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Beyond the sticker price for wood-burning stoves (which in comparison to standard fuel oil or gas furnaces is still quite reasonable) what other things should you think about when researching a stove to buy? Once you’ve looked at local wood availability, sharpened up your chainsaw and decided where you’re going to store your fuel (close to the stove if you can!), deciding on a stove model boils down to the size of the house the stove is expected to warm, the stove’s efficiency, and the style that appeals most to you.

Coverage

Smaller, portable options like these are perfect for big canvas tents (or yurts, if you’re into those). Amazon

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Wood stoves are rated by the size (in square feet) of the space you want to heat. If you’re heating up to 1500 square ft, a smaller stove will do nicely. Medium-sized stoves are designed to cover between 1500 and 2200 square. feet, with spaces over 2200 square feet needing a large model. Other factors that influence the size of the stove you need include how this space is configured (number of floors, walls, corners) and how it might be ventilated.

Efficiency

This model features 3/16-inch thick steel. Ashley Hearth

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Modern stoves from quality manufacturers will have efficiency ratings. Look for a stove in the 70- to 80-percent range, which measures the percentage of heat the stove radiates vs. releases through its chimney.

Style

This model can keep a small house warm. Vogelzang

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Some folks enjoy watching a fire burn, while others place their stoves where the sun never shines, caring less about how it looks. Stoves can be made out of cast iron, sheet metal or even soapstone. They can be stand-alone or inserted into existing fireplaces. They can be fashioned out of a re-purposed steel drum or be ornately appointed with polished brass fittings. Be sure when looking for style points you don’t overlook the size of the woodbox. Style won’t matter when your 10 cords of stacked 20-inch logs won’t fit into the 18 inch woodbox.

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