One of the most common decisions facing prospective stove buyers is whether they should buy a freestanding stove, or an inset stove. Both types of stove have their defenders and detractors; so it can be difficult to decide which is right for you. So, in this article, we’ll take you through the benefits of inset stoves.
What is an inset stove?
As the name suggests, an inset stove is a stove which sits within a recess within a wall or fireplace. Because of this, you’ll sometimes see inset stoves referred to as ‘hole in the wall’ stoves.
Inset stoves (also known as insert stoves) are normally designed as a metal box, whereby the front face acts as a flange which sits flush (or almost flush) with the wall or chimney, sealing the stove into the wall. This means an inset stove has a nice, seamless look compared to traditional freestanding stoves.
As you would expect, with an inset stove the only part you will see following installation is the front. Whereas once you’ve installed a freestanding stove you’ll be able to see at least the front and both sides.
Many inset stoves will use a ‘cassette’ which helps them slot into an existing fireplace or hole in the wall. Inset stoves generally do not require a full inglenook opening, which can help avoid building work.
If you want a wood-burning appliance that has a more modern, contemporary look then an inset stove is often the best choice.
What types of inset stove are there?
When it comes to selecting an inset stove for your home, you have a massive amount of choice.
At Direct Stoves we primarily stock wood burning and multi-fuel inset stoves (a multi-fuel stove is simply a stove that can be used to burn both wood or coal).
As with other types of stove, inset stoves are available in DEFRA-approved versions. This means that they can be used in smoke control areas. We are also increasingly seeing inset stoves on the market that feature a clearSkies rating.
Guide – read our complete guide to the clearSkies mark.
The benefits of inset stoves
Okay, so now you know what inset stoves are, let’s take a look at their primary benefits.
First of all, and perhaps the biggest benefit of inset stoves, is that they can save considerable space – particularly in comparison to freestanding stoves.
Inset stoves will normally come with an air gap built into the convection box (the main box that sits behind the front of the inset stove). This means that an inset stove can pull in sufficient air to burn effectively, without having to have lots of free space around it.
As such, you can use inset stoves in much tighter spaces compared to freestanding stoves.
Yes, you still have to place an inset stove on a full constructional hearth (five inches of concrete), but if you are placing it in a fireplace, then you should already have this. If you are going to be placing the inset stove in a recess in the wall, then adding this type of stove should be fairly straightforward.
If you’re currently using an open fireplace and considering switching to an inset stove, then you’ll benefit from vastly greater heat efficiency.
Open fireplaces lose a considerable amount of heat up the chimney. In some instances this heat loss can be as much as 80 to 90% of all the heat generated!
Switching to an inset stove therefore will provide you with much more heat in your room.
Inset stoves offer a huge range of different designs, which means that you’ll almost always find one to suit the interior decor of your home.
Because inset stoves can be installed within a recess in the wall, your inset stove can be an unobtrusive part of your home. Likewise, if you fit an inset stove into an old fireplace, you can make it a real focal point for a room.
In other words, inset stoves offer a considerable amount of flexibility compared to other types of heating appliance.
Plus, because only the front of an inset stove is visible, you in some ways have far more flexibility in incorporating an inset stove into your overall decor.
So, with the main benefits of inset stoves outlined, let’s take a look at some of the other common questions we receive about inset stoves.
Do inset stoves give off good heat?
When it comes to inset stoves, there’s a bit of an urban myth doing the rounds of the internet. The myth? That inset stoves don’t give off as much heat as freestanding stoves.
This is incorrect.
A properly installed inset stove will give off as much heat as a freestanding stove.
We think this myth may have arisen because people have bought inset stoves that do not have sufficient heat output for the size of the room they are attempting to heat.
When buying an inset stove you should always check the listed heat output.
How to calculate the kW needed to heat a room
If you’re not sure how much heat you will require from an inset stove to sufficiently heat your room, then follow these steps:
- Measure the dimensions of your room (this can be feet or metres). Measure the length, width and height.
- Take these measurements and multiply them – length x width x height.
- Multiply the resulting figure by 0.0606. This will give you the minimum number of kilowatts (kW) that are required to heat your room.
With this figure you’re now in a position to buy an inset stove that will heat your room.
Remember, when selecting an inset stove, it’s always safer to err on the side of caution and buy a stove with a heat output that is slightly more than you require.
Stove calculator – to make calculating the kW you need to heat your room easier, we have created a stove calculator for you to use here.
Do inset stoves require a chimney flue liner?
This is another common question we receive at Direct Stoves. Our answer is generally yes.
If you are going to be placing an inset stove within an existing chimney place, with a functioning chimney, then you don’t technically require a flue liner.
However, we would always recommend that you use a chimney flue liner with an inset stove.
