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Most Efficient Wood Stoves

Keep warm this winter with an EPA certified, high efficiency wood burning stove. We take a close look at some of the best available in 2020.

efficient wood stoves

We recommend some of the most efficient wood stove on the market right now.

There's also a detailed buyer's guide to help explain the key features you should be looking at.

Important Note: Recent changes in 2020 to the EPA emission standards (read all about this in our buyer's guide) have rendered many efficient wood burners unavailable to buy in the US now, so we've made sure our no.1 recommendation meets emission standards as well as being incredibly efficient.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The Top Models Compared

Take a quick look at how the high efficiency wood burning stoves compare in the table below.

We've shortlisted the top 3 models. 

We discuss each in more detail in the following reviews.

Model

Details

Osburn Matrix wood stove

OUR TOP PICK

Osburn Matrix

Price: $$$

- 75,000 BTUs

- 1.54 g/h emissions

- Heats up to 2,100 square feet

- 77% efficiency

- Lifetime warranty

US Stove 2000

US Stove

Price: $$

- EPA approved for mobile homes

- 89,000 BTUs

- 1 year warranty

Drolet Escape 1800

Drolet Escape 1800

Price: $$

- 1.54 g/h emissions

- 75,000 BTUs

- 90 day return policy


EPA Certified Wood Stove Reviews

Read about the most efficient wood burning stoves in more detail now as we review each model.

Our Top Pick


Osburn Matrix Wood Stove - EPA Certified 

A highly efficient wood stove that burns cleanly too

Osburn Matrix high efficiency wood stove

The Osburn Matrix is our recommended high efficiency wood stove here at Tiny House, Huge Ideas.


Of course its highly efficient nature plays a huge part in this, but the fact that it adheres to strict new EPA emissions standards plays a big role too.


It can comfortably heat areas up to 2,100 square feet with its 75,000 BTU heating capacity.


Read on to see what else it does so well.


Key Features

  • EPA certified for new 2020 emissions standards
  • 77% Efficiency
  • Heats spaces up to 2,100 square feet
  • 75,000 BTUs
  • Blower included
  • 2.4 cu. ft. Firebox
  • Lifetime warranty



Adheres to New 2020 EPA Standards


The most important fact about any wood burning stove in the US now is if it meets new EPA guidelines or not.


From May 2020, emissions must be below 2.0 g/h for any stove installed in the USA.


This isn't an easy thing to do and renders most wood stoves unavailable to the US audience now.


Impressively, the Osburn Matrix stove is a highly efficient stove that's also incredibly clean burning too. With a particle emission rate of just 1.54 grams per hour it has no problems with the new EPA standard.

Efficient Heating


Designed for use in spaces of up to 2,100 square feet in size, the Osburn Matrix heats rooms quickly and evenly.


It comes with a 130 CFM blower to improve heat circulation in a space and increase heating efficiency.


With an efficiency rating of 77% it compares very favorably with clean burning wood stoves in 2020. 


The 75,000 BTU/h heating capacity is fulfilled by a 2.4 cu. ft firebox that provides a burn time of up to 8 hours.


The low smoke emissions are a product of the specially designed firebox. Besides protecting the environment by producing up to 90% less smoke than wood stoves of even just 10 years ago, there are other benefits too.


Smoke released from burning wood is thought to contain up to half of the energy content of the fuel. By burning the wood more completely and producing less smoke, the stove releases more energy as heat instead of wasting it up the chimney.


The special firebox also allows the air supply to be controlled so the combustion is always as clean as possible.


You can see the surface clearances of the Osburn Matrix in the table below.

Clearance

Single Wall Pipe

Double Wall Pipe

Back Wall

15"

6"

Corner

10"

6"

Side

16"

14"

Top

72"

72"

Key: Top is measured from the platform on which the appliance is installed.


The case of the stove is made from high density carbon steel. It features a large ceramic glass window on the door that gives a wonderful view of the burning logs.


The window is one of the largest (in comparison to the overall stove size) I'm aware of and I'd be surprised if it didn't add to the ambience and atmosphere of any space. 

Pros

  • Meets new EPA guidelines
  • Efficient burning
  • 75,000 BTU/h
  • 8 hour burn time
  • Blower included
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Modern styling might not be for everyone
  • On the larger side

Bottom Line

The Osburn Matrix is the high efficiency wood stove that we recommend over all others.


It's a great combination of efficient and clean burning that makes it a leading example in this new breed of wood stoves.



Drolet Escape 1800

Drolet Escape large

The next efficient wood stove that we’re going to take a look at is the Drolet Escape 1800. The wood stove is designed and made over in Canada. It's a great mash-up of cool aesthetics, performance and convenience to complete an envious wood burner.

