The humble log burner has been in for some bad press of late with research proving a link between older models and their impact on health and the environment.
However, modern wood burners are now made to a different standard than their predecessors, complying with eco-friendly emission levels to be labelled “ecodesign ready”, so you know that you won’t fall foul of new environmental laws when they’re introduced in 2022.
These ecodesign stoves are engineered to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM), organic Gaseous compounds (OGC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by increasing the temperature at the top of the stove’s firebox.
This reignites the combustion particles and reduces emissions before they leave the stoves, which also require fewer logs to produce the same amount of heat as other stoves.
And while we’re on the subject of logs, don’t forget that from next year those logs are going to need to be properly seasoned, according to new government guidance.
This is to avoid some acute health problems that have been identified to come from those bags of so-called “wet wood” that you would normally pick up from the garage or garden centre.
One of the big questions when buying a burner is the size you’ll need to heat your room. The industry guideline is that to achieve a cosy 21C when the air temperature is freezing outside, you’ll need around 1kW of heat output for every 14 cubic metres of space. There are plenty of output calculators online which will tell you what kW burner is perfect for your room and we’ve detailed each burner’s output in its review.
With all this in mind, we visited showrooms to take a look at the best Ecodesign burners on offer, which, when fed with the right fuel, will give any room in your house a supremely efficient heat source as well as proving to be a focal point to eat, drink and be merry around in the coming months.
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Stovax Chesterfield 5 wide
The Chesterfield, from one of the UK’s most trusted and in-demand stove manufacturers, is widescreen but slimline enough to make it a good fit for shallower recesses in the home. A big, square pane gives good visuals of the fire inside and some clever engineering reduces any of the precious 5kW heat output from being wasted by directing the warm air (that sometimes gets trapped between the stove’s firebox and outer walls) back into the room. We noticed a discernible difference in heat output, in comparison with lesser burners and because it makes the back of the burner cooler it opens up more workable installation spaces.
Arada Aarrow Farringdon medium eco
The generous window that gives a good view of the flames and the air wash system stops soot build up. Well-engineered with good seasonal efficiency, (which means the stove’s 8kW of heat is warming the room, not going up the chimney) means that the burner is a good option for heating medium to large-sized rooms, using the bare minimum of logs to do it.
ACR Ashdale eco-design ready wood burning / multi fuel stove
This 7kW cast iron model will look good as a centre point for traditional homes, although the large window and largely unadorned frontage would also be a fit for more modern dwellings too. Its cast-iron construction means that you won’t have any problems with heat retention; we found that even when the logs were burning down the Ashdale still generated a very satisfying glow that could keep those gathered around it warm. Also available in three different finish options, other than the standard matte black, to suit your home decor, but be advised this will add another £430 to the overall cost.
Charlton and Jenrick go eco wide
The 5kW widescreen version of the ever-popular go eco stove provides a terrific flame view and comes with an air wash system to keep internal glass clean.
The dimensions of the burner means that if you’re looking to install it into a larger chimney opening then this is a really good option, and if you’ve got a big open plan space this offers very little lag time between being fired up and pumping out a lot of heat. Also, it’s construction means that it only needs 50mm of space to be safely installed, so it’s incredibly versatile when it comes to locating it into your home.
Capital Fireplaces avebury eco
This solid cast iron burner, from the very popular British brand, is manufactured with an air wash system, which means that soot from the fire won’t end up obscuring the glass and your view of the flames through the large arched window. The burner has a heat output range of 5kW (which is the most you need before you need to fit a vent) and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Go Eco adventurer 5 glamping stove
As the name suggests this is a 5kW burner for those who glamp although it’s equally at home in any small area where you just need to add a little warmth and practicality. We loved the porthole-esque window, which is kept clean with an air wash, through which you will be able to see a very efficient fire burning and the burner is equipped for boiling or cooking with a warming shelf and fiddle rail (to stop your kettle falling off). There’s also the option to add an oven to the top for an extra £425.
Clock Blithfield DS wood burning stove
This simple looking but very effective 10kW burner is double sided which gives you the option to get two views of the fire from different rooms, or even have an indoor/outdoor fireplace. The large windows give a see-through view of your fire burning and its heat efficiency was very impressive. It’s also a nicely customisable unit with the handle and controls coming in a choice of chrome or brass and the burner itself being available in a range of six different colour finishes to suit your taste and the environment that it’s being installed in.
The Chilli Penguin hungry penguin eco
This 4.8kW multi fuel burner from Welsh manufacturer Chilli Penguin is supremely efficient and looks great no matter where it’s installed in the home.
As the name suggests, not only will you be able to defrost when you come in from a wintry walk but you’ll also be able to cook and brew too. The addition of an oven box and top plate means that you can bake at temperatures ranging from 140C to 300C and there’s room for a small saucepan and a kettle on the top plate. The oven and top plate means that heating and cooking comes from the same fuel load so you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and the window gives a good view of the flames. Available in a range of six colour finishes.
Chilli Penguin chillie Billie
We really liked this 3.4kW downsized burner from the Chilli Penguin range because it’s perfectly suited to homes away from home and if you’re lucky enough to own or have access to anything from a yurt or camping pod to an allotment cabin or even just a shed in the back garden, then this can offer you an easy way to warm the space and provide a bit of practicality too, so you can get the kettle on for a warming brew.
Nordpeis ME wall mounted wood burning stove
We loved the look of this 5.8kW cylindrical fireplace, and if you’re looking for a wood burner to add some wow factor to your room (as much as you are to heat it), then the ME not only looks impressive but also comes with several fitting options. These range from pedestals and benches to wall-mountings and even an option to suspend it by the chimney from the ceiling. With good heat output and an air wash system you can even opt for side windows, (adding £360 to the cost), which can be fitted to the burner so that you can see the flames no matter where you are in the room.
Mazona Ripley multi fuel stove
A stove for smaller rooms with a modern design and 4Kw output, which can be used with wood and smokeless fuel. A generous viewing window will satisfy fans of caveman TV and the door opens easily to give good access to the grate when you need to add more fuel. It’s easy to clean and also comes with a five year stove body warranty.
Stovax Stockton 3 multi fuel eco stove
This 3.5Kw stove is manufactured so that it can be installed into the opening for a standard British hearth, as long as the chairbrick is removed first. It has a good window size for a small fire and as well as being “ecodesign ready” it’s manufactured with a “ceanburn” system, which means that less soot is released into the atmosphere while increasing the height of the flames. Available in four finishes.
ACR novus stove
Steel stoves were often seen as less efficient and robust compared to their iron alternatives, but there is no difference between the two materials in modern stoves and this modernist 5kW model heats up quickly and retains heat well. You can enjoy a long, tall view of the flames through the window that is kept clean with an air wash system and the ceramic top panel and under burner wood store make this an attractive addition to any home.
Nordpeis Bergen wood burning stove
Another impressive 5kW fire from Nordpeis (Stovax manufactures the stoves, so you can guarantee its quality), which will instantly lend real atmosphere to your room with its big window and clean design, making good use of both steel and cast iron. The burner can be raised up and down on adjustable legs to accommodate a small wood supply and we found the burn highly efficient with plenty of warmth for a small to middle sized room.
The verdict: Log burners
If you want to turn a cold room, toasty, quickly then the Stovax Chesterfield 5 Wide is an elegant, state-of-the-art burner that’s worth every penny. Add to this some impressive fire visuals and well thought out design and manufacture and you have the ultimate in-home comforts.
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