Nothing can match the heartwarming ambiance of a real fire on a cold winter night. It’s one of the most satisfying sights in the home.
Even better, the primal nature of wood-burning as a way of home heating is something many people enjoy. It’s just so beautiful, from stacking the kindling to lighting the wood and then watching the flames roar.
Unfortunately, picking the best wood burning stove with blower for home heating isn’t as easy. There are endless factors to consider, from size to type to efficiency. Today, we want to discuss how to pick a great stove with a blower/fan.
How do wood-burning stoves with blowers work? How does the blower help? And what factors should you consider when shopping for one? First, though, a look at some of the best wood-burning stoves in the world.
How Does a Wood Stove Work?
Let’s begin with how a wood stove works. A wood stove (also popular as wood-burning stoves) works by burning wood fuel to generate heat, radiated through the walls and top of the stove.
There are two broad categories of wood stoves – traditional and certified. Traditional wood stoves are older stoves.
Once you start the fire using paper, the stove begins to heat up. Fresh air enters the unit through strategically placed vents to fuel the fire.
These stoves are relatively inefficient since most heat is used to burn off the woods’ moisture. A chimney on the stove allows the humidity (along with other exhaust gases) to escape the stove outside the house.
A typical traditional wood-burning stove can reach 1,000°F, at which point the now-charcoal wood begins to burn to generate substantial heat.
Certified wood stoves are called so because they are certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA started certified wood stoves in 1990.
The stoves are a lot more efficient than models designed before 1990, which means less environmental pollution. Check out some of the most efficient wood-burning stoves.
The main difference between EPA-certified and traditional wood stoves is that EPA-certified stoves rely on either a secondary or catalytic combustor to maximize efficiency.
A secondary combustion stove has an additional air intake that introduces a new stream of air into the firebox’s hottest part to help burn gases (including moisture) that usually escape the chimney. The result is less heat loss, thus greater heating efficiency.
Catalytic wood stoves, meanwhile, feature a catalytic system similar to the ones found in motor vehicles.
Smoke exiting the firebox is passed through the catalytic chamber, designed to force the gases to burn at a lower than usual temperature. The result is more heat extracted from outbound combustion gases, i.e., more complete burning.
What Does a Blower on a Wood Stove Do
As you can tell from the above description, the smallest wood stove relies on natural heat transfer to warm the home’s people in the absence of a blowing system.
Much of this natural heat transfer happens through radiation, where electromagnetic waves carry the heat to the people in the room.
Radiant heat is excellent. It’s natural and gentle. However, since heat exits through the top of the stove, much of it typically rises to the ceiling, leaving the air around us cold or not-so-warm.
That’s where blower fans come in handy!
Electric or convection-powered blower systems can help circulate the heat to warm a larger area.
A typical fireplace blower fan draws air into the fire, and once the air is heated up, pushes it into and throughout the rest of the room. It’s an excellent way to move heat to every corner of the room. It also minimizes heat loss.
You can also check some of the best non electric wood stove fans
The Two Types of Blower Fans
There are three broad categories of blower fans, i.e., convectional wood stove fans and thermoelectric power generator fans.
Convectional Wood Stove Fans
Convectional wood stove fans rely on the home’s electric power supply to work. They are plugged into a dedicated outlet and feature speed controls and a thermal switch to control blowing speed.
The fans themselves are specific to your stove model. In other words, you need to find a model designed for your stove type because not all convectional fans will fit your stove. A cutout made to fit specific stoves will tell you whether it’s the right fan for you.
Once the fan system is installed, it draws cool air from the stove base and forces it around the appliance’s top, where the cold air is heated. The now-warm air is then forced out into the room through an outlet. Convectional wood stove fans typically use a rotary cage to move air.
The fans are incredibly efficient. Despite requiring electric power to work, they are the most effective air movers.
Thermoelectric Power Generator Fans
Also known simply as thermoelectric generator (TEG) fans, these appliances use heat from the stove to create an electric current, thus do not require electric power from the home’s supply. They generate a current by transferring heat from the stove to a cold metal on the fan.
