Often when you’re building a tiny home, you’re looking for ways to save on space and money. Using a wood stove can be the ideal option to save money on your electric bill. There are also options that work for space-saving as well.
When choosing the ideal wood stove for your tiny home, you’ll want to find one that’s going to be flexible with installation and placement and has the correct heat output for the space you’re using. You’ll also need to consider the flue pipe positioning and where it will exit your home.
Let’s first take a look at what to look for in a wood stove for your tiny home.
What To Look For
When deciding on any piece of equipment, there are going to be things you need to look for. There are three things you have to look for when choosing a wood stove for your tiny home.
The most important thing you need to worry about when choosing your wood stove is the heat output. You need to find one that is properly sized to heat the space you’re using.
When the stove is too big, users will burn their wood at a low smolder. This is actually a bad thing when you consider the level of pollution it puts out. That low smolder wastes energy and is one of the biggest causes of air pollution.
If the stove is too small, it won’t heat your space sufficiently. However, a smaller wood stove is ideal for tiny homes. You simply need to find the proper one that will create that radiant heat you want.
A small wood stove is freestanding (meaning it’s not install in a fireplace) and should have the capacity to heat a room up to 1,800 square feet. For spaces larger than that, you may need to look into larger sized wood stoves. The way you figure out how much space a wood stove will heat, you’ll need to configure the British Thermal Units (Btu) with the square footage of your living space.
Roughly 60,000 Btu can heat a 2,000 square foot living space. While 42,000 will heat 1,300 square feet. To find this calculation, you’ll multiply the total square footage by 20 Btu. So for a larger residential space, if a room is 1,000 square feet, you’ll need 20,000 Btu of heat to warm the entire space.
However, the best advice for figuring out what size stove you need for your tiny space is to use a BTU calculator. This calculator is specifically designed for wood stoves in small spaces. It tends to work better than traditional household BTU calculators because it takes into account things like climate, insulation, and the height of your tiny space, which is where the traditional guidelines start to break down when considering smaller spaces.
Part of building a tiny home requires the need for compact living and flexibility. When choosing a wood stove, you’re going to want something that can accommodate that lifestyle.
One of the best parts about smaller wood stoves is that they can fit almost anywhere. Consider the size and shape of your living space. Next, consider your heat output.
You already know that the heat output is the most important part of your wood stove. This also plays a factor in where you’ll place your stove. The best location is typically in the center of whatever room the wood stove is in. This ensures that the heat will evenly disperse from the stove into the rest of the area around it.
However, you may not have the space available to place the stove in the center of the room. This is why it’s important to find a wood stove that has a little more flexibility with installation and placement.
The flue pipe is the part of the wood stove that carries the smoke out of your home. It’s an important part of the appliance and needs to be considered when making a final decision.
This will go back to the flexibility of the woodstove. You’ll want to consider the heat the pipe will generate and the path it needs to take out of your house.
The woodstove, the flue pipe, and chimney all get extremely hot and when this happens it starts to break down the smoke on a chemical level. This makes it vital that the flue pipe is cleaned often to prevent fires inside the pipe and chimney.
One of the main chemicals generated by wood smoke is creosote. This is a tar-like substance that travels up the flue pipe and can stick to the sides, making it possible for a chimney fire to start.
When choosing your wood stove, consider where you’ll install the flue pipe so that it has the easiest access to it from the outside. These pipes must also be inspected regularly to make sure they are still safe and in good condition.
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9+ Best Wood Stoves for Tiny Homes
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at the top wood stoves for tiny homes.
This is one of the smallest (if not the smallest) wood stoves available on today’s market. It heats 3000 – 8000 Btus, which roughly heats up to 500 sq ft. It’s dimensions are 7.88” x 14.7” x 10”. It only weighs 15 lbs, and it’s recommended that you mount it down so it doesn’t get knocked over.
The Dickinson Newport is ideal for the tiniest of tiny homes, or as a secondary heating source. Even though the size makes it great for tiny homes, it won’t keep you warm in very harsh winters. This stove was originally designed to work in boats.