The stove is another black design that we have become accustomed to with classical wood stoves. These timeless designs fit well in lots of different properties. They become a seamless part of the current décor in an older building or add a quirky and central feature in more modern homes.

It’s made even more awesome with the inclusion of a ceramic glass front. Naturally, this high-temperature resisting material has a functional use by letting owners check up on their logs, but it makes the whole design more inviting and even gives off some light on a dark winter night.

Other design features include air vents placed on top of the product for safety and an optional blower to have the option of enhancing the wood stove’s ability to distribute its heats. We highly recommend this to make sure the stove remains efficient.

Just like the Pleasant Hearth model, this one also makes cleaning and maintaining it effortless with the inclusion of an ash drawer. Simply get it clean without ruining your clothes.

The Drolet team have managed to create one of the most emission efficient stoves regarding certification. This model will only emit 1.54-grams of smoke each hour, which makes it EPA stage two certified! More on that towards the end of our post but welcome to one of the safest models currently in circulation.

This is one of the most efficient wood burning stoves currently on the market. The firebox is 2.4 cubic feet in size, meaning it houses logs up to 20-inches long. You will be guaranteed reliable and steady heat with this model as it generates around 75,000 BTUs each hour for up to eight hours of burning.

This means homes with a surface area of 2,100 square feet will always be kept toasty warm. An extra benefit is that if you’re not warming to the product within 90 days, you can send it back for a full refund. Fair? More than fair!

This is the top model in the eyes of EPA experts. At an outstanding smoke emission of just 1.54-grams per hour, this model will still pass EPA inspections come 2020 when their second phase begins. It also competes with the others well by producing 75,000 BTU and by covering 2,100 square feet of any property.

This is a real competitor when looking at performance and features, but when it comes to value for money, it doesn’t pack the same heavy punch. It’s the most expensive on our list – but it’s significantly more expensive than the rest.

This is likely to do with its unbeatable EPA-certified smoke emissions. After all, it may just offer the best efficiency of all them all.

    Pros

  • Outstanding phase two EPA rating
  • Cool design
  • 75,000 BTUs per hour
  • 90-day return policy
  • Ash tray for easy cleaning

    Cons

  • Smaller log size compatible

  Our Final Thoughts: When it comes to atmospheric health and quality, it's hard to compete with this wood burning stove. It's up there with the Osburn Matrix when it comes to efficiency.





Pleasant Hearth 

Let's get the fire started with this exceptional wood burning stove from Pleasant Hearth. This company is well known for manufacturing fire-related products.

From efficient wood burning stoves to fire pits and accessories, they're the boy scouts of the business. They have plenty of experience making quality burners so you’re in good hands.

You can pick this model up in a choice of sizes from small, medium to large. Here, we will be focusing on the large model.

It’s important to state this first as the operational specifications can be different depending on the size of the stove. If you want one of the smaller options then make sure you check out the details of the specific size you go for.

This wood burning stove has a classic look that will fit well into historic builds, log cabins or even sleek and smart modern houses. It has a brick lined firebox and a front-loading cast iron door to guarantee it will last a long time. This little powerhouse isn't going to falter any time soon.

The awesome chrome handles coupled with the glass window make this product like your buddy who works hard with his hands but scrubs up well when needed. The window is very convenient and lets you check up on the fire as the evening progresses. If you need to rearrange the wood or add more, simply get to work using the easy-access door and load her up.

This design has been made to cater to areas of 2,200 square feet and generates BTUs in the region of 77,000 units per hour.

Another specification you need to be aware of – and is also fully explained at the end – is that this model is only EPA certified up to phase one. This is due to it having a 3.6-gram smoke emission per hour. That means as of May 2020 it's only available to Canadians as it falls foul of new US guidelines.

There are other key features we haven't got around to yet. The product has a convenient push-and-pull draft control to enable regulated burn time and heat output, making it even more efficient.

The performance is matched with convenience even further as the wood burning stove has an ash drawer. This draw makes maintain the stove even easier and stops you from having to do your best Santa impression to get it clean.

Simply slide out the draw and gather up the ash with less fuss and mess. Or, grab your ash vacuum and clean it up in super quick time.

Want more from this USA-made wood stove? Well, it has a smooth and quiet blower for impeccable heat distribution and comes with an instructional DVD, instead of a confusing manual that we all ignore. It also comes with an awesome five-year warranty.

This would be a solid investment for anyone looking for a durable wood stove to go the distance. Compared to the others, it remains good value for money. It is priced in the middle of the norm compared to the others and can compete with all of them relatively well in most areas.

