The Best Small Wood Stoves for Off-Grid Cabins

by Oliver Guess | LAST UPDATED July 9, 2021

Small wood stove
This article may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Table of Contents
Primary Item (H2)

A small wood stove is always a welcome addition to any home.

In a practical sense, a good stove can allow you to easily warm your home by just throwing a few logs in the wood burner. In a more decorative sense, a small stove in the corner of the room is always a good touch when it comes to interior design as it adds a comfy ambiance to any room that it’s placed in.

However, while a lot of people may have fond childhood memories of spending chilly winter nights with the lights off just staring into the fire of the stove, most people aren’t fond of the cost that comes along with the wood.

Just to be clear, there are without a doubt many reasons as to why a wood-burning stove would be a better investment than something like an inverter or a heater, but using wood stoves also has its disadvantages as well.

Our article will take you through all of those advantages and disadvantages, as well as why someone might like to get a small wood-burning stove for their home.

Possible Issues

Like most people, we personally prefer to hear the bad news before we hear the good, so we thought we’d get the negative points out of the way first.

There are essentially three major issues that people have regarding wood-burning stoves, and two of them aren’t all that problematic, in our opinion.

Space

Having a stove in your room means that you’re going to need to make some space for it. Most stoves aren’t all that big on their own, and they can comfortably fit in pretty much any small space.

However, the main issue is that you’re going to need to keep 2-4 feet around the stove clear of any clutter. The heat generated by the stove will damage most things placed too close to it and melt electronics and wilt flowers.

While this is a problem, it’s not an inherent flaw in wood-burning stoves. 

If you’re having issues with the amount of heat that your stove is generating and you find that even the lowest setting is hellishly hot, then you might have simply bought the wrong type of stove.

The stoves that we list below are sorted based on a variety of factors, but the key one is square feet. Certain stoves are big enough to cover up to 1,500 sq ft, while others can barely manage to warm up to 200 degrees.

If your feet are size 6 and you buy size 9 sneakers, then you’re not going to blame the shoes. As long as you don’t get a stove that has a higher heat output than you need or vice-versa, then you shouldn’t have any issues with the space-to-warmth ratio.

Wood

Another big reason why people don’t like using wood stoves is that the price of firewood is too high. While we can’t rightfully say that firewood is exceptionally cheap, the exact price will depend on the amount you’re looking to buy and the season you buy it in.

A cord of firewood costs between $100-$200 during the summer and spring months, but the prices double in the fall and winter months. Unfortunately, even if you don’t buy it in the summer, if you don’t have a local supplier and have to ship it in from out of town or out of state, then the price rises even more.

That being said, using electricity for home heating isn’t exactly cheap either. Heaters and AC units are notorious for the amount of electricity they use. So if you go this route, you’ll be spending quite a bit of money on electricity.

Additionally, if you’re living off-grid and aren’t hooked up to any utility lines, both your heater and your AC are going to be drawing far too much power to make them a reasonable choice for tiny homes.

The exact price difference is difficult to gauge since we don’t know how much firewood or electricity you’d need to heat your living space properly; even if the wood does come out to be more expensive in some situations, it’s not going to be by much.

Too Much Work

The last reason why many people prefer to go for an alternative heating method that isn’t a wood stove is the additional effort required to keep the fire going. Unlike the electronic or propane alternatives, you’re actually going to need to tend to the fire to make sure that it doesn’t go out, put in a log every once in a while, and clean out the ash pan when it gets too full.

To those of us that actually grew up on wood stoves, this doesn’t seem like all that much of a hassle, but we understand why people that aren’t used to lighting stoves can find this to be a bit of a pain.

The only thing that we can say is that all of the steps, from lighting the fire to cleaning the pan, become pretty routine after a while. You might have some trouble lighting and maintaining a fire in the beginning, but you’ll definitely be able to get the hang of it after a handful of tries.

If this is the reason why you don’t want to get a wood stove, then we can’t provide you with a solution for this issue aside from hiring a butler whose only role is to light the fire for you.

In all seriousness though, while we do see where a lot of people are coming from, you won’t know until you try, and it’s almost certain that you’ll find out how easy maintaining proper heat in a stove actually is.

The Verdict

To our minds, a small wood stove has a lot more advantages than disadvantages, and it’s definitely a better option than a heater or an AC unit for off-grid tiny houses, wood cottages, or even mobile homes.

You’re free to disagree with us, and honestly, if all of our arguments haven’t convinced you, nothing will. However, if you’re sold on the idea and actually want to try out a stove for your home, then we have a few recommendations for you.

Our Pick

As we mentioned before, when it comes to stoves, getting the right fit is very important. Some of our picks are going to be a great choice for tiny spaces, while others might not be right for you if your house is smaller than 800 sq ft.

All of our picks have different individual features, but they all have a set effective distance as well. We’ll go over all of their features and mechanisms, but we’ll also point out which models are better for certain home sizes.