This product is capable of burning wood, charcoal, presto log fuel, and peat. It’s made of stainless steel and has a removable ashtray for easy cleanup.
It requires a 3-inch diameter for the flue pipe and a minimum of 4 ft of chimney. You’ll also need a fresh air vent close to the stove.
The Sheppard Stove is another one on this list. It’s made and sold from the United Kingdom, but they ship all over the world. These stoves are designed with tiny spaces in mind. They’re built for a heat output of 6,142 Btus. It weighs about 30 lbs and has a 3 in flue. It comes with a flue kit to make installation easier.
This stove is ideal for converted vans and sheds, making it perfect for your tiny home. It uses minimal fuel, and it’s suggested that an eco-fuel is used, such as the 7 Day Fuel Box they offer on their website. This eco-fuel is made of 100% natural materials. They’re made of wood chips and compressed sawdust with no fillers.
You can even cook right over the flames by opening the lid. You can cook or boil water right there on the stove, which can save you some space in your kitchen if you need it. There’s also room for a large pan or pot on top of the stove. So, it’s perfect for cooking your dinner on.
Their website also says the stove is CE-approved, which means it’s safe and efficient to use.
This little stove is great for areas that are 200 sq ft or smaller that have a low ceiling. If you’re looking for a stove that works best for 200 sq ft or smaller with high ceilings, check out the Grizzly Mini Wood Stove, listed below.
The dimensions are 11″ x 12″ x 10.5″ and 25.6 pounds. It puts out 6000 Btu to 14,000 Btu. This stove will also accept wood, charcoal and pressed fire logs as its fuel source.
The stove is not EPA certified. However, they are listed as eco-friendly on their website due to the secondary combustion system they have. This results in very little smoke generation from the stove.
This product requires a clearance distance of 20 inches all the way around without any shielding. Depending on your tiny home, this might be difficult to accomplish. However, if you have the proper mounting and shielding, the clearance on all sides is reduced by 3 inches.
For the Mini Wood Stove, you’ll also need a 3 inch and a 5-inch flue pipe, which is not included when you purchase on the Cubic website. They also recommend that the pipes are double-walled pipes and to never use a single-walled pipe on any of their stoves.
This is the same as the stove listed above but works for small spaces with tall ceilings. This is also listed as their winter model for small spaces. So, if your tiny home is 200 sq ft or smaller with low ceilings, they recommend this model for colder winters.
Much of this model is the same, such as the secondary combustion system, fuel sources, the clearance diameters, and the flue pipe specs. The difference comes in the dimensions and the heat output. The dimensions are 13″ x 15″ x 12″ and the heat output is 8000 Btu to 18,000 Btu.
The difference is also in the price, which is a little more than the stove listed above. Both stoves can be purchased on the Cubic website.
The Dwarf is a great stove for extreme cold weather. The heat output for this stove is 3Kw, which is roughly 10,000 BTU, which could be too powerful if you aren’t experiencing truly cold weather.
The dimensions for this stove are 17” x 10.25” x 8.5” and weighs 75 lbs. The clearance is 16” around the sides and 18” for the rear. It can burn wood, charcoal, anthracite coal or compressed logs.
The flue diameter is 4” and there is the option to vent the flue pipe from the rear of the stove instead of the top. This allows you to use the entire top surface of the stove as a cooking surface.
Something to keep in mind with this stove is that it’s not certified and is only recommended for recreational use. If you are planning on living in your tiny home full time, this may not be the best option for you.
This stove only available through tinywoodstove.com.
ref/21/The Dwarf line of stoves come in three different sizes to fit various sized small spaces, a 3kW (mentioned above), as well as the 4kW (14k BTU) and 5kW (17k BTU) models. They also have a lighter weight version of the 3kW stove, the Dwarf 3kW LITE, and a version of our 5kW stove with an oven, the Cookstove Combo.
This is another great wood stove that is ideal for tiny homes that consistently face colder winters.
The heat output is 63,000 Btu so it has the capacity of heating a space of up to 1,800 sq ft. The dimensions are 30.7” x 26.25” x 25.5”. It’s EPA certified with emissions of 2.18 g/h, putting it below the 2020 guideline amendment.
