3 steps to choosing the perfect wood stove

3 steps to choosing the perfect wood stove

Josh Rowell

Choosing the perfect woodstove can be a daunting and confusing process.  There are many different options on the market in all different price points.  Use our simple 3-step guide to narrow down the focus and make your shopping experience more fun and enjoyable. 

1. Start with Square Footage

All wood stoves will have an estimated BTU (heat) output or recommended sq. ft.  Today's stoves perform at their max efficiency when they burn at the appropriate temperature, thus getting this measurement right is a crucial starting point and will typically narrow your focus to just a couple of options.

i.e. Trying to burn a large stove on low in a small place will be very inefficient and may leave you with unburnt wood. Make sure to know how many sq. ft. you are trying to heat and know that most published numbers in the product catalogs and online are the "best case scenario" for that particular stove.


2. Choose the "heat life" / construction material

This step is actually choosing the type of stove you want/need.  Whether it is a steel stove, cast iron stove or a cast iron and soapstone model, the construction material will greatly determine how long your stove will output heat.  

In general:

Steel Stoves - get hot fast but also cool down fast. Steel stoves are often the least expensive construction material.  

Cast Iron Stoves - Take a little longer to get hot but have a significant longer "heat life" than steel stoves.  Cast iron stoves are typically more expensive than steel stoves and less expensive than soapstone stoves. 

Soapstone - Soapstone stoves use a combination of Cast Iron and Soapstone panels to offer the longest "heat life" on the market.  If you need your woodstove to last all night (or longer) you may want to consider a soapstone stove. 

***For the longest and most efficient burn you may want to consider a "catalytic stove".  Catalytic stoves are typically more expensive and take a little longer to get up to max. efficiency but are best for those that may be using their woodstove as a primary heat source/  The Vermont Castings Flexburn stoves give you the ability to easily switch from a catalytic burn to a non-catalytic burn ***

3. Consider Features and Benefits

Now that you know what size and what type of stove you want, begin considering the features and benefits.  Some of the most popular to consider are:

  • Log length - (if you already have wood cut, make sure you new stove can handle the wood you have)
  • Ash Pans  - Ash Pans are not necessary but do make ash cleanup much easier.
  • Top Load vs. Side Load - simply a personal preference but we have found top loading stoves to be some of the easiest to load and feed.
  • Aesthetic - Many times the woodstove (like a fireplace) is the focal point of a main living space.  You may want your stove to have a certain look or color to fit the decor of your home.


Casual Furniture World is an authorized dealer for Jotul, Vermont Castings, Hearthstone and Kozy Heat woodstoves and features showroom models and burning displays in our Winston Salem and Greensboro, NC showrooms.   Our knowledgeable sales team can help you narrow your choices and make the perfect selection for you home.