The quality of manufacture varies enormously and there are a few key indicators that will inform you on the quality of the stove you are considering:
- Where was it manufactured?
- How heavy is the stove?
- How refined are the air controls?
- What is the length of the warranty?
Where is it manufactured?
The UK has a thriving stoves industry and a reputation for well made, well designed products. Manufacturers such as Charnwood have been producing stoves here for decades. Their stoves are almost entirely manufactured in the Isle of Wight and other component parts are sourced in the UK. Likewise Scandinavian stoves are beautifully designed and constructed, with manufacturers such as Hwam and Jotul making stoves that will last at least 20 years.
Origin alone however will not fully determine quality. Some ‘UK’ stoves are assembled here but the component parts are manufactured abroad. Others are carefully marketed as a UK company but the stoves are imported, albeit to a higher standard than the £250 stoves available from many national retailers.
We have limited space in our showroom and like to recommend the sort of products we would put in our own home. We also believe quality equals long term value and cheap stoves are a false economy. For these reasons we made a decision to only stock UK or Scandinavian manufactured stoves from quality manufacturers with long and meaningful warranty packages.
How heavy is the stove?
Seems like an odd question, but weight is a very good guide to quality. Cast iron and steel stoves alike vary in the thickness of the metal used to make up the body and that will have a direct impact on build quality and price. Charnwood, Jotul and Hwam stoves manufacture some of the best stoves on the market and all are very heavy by industry standards. Charnwood stoves use 10mm and 5mm thickness steel to construct the body of the stove; the industry standard is 8mm and 4mm and some are 6mm and 3mm. Jotul stoves are cast iron and weigh up to twice as much as an equivalent sized Chinese cast import.
How sophisticated are the air controls?
Good air controls are important as they improve the stove’s efficiency and keep the glass clean. Glass that frequently blacks up is a sign of a poorly designed air control system. All of the manufacturers we stock have put a lot of research and development into their air controls to improve the efficiency and ensure the glass stays clean.
Hwam stoves for example have an automatic air control. This consists of a bi-metal coil that is attached to the air inlet door. When the stove heats up, this coil expands and forces the air inlet to close down. As the coil cools it contracts and pulls the air inlet more open. Hwam stoves can also be fitted with a remote control that is set to your desired temperature and alerts you when more fuel is required to maintain that temperature.
Hwam have also developed a technique that ensures that the glass pane always receives heated air from three sides in order to prevent it from becoming sooty.
Charnwood stoves have developed the ‘quatraflow’ system which directs primary, secondary and tertiary air around the stove for ultimate efficiency. Charnwood stoves utilise a system of forcing air drawn into the underside of the stove, around the back, over the top and then pushed down the front of the glass. This pre-heated air works as a curtain to keep ash away from the glass.
What is the length of the warranty?
Our stoves come with a 10 year warranty on the body.
Consumable service items such as grate components, internal protection plates, throat plates, bricks, glass, rope seal and associated parts are not covered by this guarantee.
How can I get good quality on a tight budget?
If you are keen to keep the cost down but would still like to avoid Chinese imports, you could consider a wood burning only stove. Our cheapest wood burning only stove is a Charnwood C4, coming in at £700 including VAT (if we install it). You will benefit from all the robust, stylish and refined features of the Charnwood range without a huge outlay.