a woman warming her hands by a wood stove

Wood Stove

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/22/2021

Is there anything more inviting than the image of a roaring hot fire inside a cast iron wood burning stove on a chilly winter evening? It’s no wonder the idea of installing a small wood stove has become so popular, but is it actually a good idea?


The term wood stove (sometimes called a wood burning stove or a wood burner) refers to a wood burning apparatus that is meant to supply heat, typically indoors but sometimes outdoors as well. An indoor wood burning stove installation consists of a closable metal firebox (i.e. a cast iron wood stove or stainless steel insert), a firebrick lining, and air controls known as dampers to control the air supply and temperature. A wood stove fan is sometimes placed on top to help distribute heat. Wood burning stoves generally need to be ventilated through a stove pipe or chimney flue to allow gases and smoke to escape while retaining the most amount of heat possible.

Is A Wood Burning Stove Worth It?

Modern day wood stoves come in a variety of designs, styles, and materials, as well as with increased safety features and automated performance functions. Still, a wood stove installation is often considered more dangerous and inefficient than some other heating options:

  • Newer wood stoves are designed to be much safer than previous models. However, older or improperly working wood stoves can be dangerous if not updated and maintained.
  • Some of the best wood stoves today are designed to maximize efficiency. However, there is always the potential for excessive heat loss unless the airflow is monitored and adjusted accordingly.