Without a doubt, it’s our budget pick for the best wood stove with blower.
We’ll just jump right into the main selling point for this next item – it keeps your home warm and cozy for 25 hours straight and without filling it with toxic fumes.
No, you didn’t read that wrong. It heats the space for twenty-five hours, and you can save your lungs from inhaling volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, and hazardous air pollutants.
It’s not a marketing gimmick, though. We’re pretty sure that this wood stove’s clean burn is a result of the brand’s groundbreaking patented catalytic combustion system called “TruHybrid.”
Sounds fancy and complicated – we know! But to sum it up, it utilizes three combustion systems for maximum heat production while minimizing emission. How minimal? 0.54 g/hr! That’s a crazy clean burn if you compare it to our budget choice’s 1.9 g/h rating.
You don’t even waste thousands of dollars on building a chimney because you can vent it out back for a wall-mounted system. You can even install this wood stove in a corner because you can place the sideload on the main door’s right or left section. Talk about wood stove installation versatility!
Need an extra push to grab the Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove? Well, it’s one of the few wood stoves that you can customize the finish to match your living room’s interior.
Now, of course, all that customization and clean, efficient burning come at a price. That doesn’t even include the blower and heat shields.
Most of today’s wood stoves look and operate the same way. Sometimes, you just want to do things the old-fashioned way. It’s the best wood stove-no electricity needed, just plain wood burning in a cast-iron stove.
US Stove’s US1269E Wood Stove gives precisely that. It even has built-in cooktops for heating the water you collected from your rain barrel. Just remember that it’s always set on high and nothing else.
Since it doesn’t have electric components, you can run this off the grid. Free heat sounds excellent, right? You can use this together with a wind turbine to heat and power your home.
And this wood stove features a different kind of ambiance. While other wood stoves have a clear viewing glass door, this one gives you an open, unobstructed front-row seat while the flames flicker and dance.
Yes, you need to open its cast iron door to enjoy the view. Just don’t put carpet or any other flammable items near the stove – embers can shoot from the box!
Unfortunately, this stove is not approved for mobile homes because its lack of controlled vents can overheat an extra small area fast. Plus, it doesn’t come with heat shields or insulation for safety.
All in all, it’s the best small wood stove for expert users or those that want to learn the old-school way of keeping a cabin warm.
Unlike our top choice for the best wood-burning stove, the Drolet Blackcomb II Wood Stove‘s burn time is just about 6 hours. That’s 4 hours lower, but it burns enough to show off a nice kindle through the glass.
Tiny house folks, apartment dwellers, or log cabin owners that don’t need a giant wood-burning stove will still appreciate this Drolet model. It’s wider than the Legend III model but has close to half the firebox size.
Being wider than deep makes it easier to manage the coals and drop the ashes into the ash pan. You don’t have to reach far to stoke the fire, leaving fewer chances to burn yourself along the sides.
And we know, a major concern for heating a small space is carbon monoxide poisoning and heating efficiency. Well, you are in safe hands.
Unlike the US Stove US1269E Wood Stove, this small wood stove from Drolet is approved for mobile home use. The CO emission is way lower than the other two Drolet wood stoves, but the efficiency is still at par with both units.
It’s slightly cheaper than our top pick because of its lower heating power. Plus, there’s one thing to consider – it doesn’t have a blower included in the package. But then again, who needs a blower for heating a small space?
The Pleasant Hearth Wood Stove With Blower is another affordable wood stove for a medium-sized space. Instead of a cast-iron construction, it uses stainless steel material, making it lighter and easier to assemble the legs and removable ash pan.
But don’t count this out to give you warmth during cold winter nights. This wood stove keeps in the heat with the brick-lined firebox. Don’t worry about chopping logs into smaller pieces because there’s enough allowance to accommodate 21-inch logs.
The stove has a sliding cold air control knob and baffle control. These are supposed to help with the efficiency of this stove. But even without running the free blower, this Pleasant Hearth wood stove runs less efficiently than all the previous items with blowers.
If you’re looking for a smaller and slightly cheaper wood stove than our budget pick, this particular stove is an excellent alternative. But do know that there are tradeoffs for saving a few bucks – higher emission and lower heat efficiency.
With Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P Wood Stove‘s black finish combined with brushed nickel hardware, this wood stove screams a pleasing modern industrial design fitted for almost any interior theme. And, “looking great” is just the tip of the iceberg – this sleek wood-burning stove performs well too.
Making a cold small to medium space toasty and warm is this stove’s high 68,000 BTU per hour power. It has multiple ignition tubes to burn as much out of the wood as it can. Don’t get confused. This wood-burning stove uses non-catalytic combustion. The ignition tubes do an efficient enough job since it’s EPA certified.
