LOOK THROUGH ANY WINDOW…
There is such a bewildering array of models in the wood burning stove market that it is hard to know where to start.
Fortunately we have assembled a very representative range of stoves of all shapes and sizes, covering all the bases from contemporary to classic styling and from wood burners to multi-fuel stoves, using only top-quality manufacturers.
The Westfire range from Denmark is representative of the modern design style that uses steel for the main stove construction and finishes it off with a cast iron door. The result is an attractive ‘face’ which also has the function of retaining heat for longer. The total weight is less than for all-cast models. Westfire also use lightweight vermiculite fire bricks for added heat insulation.
The steel legs and overall design of this range also allows some of them to keep the floor heat below 100 degrees, thus permitting the use of a thin 12mm hearth/floor plate. This aids installation and opens up the possibility of an attractive glass plate, or other designs in granite or resin. Steel can be used, but it has to have a base layer of non-combustible material under it. You can shop for pre-made shapes of plate – square, rectangular, curved-corner, teardrop or semi-circles are available according to taste and the available space.
Some Westfire models also carry DEFRA approval for use in smoke control areas. And the Uniq 23 model has an unusual side glass feature for added fire visibility.
Pevex offers traditional cast iron styles, 9 of which are on offer here, from the little Bohemia 30 that is ideal for narrowboats, holiday homes and summerhouses, to the very popular 50 and 60, both with a choice of single, double or cast door. The Suffolk range includes the big-selling Orford, with a riddling grate which allows the use of other fuels: unusually it has a small 4″ flue outlet which will need an adapter to step up to a larger flue. It is approved for 12mm thick hearths. Like all of the stoves stocked by the website, it features the modern airwash technology that aids efficient burning and keeps the glass clean.
Wolverton’s stoves are distinguished by the fact that they are all designed for multi-fuel use. The range starts with the Kinsale, which at only £82 is comfortably the cheapest stove here. A traditional ‘pot belly’ cast iron stove, it is great for residential boats, huts, garages and small nooks. Despite its old-fashioned charm, it has a thoroughly modern 91% efficiency.
The larger Wolverton stoves are traditionally styled and claim an amazing 93-95% efficiency. This is all the more creditworthy given that some other manufacturers compromise their efficiency by trying to offer multi-fuel capability. The clever design feature of having a cast iron-lined firing chamber is perhaps the secret of Wolverton’s success.
Firebelly is proud to offer a British hand-made range of stoves with an unfussy appeal that fits in with most interiors. They use Teknilite fire bricks for added heat retention. Another good design feature is their stay-cool door handle. The FB1 is offered in 2 colours and has an attractive arched-top door.
Particularly noteworthy is their FB2 double-sided 12kW model with glass windows that create a very special ambience. It is the obvious choice if you want or have to have a chimney set in the middle of a room.
Saey’s Belgian stoves are traditional cast iron in construction. Their unusual point of difference is that most models include an extra side door. Not much use if you intend to set it back into a recess but if you have space all round, you can load up long logs more easily. The 94 model has a full riddling grate, while the big 96 has a very powerful 13 kW output. Its equally heavy-duty weight of 164kg needs to be carefully considered before you commit to buying.
The largest range being offered is that of the French manufacturer Invicta. When you see their fascinating range of styles, including some unique contemporary stoves, it is not surprising. The excellent quality of the manufacturing is also evident. They have brought something fresh and original to the UK market since their launch here in 2008. They are cast iron and carry the ‘Flamme Verte’ seal of approvak for having CO emissions of below 0.3% and at least 70% efficiency (although the latter figure is also met by all other stoves mentioned here).
Among the many noteworthy Contemporary designs (out of no less than 14 on offer) is Poele, with a quirky-shaped glass in its door. Note that its metric outlet, like all those from Invicta, requires an adapter to fit an imperial-measure flue, so budget for an extra £50 or so.
The Oxo model is egg-shaped, and as a result has a rear-only exit. The Oracle and Chamane stoves are upright, which may suit narrow openings, or maybe you like the look, but the drawback is that you have to cut all your logs down to 330mm or less. The same restriction applies to the amazing wigwam-styled Tipi.
Pharos and Antaya both have a single pedestal foot, one being vertical the other horizontal in layout.
Weighing in at a super-heavyweight 225kg is the Odysee. You have to check the strength of your footing with any of these cast iron models, but the Invicta models do not skimp on specification and they are particularly chunky. The biggest models are expensive at over £2000 but these are mostly well below the normal price when bought from the website.
Traditional models from Invicta (11 models offered) start with the tubular Sologne, which like many traditional styles is a rear-only exit type. (Do bear this in mind if you are restricted by the location of the stove relative to the chimney). Several of their traditional types are enlivened by colour options, with 7 hues on offer in the case of the Modena model. This is a good manufacturer to choose if you want to break away from the conventional.