There are two types of thermoelectric wood stove fans – traditional TEG fans and Stirling fans. Traditional TEG fans have two parts that expand at different rates.
A thermal generator is situated between the two sections. The disproportionate expansion rates help generate a small voltage that is more than enough to power the fans.
Stirling engine fans work the same way as TEG fans except for how they make the blades move. They feature two plates – a heated one touching the stove and a cool one at the top of the engine – and a piston that moves as hot air is pushed up and hot air pushed down. This movement is what generates the voltage required to power the fan.
Benefits of a Wood Stove Blower
The greatest benefit of the wood stove blower is that they circulate air, meaning that you can use a smaller stove to warm a larger area.
Without a fan, the heat generated stagnates almost immediately around the stove and pools around the ceiling. This significantly limits heating within the room.
Blower fans distribute the heat to the rest of the room, resulting in more efficient home heating. It’s been observed that blowing allows you to use about 20% less fuel to heat the same area.
In a nutshell, the advantages of investing in a wood stove blower include;
- Dramatically increases fireplace efficiency: You’re guaranteed to use less fuel to warm the same area. Using less fuel means you spend less on energy and heating in general.
- Heat larger spaces: The fans’ blowing action means that heat from the stove reaches a longer distance than relying on conduction along.
- Quick and easy installation: It doesn’t take a lot of effort to install a wood stove blower. As long as it’s the right blower system for your stove, the installation process takes a few minutes at most.
- Runs quietly: Woodstove fans aren’t the same as traditional fan systems that make lots of noise when working. Not even close. These appliances run very quietly. You may not even notice that the fan is on.
Things to Consider when Purchasing wood stove with blower
As we’ve already mentioned, there are multiple factors you need to consider when shopping for a wood stove with a blower fan. These include;
Built-in or Installed Separately?
This is the very first thing you want to consider. Some wooden stoves come with pre-installed blower systems, while for others, you’ll need to purchase and install a blower separately. Both options are okay.
However, it’s a lot more convenient when the blower is already installed. Additionally, where the blower system is pre-installed, the firebox and fan are perfectly matched to work together, thus greater efficiency.
If the appliance gets too got, it might damage the fan. On the other hand, if the stove isn’t hot enough, the fan may not come on. This makes the temperature range very important. You want a fan system that matches your stove’s heating range and is resilient enough to withstand high temperatures.
One way to determine the best temperature range for your needs is to check your stove’s average surface temperature using an infrared or magnetic thermometer and ensure that it falls within the fan’s temperature range.
There are a few wood stove blower fans you never have to turn on or off – thermoelectric fans. These units run on heat generated by the stove. When the stove is ON, the fan will automatically spring into action. When the stove goes OFF, the fan goes off too.
The temperature range mentioned above is critical, though. Thermoelectric blowers are designed to automatically come on only when the stove reaches a specific temperature. If the stove can’t reach that temperature, the blower won’t work.
All blower fans make some sound. The rotation of the blades will, at the very least, produce some audible sound. However, some make more noise than others.
For woodstove blowers, self-powered models that rely on heat from the stove to operate are the least noisy. They’re essentially silent. Electric-powered models, meanwhile, make a bit of noise.
As a result, you may want to consider self-powered blower fans over their electric-powered counterparts. Just remember that electric-powered heaters are generally more powerful.
Woodstove fan systems are rated based on the volume of air they can move per unit time. The standard measurement is cubic feet per minute, i.e., the amount of air cubic feet the appliance can move per minute.
Typically, it would be best if you had a bigger CFM for a larger space. Ideally, consider 90 CFM fans for rooms measuring up to 12 x 12 feet and 100-110 CFM models for areas in the 20 x 20 feet region.
For rooms larger than 20 x 20 feet, you need a blower fan rated at 120 CFM or higher. For reference, the standard room measures about 500 square feet.
Speed control functions in some wood stove blower fans that allow the user to switch the fan between the off and max-speed settings manually. This is great as it allows you greater control of the heating in your room.
But, speed settings come with one drawback – the temptation to bypass the thermal switch! As we’ve already mentioned, a wood stove fan cannot operate until the stove is hot enough to close the thermal switch.
