There’s no denying the appeal of a stove to produce warmth in an efficient manner, not to mention a homely glow in your living.

These days the stove-buyer has more choices than ever before. It’s no stretch of the imagination to claim that there is a model to suit you no matter what your taste may be.

However this profusion of choice isn’t always a good thing. While the “classic” stove may be a wood-burning device, gas stoves have also gained in popularity as more and more homes become connected to the gas network. Indeed, it has been suggested that just under 90% of British homes are now gas-connected.

A common question for the potential stove buyer therefore becomes one of gas stoves versus wood burning stoves. In this article we hope to reveal some of the most important points to help you make an informed decision.

Appearance

There is no denying the appeal of a wood burning stove in winter, the flickering flames creating an incomparably cosy and snug feeling. Many home owners consider wood burning stoves to be the “ultimate” centrepiece for the living room; an object that is both beautiful and practical.

In contrast to this, while gas stoves still produce flames, to some home owners they’re just not quite as “authentic” and rustic as the fire produced by a wood burner.

There is no right or wrong answer; the question is to consider how the stove you choose will suit the intended room it will be cited in, and whether you find yourself being automatically drawn to the warmth of one fuel source or another.

Speed of Warmth

Despite all the developments in the world of wood burning stoves, getting a proper fire going is still largely a manual process that requires time and effort. For some people, the process of getting the fire going is a major appeal of wood burners, and one that provides personal satisfaction once a roaring fire has been created.

Other home owners however prefer the practicality of the gas stove. Here there is no need to worry about manually creating a fire; you simply turn the gas stove on and heat is produced. This means not only far less effort (ideal for the busy home owner) but also that heat will start to be produced almost instantly.

Fuel Source

Most gas stoves are plumbed directly into the nationwide gas network. In the few instances where a property is not connected to the network, gas can be provided from large gas canisters stored outside the property and replaced as necessary. This means that there is no need to remember to purchase, to store and then to feed your stove; it is all done automatically from the gas network.

Contrast this to a wood burning stove. Here you will need to purchase fuel – for example seasoned logs or one of the clean-burning heat logs. You will also generally need ancillary items such as fire-lighters and kindling in order to get your fire burning.

You will then need to not only store these items somewhere when not in use, but keeping your wood burning stove alight will require repeated feeding with fresh fuel.

Again, there is no right or wrong answer here but it is important to consider the practicalities of stove ownership so you choose a model which suits your personal situation.

Odour

Wood smoke is a heady smell for many of us. Depending on how often you need open your stove to add fuel, and how the chimney is fitted, you may sense the gentle smell of burning wood inside your living room, and most certainly when outside. Indeed for some people the gentle hint of wood smoke is an important part of the whole stove-owning experience.

Gas, in contrast, is odourless when burned. This means that gas stoves can be more suitable for those individuals who would rather not smell burning timber.

Routine Maintenance

Unsurprisingly gas burns incredibly cleanly. Apart from an occasional sweeping of your chimney most gas stoves require minimal routine maintenance.

In contrast wood burning stoves are rather different. As the wood burns it produces ash which must be removed if it is not to reduce the efficiency of your stove. In addition to this, the particles of soot travelling up your chimney can adhere to the sides, making chimney sweeping even more of an important and regular task.

For individuals looking for the minimum amount of routine maintenance, therefore, gas stoves are the obvious winner. Wood burning stoves, in contrast, will require more regular maintenance yet for many people this is a small price pay for the rustic aesthetic of a wood burning stove.

Conclusion

As should be clear by now, it is impossible to state that gas stoves or wood burning stoves are necessarily “better” – the choice is really down to personal taste. On the one hand you have gas stoves with all their practicalities, yet which some home owners find make them rather “clinical”.

On the other hand you have wood burners with all their comparative impracticalities, yet with their rustic charm and character that many of us find so appealing.

The trick is to consider your own desires and set of circumstances, in order to make sure you invest in a stove which is ideal for your needs.