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11 best log burners that’ll heat rooms of all sizes

Invest in a stove that will efficiently keep you warm

Jon Axworthy
Wednesday 19 April 2023 10:20 BST
<p>Sales of wood burners rose 66 per cent in the third quarter of 2022</p>

Sales of wood burners rose 66 per cent in the third quarter of 2022

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The relaxing, blood pressure-reducing benefits of watching flames flicker away in front of you has been proven. Unfortunately, it’s also been proven that microscopic sooty particles are released at the same time, which is why wood-burners have been in for some bad press of late.

Research has uncovered a link between older models and their impact on health and the environment. That’s why modern wood burners are manufactured to a different standard, complying with lower emission levels, so you know you won’t fall foul of new environmental laws.

You also need to be aware of whether you live in a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Smoke Control Area (you can find out This requires that any wood burner installed produces less than 5g/hour of smoke emissions and has to carry DEFRA-approved labelling. However, the government’s Environmental Improvement plan 2023, released this January, included the introduction of a new limit of 3g/hour for Smoke Control Areas, as part of its 25-year environmental plan, which could replace the 5g/hour limit at some point during this time frame. At the time of writing, all log burners included in this round-up are DEFRA-approved and comply with the current 5g/hour limit, but it’s worth double checking your choice is included on the list of exempt appliances before purchasing.

Next up are Ecodesign burners, which comply with a European directive on air pollution and particulate emissions. These 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 fire box. This reignites the combustion particles and reduces emissions before they leave the stoves, which also requires fewer logs to produce the same amount of heat as other stoves.

Then we have clearSkies burners, unlike Ecodesign, this isn’t a mandatory certification, but it goes even further by applying different levels of environmental efficiency. It’s an attempt by the industry to standardise the different certifications and make it easier for consumers to compare stoves from different manufacturers. It begins with level two stoves which are Ecodesign compliant and works its way up to level five (which is DEFRA exempt and 15 per cent more efficient than a level four stove).

With 200,000 stoves installed in the UK every year, the end isn’t nigh for wood burners. In fact, the Stove Industry Alliance says sales of wood burners rose 66 per cent in the third quarter of 2022. It’s still possible to take advantage of the ambience that a wood burner lends a room, as long as you navigate the directive maze successfully, which is what we aim to do with the following recommendations.

How we tested

When we tested wood burners, rather than having to go through some extensive re-modelling at home, we visited local showrooms and ambassadors who already have the product installed in their homes to get hands-on with each model. All the ones we tested, met Ecodesign standards and we also tested products that were DEFRA-approved, for anyone living in a smoke-controlled area. We also went on the lookout for stoves at all levels in the clearSkies programme.

First and foremost, we were looking at each appliance’s heat output, as that’s the main reason people buy a burner in the first place, and where it was available, the efficiency of this output. There are plenty of output calculators online which will tell you what kW burner is suited to the size of your room and we’ve detailed each burner’s output in its review.

Next up were the visuals, both of the burner itself and the fire visuals in its window. Finally, we looked at how punchy the price of each model was. Wood burners are clearly a significant investment, but if you’re looking at one as a strategy for keeping energy costs down, you don’t want it to break the bank to begin with.

The best log burners for 2024 are:

  • Best overall log burner – Charlton and Jenrick go eco wide: £719,
  • Best log burner for small spaces – Charlton and Jenrick go eco adventurer 5: £939,
  • Best clearSkies level five burner – Arada Farringdon medium eco: £1,745.37,
  • Best log burner to splurge on – Nordpeis ME: £2,749,

Charlton and Jenrick go eco wide

Charlton and Jenrick go eco wide.png
  • Best: Overall
  • Dimensions: 52cm x 45.8cm x 96cm
  • Heat output: 5kW
  • Efficiency rating: 79.8 per cent
  • Max log length: 12.7cm

The multi-fuel, 5kW widescreen version of the ever-popular go eco stove provides a terrific flame view and comes with an airwash system to keep the internal glass clean. The dimensions of the burner mean 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.

In addition, its construction means it only needs 50mm of space in order to be safely installed, so it’s incredibly versatile when it comes to locating it into your home. Plus, its DEFRA-approved, meets Ecodesign standards and its level five clearSkies credentials mean it produces 90 per cent less emissions than an open fire and 80 per cent less than a stove that is more than 10 years old.