This stove only takes wood as its fuel source but has an ash drawer for easy cleanup. It comes with a 5-year warranty and is available online at Ace Hardware.
This is a stove that’s more on the expensive side. It can be purchased online at Lowe’s.
While it’s listed as EPA certified on the Lowe’s website, the emissions output for this product is 4.4 g/h which means it doesn’t meet the new EPA guidelines put out this year. It’s recommended before purchasing this model that you first check with your state’s requirements on the matter.
Despite this uncertainty, this stove is great for those okay with spending a little extra cash. The heat output is roughly 41,200 Btu and can heat spaces from 800 sq ft to 1,800 sq ft. The look is traditional and simple, and it’s also very heavy. It weighs roughly 342 so you know it won’t be easy to knock over. The product’s dimensions are 20.25” x 22” x 18.12”.
The flue exhaust size is 6 inches. You can purchase this stove at Lowe’s. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.
This is a great wood stove for a number of different reasons. The first being that it meets the 2020 standards of the EPA.
This is good news, considering the EPA just put out new guidelines in May 2020 that state all wood stoves must emit no more than 2.5 g/h (grams per hour) of fine particles. The Osburn 1700 wood stove actually burns 1.26 g/h, which makes it one of the cleanest burning stoves available.
The Osburn 1700 has a heating capacity of 65,000 Btu, which can heat roughly a living space of 500 to 1,800 sq ft. The diameter needed for the flue pipe and chimney is 6 inches and doesn’t house a catalytic combustion system. The minimum chimney height is 15 feet.
The clearance needed for this product (based on a single-piped wall in the US) is 13 inches for the back wall, 12 inches for a corner, and 10 inches for a sidewall. You’ll also need 84 inches of top clearance and a minimum of 16 inches of clearance in front of the stove.
The biggest issue with this stove is the price, which can be found on the Osburn website. If you aren’t planning on using this often due to having a warmer climate, this may not be the best option for you.
The Osburn 900 is the smallest of the brand, but it incorporates the features of the largest models. The dimensions for this product are 20.2” x 23” x 25.8” and it weighs 174 lbs. The heat output is up to 40,000 Btu, which means it’ll heat a space that’s up to 1,000 sq ft.
The chimney and flue pipe diameter are both 6” with a minimum chimney height of 12 ft. The clearance dimensions (based on a single-walled pipe in the US) are 15” for the back wall, 10” for the corner, 18” for the sidewall, and 84” for the top.
It’s a single-fuel stove. It can take logs up to 17” in length, and it requires dry cordwood. It’s burn time is roughly 5 hours, which could potentially be frustrating to keep a fire going in the middle of the night. It also doesn’t come with a catalytic combustion system of any kind.
This stove is available on the Osburn website and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Pros and Cons of Using Wood Stoves
As with all things, there are going to be pros and cons. Here is a list of both when it comes to wood stoves for tiny homes.
- Visual appeal – Wood stoves look great and they provide a cozy atmosphere. This is usually a big win for those looking to create a visually pleasing space.
- Great for off-grid living – A wood stove doesn’t require electricity to run, making it a perfect solution to those looking to live off-grid.
- Fuel is easy and cheap – The wood you need to burn is relatively cheap, and sometimes free (if you own a lot of land with trees you can cut down yourself).
- Not always eco-friendly – Wood stoves burn a lot of smoke in the process of heating your home. This smoke contains harmful chemicals that pollute the air. Chemicals such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide are hazardous to the environment as well as people. The soot the smoke makes also poses a risk to chimney fires if there is too much of it.
- Requires a lot of extra work/ storage options – While fuel is cheap, it requires a lot of extra work that you may not have considered. Chopping down your own wood is hard on your body and if you aren’t active, this could really hinder your ability to heat your home. In addition, if this is your primary heating source, you’ll need to store a large amount of wood somewhere dry and out of the elements. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, this could be an issue.
- Lots of maintenance is involved – There’s tons of maintenance that is needed to keep your wood stove running. This involves inspections as well as cleaning out the flue pipe and chimney. It also includes cleaning out the base of the wood stove when there are too many ashes.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things that you may want to consider when choosing the wood stove that’s right for your tiny home.