However, if you want a longer burn time, you’re better off using this in areas like the basement or a small guest room under 1,000 square feet. That’s assuming you want the heat to last the night. You can still heat up to 1,200 square feet if you purchase the blower (sold separately) to circulate the warm air.
It is one of the best small wood stoves that look sleek and modern at a budget-friendly price tag. But considering its efficiency, heat output, room size heating capacity, and the added cost to purchase the blower, our budget choice is a more sensible purchase.
Not all wood-burning stove models in our review (and the wood stove market in general) are customizable. So, when we found out that the Osburn 2000 OB02015 Wood Stove With Blower offers a degree of customizability, we were surprised.
Although a bit limited, you can choose between a pedestal or free-standing base and either a black or nickel finish for the door. Now, we know you’re probably thinking, “are these options free?”
Sadly, it’s not. The door and base options are costly add-ons. The upside? You at least get a variable speed blower included in the wood stove base price. Other optional accessories are available too.
If the price didn’t scare you off and you still want this wood stove, that’s great because the technology that goes into the stove is enough to justify your purchase.
It comes with built-in secondary air tubes that contribute to a cleaner burn. It’s nowhere near the rating of Hearthstone stove, but it well passes to be EPA certified. Plus, it’s versatile enough to heat small or big spaces overnight.
If you fill the extra-large firebox and use the blower, you can quickly warm a room up to 2,000 square feet. For smaller spaces, you can use fewer wood logs and keep the blower off.
If a product saves you money in the long run, I’d say that’s a worthwhile buy.
The Drolet HT3000 is the biggest among the Drolet units we have. With this stove, you don’t need a blower to warm up a 2,700 square feet room – now that’s a beast of a heater!
Most of the credit goes to the huge firebox and the thickened top panel that keeps the heat in. But, that’s not all.
The damper and air vent controls are highly responsive to the slightest turn. Heat doesn’t escape from a fully shut damper, so you can save yourself from getting up in the middle of the night to add more wood.
What you do need to worry about is having too much heat. Sometimes even the handle stem warms up enough to scorch your hand. That said, you need to get a wood stove thermometer for this bad boy. And always use heat-proof gloves when managing the fire.
Another downside is the weight. At over 500 pounds, this is the heaviest stove on our list. You need at least three people to carry and set this up. But it’s all worth it to have one of the best wood-burning stoves for big houses.
If Drolet HT3000 Wood Stove’s size heating capacity is still not enough for your family, Ashley Hearth AW3200E-P Wood Stove heats a whopping 3,200 square feet and doesn’t sacrifice air quality.
Unlike the Drolet HT3000, this steel-constructed wood-burning stove weighs less. It keeps the heat contained using a layer of firebricks. But even with that inside, this monster wood stove can still accommodate 30 pounds of 22-inch wood cords. That’s more than enough fuel to last the night!
Pro tip: When selecting the best wood for wood stove, stick to hardwoods like oak and maple.They are denser and have less sap for a hotter and longer burn.
All the woodstove features could easily make this the best wood stove with a blower on the list. But going over some reviews, we found out that brick damage during transport happens. It’s not a rampant occurrence, but happening more than twice is enough for us to reconsider. Nobody wants to be disappointed with a best seller arriving damaged!
Since this stove provides so much heat, it can effectively heat medium-sized homes or an entire house! And it comes with an adjustable high-speed blower. It’s a bargain if you’re open to the possibility of losing a few bricks.
Best Wood Stove Blower Buying Guide
Time to get up close and technical with the wood stove features. You need to understand how they operate so that you can have the right stove for your heating needs.
British Thermal Units (BTU)
The first thing you need to be familiar with is the British Thermal Unit, or BTU for short. It is the unit of measurement that determines how much energy your wood-burning stove needs to change the temperature of a given space (2).
There are a whole lot of factors that affect this. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on the key terms from the definition: temperature and space.
The average lowest temp in your area is a good basis for an estimate. You can’t add heat to a maxed-out stove, but you can lessen it.
So how do you gauge the BTU rating based on these factors? You can compute the rough BTU estimate using the room size (in cubic feet) and the temperature that you want to achieve in the said room (3). Now you need to use this formula:
BTU per hour = (cubic footage of the room) x (desired temperature change) x 0.133
So let’s say you have a single room with a square footage of 900 and a 10-foot ceiling. You want to heat it to a cozy 71 degrees because it’s a chilly 35 degrees outside. Here’s how you do it using the formula:
BTU per hour = (900 square feet. x 10 feet) x (71-35) x 0.133
= 9,000 x 36 x 0.133
BUT per hour = 43,092
Now you know that you need a wood stove with a BTU rating of 38,304 (or slightly higher) to heat 9,000 sq. ft. of living space to a comfy 71 degrees.
