Tiny Wood Stoves For Small Houses: My Choices

by ziggy on February 25, 2010 -- 22 comments -- Follow

I’ve been researching efficient, small wood stoves that could replace the rocket stove in my house. Most home wood stove manufacturers’ smallest models heat 800-1000 square feet at a minimum, which is overkill for my  200 round foot home. However, the house will probably benefit from the extra oomph with all of that (cold, cold) thermal mass and lack of insulation. Here are the two top contenders that I have been researching.

Small Wood Stoves: The Contenders

Jøtul F 602 CB

From Jøtul’s website come these stats:

  • Maximum heat output: 28,000 BTU/hr
  • Heating capacity: Up to 800 sq.ft
  • Max log length: Up to 16″
  • Over 75% efficient
  • Burn time: Up to 5 hours
  • Finish options: Matte Black Paint
  • Flue outlet: Top, and rear
  • Flue size: 6″ (w/standard adapter)
  • Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Accessories: Fire screen, Rear heatshield
  • Alcove approved for both the US and Canada
  • Fully functional cookplate
  • 5 year limited warranty

This model is appealing because I can get it locally for $850, which isn’t a terrible deal considering they retail for about $1000. There are five homes with this wood stove at Dancing Rabbit, and everyone who has used it has good things to say, which is comforting, too. The stove takes 16″ logs, which is also a nice feature (but in reality, it would probably take 14″ logs more easily.)

Drawbacks? I’m not that jazzed about the dimensions of the stove – it’s a little long, a bit too rectangular for where April and I hope to install it. I also don’t think the viewing glass is that great, either. Also important to note: I think the “over 75% efficient” is quite exaggerated.

This list of EPA certified wood stoves (warning: PDF) ranks the Jotul 602 as 63% efficient. (In fact, none of the stoves that I’ve found that say they are “75% efficient” rank as such in this document.)

Morsø 1410

From Morso’s website:

  • Maximum Heat (BTU/hr): 30,000
  • Heat Output Range – lab. test (BTU/hr): 9,5862-22,018
  • Test Fuel Load: 5.15 lbs
  • Particulate Emissions: 3.3 grm/hr
  • Log Size: 12″
  • Max. Area Heated: 1000 ft²
  • Firebox Dimensions: 12¼”W x 10¾”D
  • Firebox volume/capacity: 0.736 ft³
  • Gross Weight: 215 lbs

This thing is tiny. On an aesthetic level, I like the Morso 1410 much more than the Jotul. It’s got a much nicer viewing window and a great squirrel relief on either side of the stove. More importantly, it’s more of a square shape and not as deep as the Jotul, so it should fit better where we want to install a stove. I don’t think there is much of an efficiency difference compared to the Jotul.One drawback is the short maximum log length: only 12″ (and probably more like 10-11″)! That means more cutting. And since we do all of our cutting and splitting by hand (with a saw, hatchet, and maul), that means more labor. (Which I’m not totally opposed to, but it is a significantly more work to saw small wood.) It also has an ash pan, which the Jotul does not. And the main drawback? The price I was quoted is $1000… sheesh! There’s got to be a way to get this thing for cheaper.Since both stoves seem to be about as capable, efficient, and small as each other, it seems to be a choice we’ll make based on aesthetics. I’m leaning towards the Morso 1410 because of that.

UPDATE: I went for the Morso 1410, and was able to get it for slightly less than the MSRP. Check out my Morso wood stove review here!

p.s. Curious about the benefits of heating with wood? Check out my article Wood Heat Stoves: 4 Reasons You Should Consider Heating with Wood

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tde February 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Make your own! You can get old propane or air compressor tanks for a few dollars at the junkyard. Then get a welding kit and learn how to use it and you’ll have a stove, welding tools, and new skill for less than $800, I’d bet.

Here is a fancy one: http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6399&highlight=wood+stove.

But you can make very simple ones, too. (I think it is better to lay the cylinder down so it accepts the logs lengthwise.

magica February 26, 2010 at 2:15 am

I don’t understand why they are so expensive…

In my country, Greece, I can find small wood stoves with 150-200 euro

You can see here some prices I found online. I know you can’t buy them but I wanted to give you an idea…

And here some wood stoves with oven. Usually are big stoves

magica February 26, 2010 at 2:39 am

and something else… here in past they used wood stoves which made them from barrels but not like your rocket stove. They open a hole in top for the smoke pipe and a small door for woods.
These stoves were so good that today they make wood stoves like them with cast iron.
photo here I can’t find more now

braddock February 26, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I love your home…self-sufficiency at its best! I paid $1100 for my Morso 1410 and double wall stove pipe. If you go with the Squirrel I’d love to see pics of how it fits in your space. The picture window on the Squirrel puts on a great show. Your place looks straight out of Tantooine…awesome.

Missuz C February 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Before you spend such a sum, look around at as many thrift sources as you can. My husband picked up an awesome stove recently for $45 at an out-of-the-way junk shop in Branson that would be perfect for your home—smallish, ash pan in the pedestal, awesome glass viewing door. Unfortunately we are not interested in selling, but they are out there, so keep your eyes open!!
We wish you well, and will look forward to reading about what you choose and how it works out for you.

Packy March 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm

You could build a small (whatever size fits the space) cob fireplace.