Primary or Secondary Heating Source
Wood stoves can work as a primary heating source. Wood generates heat that is warm and dry, which can be very comfortable.
If you work during the day, it may be worth considering using the wood stove as a secondary heating source. You aren’t going to want to leave a fire burning in your home when you aren’t there and having a propane backup that’s controlled by a thermostat isn’t a bad idea.
The thermostat can kick on the backup if the temperature drops while you’re at work. Then when you get home, you can use the wood stove to heat your home, which can save your electric bill.
Wood Smoke and Pollution
These combustors or catalytic converters will take the smoke and return it to the stove, making the heat burn off the gases that are inside. The best way to know you have a stove that meets clean air regulations is to get a stove that is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It’s easy to think you’ll never need a fire extinguisher, especially if you’re a careful person. However, even if you don’t have a wood stove, it’s always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your home. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Fire extinguishers do expire though, so make sure you are checking the dates on them at least once a year. In addition to the fire extinguisher, you should have regular, working smoke detectors installed as well.
Due to the smoke wood stoves generate, you should also have a carbon monoxide detector in your tiny home. This will warn you if there is a leak somewhere and that the levels in your home are unsafe.
In addition to these items, you’ll want to make sure your stove is installed using the correct clearance guidelines. These guidelines will be different depending on the woodstove, so it’s vital that you check the instructions before installing.
Single-Fuel or Multi-Fuel?
When shopping for a wood stove, you’ll see that some are single-fuel or multi-fuel stoves. This refers to the type of fuel they’re capable of burning.
A single-fuel stove will only use wood to generate heat. A multi-fuel stove can burn other fuel options such as peat, coal, turf, and smokeless fuels. This can be ideal for those who need more flexibility in terms of what they use to heat their home.
Oftentimes single-fuel stoves will only allow for the wood to burn on top of ashes, instead of over a grate. Multi-fuel stoves will have a grate that allows for more airflow, which is necessary for some of the fuel options available to it.
As mentioned above, the flue pipe and chimney are going to need to be cleaned and inspected often to ensure they are in proper working order. This is why the placement of the flue is important.
You should have the flue and chimney inspected once a year. You’ll also need to have it inspected when it’s installed. Doing both can help prevent repairs later on down the road.
It’s also important to note that inspections should be done if you haven’t used your stove in a while. Animals and insects like to make their homes in chimneys when they’re not being actively used. Inspections will make sure there are no critters living in your chimney.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having your chimney and flue pipe cleaned when there is ⅛” of soot build up inside the chimney. In addition, if there is any glaze within the chimney, it’s important to clean it right away, even if the build-up of soot is less than ⅛”.
The best time to clean a chimney is during the late spring, and summer months when the stove is unlikely to be used very often. Or you can have it clean in early fall, before the start of the wood-burning season.
Twice a year, you’ll also want to check that there are no cracks in the glass, damages to the joints and that the door seal is tight. You can find cracks and damages to the joints using a dark room and a flashlight. For the door seal, place a piece of paper in the door and try to pull it out. You should feel strong resistance, meaning the seal is good.
There are many different kinds of wood you can use for your stove, and most of them will give off a different kind of heat. For example, dry wood will give off more heat than wet or green wood.
This is because of the moisture in the wood. As the fire burns, the heat will first go to evaporating the water in the wood. The less moisture, the faster you’ll start feeling the warmth.
Different species of wood will also give off various heat levels as well. Hardwood is typically going to burn hotter than a softwood. This is because generally hardwoods will burn longer and give off heat for an extended amount of time, rather than softwood.
Examples of wood with a higher heat value would be hickory, red or white oak, yellow birch, and sugar maple. Wood species with lower heat value include redwood, cottonwood, hemlock, and aspen.
When finding the best heating source for your tiny home, wood stoves are naturally something to consider. There are a lot of different things to consider when picking the best wood stove. Hopefully, this list of 8 best wood stoves for tiny homes will help you decide the best stove for yours.