Cozy Up to the Best Wood Stoves, Whether You Want Mid-Century Modern or Cabin Vibes
Each one is like a functional piece of art.
Published Jun 9, 2022 1:11 AM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
A statement painting, striking wallpaper, maybe a fireplace—every great room has a focal point. It captures your eye and draws you in. The best wood stoves do the same: They’re like a functional sculpture, sleek with modern updates and a stellar way to efficiently heat a home.
Emily Janak, creative lead and interior designer at Emily Janak Interiors, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, notes the versatility of wood stoves. “I recently centered an entire living room around a petite vintage wood stove,” she says. “It acted as a focal point in front of a large glass wall in a log cabin we restored.” It’s also an effortless way to spice up a space. “I love when a wood stove is placed in a corner without worrying about symmetry—there’s something quaint about discovering a wood stove later as you experience a room, and it can be a charming addition to a sparse, minimalist space,” adds Janak.
If you don’t know where to start, these are the best wood stoves handpicked by Domino editors; they’ll warm up the house every which way.
- Best showstopper: Malm Zircon
- Best old school: Drolet Escape 1800
- Best for small spaces: La Castellamonte Stack CubiStack
- Best hygge vibes: Wittus Shaker Stove
- Best cabin appeal: Supreme NOVO 24 Freestanding Stove
- Best innovation: Invicta Alcor Airtight Cast Iron Stove
Best Showstopper: Malm Zircon
Height: Varies based on size | Material: Varies based on model | Energy efficiency rating: 74 percent
What we like:
- Conical shaped
- More than 10 color options pending size
- Requires 8-inch gas-direct vent
Why we chose it: This suspended wood stove has all the right curves.
Honestly, the Malm Zircon is what wood stove dreams are made of. Curves, a chic hearth opening, and freestanding capabilities are just a few reasons we adore it so much. The brand, based in Sonoma County, California, launched as a sheet metal manufacturer in the 1950s and over time has become a household name for its stellar wood-burning stoves. And don’t let its size fool you: The Zircon will heat up a room in no time—and, unlike other classic stoves, shows off the fire from several different angles. Among the three sizes (30, 34, or 38 inches), there are more than 10 different color options, including matte black, brushed stainless steel, and a variety of porcelain hues. While definitely more modern than your grandmother’s wood stove, the Zircon will remain relevant over time. It’s exactly what you want to cozy up next to with a blanket and a book on a chilly winter day.
Best Old School: Drolet Escape 1800
Height: 36 inches | Material: Alloy steel | Energy efficiency rating: 78 percent
What we like:
- Old-school wood stove vibes
- Heats large spaces
- Lifetime warranty
- Larger in size
Why we chose it: Like the stove you grew up with, but better.
Nostalgia is one word that comes to mind with the Drolet Escape 1800. It will make you want to put on a cozy robe, grab a glass of red wine, and play board games all night. It’s bigger in size but won’t let you down when it comes to heating the house—plus its EPA certified. The brand also has a dialed-up guide to proper heating within different climate zones, which we find superhandy. If you can’t decide on a more modern design, we suggest turning to this tried-and-true classic version. It won’t steer you wrong.
Best for Small Spaces: La Castellamonte Stack CubiStack
Height: 50 inches or more | Material: Ceramic | Energy efficiency rating: 81 percent
What we like:
- Great for small spaces
- 2 base variations (slim and wood)
- Colors are flashier
Why we chose it: The cutest wood stove on the block.
If space is an issue, the CubiStack is our number-one pick. A collaboration between La Castellamonte and Adriano Design, this wood stove brings forth a nod to ancient traditional ceramic stoves in a contemporary way. The tech-forward innovation is a result of the company’s years of research and development in modular construction, new housing requirements, and low environmental impact. Don’t let its size fool you. This roughly 4-foot-tall wood stove will fit easily into any small cabin or home with ease. Glossy red and glossy white are the two color variants, making it a more unique option, as most wood stoves on the market are matte black and gray in color. The volume reaches a total height of 50 inches due to the model’s base.
Best Hygge Vibes: Wittus Shaker Stove
Height: 41 inches (firebox) | Material: Black steel | Energy efficiency rating: 78 percent
What we like:
- 5-year warranty
- You can add a table or a bench
- Trapezoid shape
- 1 color option
- Minimal design
Why we chose it: Is it a piece of art or a wood stove? Why not both!
The Wittus Shaker Stove has won multiple design awards, including the prestigious Reddot Design and the Chicago Museum of Architecture Good Design awards in 2006, so it’s no surprise we’re singing its praises. Dreamed up by Italian architect Antonio Citterio, with Toan Nguyenhe, the trapezoid structure is a modern take on a classic fireplace. One of our favorite things is the ability to add a short table with a small shelf under the door for wood or a bench (on the left or right side—you choose!). It adds a little fireside seating ambience into the mix. The design screams “cozy fireplace” and has the ability to instantly bring a classic yet modern touch to any interior—without taking up much space. Coined “warm furniture” by the brand, it’s as decorative as it is highly functioning and heat producing.
Best Cabin Appeal: Supreme NOVO Freestanding Stove
Height: 40 inches | Material: Cast iron and soapstone | Energy efficiency rating: N/A
What we like:
- Heats up to 2,000 square feet
- Wood storage below
- Choose between soapstone and cast-iron panels
- 1 color option
Why we chose it: Major cabin vibes, plus we love the chic wood storage below.
