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Best wood burner 2023: Beautiful stoves for roaring log fires

Best wood burner

Stay inside and get cosy with our pick of the best wood burners for every home

It’s not just the warmth of a stove that makes the best wood burners so appealing. While central heating can keep your home toasty, it’s impossible to replicate the feeling that a real fire brings, with its smoky smell, crackling sounds and flickering lights. Of course, an open fire will do all those things but wood burners are a better choice all-round.

They use less fuel, so they’re more energy-efficient and they’re safer, as there aren’t any stray sparks when the door is closed. Wood burners are also controllable, in that you can limit the amount of air available to stop the heat from becoming too fierce.

Modern wood burners are also a smarter choice for the environment, producing far fewer emissions than an open fire or older stoves (see Ecodesign Ready below). Moreover, they create a stylish focal point in your room.

Below, you’ll find our roundup of the best wood burners you can buy right now, as well as our buying guide to help you find the right one for your needs and budget.

READ NEXT: The best electric heaters

Best wood burner: At a glance

How to choose the best wood burner for you

What size do I need?

Wood burners have different heat outputs, so choose one based on the volume of the space you’re heating. You can work out the room volume by multiplying the width and length by the height. For example, a 5 x 5m room with a 2m height would be 50 cubic metres – then you need to divide that figure by 14.

This will give you a figure that can be matched to the heat output for a wood burner, which is shown in kW. By choosing a suitable wood burner for the size of your room, you’ll be able to prevent the damage caused by the excess heat of overfiring – when there’s too much fuel or oxygen in the stove – or under-running it, which can result in higher emissions as well as damage to the flue and wood burner.

What does Ecodesign Ready mean?

Ecodesign is a European Standard that guarantees a wood burning stove meets a higher minimum efficiency, as well as a reduced maximum permitted level of NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions and carbon partial emissions.

From 1 January 2022, a European-wide law came into force, meaning that you cannot purchase or install a non-Ecodesign stove.

This is in addition to the current restrictions on wood burners that are determined by criteria in the Clean Air Act 1993. Check with your local authority to see if your property falls within a smoke control area. If so, you’ll also need the wood burner to be approved by DEFRA – check with the manufacturer or dealer if your preferred model is compliant. A clearSkies rating of 3, 4 or 5 is a good indicator that it’s compliant.

What’s the difference between wood burners and multi-fuel burners?

Multi-fuel stoves are able to burn multiple sources of fuel including wood, natural smokeless fuel and manufactured smokeless fuel, while wood burners should only be fuelled with logs. While a multi-fuel stove can provide you with more choice, some of the fuel choices, such as manufactured smokeless fuel, produce more CO2.

For the most efficient, eco-friendly burn, always fuel a wood burner with dry firewood. Ideally, the wood should be kiln-dried or have a maximum moisture content of 20%.

How much should I spend on a wood burner?

Designs and styles vary, but roughly, budget at least £500 for a compact wood burner, allowing up to £800+ for those with a higher heat output.

READ NEXT: Check out our favourite electric wood burners

The best wood burners to buy

1. Esse One Wood Burning Stove: The best wood burner on a budget

Price: £599 | Check price at Direct Stoves

Esse might be better known for its cast-iron range cookers but this wood burner has just as much to offer. Like Esse’s cookers, it’s British-made and built to last, with an improved efficiency of 82%, DEFRA-approval and good heat output for a mid-sized room (around 75m3). It’s also fairly short and compact, which is perfect for smaller hearths. Traditional in style, it has Esse’s logo on the door for the ultimate heritage feel.

While it’s relatively affordable, this does mean your options are quite limited. There’s only one colour to choose from – black – and it’s only suitable for wood burning. However, Esse also makes a wide range of multi-fuel models should you want to burn anything other than timber.

Key specs – Size: 41 x 37.2 x 51cm (WDH); Heat output: 5kW; Energy rating: A+; Guarantee: 5yrs

Check price at Direct Stoves

2. Stovax County 3 Wood Burning / Multifuel Stove: The best compact wood burner

Price: £865 | Check price at Direct Stoves

When space is in short supply, this compact model is a good choice. It’s less than 30cm deep and less than 40cm wide, so it should be able to squeeze into a smaller fireplace without fuss. What’s more, as it only needs a minimum 12mm hearth, you could happily install this in a garden room, summerhouse or even on a houseboat. Its heat output can drop to as low as 2kW depending on the size of your space and it has an efficiency of 78.1%, so you won’t need to keep constantly feeding it fuel throughout the day. It’s also DEFRA-approved.