CB-1008 Cubic CUB Mini Wood Stove

The CB-1008 comes in at just under $580 and is the smallest stove on our list. This tiny wood stove has a width of 11", a height of 12", and a depth of 10.5". The modest proportions mean that it’ll be able to heat a space that’s somewhere between 100-200 square feet but will struggle to warm up anything larger adequately. 

This model comes with a secondary combustion system that reduces smoke emissions and makes it a green option as far as stoves go while also ensuring that the carbon footprint you do leave is small.

If you remove the rail at the top, you’ll also be able to get a cooktop that’s 11” wide from side to side or 5” to each side from the stovepipe to either side. Considering that this stove can generate between 6,000-14,000 BTU, we’d say that’s hot enough to nuke an egg in less than half of a minute.

This stove does have a slight downside because it requires a complete flue system consisting of a 3" flue pipe, a 5" insulated pipe, and an exit kit, which strangely isn’t part of the deal when you buy the stove, so you’ll need to procure them on your own.

CB-1210 GRIZZLY Cubic Mini Wood Stove

The CB-1210 comes from the same manufacturers as our previous entry and sadly has the same issues regarding the airflow piping. As for the rest of the stove, it’s up to the same sort of high standards as you’d expect from a reliable name such as Cubic.

The Cubic stoves have a naming system that denotes the size of their stoves based on bear species. Fittingly, the Grizzly is bigger than the Cub and comes in at a width of 13", a height of 15", and a depth of 12". The difference in size may not seem all that significant, but these extra few inches add around 100 square feet to the effective range of the stove.

Keep in mind that the output you can expect from this stove will be around 8,000-18,000 BTU, which is still more than the Cub, but it’ll struggle to heat up an area of 300 square feet if you have high ceilings.

Similar to the Cub, this model requires a horizontal clearance of 20" in all directions and a vertical clearance of 30". In addition, it’s sporting a laser-cut steel top and body, it has a viewing window made out of self-cleaning robax glass, and it also has 1/2" thick vermiculite fire brick insulation.

Dickinson Newport Solid Fuel Heater

Despite its name, the Dickinson Newport is a stove, and the “solid fuel heater” in its name means that it can burn wood, coal, charcoal, or smokeless pressed fuel. 

With a width of 7.88″, a height of 14.7”, and a depth of 10″, the Dickinson is a more compact stove than the previous two, while also being able to produce about as much heat and cover as much space as the Cub.

This stove is made out of high-quality stainless steel, has a removable ash pan, and is incredibly easy to clean. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a viewing window where you can watch the fire burn, but it more than makes up for that with its burn time and economy.

Vogelzang Defender TR001B

This stove can produce 68,000 BTUs, which are more than enough to cover an area as large as 1,000 square feet. Luckily, the Defender is also equipped with a heavy cast iron door and a 14.5" x 8" ceramic glass viewing window, both of which ensure that you’re protected from the heat source.

The TR001b has an EPA certification for its efficiency in burning, which means that it produces less carbon monoxide and is more eco-friendly than any stove of this size has any right to be.

This model also comes equipped with a blower that ensures that there’s an even distribution of heat. This ensures that there’s a little dry heat buildup as possible, even if the airflow in your room isn’t all that great.

This particular stove is 23 1/2" wide, 20" high, and it also has a depth of 27", and a weight of 260 lb. On a full load, this stove can manage a burn time of around 8-10 hours. 

Drolet Escape 1800

The final stove on our list is also the most powerful. The Drolet can produce 75,000 Btus and comfortably cover an area as large as 1,500 square feet. In other words, this is the sort of stove that you would exclusively use in the dead of winter.

Additionally, this stove is also EPA certified, and it has a secondary combustion system, which means that it produces fewer emissions than your standard wood-burning stove.

It can burn for at least 8 hours on a full load, and it can fit much larger pieces of wood in the firebox thanks to the larger dimensions of the stove. To be more precise, the Drolet Escape 1800 has a height of 41”, a width of 29”, a depth of 28.75”, and weighs 367 lbs. This makes this item the largest stove on our list, which is the most powerful.

Conclusion

Although we’ve listed stoves that are a perfect fit for certain homes and others that are less so, we hesitate to say that there is one “best small wood stove.”

Any one of the items on our list can be a perfect fit for your home, or you could simply go on Amazon and find about a dozen other choices that might suit you just as well. All we can do is explain why we think these stoves are the best choices in our mind and hope that the reader understands our reasoning,

The decision on which stove you go for is ultimately up to you, but we stand by our choices, and we believe that you won’t be disappointed if you decide to buy any of the items we’ve described.

Oliver Guess
Oliver is an off-grid living enthusiast currently residing in the mountains of New Mexico. His interests in sustainability originally lead him down the path of an off the grid lifestyle. When he's not tinkering with his broken solar panels, Oliver enjoys searching out hot springs, whittling and cooking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

OptOutLiving is an online destination for alternative lifestyle inspiration, advice and information. Our goal is to help people design a life that optimizes their time and happiness.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram