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Wood-burning stove brands rated

Esse stoves review

By Liz Ransome-Croker

Article 7 of 13

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Find out how Esse compares to other popular multi-fuel and wood-burning stove brands, including Charnwood and Stovax.

From a survey of more than 1,400 multi-fuel and wood-burning stove owners, we've been able to rate 12 stove brands, including Esse.

One brand towered above the rest with an amazing customer score of 94%. But another failed to impress the customers we spoke to as much, scoring 70%.

In fact, a few brands fell into the 70% to 80% bracket, and only a few made it over the line to score higher. Was Esse one of them?

Only logged-in Which? members can find out what Esse and all other 11 brands scored. If you're not already a member, get instant access by joining Which? today.

Esse multi-fuel and wood-burning stoves ratings

We asked the 35 Esse customers that answered our survey about five different aspects of their Esse stove, including value for money, quality and finish and ease of cleaning

Log in now to unlock the table below to reveal the results or get instant access by joining Which? today.

Esse survey ratings
Quality and finish Subscriber only content
Durability Subscriber only content
Ease of using and controlling Subscriber only content
Ease of cleaning Subscriber only content
Value for money Subscriber only content

For a full round-up of the scores for all of the brands we've rated, visit our page on the best wood-burning stove brands.

Esse log burners and multi-fuel stoves

You can flick through the image gallery below to see a selection of the wood-burning stoves (also called log burners and wood burners) and multi-fuel stoves that Esse sells.

Esse wood burner and multi-fuel stoves

Like Aga, Esse sells cooking stoves and well as stoves to heat your home. Established more than 160 years ago, its style remains traditional country. Both its stoves and cookers are handmade in the UK and come in a range of options to fit with your home.

It has 16 models, most of which come in four different colours. It also had three hybrids stoves – one called Ironheart, seen below – also allow you to cook

Log burner and multi-fuel stoves: All of Esse's stoves are multi-fuel, so you can burn both coal or wood. Its 'twin positioning grate' allows you to switch between the two.

Because fuels burn differently, if you're only planning on ever burning wood, we'd suggest choosing a dedicated log burner as opposed to a multi-fuel stove that can also burn other fuels. You can find out more on our wood-burning vs multi-fuel stoves.

Other types of stove: Esse also sells wood-fired outdoor ovens, and boiler stoves, which enable you to heat your entire home as opposed to just one room. You can find out more about heating your whole house using a stove by visiting our page on biomass heating systems.

In addition, Esse has a range of gas stoves, gas fires (all of which are wall-mounted, like a TV) and an electric heater. Our review only includes wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves. Visit our full guide to gas and electric stoves help you decide which type of stove is best for your home.

Stove wattages: Around 4kW to 9kW.

Efficiency, Ecodesign and Defra-exempt stoves: Between approximately 76% to 83%, and most also use a cleanburn system. This essentially means that additional air (sometimes called secondary or tertiary) is introduced to the stove and heated, helping to burn off more of the smoke and gases for better efficiency. 

All its stoves also have its Afterburn technology, which harnesses cool air to keep the glass clean. Many other manufacturers have a similar system, usually called airwash.

A number of its stoves are Defra-exempt. If you live in a smoke-controlled area (you can check this on the Defra website) you will need to either only burn smokeless fuel or, if you want to burn wood, buy one of these types of stove.

As of 2022, EU regulations will stipulate that all newly manufactured stoves must meet higher efficiency levels. Some stoves are being made to these specifications now and are called Ecodesign Ready. None of Esse's stoves have this official label.

Find out more about Defra-exempt and Ecodesign Ready stoves, as well as the effects of stoves on pollution and what you can do to minimise them by visiting our page on stoves and pollution.

Stove features: Features on Esse stoves include:

  • slimline
  • built-in log storage
  • externally-controlled riddling grate to help remove ash
  • Esse's Afterburn technology to clean the glass (see above)
  • clearnburn technology for efficient burning (mentioned above)
  • automatic electric ignition, so you don't need matches (called AutoBlaze).

You can find out from stove owners what features they really value and are worth spending out on by visiting our page on how to buy a wood-burning stove.

Stove accessories, fuel storage and fuel: Esse doesn't sell any stove accessories, including fuel storage or fuel itself.

Where to buy Stovax stoves: Esse has dealers across the UK, some of which are 'Esse Specialist' (as awarded by Esse).

You can use its website to find one near you, and to see what types of stoves or cookers each stocks.

After sales care and spares: Spare parts for all of Esse products are available through its website. Esse also offers three different warranty lengths depending on who you buy through. 

It's one year if you purchase online (although we don't recommend doing this unless you've already sought expert advice), two years if you buy through an Esse Specialist and five if you buy from a specialist and register your stove with Esse within one month.

Registering any safety appliance with the manufacturer is also useful if there is ever a recall or issue identified with the model. You may need to service the appliance yearly for the warranty to be valid, which is something we would recommend doing anyway. Our page on using a stove has more information.

Before you buy a stove, it's important to remember that a stove isn't something you can install yourself. It needs to meet regulations and be installed safely.

Make sure you visit our page on installing a log burner or multi-fuel stove for everything you need to know.

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