An extra advantage is that the County 3 is a multi-fuel model, so you can burn coal or other solid fuel as well as wood. A smart solution for heating small spaces without a gas or electricity supply.

Key specs – Size: 38.9 x 27.7 x 51.1cm (WDH); Heat output: 4.8kW; Energy rating: A; Guarantee: 5yrs

Check price at Direct Stoves

3. Charnwood Cove 3 BLU Wood Burning Stove: The best wood burner for large rooms

Price: £3,619 | Check price at Direct Stoves

Big spaces need a heat output to match and this generously sized stove has it in spades. Thanks to its air management system, it can provide between 7kW and 16kW of heat, making it suitable for cool days or the depths of winter. In addition to having a good heat selection, it also has plenty of style options, with a choice of five stands and eight different colours including Almond, Blue, Forest Green and Bronze.

Unfortunately for those in smoke-control areas, it’s not DEFRA-approved, although it does have a respectable heat efficiency of 78.4% and an A+ energy rating. If smoke control isn’t an issue, the Cove 3 BLU is an excellent choice, especially if you have a steady supply of large logs and an open-plan living area to heat.

Key specs – Size: 66 x 43.9 x 98cm (WDH); Heat output: 12kW; Energy rating: A+; Guarantee: 10yrs

Check price at Direct Stoves

4. Mendip Woodland 8kW Wood Burning Double Sided Logstore Stove: The best wood burner for two rooms

Price: £3,167 | Check price Direct Stoves

Why light two fires in two rooms when you can light one for both? That’s the idea behind this double-sided wood burner. It features two glass doors, so wood can be loaded from either side and this also gives it a striking modern see-through design, which is great for open-plan rooms. As you’d expect, it’s fairly sizeable with a heat output of 8kW. While it includes a clever catalyst to help it burn more efficiently and meet Ecodesign Ready specifications, the efficiency is a little lower than some at 75.7%.

It’s also fairly pricey but there are still plenty of reasons to choose it. Its modern design has plenty of appeal, it’s DEFRA-approved, there’s space for a substantial stack of logs in the base below, and for every stove sold, Mendip donates £10 to the Woodland Trust.

Key specs – Size: 57 x 43 x 82cm (WDH); Heat output: 8kW; Energy rating: A; Guarantee: 5yrs

Check price at Direct Stoves

5. Arada Holborn 7 Wood Burning Stove: The best timeless wood burner

Price: £1,552 | Check ppice at Direct Stoves

Traditional in style without being fussy, this British-built stove is a classic. To an extent, it borrows some of the features from Arada’s contemporary models, with a large glass door for greater flame visibility and a sleek handle. There’s also a wide choice of colours, including eye-catching red Spice, inky blue Atlantic and creamy Sandcastle. It can be a multi-fuel model, too, meaning you can burn solid fuel – just add the optional kit for £60.00.

As you’d hope from a company with a decades-long history of making stoves, the efficiency of the Holborn 7 is high at 81.2% and has a clearSkies rating of 4, meaning that it’s also DEFRA-approved. What’s more, a lifetime guarantee when many come with just five years is sure to add peace of mind. Perfect for almost any style of mid-sized to larger room.

Key specs – Size: 55 x 37.1 x 66.5cm (WDH); Heat output: 7kW; Energy rating: A; Guarantee: Lifetime

Check price at Direct Stoves

6. Morso 6140 Wood Burning Stove: The best contemporary wood burner

Price: £2,000| Check price at Direct Stoves

Sleek, fuss-free and distinctly Danish, Morso’s more modern curvy wood burners are ideal for contemporary schemes where a classic model would look out of place. The tall cylinder design of the 6140 means that it doesn’t have to live in a fireplace setting, so could be a focal point almost anywhere around a room. A choice of bases is testament to that – there’s the option of a low base for smaller rooms, a pedestal base for extra impact or a log store base with space to keep your fuel dry and to hand.

It’s also a good eco choice. It boasts 80% efficiency, is DEFRA-approved, and comes with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, meaning it only affects the environment to a small degree. This also applies to its packaging and production. The only downside? For a 5kW output, it’s pricier than many, making this more of a considered buy.

Key specs – Size: 45.1 x 38.6 x 75.3cm (WDH); Heat output: 5kW; Energy rating: A+; Guarantee: 10yrs

Check price at Direct Stoves

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