    Pros

  • Reliable and convenient design
  • Heats up to 2,200 square feet
  • 3.6-gram P1 EPA certification
  • 77,000 BTUs per hour
  • Convenient ash drawer
  • Smooth heat blower

    Cons

  • Stovepipe not included

  Our Final Thoughts: A really solid stove that looks awesome too. Sadly, now it doesn't meet US emissions standards so it can only work in Canada.




US Stove Company


This beauty from the US Stove Company is next on our efficient wood stove list. It is predominantly made with steel, heavy-duty cast iron and is firebrick lined to heat up this Christmas and the many winters to come without problems.

This is a mid-sized stove with one of the most elegant glass doors you will find on a wood burning stove. The glass door remains clean due to a built-in air-washing feature; you can always see the state of the fire or just admire the dancing flames on a chilly December evening.

Inside the firebox, you can fit 21-inch long logs to make it bun for longer and so you don't have to babysit your wood stove or spend time refuelling it, like some of the lesser-awesome models on the market. 

Other features that should certainly not go unnoticed when weighing up your options are the ash drawer and blower that operates at 100-cubic feet each minute. The former lets you clean your US Stove Company stove easily and without dirtying your Sunday bests, while the blower ensures the heat gets spread around your home evenly and most importantly - efficiently.

It’s designed to keep an area of 2,000 square feet nice and warm. This is achieved with an impressive 89,000 BTU heat output rating. 

While we only want to show you EPA-certified models, this one has confusing certification. This is the only model in our top four that is EPA recognized to be used in mobile homes, but at the same time, it has not got a certification for smoke emissions.

This model caters to a whole other market in mobile homeowners, but the rest of you may be skeptical. Yet, it’s going to turn a lot of campers into happy campers and it also comes with an ash pan.

Placing this one next to the rest is a real mixed bag. It competes with the best by heating up areas up to 2,000 square feet and massively outshines the rest by dialing up the heat with a whopping 89,000 BTUs.

Yet, it doesn't have an EPA score meaning all that power may just be making your home's air a little smokier. It does, however, have an EPA certification for mobile homes which is a unique perk and will appeal to a niche market.

    Pros

  • EPA approved for mobile homes
  • Generates 89,000 BTUs
  • Impressive blower for distributed heat
  • Accommodates 21-inch logs

    Cons

  • No EPA smoke emission rating

  Our Final Thoughts: Anyone looking for a wood stove to put in their mobile home should go find their plastic because this is an EPA-approved model for you! Other people may want to get something a little less smoky.




Vogelzang Defender

The next high efficiency wood stove we will be reviewing in our buyer guide is the Canadian-born Vogelzang Defender.

It’s very different to what we have already seen for a couple of reasons. Yet, one way it doesn’t differ from the pack is in its materials and design. It’s still a reliable and sturdy build made up of reinforced plate steel, cast iron, firebrick lining and a heat-resistant ceramic window.

Of course, the window is again included to give a pleasing view of the twirling flames and as a practical way to keep an eye on the status of the fire.

It differs a little on its size as this is a smaller option. It has been made to keep the cold at bay in areas of 1,200 square feet. Naturally, this is much smaller than the previous three but is kind of expected due to its smaller stature and its hosting of smaller 18-inches logs.

Being a smaller model doesn’t detract from its efficiency. It’s still capable of producing 68,000 BTUs and will burn for hours without the need to add more wood. That means there is more time to relax with a beverage in front of the TV and less time worrying about the fire burning out.

One of the features that will have you nodding in appreciation is the door on this stove. It is a cam-lock-type design with a rustic-looking hatch which secures exceptionally well. To top it off, a blower has been included to add to its efficiency rating and make the whole area benefit from the wood stove’s heat evenly.

These are nice features but they're not the most innovative and convenient feature we still have to tell you about. This burner has adjustable legs to make installing it and fitting it into your home much easier.

Please note, this model may seem like a great option for mobile homes due to its size but it is not suited for such uses.

Let's talk about safety and standards. It has passed Canadian inspections and holds certification for ULC-S627 and UL Standard 1482-1998. It doesn't now meet EPA emission regulations that changed in May 2020. It will emit 4.22 grams of smoke per hour.

In terms of performance, the Vogelzang Defender simply cannot keep up. It’s a lap behind in terms of coverage by catering to just 1,200 square feet – and it produces less heat with 68,000 BTUs per hour.

Where it’s more appealing than the rest is in its innovative features. The adjustable legs aren’t found on the other three models and may swing the balance for some wood stove shoppers.

This model is the cheapest on our buyer guide. It’s not just cheaper but it’s a lot cheaper! It may be beaten in most areas by the models above, but it does win a few nods of approval. It will still keep smaller areas cozy and warm, so for that reason, it will be exceptional value for money for some homeowners.

    Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Generates 68,000 BTUs
  • Robust and durable manufacturing

    Cons

  • Not for use in mobile homes
  • Less-impressive performance specs

  Our Final Thoughts: Smaller homeowners or those on a budget should check the Vogelzang Defender out a little more. A 5-year warranty and competitive price tag mean it offers excellent value.





Conclusion

The quality of these EPA certified wood stoves makes picking a favorite and choosing the best a difficult task.

But, in terms of the most efficient wood burning stove we have a clear winner.

The Osburn Matrix is the high efficiency wood burner that we recommend over all others.

With a smoke emission rate of just 1.54 grams per hour and a burn efficiency of 77% it copes comfortably with recent EPA guideline changes. 

Besides these remarkable statistics, it's also a really beautiful looking wood stove that comes with a lifetime warranty.

Our Top Pick

Osburn Matrix Efficient Wood Stove 

Osburn Matrix high efficiency wood stove

 - EPA Certified (2020 regulations)

- Heats spaces up to 2,100 square feet

- Lifetime warranty


Recommended Reading: Looking for something a bit smaller? We have a great resource on small wood stoves too.


Buyer's Guide

If you’re not an expert on wood stoves, the different terms and measurements used above could be giving you a headache!

In this section, we explain the terminology and highlight the key features you should be looking at when buying an efficient wood stove.


What are EPA Emission Standards?

Thankfully wood stoves are much safer than they used to be. Some older models were such bad polluters that they could emit between 15 and 30 grams of particles every hour!

Since 1998, these stoves have been under scrutiny and must pass Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission standards to be sold in the US.

From May 2020, the EPA have slashed emission standards for wood burning stoves.

Sitting previously at a generous 4.5 g/h (grams per hour), wood stoves bought and used in the US must now emit less than 2.5 g/h of particles during combustion.

This is great news for the environment as it will dramatically reduce the amount of polluting emissions from wood burners in the home.

However, it means the choice of efficient wood stoves on the market has seen a big reduction too.

It seems natural to think that being an efficient wood stove would mean that it would produce less emissions too, right?

Well, that's simply not the case.

The efficiency of a wood burning stove is an indicator of how much fuel will be used and how much "wasted".

For example, a stove rated at 80% efficiency will lose 20% of the heat in the combustion process.

This counts for little when it comes to how "cleanly" the stove burns its fuel.

The conundrum from May 2020 is finding a high efficiency wood burning stove that also meets new emission standards. The most efficient wood stoves pre-guideline change are now no longer legal in the US.

wood stove efficiency chart

From the EPA website

So what are the benefits of getting an EPA certified wood stove?

  • They save money, energy and your time.
  • They're up to 50% more efficient.
  • They produce much lower smoke/particle pollution. This includes things like methane, carbon dioxide, and carbon.
  • You can use as much as 1/3 less wood to produce the same heat.


How do I Find EPA Certified Wood Stoves?

To check if your model is exactly as advertised and that it does in fact have an EPA certification, there is somewhere you can check

If you already own a wood stove look on the product for a white label with an EPA certification.

Alternatively, you can find a complete list of wood stoves that are certified online.

Recommended Article: Ever wondered what all the fuss with pellet stoves is? Find out in our guide.


What About Those BTUs?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit.

Put simply, it’s a measurement of heat.

More specifically, it is the level of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one-degree Fahrenheit.

It is a well-known measurement in the United States for those working with heat and fire.

When discussing a wood burner stove, the higher the BTU rating means the more heat the wood stove is capable of generating. We promised you it would be simple!


What's the Best Wood for a Wood Burning Stove?

The first real question you need to consider is, do you choose a hardwood or a softwood.

Actually, that's a trick question because one is far better than the other in terms of efficiency.

You should never use softwood in your wood burning stove because it will burn away in double the speed that a hardwood will.

If you want a wood stove for efficient use then hardwood is the way to go. It will burn much slower to keep you warm for longer – and you won't have to keep refuelling your stove. 

The second big trick question is are you going to use dry wood? The answer is yes! Wood that isn't dry will waste energy trying to get the moisture out.

You can dry out your wood yourself which does take up to two years. If this is your tactic then aim for less than 20-percent of moisture in your wood. Or, you could just buy dry wood from a supplier.

If given the option, choose from:

  • Ash
  • Oak
  • Apple
  • Hawthorn
  • Thorn
  • Robinia
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Birch
  • Beech


Thanks for sticking around for our EPA certified stove buyer guide. We have seen some outstanding models and undoubtedly four of the best currently on the digital shelves. We hope to see you back with us soon to take a look at more cool, convenient and unique products.

Make sure and keep your stove in good working order with an ash vacuum cleaner. Don't miss our awesome resource!

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