In the example above, the most appropriate wood stove would be the US Stove US1269E Wood Stove with a 54,000 BTU/hr rating.
Wood Stove Efficiency
As with everything you work with, you want things done as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to waste money, time, and resources just to get partial results. The same thing goes for wood-burning stoves.
What Exactly Is Considered As An Efficient Stove?
Measuring how much heat a wood stove makes and how much it transfers are entirely different things. After all, you can’t all just cuddle up near a fire all day, every day. So as far as heating spaces go, choose one with a high heat transfer efficiency (4).
“The majority of wood stoves can be found with efficiency ratings of between 60 and 80%, with some models even reaching into the 90’s for efficiency.”
Going with more efficient space heating wood stoves lets you spend more time enjoying the fire. You spend less time worrying about getting more firewood and then chopping and seasoning the wood to have a high-efficiency burn.
All of the wood-burning stoves on our list are considered efficient. But the Drolet Legend III Wood Stove With Blower is the most efficient wood stove for the space it heats.
Factors Affecting Efficiency
A wood stove’s manufacturer settings aren’t a guarantee that your space heats up efficiently. You have to know how to keep optimizing the efficiency of your wood stoves. Aside from choosing high-efficiency wood, here are what you can consider:
- Room size & layout: Heat from wood stoves moves through the spaces in your house through convection (5). So an open space heats faster than one with dividers or walls. The Ashley Hearth AW3200E-P Wood Stove heats the biggest area most efficiently.
- Insulation: The better insulated your house is, the better it keeps the heat in. Otherwise, the heat escapes through thin walls, cracks, or tiny holes.
- Windows: For obvious reasons, make sure you close windows when running your wood stove. Double glazing is a way of adding insulation and keeping the heat in (6). It is a good idea for cabins with lots of large windows.
Types of Wood Stoves
Burning wood for heat is different from using a space heater or an electric wall heater. And it’s more than just lighting a fire on a pile of cord wood. You need a system of vents and elements that help burn the wood produce heat. You have two main types of wood-burning stoves based on how they burn logs (7).
- Non-catalytic wood stoves have a baffle plate that keeps hot air and gas inside the firebox. It creates a combusting environment that burns as much fuel as possible. Almost all the wood-burning stoves on our list use non-catalytic combustion.
- Catalytic wood stoves are more complex. They have specialized catalysts that burn the gas created by burning wood. The system is more efficient since it uses wood and gas to generate heat. But these catalytic stoves cost more initially and need regular maintenance over time.
The Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove is our only catalytic wood stove on the list – now you know why it costs a fortune!
The type of base is also something to think about. Wood stoves like the Osburn 2000 OB02015 Wood Stove With Blower have a pedestal and freestanding options.
Pedestals are generally more stable because of the solid base. It’s also safer because nothing can roll under it unnoticed. Meanwhile, freestanding wood stoves are more stylish and less bulky to look at.
Emission Rates And EPA Certification
The topic of emission extends past environmental air pollution. It includes your home health and safety. Wood burning stoves emit toxic fumes into the area it warms. There is a safe level of these gases that won’t affect you in the long run.
This is where the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA comes in. They perform quality checks on every heat-producing machine. We made sure that we listed the best wood stoves that pass the updated New Source Performance Standards (8).
“In 2020, the NSPS emission limit for new room heaters was lowered to 2.0 grams per hour if tested with crib wood*, or 2.5 grams per hour if tested with cord wood.”
The best wood stoves have a low emission rating. And they burn cleanly, letting you use less wood and save money in the long run. More importantly, an EPA-certified wood stove guarantees that you’re breathing clean air. So you don’t have to worry about getting carbon monoxide, black carbon, and methane poisoning.
The best wood stove in terms of lowest emission is the Hearthstone Heritage Soapstone Wood Stove, emitting only 0.54 g/hr.
The burn time of wood stoves refers to how long one load of wood burns at optimum conditions (9). Let’s take the Drolet Blackcomb II Wood Stove, for example. The specs say it burns for 6 hours with a BTU of 65,000.
An important thing to note is that the BTU value listed is the highest heat value that it produces. You can set this to low by adjusting the damper. When it burns on low, then it can last for 6 hours. So actually, this wood-burning stove has a lower burn time when you run it on its highest BTU rating.