This is because chimney liners provide a number of benefits. These include making it easier to light a fire in the stove, making the fire burn more efficiently, preventing moisture build up in the chimney, and keeping you safe in the event the chimney becomes blocked.
What type of chimney flue liner do you need for an inset stove?
So, if you do decide to use a chimney flue liner with your new inset stove, what type do you need?
There are two main grades of chimney flue liner. It’s important that you select the right one based on what fuel you’ll be burning in your inset stove:
- 316 grade – buy this grade of flue liner if you’ll only be burning seasoned wood in your inset stove.
- 904 grade – this is a more heavy-duty grade flue liner which should be used if you’re going to be burning coal in your inset stove on a regular basis.
You can browse a wide range of chimney flue liners for your inset stove here.
Do you need a register plate for an inset stove?
The answer to this depends on whether your inset stove’s exhaust gases are going to be vented directly into a chimney cavity or a chimney flue liner.
If your inset stove will be venting directly into a chimney cavity then you will require a register plate. If your inset stove will be venting into a chimney flue liner, then you will not require a register plate.
Guide – find out more about register plates in our guide here.
What are the best inset stoves?
With all of those questions answered, you might now be considering buying an inset stove. Well, if that’s the case, what are your options?
We’ve set out a selection of some of the most popular and beautiful inset stoves currently available on the UK market.
Carron Darwin 4.7kW DEFRA Approved Wood Burning/Multifuel Inset Stove
This beautiful, traditional-looking inset stove is designed and manufactured by craftsmen in the heart of Lincolnshire.
With a cream enamel finish and a heat output of 4.7kW, the Carron Darwin inset stove will turn any room into a cosy place to rest and unwind. Not only does it have an impressive heat output, but it generates this heat with a remarkable 78% efficiency, meaning it’ll not only provide your home with plenty of heat, but it’ll help reduce your fuel bills too.
Featuring a cast iron construction, a large flame picture window and an integrated air wash, the Carron Darwin inset stove is designed to fit into a standard UK fireplace (16 x 22 inches).
The Carron Darwin also offers homeowners increased flexibility as it is able to burn coal as well as wood.
Esse 350SE Contemporary DEFRA Approved Wood Burning/Multifuel Inset Stove
With a sleek, modern, almost Nordic aesthetic, the Esse 350SE is an inset stove for the style conscious amongst you.
Hand crafted in Britain, with a pedigree stretching back to 1854, Esse makes inset stoves that simply ooze quality.
The Esse 350SE inset stove is DEFRA approved, meaning it can be safely operated in smoke control areas, has a 72% efficiency rating and is designed to fit into a standard 16in x 22in opening. It’ll also fit in a fireplace where the clay fireback is still in position.
Plus, if you want an inset stove that’ll keep you warm all throughout those cold winter months, the Esse 350SE is suitable for overnight burning and so can be kept running near enough continuously.
Henley Castlecove DEFRA Approved Wood Burning Inset Stove
Combining classic looks, with an advanced territory air system, the Henley Castlecove Inset Stove is the perfect choice for stove buyers who want it all.
The Henley Castlecove’s innovative combustion system uses its territory air system to create a clean-burn where hot air is pushed into the firebox above the normal height of the fire. This allows the excess gases to combust, thereby giving a cleaner burn.
The result of this system is that the Henley Castlecove is a very environmentally-friendly inset stove. Not only is it DEFRA approved, but is also EcoDesign ready, meaning it’s about as clean burning as you can get!
It also has an efficiency rating of 83%, which for a wood-burning appliance is quite frankly amazing!
Ekol Inset Plus 5kW DEFRA Approved Wood Burning/Multifuel Stove
Are you looking for an inset stove that’s packed full of character? That’s a little bit different? That’s just… fun?! If you are, then check out Ekol’s Inset Plus 5kW stove.
Ekol is a company which is always pushing the boundaries of stove technology. And it shows in their Inset Plus 5kW stove. Designed and built in Great Britain using fluid-dynamics research and state of the art CAD design, the Ekol Inset Plus 5kW stove has a brilliant 81.1% efficiency rating and has a simple ‘slot in’ installation process.
This inset stove will fit into a standard 16in x 22in fireplace (with the fireback removed), or can be built into the wall higher up for a more contemporary look.
The Ekol Inset Plus 5kW stove also has a clearSkies 5 rating making it one of the most environmentally-friendly inset stoves on the market. It also comes with a 5 year guarantee.
Time for an inset stove?
If you think it’s time to replace your open fireplace with an inset stove, or install an inset stove in the wall of your living room, take a look around the Direct Stoves website. We stock one of the largest ranges of inset stoves, all at competitive prices.
Shop inset stoves at Direct Stoves now
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