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Ekol apple pie core

Ekol apple core.png
  • Best: Level four clearSkies stove
  • Dimensions: 47cm x 27.9cm x 31.2cm
  • Heat output: 4kW
  • Efficiency ratin: 82 per cent
  • Max log length: 20cm

The core makes our list of the best stoves again this year thanks to its combination of modern styling and clearSkies status. The 4kW of output means it’s ideally suited for smaller rooms, with a modern design. 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.

One of the best things about the Ekol range remains the fact that it’s part of the brand’s modular system. That means you can keep adding to the Core to make it even more versatile for cooking with options including a top oven, top plates for boiling water and even a pizza plate.

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Arada Farringdon medium eco

Arada farringdon medium eco.png
  • Best: ClearSkies level five burner
  • Dimensions: 66.6cm x 53.5cm x 35.2cm
  • Heat output: 8.1kW
  • Efficiency rating: 76.1 per cent
  • Max log length: 43cm

A burner with a generous window that gives a good view of the flames and the airwash system stops soot build up. Well-engineered with good seasonal efficiency, (which means the stove’s 8kW of heat is actually 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.

Solid build quality, the Arrow has a generous firebox that makes the fire easy to set and even easier to clear out in preparation for the next fire. The Farringdon also has plenty of colour options with seven in the original series and four zingier colours in the company’s new bold edit.

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ACR Ashdale

ACR ashdale.png
  • Best: Dimensions
  • Dimensions: 66cm x 51.5cm x 37cm
  • Heat output: 7kW
  • Efficiency rating: 83.4 per cent
  • Max log length: 40cm

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 you won’t have any problems with heat retention; in fact, 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. It’s Ecodesign and DEFRA-approved and has a very large window that’s served well with an efficient airwash system so you can really enjoy the view when the fire’s roaring.

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Stovax Huntingdon 25 wood burning stove

Stovax Huntingdon 25 wood burning stove.png
  • Best: Sub 5kW log burner
  • Dimensions: 59cm x 45cm x 36cm
  • Heat output: 4.9kW
  • Efficiency rating: 82 per cent
  • Max log length: 25cm

This Ecodesign and DEFRA-approved stove is the smallest in the Huntingdon range. But don’t assume that just because this is small it isn’t mighty. With two door options – one a clear arch which looks modern and gives a good view of the fire itself or a Tracery option, which adds dramatic Gothic arches to look through to the flames – it’s sure to take centre stage in your home.

The Stove’s number refers to the size of logs (25cm) that will fit through the door, which made the fire a doddle to set. Thanks to some very responsive air control it lit without incident and took just under half an hour to start throwing heat out, and it was easy to feel the benefit of the 4.9kW output. The airwash system, which draws in air to wash the glass of soot and blackening, worked well and the venting was efficient enough to give us total control over the fire.

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Chilli Penguin hungry penguin eco

Chilli Penguin hungry penguin eco.png
  • Best: Multi-fuel log burner
  • Dimensions: 68.3cm x 38cm x 36.5cm
  • Heat output: 4.7kW
  • Efficiency rating: 81.2 per cent
  • Max log length: 27cm

This 4.7kW multi-fuel burner from Welsh manufacturer Chilli Penguin is supremely efficient whether it’s being fed with wood or smokeless fuel, which made it stand out from the crowd in the showroom, and it looks great. As the name suggests, not only will you be able to defrost when you come in from a wintry walk, but you’ll be able to cook and brew too.

The addition of an oven box and top plate means 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. It’s Ecodesign and DEFRA-ready and the oven and top plate mean heating and cooking come from the same fuel load too, so you’ll be doing your bit for the environment. The square window gives a good view of the flames and it’s available in a range of six colour finishes, so you can colour match or choose one from the palette that’ll really make the stove stand out.

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Clock blithfield DS

Clock blithfield DS.png
  • Best: Double-sided burner
  • Dimensions: 60cm x 54cm x 60cm
  • Heat output: 10kW
  • Efficiency rating: 76 per cent
  • Max log length: 30cm

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. It’s high heat output also means it can heat both those rooms effectively with its large windows giving a see-through view of your fire burning.

DEFRA-approved and Ecodesign-ready, the Blithfield straddles classic and contemporary design and would look equally at home in a Victorian chimney breast or a more modern domestic setting. 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 it’s being installed in.

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Stovax Chesterfield 5 wide

Stovax Chesterfield 5 wide.png
  • Best: For larger logs
  • Dimensions: 70cm x 58cm x 36cm
  • Heat output: 5kW
  • Efficiency rating: 79.4 per cent
  • Max log length: 40cm

Another Ecodesign and DEFRA-exempt Stovax product that’s widescreen, but slim line enough to make it a good fit for shallower recesses in the home. A big, square pane gives good fire visuals 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 installation spaces.

