Stack of firewood
Research report
20 November 2014

Woodburner pros and cons

Is a woodburner right for you? Here's what to consider.

Member comments

Get access to comment

B A S.
05 Jun 2021
Have both woodburner and log fire

I am fortunate to have access to a lot of demo wood and mostly very old rimu or totara which in our Kent tile burns very hot. This may be the reason the chimney remains pretty clean. Heat pumps have their uses for early morning when the house is cold but a wood fire has a different cosy warmth unaffected by power cuts, which may happen in the near future.

John M.
12 Jul 2020
Are the new burners all that much better?

Encouraged or should I say forced to change our woodburner, we chose the woodsman tarras MK111. Sorry I think it is a crock compared to the old Kent burner. my neighbour changed his at the same time with identical burners, except that mine has a wetback and his doesn't . We agree on all points. The woodsman is capable of giving out good heat, but it is uncontrollable. If you fill the firebox up, after all the wood has caught, close the damper; It still roars away, putting out the heat but chewing through the wood like crazy. Put only 2 or 3 slabs of wood in, gives a little less heat and burns less wood in the evening, but you have to get up every 15 minutes to feed it. (keep warm by jumping up to feed it!) The Kent was not effected by the quantity of wood you put in, you could control the rate of burning and heat output with the two dampers (only one on the woodsman.) That's no 1 problem. No 2. The woodsman is a filthy fire to operate. No matter how you load the firebox, every time you open the door, ash falls out! The Kent would actually suck the ashes inwards when you open the door. The woodsman would often emit a puff of smoke into the room or ash flakes into the air when the door is opened. The manufacturers suggested the flue joints were not sealed. The installer assured us the joins were sealed. We find we are sweeping the flue more frequently. And both the neighbour and I will swear the smoke emissions are no different between the old fires and the new. We would both have our Kents back in a flash!

Bevan M.
02 Aug 2020
Thanks for comparison

My wife is making noises about upgrading our kent fire with a modern one... I am not rushing out to buy anything just yet until I have seen a few fires working and make my comparison from that and yes it pays to talk to different people about their experiences.

Steve B.
30 May 2020
No Brainer

If there's free firewood about a woodburner is a no brainer.

We installed a Kent Kea Rad 11 with the help of a builder friend. The woodburner is not big and was bought only because it was on special, even that can push out far more heat than is needed.

We forwent the kent flue and bought a "quiet one" that doesn't roar in a high wind - this has turned out to be an excellent choice. Kent "at the time" in its wisdom threaten buyers of these flues by cancelling the warranty.

Kent were also confusing as they stated that a 50mm hearth was required when only an ash floor protector was needed.

We made up our ash protector using some 6mm cement board with tiles of our choice glued and grouted on top.

We made a slight blue on the positioning of the woodburner by putting it in the centre of a wall rather than a corner. Corner is better.

Sods law also said that where we wanted it meant we had to shuffle it a bit due to ceiling rafters, electric cables, roof rafters and the lie of concrete tiles. There is just no way anyone will miss all of these hazards which need to be worked around.

If buying lead sheeting for the roof, buy a bigger bit, even so a big chunk is wasted after cutting out the chimney from the middle of the sheet.

Doing it all again would also put in some sort of a heat transfer system to warm up the other end of the house.

We bought the woodburner first and only later a heat pump.

Yes and the council permit is a must to keep the house insurance valid.