The type of wood you use also affects burn time. Hardwood like oak and maple are high-efficiency wood. They burn longer than softer or less dense wood like fir or pine. It’s also important to use seasoned or dry wood (10).
Using freshly cut wood takes longer to burn because the moisture needs to burn off. The steam also lowers the temperature making the burn less efficient.
Matching the length and width of the available logs to your wood stove firebox size is vital to increase efficiency. Fewer but bigger logs are better than a big pile of small chips or wood pellets.
If you notice, the Drolet HT3000 Wood Stove can fit several 22-inch logs inside its firebox. The result is a long burn time over an ample space.
Compared to old-fashioned stoves, modern wood stoves are sleeker and more stylish. But that doesn’t take away from their function or efficiency. It all boils down to the effectiveness of the materials the stove manufacturers use.
Cast iron is the go-to material for heat-related builds. Although it takes longer to heat up, it retains heat longer than others (11). However, cast iron is expensive, heavy, and tends to crack over time. So if you buy a cast-iron wood-burning stove, use it sparingly.
The Pleasant Hearth Wood Stove With Blower uses a cast iron door with a ceramic glass window. Doors need to be heavy-duty because it’s the only moving part of the stove. It needs to withstand the heat and pressure of combustion.
Plate steel is a common option for modern wood stoves because it’s durable, maintains heat, and not as heavy as cast iron. It’s basically compressed steel with at least 6mm thickness (12). Unlike cast iron, plate steel heats up faster and cools faster. The Ashley Hearth AW1120E-P Wood Stove uses plate steel to achieve an elegant look.
Soapstone is a premium material for wood burners. It’s not only beautiful, but it’s the best material for retaining heat. The cleanest burning stove on our list uses soapstone and has the longest burn time of 25 hours.
Working and maintaining a wood stove takes a lot of work. Check out these add-ons to make things easier for you.
Choosing an air wash system like the one in the Englander Wood Stove keeps the glass clean from ashes and soot. Watch how it works.
Also, having a large ash drawer like that of the Osburn 2000 OB02015 Wood Stove With Blower helps prevent coals from falling on the floor.
No, you do not need permission to install a wood-burning stove in a detached, privately owned building. But if you are renting, living in a shared building, or using a mobile home, always check your city’s building code before installing a wood-burning stove.
Yes, you can get carbon monoxide poisoning from a wood burning stove if it is not EPA certified. But even if your wood stove is EPA approved, you should also clean your chimney periodically. Make sure the emissions are leaving your chimney and not leaking into your house.
A wood stove blower uses between 75-400 watts per hour (13). As of this writing, you can spend anywhere between $9.50 – $37.99 for three months running 8hrs/day every day. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. But generally, small stoves heating bigger square footage are the ones that need a blower.
- Wood Heat. Retrieved from: https://www.e3a4u.info/energy-technologies/wood-heat/step-6-installation-and-maintenance/
- What are BTUs? Retrieved from: https://www.efireplacestore.com/what-are-btus.html
- How Many BTUs You Need To Heat Your Home, Shop, Garage, And More. Retrieved from: https://www.ferrellgas.com/tank-talk/blog-articles/how-many-btus-you-need-to-heat-your-home-shop-garage-and-more/
- Are Wood Burning Stoves Efficient? Retrieved from: https://fireplaceuniverse.com/are-wood-burning-stoves-efficient/
- Heat Transfer in a Wood Stove. Retrieved from: http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/webproj/211_fall_2014/Diloola_Erickson/diloola_erickson/heat_transfer_in_woodstove.html
- What Are Double Glazed Windows? Retrieved from: https://build.com.au/what-are-double-glazed-windows
- Choosing the Right Wood Burning Stove. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/choosing-right-wood-burning-stove
- EPA Certified Wood Burning Stove. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/epa-certified-wood-stoves
- Burn Times Explained: How they Work & How to Maximize Yours. Retrieved from: https://www.regency-fire.com/en/Blog/Burn-Times-Explained-How-they-Work-How-to-Maximize
- Wood Heating. Retrieved from: https://forestry.usu.edu/forest-products/wood-heating
- Different Stove Materials and their Advantages. Retrieved from: https://www.tips.adurofire.com/knowledge-and-useful-advice/choosing-a-wood-burning-stove/different-stove-materials-and-their-advantages/
- What is the Difference Between Sheet and Plate Steel? Retrieved from: https://sciencing.com/difference-between-sheet-plate-steel-7798826.html
- How Many Watts Does A Wood Stove Blower Use? Retrieved from: https://askinglot.com/how-many-watts-does-a-wood-stove-blower-use
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.