At first glance, the Supreme NOVO Freestanding Stove practically screams “log cabin in the woods.” It can sit directly on the floor or you can choose to elevate it on a chic storage space for wood, and it comes in three sizes: 18, 24, and 38 inches. The cast-iron panels are reversible, so you can shake things up accordingly; one side showcases an O.G. brick pattern, and the other a more contemporary style. Customize the appearance by selecting soapstone or a timeless cast-iron look, both wildly heat-efficient and aesthetically pleasing choices. It might seem small, but this 24-inch freestanding number can heat up to 2,000 square feet—making it ideal for more than your remote hideaway, as it will instantly brighten up a modern home, too.
Best Innovation: Invicta Alcor Airtight Cast Iron Stove
Height: 47 inches | Material: Cast iron | Energy efficiency rating: 77 percent
What we like:
- Wide panoramic window
- Round shape
- Low energy consumption
- 1 color option
Why we chose it: A modern, French-crafted wood stove: Need we say more?
Invicta is like the champagne of the wood stove world—and rightfully so, as the brand was established in 1924 in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. Known for high performance and innovation, the Alcor will sit pretty in any room thanks to its circular shape and wide panoramic window with black glass surrounding the firebox frame. While certainly more modern, it will liven up a traditional house as well. We love the gray-black color and its low-energy consumption, merging both aesthetics and function in one sitting. It also has the ability to operate in slow combustion mode for up to eight hours sans adding additional fuel.
How We Chose These Products
Wood stoves are having a moment. And with so many products on the market, we searched high and low for brands and styles that were not only in vogue but energy efficient, too—down to one that fits in a tiny cabin space. We researched and vetted wood stoves crafted from steel or cast iron and that have notable brand reputations and customer service. Along the way, we interviewed interior designer Janak, who consistently works with clients who ask for wood stoves in their cozy mountain cabins. We also chatted with Niels Wittus, president of Wittus Fire by Design, whose Shaker Stove made our list.
Our Shopping Checklist
From traditional (like what you grew up with) and modern to sleek and supersmall and everything in between—it really comes down to a style and heating preference in the end. There are a slew of wood stoves that offer additions such as wood storage or a side bench for basking fireside. They’re typically made out of cast iron, steel, or stone, as the fire warms the body of the stove and these specific materials are known for containing and radiating heat within a space.
Size and Weight
Wood stoves used to be bulky and boxy, but they’ve come a long way. Expect compact, lightweight versions that fit in tiny homes and more modern, sleek versions that seem like they’re floating in the air.
All wood stoves have an energy-efficiency rating, and it’s imperative to know what kind of heat your wood stove is packing. British thermal units (BTUs) will tell you the amount of heat that’s produced, helping you narrow down to a stove based on the size of your house and so on. Wood stove burn times also vary. In consultation with a trusted wood stove retailer, these topics should be covered before selecting a stove.
All brands come equipped with an extensive owner’s manual and guide to safety. It’s best to have a wood stove professionally installed in order to tick all the boxes for your specific house and climate. For starters, go with a trusted brand and wood stove retailer that can walk you through all the variables before picking a product that’s right for you and your house.
Q: What’s the best placement for a wood stove?
“Some would like the fire to be seen from a kitchen or bed, for example,” says Wittus. “We suggest having a local installer make a site visit to check to see if the stove can be installed in a particular location.” Always check the user manual for specific notes on placement dos and don’ts, as well as stove clearances and more.
Q: Is it okay to leave a wood stove on overnight?
While it is possible to leave a stove on overnight, it’s frowned upon. “We don’t normally suggest an overnight burn simply because for a fire to last overnight, the combustion has to be reduced (very small flames or no flames at all) and that causes sunburned gasses (smoke) to escape, or worse, collect as creosote in the stove pipe and chimney,” Wittus explains. It’s recommended to check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Burn Wise site on how to safely burn wood.
Q: Can a wood-burning stove heat a whole house?
This is dependent on the size of the house. “I insisted on including a wood-burning stove in a 500-square-foot apartment I designed for my husband and myself,” says Janak. “He has a passion for cutting wood in the fall, and I have a passion for entertaining and relaxing around a real fire, no matter how big or small the room might be. We would pack guests into our tiny space on the coldest of evenings in Jackson Hole and have to crack the windows because it was so warm, even in the bedroom.”
Q: What type of wood is best for a wood stove?
Wittus notes that all wood has the same amount of heat value (BTUs) per pound. “The most important thing about burning wood is that it must be “seasoned” or kiln dried—and not to have more than 20 percent moisture,” Wittus advises. Janak suggests requesting smaller-cut pieces if purchasing a cord of wood. “Wood stoves often have less space than a regular fireplace,” she says.
Q: How do I clean a wood stove?
Wittus notes that most stoves have an ash drawer underneath the firebox that aids in cleaning. Those that don’t have one require the ashes be removed by a small hand shovel or an ash vacuum specifically made for cleaning fireplace and wood stove debris.
Q: How long does a wood stove last?
A wood-burning stove will last a lifetime and then some if cared for properly. “The wood stove I mentioned previously that was placed in front of the glass wall was the original stove from the 1950s cabin before we restored it,” says Janak. “How could we not make that the focal point?!” Wittus states that new gaskets and firebricks will need to be replaced after five to 10 years, depending on how often the wood stove is used.
The Last Word
Wood stoves have been around for decades and serve as a practical way to heat an entire home. Over the years they’ve become more energy efficient and refined in terms of aesthetics. If you’re still torn, the Drolet Escape 1800 is a modern take on the nostalgic wood stove you grew up with, but, while more modern and fun, you can’t go wrong with the Malm Zirco. It will sit pretty wherever it lands in a space.
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