Where speed settings are available, some people may be tempted to bypass the thermal switch. This is strongly unadvisable as a fan operating a cold stove may make it difficult for the stove to reach desired operating temperatures, which, in turn, also affects burning efficiency.
The Lifespan of the Unit
Your wood stove blower’s lifespan will depend on several factors, including how often you use the fan and how well you maintain it. It also depends on the type of fan you choose.
Convectional rotary fans are incredibly durable. With good maintenance, they can last between 10 and 15 years. Stirling engine fans can also last up to 15 years. TEG fans, however, tend to last between 5 and 10 years, with the motors usually the first thing to wear out.
It’s essential to keep in mind that convectional rotary fans typically use serviceable bearings and can be diagnosed with a voltage meter.
The individual components can be replaced, and they’re fairly easy to maintain. TEG fans are also easy to maintain. Motor failures are the most common. These can be easily replaced as the motors are low-cost and readily available.
Stirling fans, however, aren’t very easy to maintain. Although they are low-maintenance appliances, the sealed design makes repair difficult. On a positive note, though, the fans are made from high-quality components to ensure long life and are more tolerant of operation outside designed temperature ranges.
Other Considerations when Shopping for a Wood-Burning Stove with a Blower
Aside from the blower fan, you also need to bring home the right wood stove. The following are a few considerations to help you pick out the best wood stove burner for your needs;
The size of a wood-burning stove can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTU) or Kilowatts (1KW = 1,000 watts).
You need to get the right stove size for your application, keeping in mind that too small a stove might result in inadequate heating while too big a unit may force you to keep the windows open at all times.
Experts recommend multiplying the length of the room x width x height and multiplying the result by 14 to determine the required stove size in watts.
Freestanding Stove or Fireplace Insert
Freestanding stoves are installed in places without pre-existing masonry fireplaces. They are available in many configurations, including low to the floor models with legs and elevated models that stand on a tower or pedestal.
Some of these units can even work as hearth mounts in masonry fireplaces. Fireplace inserts, meanwhile, fit into an existing fireplace.
As we saw earlier, certified stoves built-in 1990 are a lot more efficient than traditional models made earlier than that.
These EPA-certified stoves are typically rated 70% efficient or higher. They convert most of the wood fuel into heat and lose very little heat too.
Still, you want to pick the most efficient one you can afford from the lot. An 80% efficiency or higher, and emissions below 2.0g/hour would be excellent.
Finally, you also want to consider the control functions of the stove. Digital and smart controls can considerably increase convenience.
The remote control is an example of the features to consider here. With smart control, you can change temperature settings without getting off the sofa. Smart start and safety features should also be a priority.
Also Read – what to put behind a wood-burning stove to help protect your house
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about wood-burning stoves and their blower fans, the following FAQ section answers some of those questions;
What’s the difference between a wood stove with blower vs. without a blower?
The difference is the quality of heat distribution. A wood stove with a blower distributes heat much better, ensuring that the warmth reaches every corner of the room. The result is much more efficient heating.
Can you add a blower to a wood stove?
Yes. Although some stoves come with the blower system pre-installed, you can also buy and install a blower separately. It’s important, however, to purchase the right blower designed for that specific stove.
Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a wood-burning stove?
Yes. This is why it’s vital to buy a highly efficient stove. These stoves burn more completely, effectively reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Besides, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector (ODS) to keep track of oxygen levels in your home.
How can I increase the efficiency of my woodstove?
Yes, there are a couple of steps you can take to make your wood stove more efficient. First, make sure to use the right logs. Certified logs burn more completely. Secondly, keep the vents open to allow gaseous byproducts to escape. Cleaning is also important
Can you keep the wood stove burning at night?
Yes. Just make sure the last wood log is big enough to last at last a few hours. Even if it goes out at some point during the night, the home’s insulation will keep the warmth inside the house, thus keeping you warm.
Is it safe to leave the wood stove burning at night?
Yes. The safety risk doesn’t increase just because you’re going to bed. You may want to take a few extra precautions, though. For one, close off both the air intake and flue so that the stove burns a little slower.
