Choosing Between A Wood Burner Or A Multi Fuel Stove
When choosing your stove one of the most important considerations is the fuel you intend to use. Usually when all factors are taken into account then a clear choice emerges and in this article we’ll take a look at the pro’s and con’s to each.
As the name suggests wood burning stoves burn wood and only wood. A multi fuel stove burns both wood and solid fuels. Wood burns optimally on a bed of ash with air circulating from above and a wood burning stove comes without a grate, meaning you burn on the solid base of the stove with no air allowed to circulate underneath, also allowing a bed of ash to build without it falling through the grate. A multi fuel stove comes with a grate, this allows air to circulate from underneath, which is optimal for burning solid fuels. The grate also allows for ashes to drop through the grate and into an ashpan underneath allowing for easier cleaning and increased airflow. It is possible to burn wood on the grate too but not optimally, however in our experience wood can be burned on a grate more than satisfactorily. Generally a multi fuel stove will cost slightly more than its woodburning counterpart due to the grate and ashpan.
Which you should buy generally comes down to how you intend to use the stove and the fuel you have access to. Wood is easy to light, looks stunning whilst burning but tends to burn down quite quickly compared to solid fuel and can be quite impractical. For example you may light your stove first thing on a morning, then visit the supermarket and invariably you’ll have to relight the stove when you get home. If you only intend to use the stove as secondary heating or perhaps something you’ll only light on a Sunday afternoon then this isn’t much of a problem. If you intend to use the stove on a daily basis for a good amount of time then relighting the stove will soon become a chore once the novelty has worn off. Wood can also be quite costly depending on your source, for those with access to woodland and the time and space to prepare and store logs for burning then a woodburning stove could be a good, cheap option but if you only have space to store a few bags of kiln dried logs then a woodburner can soon become expensive.
Solid fuel isn’t anywhere near as pleasing to the eye to burn, is harder to light and less responsive to changes in burning temperature through the stoves air controls however it holds its heat much longer and is therefore more practical should you use the stove frequently. For those wishing to overnight burn then you have a much greater chance of achieving this with solid fuel.
In our opinion most people would be better suited buying a multi fuel stove and burning both wood and solid fuel simultaneously. This way you get the benefits of both fuel types. In our showroom the bulk of our live display stoves are setup as multi fuels. Choosing a stove is complicated business and it’s quite normal for us to talk to customers for over an hour and in most cases a wood burning only stove would need relighting, something we simply do not have time to do over and over especially with a showroom as big as ours! The way we go about burning both fuels together is to light the stove with wood (for the sake of ease) with the odd piece of solid fuel in and amongst the wood. Once the wood is burning well we slowly start to add more solid fuel until with have a bed of solid fuel burning nicely, we can then put single logs on the top of this giving us the benefit of more controllable heat and the aesthetic look wood gives whilst under fire but avoiding the impracticality of a wood burning only stove.
Article written by Ryan Brocklehurst