Gas Stove Buying Guide
A gas stove makes an attractive choice for those seeking an energy-efficient home heating solution. Unlike traditional wood-burning stoves, gas versions offer precise control over flame size and heat output, providing consistent warmth at the touch of a button.
But selecting the right gas stove for your home can be challenging. In this guide, we'll take you through the ins and outs of gas stoves. By the end, you should have everything you need to make an informed buying decision.
Buying a gas stove: Understanding your needs
Before investing in a gas stove, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your needs. Not only will this simplify the buying process, but it'll also ensure that your new appliance perfectly aligns with your lifestyle and your home's characteristics.
Firstly, consider the size of the room you want to heat. An undersized stove will struggle to warm a large area effectively. On the other hand, an oversized one could lead to excessive heat and energy wastage. Plus, the stove should fit comfortably within your room without overpowering the space or appearing dwarfed by other elements.
Secondly, think about how frequently you will be using your stove. If you only plan to turn it on for occasional chilly evenings or entertaining guests, you might not require a high-end model with all the bells and whistles. However, if you're going to be counting on your stove for everyday heating during the colder months, consider a more robust and reliable model.
What type of gas stove is best for you?
There are two main types of gas stoves: natural gas and liquid propane gas (LPG). Choosing the right one depends on availability, price, and personal preference. Both offer unique benefits and understanding the differences can help you make an informed choice.
Natural gas stoves
Natural gas stoves like the Woodford Gas Stove, the Broseley Hereford 5 Gas Stove, and the Parkray Consort 5 Gas Stove are popular for homes with a natural gas supply line. This type of gas is piped directly into your home, eliminating the need for on-site storage tanks. With natural gas, you'll get consistent and efficient heating. What's more, the cost of natural gas is typically lower than propane, making this an economical choice for many households.
Another advantage of natural gas stoves is their high heat output. These stoves produce a clean, hot, and highly-efficient flame, resulting in less energy wastage. The flames produced by a natural gas stove also tend to be blue, giving a pleasing aesthetic effect.
However, if your home does not already have a natural gas supply, installing this type of stove might not be viable. In such cases, fitting a new gas line can be costly and may even require planning permission.
Liquid propane gas (LPG) stoves
Stoves that can be powered by liquid propane gas, such as the Gazco Stockton 5 Gas Stove, the Hunter Herald 6 Gas Stove, or the AGA Ludlow Wide Balanced Flue Gas Stove, offer an alternative for those who do not have access to a natural gas supply or prefer a different fuel source. You store propane in a tank, which you can install in your garden or a dedicated area of your home. You'll need to have your tank refilled periodically, which can be done by a local supplier.
Liquid propane burns hotter than natural gas, so this type of stove might be able to heat your home more quickly. However, propane is generally pricier, which could result in higher running costs.
Liquid propane gas stoves also produce a yellowish flame, which can provide a more authentic, wood-burning aesthetic. This might appeal more to those who enjoy the visual aspect of a traditional fire.
Finding the ideal heat output for your space
Heat output, measured in kilowatts (kW), is one of the most important factors when choosing a gas stove. This will determine the stove's ability to heat your space effectively.
What is kW, and why is it important?
Kilowatts are power units representing the rate at which energy is used or generated. In terms of gas stoves, kW measures the amount of heat energy a stove can generate. A stove with a higher kW output can produce more heat, making it suitable for larger spaces. On the other hand, a stove with a lower kW output will provide sufficient warmth for smaller areas.
How to choose the right kW output
The kW output you will need to heat your room will depend primarily on the room's size. A rough rule of thumb is that you need around 1kW to heat every 14 cubic metres of space. To calculate the size of your room in cubic metres, multiply the length, width, and height of your room.
For example, if your room is 7 metres long, 5 metres wide, and 2.5 metres high, the volume would be 87.5 cubic metres. Dividing this by 14 gives you around 6.25 kW, suggesting that a stove with this output should heat the room adequately.
Other factors to consider
If your home is well-insulated or has double-glazing, you may need less heat than the calculation suggests. Conversely, you might need a stove with a higher output if your home has high ceilings, large windows, or poor insulation.
You can use our stove calculator tool to determine the ideal heat output for your space.
What are variable heat outputs?
Many gas stoves come with variable heat outputs. You can adjust the heat level according to your comfort or the outside weather. This feature allows for better control of your heating and can be more energy-efficient, as you can lower the output when less heat is required.
Flue options for your gas stove
Ventilation is a crucial factor when it comes to gas stoves. There are three main types of ventilation (flue) available. These include conventional flue gas stoves, balanced flue stoves, and flueless gas stoves.
What is a conventional flue gas stove?
A conventional flue gas stove, like the Firefox 5 Gas Stove, the Tiger Gas Stove, or the Elgin & Hall Desire 7 Gas Stove, relies on the natural pull of hot air to draw combustion gases up and out of a chimney or flue pipe. It's a traditional approach used in many homes, particularly those with existing fireplaces or chimneys.
