There are generally 3 price ranges for stoves. All prices are for DEFRA approved stoves so they can burn wood in a smoke free zone and meet all current smoke emissions testing.
£400 – £550 – For this price bracket the stove will more than likely be a Chinese import however, with the popularity for stoves, manufacturers are constantly competing on price and quality. There are now some models available that offer good build quality and better controllability.
£650 – £1000 – This is by far the most popular price range of stove. This will get you a well established British brand stove with good build quality. These stoves are cut from much thicker steel, they will stand the test of time and are designed with great controllability over the fire.
£1000 – £1500 – Stoves over £1000 tend to be British brands such as Charnwood and Clearviews top models . Also contemporary Scandinavian brands and free standing stoves will fall in this bracket. Build quality and controllability will be exceptional.
5 kilowatts is the most popular size of stove on the market but why do they vary in price so much if they give out the same amount of heat?
The difference from a cheap stove to a £1000 stove (apart from build quality) is all to do with the controllability. The way the air vents can increase or decrease the amount of oxygen into the stove is vital for slowing down the rate of burning once the fires established.
The way I describe this is to imagine that the cheap stove is a car with only 2 gears. Now imagine that you are on the motorway in the fast lane and want to up the gears but cant so are stuck at full revs. Now imagine a stove with controllability that is cruising along and has 5 gears. Who do you think is using the most fuel?
Stoves with good controllability allow you to control the rate of burning like a volume control. The more air coming in to the stove will burn fuel faster and increase heat output; less air will slow down the rate of burning and decrease heat output. Unfortunately most cheap stoves don’t really do much when you turn the air vents down so the fire stays burning at a quicker rate. This in turn burns fuel faster than needed so in the long run is false economy as you are using more fuel. I have found that most stoves that fall into the mid price range bracket have good controllability and build quality. If your budget does not stretch to that there are still a few models that I can recommend.