Packy March 4, 2010 at 12:05 am
Craig March 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

I have an airtight wood stove that is said to be used to heat approximately 1000 square feet. I use it in my 182 square foot cabin and it is amazing. The fire brick in the stove retains heat for long periods of time. I was using it just this February at -17 Celsius (night time temp) and it was great. The stoves you’re looking at seem to me a tad more fancy than required. Here is a link to a store here in Canada that sells exactly what you need at half the price. So you must be able to find the equivilant down there.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/3/HouseHome/1/HeatingAirConditioning/WoodStoves/PRD~0642818P/Jasper%252BWood%252BStove.jsp

ziggy March 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm

A Rumford would be nice… as a secondary source of heat. I wouldn’t want a fireplace (even a Rumford) as a primary source. I really value an efficient source of heat, especially one that can hold heat for a decent length of time. It just doesn’t seem like a Rumford fits the bill…

craig: The price is appealing, but the dimensions are way too big for my house, I think. I kinda think that you get what you pay for as far as wood stoves are concerned… I dunno, I think that $1000 is a very large chunk of change for a tiny stove, but the long-running history of the company, the complete cast iron construction, and the efficiency are worth the extra cost. I feel doubtful of cheaper ($-wise) woodstoves, I guess.

samuel March 10, 2010 at 2:29 pm

You get what you pay for I reckon. Homemade stoves made of old gas bottles etc have much less thermal mass then a cast-iron stove so are far less fuel efficient. There are even smaller cast-iron stoves out there – see http://www.marinestove.com . Second-hand cast-iron stoves come up on ebay very often and sell for £200 to £500

ET March 14, 2010 at 1:26 am

These are nice, small & expensive:
http://www.marinestove.com/index.htm

Chad March 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm

There are smaller cast iron wood burning stoves made for boats and such (as small as 12″x12″). But many people use them for small spaces (300sqft-ish). You might check them out. I think you could get one for around $600. marinestoves.com

But I think you ought look for used ones. I’m sure you could get something very cheap. Now thats its warming you have time to wait for a good deal.

Kathy March 28, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I am on an island on the West Coast of Canada. I bought an Enterprise Bluenose that is heating a 14×16 canvas tent I am using at the moment – the stove will be moved into the cob cottage I am eventually going to build. In December and January it goes from 0 degrees C (same temp inside and outside!) to +15 C in about 45 minutes and holds the heat with stoking even though the walls are only canvas. I was originally thinking I would stack straw bales around the walls if it got too cold but we had a relatively mild winter with no snow.

At night of course the fire eventually goes out but all I have done is piled on the blankets to keep warm rather then get up in the pitch black to stoke it. The stove pipe goes out the back wall of the tent (built-in silicone gasket) and turns up at a right angle outside – I used some scraps of rebar and wire to prop it up and hold it in place.

I figure inside a small cob cottage it will be nice and toasty, I will have a kettle simmering for tea on demand that can add a touch of humidity to the air – wood heat is really dry.

http://www.enterprise-fawcett.com/bluenose.php

Joshua Knarr April 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

If you are still interested in this, head on over to hearth.com.

I am also looking at buying a jotul, and they are stupidly expensive new. Part of the problem is that they’re imported. On the other hand, there’s many more cheaper options secondhand and even cheaper ones if you start going really obscure.

Tell them “tiber” sent you.

Nastassja Noell April 16, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Hey Brian, you’re home is so beautiful! About a stove, the stove that my partner and I have in our 12x15ft single story log home is about 2′x1.5′x1.5′ (LxWxH), its supposed to be for a 1,000ft house but it’s perfect for us, ours happened to be on our property from the previous tenants, it was in a 6ftx8ft cabin! but if you find one or decide to build you’re own its a “cigarette” style box stove, so it partions the very back of the stove where the pipe is from the burning part of the stove, allowing only a small gap at the top between them, also has a flue. some mice ate out the lining around the door so the seal is not so great but its still perfect for us. in the winter my spot at the desk/table is about less than 2 feet away from the stove and its great, i just wear a tank top when its -10 out, makes going outside to piss real easy. this year we didn’t have enough wood chopped up so we put firebricks on the bottom to raise the fire to the top so that we could cook without getting it blazing, worked well, chilly during extremely cold days though. anyways, you can see a picture here: http://blog.sporecollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/jesse-tending-stove-767×1024.jpg
keep building your dream structures, you’ve both got a beautiful eye.

Kodi April 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Hey, Ziggy, have you looked into building a masonry stove? They are very efficient, cheap to make, and one firing in the morning can keep your home warm all day (and night)! Also, for your size of house, it wouldn’t have to take up much floor space and you could customize it to the exact shape you wanted. You’ve already built a whole home from cob, it should be a breeze to build.
Best of luck

ziggy April 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Kodi – I have thought about it. At this point, I’m not super interested to try experimenting with making another stove. I love the idea of a masonry stove but I’m not that willing to try it at this moment in time. Although if the Morso doesn’t do as well as hoped… it won’t be ruled out.

SJR May 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I’m just curious if you went with the little Morso? Can you fit a little teapot on top or not?

Love the house!

ziggy May 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I did go for the Morso. I will have to remember to write about that! A teapot definitely fits on top, if the stove pipe runs out the back… With the stove pipe coming out the top, I’m not sure… I don’t have a good visual of that space in my head.

doug September 4, 2010 at 2:06 am

you cant install cheap used stoves in legal homes, they dont meet emissions and saftey requirments. Although they may work just fine..and insurance will not cover a loss with this heating source..

you can use them in a barn or garage but not a home installation where building codes apply. you have to buy a new, approved stove and install in accordance with design..thats why old ones are so cheap..theyre basically just scrap iron, not a usable stove, that is unless youre out in the rural or some non building code structure..pole barn or shop building..

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