Conventional flue stoves draw air from the room for combustion, and the resulting gases are then expelled up a chimney or flue pipe. As hot gases rise, they create a draught that pulls more air into the stove, supporting combustion.
These stoves are typically installed with an existing chimney, and the stove is connected to this chimney using a flue liner. The chimney serves as a conduit, allowing the safe exit of combustion gases from the stove to the outdoors.
What are the advantages of conventional flue gas stoves?
For many homeowners, their compatibility with existing chimney systems is one of the most significant benefits of conventional flue gas stoves. If you have a traditional fireplace with a functioning chimney, a conventional flue stove can be installed without considerable renovations or modifications, making it a cost-effective choice.
What's more, conventional flue stoves are also the most common type available, with a wide variety of design styles from classic to contemporary. Opting for a traditional flue stove makes finding one that matches your home's décor easier.
What to consider before getting a conventional flue gas stove
There are a few considerations to make with conventional flue gas stoves. Firstly, these stoves require a good amount of draught in the chimney to work effectively. If your chimney has blockages or structural issues, it can impact the stove's performance.
Secondly, it's important to note that conventional flue stoves are less efficient than their balanced flue or flueless counterparts since some heat is lost up the chimney. Plus, the fact that they draw air from the room for combustion can lead to a slight drop in room air quality.
What is a balanced flue gas stove?
A gas stove with a balanced flue, like the Gazco CL5 Balanced Flue Gas Stove, the Elgin & Hall Balanced Flue Gas Stove, or the Gazco Huntingdon 30 Balanced Flue Gas Stove, has a type of venting system that provides a safe, efficient solution for your home. It operates on a sealed system, ensuring high safety and efficiency. The flue or vent system has a dual-chambered construction in a balanced flue stove. One chamber draws fresh air from the outside into the stove for combustion. At the same time, the other expels the combustion gases back outside. This closed-loop system eliminates the need for a traditional chimney. It allows you to install the stove in various locations within your home.
The balanced flue system gets its name from the 'balance' between the incoming air and outgoing gases. This balance ensures the stove burns fuel efficiently and safely, making it a popular choice for modern homes.
Learn More: How to Have a Gas Stove with a Balanced Flue
What are the benefits of a balanced flue gas stove?
A balanced flue gas stove's superior efficiency is one of the main advantages. Since these stoves operate on a sealed unit, no heat is lost up the chimney, ensuring that more of the heat generated warms your room.
Plus, the balanced flue system also improves the safety of the stove. Since it is completely sealed from the room, there's no risk of dangerous combustion gases leaking into your home. This feature is especially beneficial for homes with children, elderly residents, or those with respiratory conditions.
What's more, the flexibility of the balanced flue system allows you to place your stove almost anywhere in the home. Whether you want it installed against an external wall or in the middle of a room, anything is possible if there is access to an outside wall for the flue to exit.
What is a flueless gas stove?
As their name suggests, flueless gas stoves such as the Eko Fires 6030 Flueless Gas Stove or the Burley Esteem 4221 Flueless Gas Stove do not require a flue or chimney. Instead, they are designed to burn gas cleanly, so the emissions are safe enough to be released directly into the room. They incorporate a catalytic converter, breaking down harmful combustion by-products into harmless water vapour and carbon dioxide.
Read more: Should You Have a Flueless Gas Stove?
What are the benefits of flueless gas stoves?
The main advantage of flueless gas stoves is the flexibility of installation. They can be placed virtually anywhere in your home, with a gas supply and adequate room ventilation. This makes them an appealing option for homes without a chimney or for those who wish to install a stove in a room where a traditional flue isn't practical.
Another fundamental advantage of these flueless stoves is their high efficiency. Since all the heat produced by a flueless stove stays in the room, rather than being lost up a chimney, they offer 100% energy efficiency. The result? Lower heating costs over time.
What safety features should you expect a gas stove to have?
When it comes to using gas appliances, safety should always be a top priority. Manufacturers incorporate various safety features into their designs to ensure your stove operates safely. Some of the essential safety features you should look for are as follows:
Flame supervision device
A flame supervision device, or a flame failure device, is a critical safety feature in modern gas stoves. This device is designed to shut off the gas supply to the burner if the flame goes out. This prevents unburnt gas from being released into your home, reducing the risk of gas leaks or explosions.
Oxygen depletion sensor
An oxygen depletion sensor is particularly crucial in flueless stoves. This device monitors the oxygen levels in the room. If the oxygen level drops below a safe threshold, the sensor automatically shuts off the gas supply to the stove. This feature helps to ensure a healthy indoor environment by preventing the build-up of harmful gases like carbon monoxide.
Most gas stoves are equipped with safety glass on the viewing window. This specialised glass can withstand high temperatures without cracking or shattering, making it safe for use in stoves. Plus, many stoves have a double-glazed window, which helps to keep the outer glass cooler, reducing the risk of accidental burns.
Child safety locks
Some models come with child safety locks. These locks are applied to the stove's controls, preventing children from accidentally turning on the stove or changing the settings. This feature provides extra peace of mind for families with young children.