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Nordpeis ME

Nordpeis ME2.png
  • Best: To splurge on
  • Dimensions: 105cm x 52cm x 34cm
  • Heat output: 6kW
  • Efficiency rating: 79 per cent
  • Max log length: 37cm

We absolutely 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 a number of 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 airwash system, you can even opt for side windows which can be fitted to the burner so you can see the flames no matter where you are in the room. The ME is DEFRA-approved and has an Ecodesign too, so it’s environmental credentials are sound and the stoves are actually manufactured by Stovax, so you can guarantee its quality.

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Woodford Lowry 5XL

Woodford lowry 5xl.png
  • Best: Level three clearSkies stove
  • Dimensions: 60cm x 52.2cm x 37.7cm
  • Heat output: 5kW
  • Efficiency rating: 81.5 per cent
  • Max log length: 26cm

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, retains heat well and has a solid cast iron door. Its big fire view, with accompanying airwash system, will instantly lend atmosphere to your room and the burn was highly efficient with plenty of warmth for a small- to middle-sized room.

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Charlton & Jenrick go eco adventurer 5

Charlton & Jenrick go eco adventurer 5.png
  • Best: For small spaces
  • Dimensions: 77.9cm x 30cm x 20cm
  • Heat output: 4.5kW
  • Efficiency rating: 86 per cent
  • Max log length: 18cm

As the name suggests this is a 5kW burner for those who glamp, although it’s equally good 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 airwash, 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.

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Log burner FAQs

How to light a log burner

When lighting your wood-burning stove, the first thing to do is to open all air vents. This is going to help your fire get all the air it needs. Then place your ready-to-burn wood onto the fire bed, starting with the largest wood first and piling the smaller logs on top. Plus, leave enough space between logs for air to get to them.

You’ll also need some kindling and a fire-lighter. Put the kindling on top of your logs and then the fire-lighter – and ignite it. You can keep the door open to let more air get to the flames but when the kindling has started to catch, close the door. When the logs are fully ignited, put your log burner back to its default running mode. Voila!

How much does it cost to put in a log burner?

The cost of getting a cosy log burner installed in your home depends quite a bit on whether or not you have an existing fireplace. With existing flue, getting the wood-burning stove put in can cost, on average, £900. Meanwhile, using a new flue can cost anywhere between £1,500 and £3,000, at an estimate.

Are log burners being banned in the UK?

The government is not planning to implement a ban on domestic burning in the UK in the near future, according to its 2023 Environmental Improvement Plan. This means you’re still allowed to purchase and install new log burners.

However, you can’t burn all types of fuel, especially when it comes to Smoke Control Areas (which most local councils are part of). Burning wood is only allowed in exempt appliances approved by DEFRA. All log burners featured in this round-up are DEFRA-approved at the time of writing.

You’re only able to use these appliances with the type of fuel listed by the manufacturer, which, in most cases, will be dry, untreated wood. Wet wood and traditional loose house coal are no longer allowed. If you were to burn an unauthorised fuel, you could face a fine of up to £1,000. If your chimney releases more smoke than the limit of 5g of smoke per hour, it can cost you up to £300.

What are the health impacts of a log burner?

Burning wood releases smoke, which contains toxic particles that are being released into the air. Because of this, log burners are a source for the pollutant PM2.5 which is not only damaging for the environment but can also impact human health. Exposure to toxic particles in the air – including PM2.5 – has been linked to (worsening symptoms of) heart and lung disease, dementia and respiratory issues.

New log burners are subject to higher standards, to make sure their emission is limited to the standard of 5g of smoke per hour. While log burners are still not the most environmentally friendly or healthy option to heat your home, many houses in the UK are dependent on this heat source. The best way to reduce impact on your health is to opt for a newer model, which burns more efficiently with less smoke leakage and creosote build-up, and make sure it receives proper servicing.

To reduce risk as much as possible, make sure you keep the door closed when not tending the fire (as most emissions escape from opening the door), remove ash on a regular basis and use an air filtration device to improve air quality in the home.

The verdict: Log burners

There’s no doubt that trying to navigate the current maze of regulations surrounding wood burning stoves can be a bit of a nightmare, but the Charlton and Jenrick go eco wide cuts through all that with its level five clearSkies credentials. Leaving you to enjoy the burner’s superior build quality and heat output and all at a price point that will probably make you feel quite warm inside too.

Keep things toasty and energy-efficient with our round-up of the best heated clothes airers

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