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19 Oct 2019

How much does a multi-fuel or wood-burning stove really cost?

Our survey plus data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reveals a very wide price range, but it is possible to cut costs
Wood-burning stove in a brick fireplace with armch

As the colder and darker days descend upon us, the idea of cosying up in front of a log fire is an idyllic one. But how much are you willing to spend to get a piece of that dreamy country-living lifestyle?

We've surveyed 1,434 Which? members* and worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to give you an idea of how much it will cost to make the dream a reality.

Read on to find out what can hike the price, or jump to our page on wood-burning stove costs to reveal full pricing information.

What increases the cost of a log burner or multi-fuel stove?

The highest proportion (35%) of stove owners we spoke to spent between £1,001 and £2,000 on their stove and installation.

But RICS's calculations show that it could cost as much as £4,930 to get a wood-burning stove, and £5,208 for a multi-fuel stove.

If upwards of £5,000 is much higher than your budget will allow, don't despair - there are things you can do to stay within a lower price range. However, some elements will be out of your control.

Wood-burning stove wattage

The RICS prices look at the installation of a standard 4kW stove - a fairly average size. But stove wattages vary dramatically, so you can go up to around 15kW.

The stove's wattage depends on the room you're installing it in. For example, if you have a large open-plan kitchen-diner, you'll need a bigger stove than you would in a small, cosy living room.

Wood-burning stove in open plan kitchen and living

It also depends on what energy-saving measures your room already includes. Up-to-date double glazing or insulation will mean you can opt for a less powerful model, while a drafty room will need a stove that packs more of a punch.

As you would imagine, the more powerful the stove, the higher the price. So make sure you know what you really need before forking out. Getting the right stove wattage will also save you money when using it.

Use our stove wattage calculator to get a rough idea of what you need, but make sure you speak to a professional to understand exactly what will work best for your home.

You can use Which? Trusted Traders to find a reputable stove installer in your area. Each one has been through our rigorous checks to ensure they're up to the job.

Wood-burning stove features

There are a lot of styles to choose between, from ultra-modern wall-mounted stoves to small, traditional stoves that wouldn't be out of place in a period drama.

Modern built-in wood-burning stove

This variety means that prices can also vary hugely, plus there are a raft of features worth considering.

For example, some stoves can swivel, allowing you to direct the heat to where you want it, but these come at a premium. Large front or side windows, and even double-sided stoves, also tend to cost more, as do particularly slimline models for small spaces.

As you can imagine, some stove brands are pricier than others, too, so you'll want to ensure what you're buying is worth it.

Visit our wood-burning stove reviews to find out what stove owners think of big-name brands, including Stovax, Morso, Clearview, Hunter and Charnwood.

Stove chimney and flue

As your stove will need a flue to let the gases escape, work will usually need to be done to your house. But how much often depends on what your home is already like.

Some stoves can be standalone, like the one in the image below, so don't need a chimney to be built or updated. But where it goes outside might mean more work is needed.

Wood-burning stove with flue going through brick w

If your stove will be sat in an existing chimney, it may need to be relined to ensure it works properly. Again, any extra work will ramp up the cost, as would creating a new chimney if you're keen on a country-home look.

Running costs for a wood burner or multi-fuel stove

When you're focused on finding a beautiful stove, it might be easy to forget that a stove will have ongoing costs. Make sure you think about the type of fuel you're going to use and the price of it.

If you're going to burn wood, it's worth being aware of the different types, their costs, and efficiencies:

  • Partially dried wood has around 25% to 40% moisture content and costs around £125 per cubic metre.
  • Kiln-dried wood has less than 20% moisture content and costs about £140 per cubic metre.
  • Briquettes (fuel created from crushing recycled wood or paper) have as little as 10% moisture. These cost around £150 for 500kg, which is roughly equivalent to a cubic metre.

You should only burn wood that has less than 20% moisture. If it has more, it will not only be less efficient, it will also create more pollutants and leave sooty build-up in your chimney, which could become a fire hazard.

The most cost-effective type of wood is free or cheap (around £99 per cubic metre) 'wet' wood that you dry at home, which is called seasoning. This can take up to two years, though, so you'll need space for it - and patience.

Wood and coal side by side

Coal is generally sold in 10kg bags, but you can buy in bulk to reduce costs. Roughly speaking, a 10kg bag of house coal can cost between £5 and £10, while smokeless coal costs around £10 to £15.

We'd recommend using a smokeless fuel as they're much better for the environment and will create less soot.

Lastly, you'll need to think about maintenance costs, as it's best practice to get your stove serviced at least once a year.

Our page on using a log burner or multi-fuel stove will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make your stove as efficient as possible.

  • * January 2019 survey of 1,434 Which? members who have bought a stove in the past 10 years.