Vent safety switch
Gas stoves with venting systems often have a vent safety switch. This device shuts off the stove if it detects an issue with the venting system, such as a chimney or flue pipe blockage. This feature helps to prevent the build-up of dangerous gases in your home.
Gas stove additional features to look out for
Modern gas stoves come with a plethora of additional features designed to enhance your user experience. Some popular additional features to consider include:
A remote-control feature adds a level of convenience to your gas stove usage. With this, you can adjust the flame height or heat output from the comfort of your sofa. Some high-end gas stoves offer thermostatic remotes, allowing you to set your ideal room temperature.
A programmable timer is another convenience feature offered by some gas stoves. This allows you to set the stove to turn on and off at specific times. Imagine waking up to the cosy warmth of your stove in the winter or coming home to a toasty living room after a day out in the cold. A timer makes this possible and can help effectively manage energy usage.
Glass top plate
Some gas stoves offer a glass top plate, which adds a sleek and modern touch to the appliance's aesthetic. The reflective surface of the glass can enhance the flame's visual effect, creating a captivating focal point in your room.
For an extra touch of ambience, some gas stoves come with LED lighting that illuminates the fuel bed. You can use this even when the stove isn't producing heat, creating a cosy atmosphere throughout the year.
Choosing the right gas stove style for your home
The look and feel of your stove are more than just aesthetics; it's about how well it blends with your home's style, enhances the overall room décor, and creates the desired ambience.
Traditional vs modern
The first decision is whether you want a traditional or modern look for your stove. Traditional stoves such as the Broseley Canterbury Slimline Gas Stove, the Hunter Hawk 4 Gas Stove, and the Arada Holborn Gas Stove feature intricate detailing, large viewing windows, and a design that harks back to the cast-iron stoves of the past. These gas stoves are the ideal choice for period properties or for adding a touch of nostalgia to any room.
On the other hand, modern stoves such as the Gazco Vision Midi Balanced Flue Gas Stove, the Mendip Woodland Balanced Flue Gas Stove, and the Opus Trio Scala Gas Stove offer minimalist designs and clean lines. These designs work well in contemporary homes or spaces where you want a sleek, modern look.
Log effect vs coal effect
Gas stoves offer different options for the fuel bed, which is the area where the flames appear. Some stoves, like the Gallery Classic Gas Stove, the Gallery Collection Darwin Gas Stove, and the Parkray Consort 5 Gas Stove, recreate the look of burning logs.
Others, such as the Gazco Stockton 5 Conventional Flue Gas Stove or the Firefox 8 Coal Effect Gas Stove, mimic the appearance of glowing coals. Your choice between log effect or coal effect will depend on the look you prefer and the style of your home. A log effect might suit a rustic, country-style home, while a coal effect could align with a more urban, contemporary space.
Gas stove installation and maintenance
Installing and maintaining your gas stove are fundamentals of owning such an appliance. Here's what you need to know:
A Gas Safe registered engineer should always carry out the installation. The Gas Safe Register is the official registration body for engineers who are qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances.
An experienced installer will consider several factors during the installation, including the stove's position, the condition of the existing flue (if any), and the necessary venting requirements. They will ensure the stove is installed correctly, adhering to safety regulations and manufacturer's instructions.
The installer will also conduct a smoke test to check the flue's functionality and integrity, ensuring it extracts the combustion gases effectively. Upon completion of the installation, they should provide a demonstration of how to operate the stove and offer advice on its upkeep.
Regular maintenance is paramount once your stove has been installed to keep it operating safely and efficiently. Here are the main things to include in a good maintenance routine:
Having your stove serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer is crucial. During a service, the engineer will inspect the stove and flue, check the gas pressure and heat output, clean the burners and test the safety devices. This ensures your stove stays in good working order and identifies potential issues early.
Regular cleaning is essential to maintain your stove's aesthetic appeal and performance. While a professional will perform a thorough cleaning during the annual service, you should also regularly clean the glass front and the exterior of the stove following the manufacturer's instructions.
Keeping the room well-ventilated, especially in the case of flueless gas stoves, helps to maintain a healthy living environment. Keep the air vents clear and clean to allow for adequate air circulation.
Find your perfect gas stove at Direct Stoves
Browse our range of traditional and modern gas stoves, including conventional flue, balanced flue, and flueless models, here.
Once you've found the perfect fit for your home, we offer free delivery to the UK mainland, no-hassle 14-day returns, and a variety of finance options. What's more, we can arrange gas stove installation and servicing through our partners Direct Heating Services, connecting you to a professional Gas Safe Engineer.
Need more information before you buy? Try these:
- The Best Small Gas Stoves
- What Gas Stove Installation Requirements Are There?
- Should You Have a Flueless Gas Stove?
- Do You Need a Flue for a Gas Stove?
- How to Have a Gas Stove with a Balanced Flue
- How Much Do Gas and Electric Stoves Cost to Run?
- Who Should Install My Gas or Wood Burning Stove?