But don’t shut them off completely. Also, remove any flammable items from the area around the fireplace. Above all, have the chimneys cleaned once a year to prevent a chimney fire.
Best Wood Burning Stove With Blower Reviews
1. Drolet Escape 1800i Fireplace Wood Insert – 75,000 BTU, EPA Certified
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The Escape 1800i is a high-efficiency wood stove insert with a low particulate emissions rate of just 1.54 g/h (you’ll learn shortly that anything under 2.0 g/h is considered acceptable).
It accepts logs up to 20 inches long and comes with a top heat exchanger that allows users to maximize the blower system’s benefits.
Key features of the Escape 1800i include 69% HHV efficiency and 74% LHV efficiency. The optimum efficiency, meanwhile, is 77%. Also, it’s a non-catalytic stove but EPA-rated and approved in 2021.
The Drolet Escape features a single ceramic glass door with a cast-iron frame. The firebox is lined with refractory bricks for better heat distribution. A secondary air system improves gas combustion.
The Drolet Escape is recommended for areas between 500-2,100 Sq. Ft. and burns continuously for eight hours with a full load. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Ideal for up to 2,100 Sq. Ft.
- Blower included
- EPA certified
- CSA, UL, and UCL certified
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Some assembly required
- It’s a bit pricey
2. Hi Flame EPA Approved Wood Burning Stove HF905U, Small (21,000 BTU)
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The Model HF-905U Shetland is a small, smart wood burning stove with contemporary yet classic European styling. It implements a state-of-the-art clean-burn, pre-heated tertiary air technology for maximum efficiency, minimal fuel consumption, and low emissions.
Other standout qualities of the Shetland include ease of operation and maintenance, incredible flexibility (rear or top flue), and exquisite quality.
The stove’s key features include air-washed glass for a great view of the fire, an independent ash door for effortless ash removal, and advanced furniture quality cast iron technique.
It’s a non-catalytic heater but large enough to be a primary heat source (the manufacturer recommends it for rooms up to 800 square feet).
The freestanding Shetland supports wood lengths up to 12 inches and is rated at an incredible 85% efficiency. It’s made from durable stainless steel, requires a bit of assembly, and is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.
- High efficiency (85%)
- Ideal for up to 800 Sq. Ft.
- Energy friendly/eco friendly
- 5-year limited warranty
- No remote control
- High emissions rate (4.05 g/h)
3. US Stove 1269E Small EPA Certified Cast Iron Logwood Stove 54,000 BTU
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Also known as the Logwood 1269E, this wood stove is a classic, heavy, rustic, cast-iron stove built for extended longevity and durable functionality.
When fully heated, the unit delivers 54,000 BTU, which is more than enough to warm a 2,500 square foot home. Alongside the stove, buyers get a cook-top surface and two-piece safety handle. The handle remains cool to touch even when the stove is hot.
You’ll quickly notice the durable cast iron legs that allow the heater to stand on its own. An adjustable damper at the flue base and a shelf below the loading door are easily noticeable features. The heater burns for 6-8 hours on a full log load and is rated 68% efficient.
The EPA-certified heater is made from heavy-duty cast iron for durability and accepts logs up to 23 inches long. It’s ideal for log cabins, large garages, and shops.
- Classic style with modern technology
- Two-piece safety handle
- Heavy-duty cast-iron construction
- EPA-certified to the latest standards
- Only one-year warranty
- 68% efficiency is a bit low
4. Ashley Hearth Products AW2021E-P Pedestal Wood Stove
- 89,000 BTUs heats up to 2,000 square feet
- Firebrick lined for long life and combustion efficiency while large ash pan with brushed nickel handle makes cleanup easy
- Accepts logs up to 21" in length
- Brushed nickel spring door handle and pedestal base provides an elegant look to any room
- Blower sold separately (model CB36 or B36)
The Ashley Hearth AW2021E-P is a medium-size plate steel wood stove that generates an astounding 89,000 BTUs of heat at peak capacity. This is enough for a 2,000 square foot home.
