5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Wood Stove for Your Home

Are you considering buying a wood stove for your home? Here are the top five factors to keep in mind when making your choice.

A new, modernized wood stove placed in a retired fireplace hearth.

Winter is coming, and it’s time to start thinking about keeping your home warm and cozy. Have you considered buying a wood stove? Not only do wood-burning stoves provide efficient heat, but they also add a rustic charm to any room. However, with so many options available, choosing the right wood stove can be a daunting task. 

Fear not, because I have compiled a list of the top five factors to consider when buying a wood stove. From heating needs to appearance and price, this article will provide a roadmap to help you make an informed decision and keep your home toasty all winter long.

Heating Needs

One important factor to consider when buying a wood stove is your heating needs. Ask yourself, what do you hope to achieve by purchasing a wood stove? Are you looking for a primary heating source or just a supplemental one? Do you want to heat one room or your whole house? Knowing your heating needs will help you determine the size and placement of your wood stove. 

Size and placement are crucial when it comes to wood stoves. You want to make sure the stove you choose is the right size for the space you’re heating. A stove that is too large for your room will create too much heat and could even be dangerous. On the other hand, a stove that is too small won’t effectively heat your space. The location of your stove is also important. You want to make sure it’s positioned in a way that allows for proper ventilation and doesn’t obstruct any exits or walkways. 

Consider your home’s layout and design when choosing a wood stove. Do you want a stove that blends in with your décor or one that stands out as a statement piece? Are you looking for a traditional or modern design? Additionally, think about the maintenance required for your chosen stove. Some stoves have more intricate designs that require more upkeep, while others are simpler and easier to clean. 

Size, Style, and Placement

When it comes to choosing the right wood stove, size and placement are key factors that can significantly impact heating efficiency and your level of comfort. The size of your wood stove should be proportional to the coverage you desire. A stove that is too small may not provide sufficient heat, while one that is too large can waste fuel and overheat your space. Be sure to consider the firebox size. Very large cookstoves often have small fireboxes that require frequent filling and therefore aren’t suitable as a primary heat source in most cases.

There are many styles of wood stoves to choose from. Freestanding wood stoves are readily available. An existing fireplace can be retrofitted with fireplace inserts.

Another important factor to consider is placement. Ideally, your wood stove should be installed in a central location that allows heat to circulate evenly throughout the room or house. It’s also important to ensure that your stove is installed in compliance with building codes and that you have adequate ventilation to prevent smoke buildup and maintain good indoor air quality. 


When buying a wood stove, it’s crucial to consider its efficiency. An efficient wood stove is designed to burn wood more thoroughly, resulting in less waste and more heat output. This means you can save money on fuel if you purchase firewood and enjoy a warmer, more comfortable home. Even if you source your wood for free, you want your firewood to last as long as possible.

Buying a Wood Stove That is Catalytic vs. Non-Catalytic

EPA-certified stoves often have a catalytic combustor that combusts the smoke and gasses from burning wood, producing more heat and lower emissions. Catalytic wood stoves have the potential to be a great fit for homesteaders looking for long-term, consistent primary heating. Conversely, non-catalytic stoves are well-suited to those who only need supplemental heating on an intermittent basis. Hybrid catalytic units employ triple-burn technology, which channels energy exhaust to produce more heat, whereas catalytic units use double-burn technology. By utilizing this advanced triple-burn tech, hybrid catalytic units offer improved efficiency. Catalytic combusters also help keep stove glass clean, which is important if you are using wood for aesthetic value in addition to heat.

The efficiency of a wood-burning stove is not only beneficial for your wallet but also for the environment. With the right stove, you can stay warm and cozy while reducing your carbon footprint. 

Appearance and Style

When considering the purchase of a wood stove, it’s important to factor in the appearance and style of the stove in relation to your home decor. With a wide variety of styles and finishes on the market, choosing a stove that fits your aesthetic can enhance the overall look of your living space. 

