How to choose the right wood stove?

Are you looking for the best wood stove and need help making an informed choice? Here are our recommendations to understand your needs and choose the right stove for you (if you are more visual, take a look at our explanatory video).

What floor will the wood stove be installed on and how many stories are above it?
Keep in mind that heat rises. Thus, a wood stove located in the basement will radiate heat to the ground floor. However, a wood stove located on the ground floor will not send heat to the basement. This principle also applies to high or cathedral ceilings. It must be expected that a certain amount of heat will be lost due to the height.  

Will the heat flow easily? 
A space with many dividing walls will be more difficult to heat because it is more complex to distribute the heat evenly. Open areas and rooms near the wood stove will be easiest to heat.  

How effective is your insulation? 
The better a home is insulated; the more heat is retained inside. The number, type and orientation of doors and windows as well as the thermal resistance of the walls influence the insulation of your home.  

How will you use your wood stove?  
Sustained use is defined as a backup heater that provides maximum heat.  Ambient use is defined as an auxiliary heater which provides a warm environment mainly around the appliance. The more intense your use, the more attention you should pay to the performance of the appliance.  

How to calculate the area to be heated?  
To determine the area to be heated, calculate 100% of the area of the floor on which the wood burning stove is installed, plus 50% of the floor above, plus 25% of the next storey, if there is one. For example, a wood stove installed in the basement of an 800 ft² 2-storey house will give 1,400 ft² of theoretical area to be heated. Certain factors such as humidity, the quality of the wood, the chimney and the weather will influence the performance of your stove daily. To compensate for these variable factors that influence the performance of your stove, it is advisable to add to the surface area calculated beforehand, 15% in an optimum environment and up to 35% in a less favorable environment.  

  • An optimum environment would meet the following criteria:
    • A wood burning stove used mainly for ambient purposes;  
    • A well insulated home;
    • Air circulates well throughout the rooms;  
    • In which case, we recommend adding approximately 200 ft² to your area to be heated.  
  • A less favorable environment would meet the following criteria:
    • A sustained use of the stove;  
    • A home with poor insulation;  
    • Poor or no air circulation other than the heated room;  
    • In this case, we recommend adding a larger margin, approximately 400 ft², or even 600 ft² to your area to be heated.  

Once your area to be heated is correctly calculated, assess the following:

  • There are three main advantages to a more powerful wood stove: increased heating capacity, ease of loading with longer or larger logs, and longer burn time.  
  • When a wood stove is too large, it is common to compensate by make smaller fires more frequently, which makes the appliance less efficient and generates more creosote. Conversely, when a wood stove is too small, it is common to constantly use the stove at its maximum capacity, in which case it will more likely wear prematurely.  
  • The harsher the winter, the more you will need a high-performance wood stove to be comfortable. Take a look at our « Recommended area map by climate zone ».  This map will allow you to combine your climate zone, the actual area to be heated, and the appliances recommended for this space.  
  • It is strongly recommended to consult the manual of the wood stoves you are interested in to ensure that the requirements for use and installation are suitable for you.  

Now, you can compare the options and accessories offered for the appliances that suit your needs. Some items such as heat shields and blowers will help improve the performance of your wood stove, while others, such as legs, bases and different door styles, will be more aesthetic.