Choose the right source of heat for your home

The world of wood burning stoves offers many different kinds and you'll need to find the wood burning stove that fits your needs. Read more about it here.

Author: Line Nederby
Published: 08. December 2015
Ild i brændeovn


A wood burning stove is not just a wood burning stove. The users have specific preferences and needs when they try to find the right kind of heating. 

Below you’ll find an outline of the different kinds of stoves – where both firewood, wood pellets and gas is used. Hopefully, it’ll help you when you’re about to choose your new source of heat.

1. Freestanding wood burning stove

Popular wood burning stove which the owner can install himself.

  • Advantages
    • More furnishing possibilities
    • Better distribution of heat because the warm air flows from all sides of the stove.
    • Big selection when it comes to design
    • Often convections stoves that distribute heat through air circulation  
  • Be aware that
    • You need to place the stove on a non-inflammable foundation, for example a glass pad.
    • You need to take the distance between the stove and inflammable material into consideration when you install the stove

2. Fireplace insert

Built-in wood burning stoves and fireplace inserts have become popular with users who pay particular attention to design and furnishing. This kind provides good heat and takes up less space than other types of stoves.

  • Advantages
    • The stove takes up less floor space because it’s been moved into the wall.
    • Fireplace inserts can be installed when you build the wall and it can be installed in current fireplaces.
    • Fireplace inserts give off convection heat which distributes the heat optimally.
  • Disadvantages
    • Fireplace inserts are often expensive to install if the house doesn’t already have a fireplace and a chimney.
  • Requirements and rules of thumbs:
    • Water tanks in wood burning stoves can’t be connected to closed central heating systems.
    • Manually controlled dampers must be placed in the flue between the wood burning stove and the chimney.

3. Gas stove

Gas stoves are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst consumers who value the aesthetic perspective highly. A gas stove is actually a gas fireplace but it is different because ceramic copies of logs can be placed in it.

  • Advantages
    • Gas stoves are easier to use and are regulated with a remote control.
    • This kind of stove is easy to keep clean as it produces neither ashes nor soot.
    • Gas stoves are a nice decoration which creates the illusion of the cosiness of the wood burning stove.
  • Disadvantages
    • Check with your local authotities, but often the gas stove can’t be used as your primary source of heating because it doesn’t live up to certain requirements.
    • Gas stoves aren’t the “real bonfire” so the the cosiness is limited.
    • Gas stoves are complicated to install and the work should be done by a professional. 
  • Requirements and rules of thumb:
    • Th gas stove can’t be placed in a bedroom.
    • The room should be at least 15 square metres.
    • Be aware of safety distances to inflammable material near the stove.
    • Control of the regulator and the gas tube should be done regularly (about every other year).

4. Open fireplace

Open fireplaces are built into a wall but as opposed to fireplace inserts they don’t have any glass window/door.  

  • Advantages
    • Radiant heat from the fireplace heats up the air around the fireplace.
    • You can hear the fire crackle – and sense the fire without any filter.
  • Disadvantages
    • An open fireplace has a very low efficiency – typically from 0 to 25 %. So much air from the room is sucked out through the chimney that the surrounding rooms will be cooled down more than the fireplace heats.
    • The installation of an open fireplace can become rather expensive.
    • Since the fireplace is open, the risk of smoke in the room is quite real unless you make sure that you have a good chimney with a good draught.
    • The radiant heat of the fireplace means that the distance between the fireplace and inflammable materials should be greater than if you had a convection stove. 
  • Requirements and rules of thumbs:
    • The opening facing the living room shouldn’t be too big.
    • The depth of the fireplace should correspond to half the width of the fireplace.
    • The vent should be placed in the front, not in the back.

5. Pellet stove

A pellet stove, or a wood pellet stove, can be compared to a wood burning stove but the kind of fuel used is different. It’s not logs, but small wood pellets.

  • Advantages
    • The pellet stove creates good, easy and quick heat and is seen as an efficient counterpart to other heating sources.
    • The majority of pellet stoves has a built-in electricity switch and thermostat so the owner can control the stove through an app.
  • Disadvantages
    • A pellet stove is a bit more expensive than the traditional stoves.
    • You won’t get the dancing fire of the wood burning stove with a pellet stove as it is primarily made to heat.
    • There is a fan in pellet stoves which naturally makes a sound but some see it as a noise nuissance.
    • A pellet stove can create dust nuissance.
  • Requirements and rules of thumbs:
    • The stove’s labelling should tell you about necessary safety distances.
    • The stove’s flue should be placed away from inflammable material.

6. All-night burner

An all-night burner is a heavy stove which originally consisted of burnt clay tiles. The all-night burner isn’t better than the modern wood burning stove and is often chosen because of its pretty aesthetics.

  • Advantages
    • The aesthetics of the all-night burner are different than those of a modern wood burning stove, and it can be a beautiful part of a home’s furnishing.
    • An all-night burner is sturdy.
  • Disadvantages
    • An all-night burner is not good at distributing heat.
    • It can be difficult to get the fire started.
    • The heat is hard to maintain and you need to keep an eye on the stove when you light the fire.
    • The stove is heavy and difficult to move around because it’s made out of clay and iron material.
    • The radiant heat means that the stove gets very warm.
  • Requirements and rules of thumb
    • The same requirements go for all-night burners as for standard wood burning stoves.

7. Cast iron stove

Cast iron stoves can either be modern stoves which function the same way as a freestanding wood burning stove, or they can be old wood burning stoves which are characterised by having one layer of cast iron and no convection layer around it. The old stoves come in many shapes and sizes which makes the stove a decorative part of the furnishing.

  • Advantages
    • Cast iron is typically durable.
    • Cast iron can handle temperature differences very well whereas other materials can bend or change structure once they’re heated and cooled down.
    • A cast iron stove can be beautiful to look at. Some owners use it for decorative purposes.
  • Disadvantages
    • A cast iron stove doesn’t distribute heat very well, especially compared to modern convections stoves.
    • The radiant heat is very powerful around the stove. It’s hard to keep a constant temperature in a cast iron stove.
    • Because of the stove’s structure and the type of heat, the stove can get very hot and you need to take certain precautions into consideration, especially because children might burn themselves if they touch it.
    • The radiant heat means that heat won’t be distributed optimally in the room in which the stove is placed.


Your new source of heat needs to fit you and that’s why it’s important that you are aware of your needs when you decide to invest in a wood burning stove. It might be a good idea to talk to an expert who can guide you through the many different stoves.

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