Should you choose a wood burning or multi-fuel stove?

Should you choose a wood burning or multi-fuel stove?

During your search for a solid fuel stove, you will undoubtedly have come across a fundamental choice: should you opt for a wood burning or a multi-fuel model?


Being clear about what each term means is therefore invaluable and will help you to come to a final purchasing decision more easily. Many Dovre stoves – for example the 250 cast iron stove, are built to be either wood burning or multi-fuel appliances so it is necessary to be clear on which would best cater for your individual heating requirements.

What is a multi-fuel stove?

A multi-fuel stove is designed to burn a wide range of materials:

–        Wood logs

–        Smokeless fuels

–        Anthracite

–        Peat/turf briquettes.

This is made possible by the inclusion of a central riddling grate and ashpan or a raised grate that has moving bars which allows the multi-fuel stove to efficiently burn a variety of types of fuel. Unlike wood burning stoves, the fuel bed needs to be de-ashed to create optimum combustion and efficient burning. The design of the multi-fuel stove therefore includes an ashpan underneath the grate to both collect and enable the safe removal of the ashes that are created during burning times.

Technical innovations in Dovre’s stove design have helped with this process and facilitate a quicker, easier and cleaner removal process. It is also worth noting the improvement that a primary air inlet makes to efficient combustion as it introduces air from underneath the grate.

What is a wood burning stove?

A wood burning stove runs far more effectively when the fuel is allowed to sit on a bed of ashes. For this reason you will note that a wood stove usually has a fixed grate with a flat base. This ensures that the ashes created when logs are burning are collected in the base of the firebox to allow fresh logs to be placed on top: this greatly assists the combustion process.   

A huge draw to wood burning is the noteworthy environmental benefits. During its lifetime, a tree will roughly absorb the amount of carbon dioxide you would typically expend burning logs in a wood stove. This means that wood burning is considered to be a low carbon option by organisations such as the Energy Saving Trust and provided you purchase wood logs from a reputable supplier who ensures an investment of new trees to replace those being felled, this type of energy is renewable.

Despite the differences in their design, you will find that there is often little or no disparity in the heat outputs and efficiency levels of a wood burning stove when compared to that of a multi-fuel equivalent. It is also worth noting that both types of stove incorporate innovations in heating technology such as Airwash and Cleanburn, from which the majority of Dovre’s wood burning and multi-fuel stoves benefit. The former draws heated air down the inside of the stove door glass to protect it from soot and smoke and therefore keep it clean and transparent whilst the latter increases combustion by allowing pre-heated, secondary air into the firebox to burn the excess hydrocarbons in the smoke.

If you have access to your own wood supply, a wood burning stove can be a very cost effective addition to your home’s heating system, whilst multi-fuel stoves have the advantage of offering you the convenience of buying from your nearest supplier; this is because you are not limited to one fuel type. Whichever you choose however it is sensible to consult a respected organisation such as HETAS who approve fuels in terms of their quality and energy efficiency.

For further advice on wood burning and multi-fuel stoves and fires, we would recommend visiting your local Dovre retailer who can be located via our ‘Find A Retailer’ page on our website. A reputable dealer will be able to offer invaluable guidance and should also enable you to see stoves and fires in person. Try to view your preferred appliance burning so you can gain a realistic impression of the final result.

No matter what you choose we are sure that you will benefit from the ambiance and charm that a real fire can bring to your home in abundance.

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Posted by Camille on February 20, 2013