The spacious 2.0 cubic foot firebox accepts logs as long as 21 inches for increased burn time and less frequent refueling. The heater meets the stringent EPA Step 2 certification guidelines.
Features of the AW2021E-P include the brushed nickel spring door handle and pedestal base designed to give any room a visual uplift. A firebrick lining inside the unit ensures long life and combustion efficiency. The stove is rated 70.4% efficient.
The unit implements manual ignition, features a single (top-located) vent, and is UL listed for safety. It comes with a limited lifetime firebox warranty and a one-year warranty on all other parts, including electrical components.
- High capacity 89,000 BTU heating
- Firebrick-lined for efficiency
- Durable steel build
- Lifetime firebox warranty
- No variable speed control
- Blower system sold separately
5. Pleasant Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Medium Wood Burning Stove
This Pleasant Hearth non-catalytic wood stove is another excellent option when shopping for a medium-sized stove with a blower.
First off, the unit delivers bright heat and is rated 82% energy efficient, which, as you may notice, is on the higher end for wood stoves. It emits waste at 4.4 g/h and is ideal for up to 1,800 square feet.
Standout features of the unit include an easy access door that allows for easy refueling. The brick-lined interior, along with the ceramic glass window, ensures safe, efficient fire views.
Cleaning the unit is easy thanks to the convenient ash clean-out door, while push/pull draft control allows regulated heat output and extended burn time.
This unit is EPA-certified (Phase One approves) and delivers up to 65,000 BTU at peak capacity. It includes a variable speed blower for powerful heat distribution and is backed by a 5-year warranty.
- Rated 82% efficient
- EPA certified
- Variable speed control
- 5-year warranty
- No remote control
6. Defender II Wood Stove with Blower and Ash Drawer
The Defender II is a beautiful air-tight plate steel wood stove featuring a beautiful nickel-pewter trim with a charcoal black finish.
It comes with a heavy-duty cast iron door and an air-washed ceramic glass window that offers a magnificent fire view.
It also features two air vents – the primary air inlet at the front and a secondary inlet at the top. The result is two fires at the top and bottom for ultimate efficiency.
The Defender II accepts logs up to 17 inches long and burns for several hours on a single load. Adjustable legs mean you can position the stove right where you need it.
A firebrick lining ensures maximum burning efficiency. The unit comes with a blower included and supports a 100 CFM adjustable blower (available separately). It is rated 75% efficient.
This stove packs 68,000 BTU and is ideal for spaces up to 1,200 square feet. It is EPA certified and meets UL and CSA safety standards.
- High capacity 68,000 BTU heating
- Blower system included
- UL, CSA, EPA certified
- Adjustable legs for flexibility
- One of the pricier models
7. Napoleon S20, 65,000 BTU Wood Burning Stove
Finally, the Napoleon S20 is a clean, contemporary-style wood stove best known for its long burn times, heavy-duty firebox top, and a full-width ash lip to protect your floor.
The unit is EPA approved and features a modern cast iron door and pedestal base in a metallic charcoal finish. Better still, it’s one of just a few stoves that implement “secure lock” technology for safe refueling and use. A large ash pan with easy glide rollers enables easy cleaning.
The stove is rated at 65,000 BTU and burns at 72% efficiency. It has a firebox capacity of 19 cubic feet and burns for eight straight hours on a full load. It also produces very few emissions (2.25 g/h). Although the heater can work in larger spaces, it’s best in areas around 1,800 square feet.
The Napoleon S20 is tested to 2021 cordwood requirements, accepts wood lengths up to 17 inches, and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
- High-capacity 65,000 BTU heating
- EPA approved
- Implements “Secure Lock” technology
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Supports shorter wood pieces
- A bit pricey
Wood stoves are a great way to warm your home in cold weather. They are beautiful and deliver a kind of ambiance you can’t replicate with gas or electric heaters. The stoves become an even bigger, more efficient heat source when integrated with the right blower system.
Keep factors such as speed control, CFM rating, noise control, and the temperature range in mind, though. Also, remember that for the best outcome, the blower system should match the stove. Happy shopping!