Pro tips

Dossier: What is the best wood stove? – Part 1

By Martine Rolland

| October 27, 2021

Are you considering buying a wood stove soon? At Coval, your satisfaction is important to us and we know that it can be difficult to know where to start your search. Indeed, many people regularly ask us: “What is the best wood stove? However, the question is rather: “ How to determine which model best suits your heating needs? “Is there one better than the others? In fact, there are several general and situation-specific factors to consider. This is why we offer you a complete file on the subject, so that you can make an informed decision. Discover with us the three articles that make up this dossier, starting with this one on construction quality and design.

WHAT IS A WOOD STOVE?

It is not uncommon for stoves to be confused with fireplaces. Indeed, both look alike and allow heating. However, unlike the fireplace, the wood stove is self-supporting, that is to say that it requires no support and no construction or installation within a partition, making it easy to integrate into a room. Its discharge pipe is also usually visible.

Several companies, here and abroad, specialize in the design of these devices, such as Jøtul, a Norwegian company with more than 160 years of expertise, Pacific Energy, an environmentally conscious Canadian leader dedicated to the manufacture of efficient stoves, Morsø, a Danish company creating unique Scandinavian-style products and True North, a Canadian company aiming for simplicity and performance. There are, of course, many other brands that manufacture wood stoves. Nevertheless, depending on your requirements, one or other of these companies will serve as an example to demonstrate what the market can offer you in order to obtain a product adapted to your situation and your expectations.

CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN

Since your new woodstove is likely to be located in the heart of your living room, it’s only natural that you want it to blend in with your décor and the aesthetics of your home. So you should pay great attention to its design and design when making your selection.

Choosing the Material

Wood stoves are commonly made of cast iron or steel. Popularized in Europe through Italian craftsmanship, freestanding appliances can also be fitted with ceramic panels (Earthenware). Stoves like the Alderlea series even combine steel and cast iron in one stove. Nevertheless, the vast majority of companies on the market uses just one of the traditional materials. They have very different characteristics.

Faïence : Clay-based ceramic that is soft and porous, enamelled or covered with an opaque and waterproof varnish.

Cast iron is more expensive, but also more durable since it results from an alloy of iron and carbon. It is not uncommon for these wood stoves to withstand several generations of users. Another advantage is that the heat that the cast iron appliance emits is more diffuse. It is called radiant heat. It could be compared to the heat one gets around a campfire, close to the flames. In such a case, the temperature of the surrounding air remains stable while objects or people feel comfortable warmth. Indeed, radiant appliances accumulate heat and thus heat a room in the long term. These pans often stay hot long after the fire has gone out.

However, the ambient temperature rises less quickly than with stoves made of steel. Usually thinner, steel has less mass and therefore heats up faster. The opposite is also true. More economical, the latter usually allow more modern and flexible finishes. They are therefore very versatile. Given the less radiant properties of this material, steel wood stoves mainly produce convection heat, which consists of reusing the hot air within the heating system to propel it through the house. The heat thus spreads more easily to other rooms, especially with an efficient and quiet fan system. If your home has usually humid and cold air, this type of device can help dry out the ambient air and stabilize the level of comfort.

QUALITY AND CONSTRUCTION

When shopping consider the quality of assembly. Indeed, it is sometimes better to invest in a more expensive product, but which will be more durable over the years. A poorly constructed stove, due to the heat, could lead to more knocking noises when in use due to the expanding metal. In addition, continuous high quality welds will prevent the stove from deforming in the long term unlike those made using the spot-welding method. For the joints, using cement will make the construction more durable and better insulated. In order to offer a resistant product, some companies also use floating parts during assembly. For example, the combustion chamber of Pacific Energy systems is not attached to the outer casing of the device, thus protecting the latter from excessive heat. Exposed to high temperatures, the expansion of materials can cause long-term damage. By choosing wisely designed appliances, you can extend the life of your wood stove.

It goes without saying that the materials used have their part to play in quality. If you decide on a cast-iron stove, you will be getting a highly durable product whose timeless style will not go out of style. When it comes to steel stoves, pay special attention to the thickness of the walls and the internal construction. Indeed, the heavier and more massive the steel, the more heat it will absorb. We advise you to avoid thin steel or stoves whose combustion chamber exposes the outer walls to the flames. Indeed, this could facilitate deformation or overheating of the metal. The product will deteriorate quickly, with the risk of splitting, twisting or changing color.

STYLE AND AESTHETICS

The appearance of your future wood stove should not be neglected! Cast iron is often associated with a more classic and country style, while steel gives a more modern look and offers more possibilities for customization. A unique and stylish device that meets your tastes will complement the room in which you install it. To make a good choice, consider where you will place it and what role it will have. Do you want to make it the center of attention or do you rather think of using it for purely utilitarian purposes? Answering these questions before you start your research will give you an idea of your needs. We encourage you to take inspiration on our site or on the sites of the various manufacturers to see the kind of style you can obtain according to the different models. You will see that the industry is no longer content to make square boxes in black color. Indeed, in terms of shapes, colors and sizes, you now have a wide range of choices to let your creativity run wild. Go ahead, explore!

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