Many wood stove designs have a traditional, rustic feel with details such as exposed metal and decorative molding. Others have a more modern, streamlined look with clean lines and a sleek finish. When buying a stove, consider the vibe you want to create in your home and choose a style that reflects that.

Common Wood Stove Materials

Each material has benefits to consider as well.

Steel Stoves

Steel stoves heat up faster than iron stoves – meaning you won’t have to wait as long for your room to start toasting up with a wood stove made from steel. That’s because the steel is thinner and less dense, so it gets hot much quicker.

Cast Iron Stoves

Unlike other wood-burning stoves, cast iron stoves retain the heat for extended periods, providing a cozy and comfortable atmosphere long after the initial flame.

Soapstone Stoves

While steel and cast iron wood heaters will burn hotter, soapstone wood stoves provide unbeatable heat that will keep your home toasty for longer. With an efficient burn that requires less wood for refueling, these wood stoves offer consistent heat and value for money.

I had a gorgeous soapstone stove sitting in the middle of the master bedroom when I bought my house. I didn’t know the value of such a great stove, and I sold it for pennies because the broken stone led me to believe it was junk. The lady who purchased it had a husband who works in countertops. He was planning to use the sink cut out from the countertops he installed to repair the stone. Talk about seller’s regret.

The color and finish of the stove are other elements to consider. Do you want a stove with a matte black finish that blends in with the room or an enamel finish in a bold color that makes a statement? I have a powder blue high gloss enamel cook stove you see the moment you walk in the door, and it’s functional and quite a statement piece. The finish can impact both the overall look and the maintenance of the stove, as it can affect how visible dirt and dust are on the surface.

Ultimately, the appearance and style of the wood stove is a personal preference that should be weighed alongside other factors such as efficiency and emissions. The right stove can add warmth and ambiance to your home while also fitting seamlessly into your interior design. 

Price and Maintenance

When searching for the perfect wood stove, it’s easy to get caught up in its appearance and functionality. However, it’s equally important to think about the cost of the stove and the maintenance required to keep it running smoothly. 

Price is a critical factor when buying a wood stove. Although it may be tempting to opt for a lower-priced model, keep in mind that higher-cost stoves tend to have greater efficiency and better-quality materials. Cheaper stoves may also require more maintenance over time, leading to additional expenses in the long run. 

Regular maintenance is another important consideration. Wood stoves require regular cleaning and upkeep to ensure they continue to operate efficiently and safely. All wood stoves should have their chimneys cleaned annually. You can hire a chimney cleaner (book during the summer because their schedules fill quickly come fall) or use a tool for cleaning it yourself. There are rudimentary brush cleaners as well as some fancier chimney-cleaning gadgets on the market. Neglecting maintenance can cause damage to the stove or even create a potential fire hazard. Some stoves require more maintenance than others, so it’s essential to research the specific model you’re considering and factor in the cost and time required for upkeep. 

Frequently Asked Questions

With regular care, a good wood stove typically sticks around for 15 to 20 years, sometimes even longer. The lifespan depends on factors like how often you use it, the type of wood you burn, and if you follow maintenance guidelines.

Before setting up your wood stove, check local rules and permits. Your city or county authorities can guide you on setback distances, clearances, and any permits needed for a safe and legal installation. Staying informed ensures a cozy and compliant wood-burning setup.

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A pinterest-friendly graphic for things to consider when buying a wood stove.

Investing in a wood stove for your home can be an excellent decision, but it requires careful consideration. By taking the time to weigh these factors and select the perfect stove for your home, you’ll be rewarded with a warm and cozy living space for years to come. So don’t rush into a decision – do your research, ask questions, and choose wisely.

What’s your go-to wood stove tip or personal experience? Whether it’s a clever installation hack or a favorite wood-burning memory, I’d love to hear from fellow homesteaders. Share your insights in the comments below!

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