Wood Burning Stoves or Multi-fuel Stoves?

The difference between wood burning and multi-fuel stoves

If you are in the process of choosing a new stove, it is helpful to have a good understanding of the differences between wood burning and multi-fuel appliances.

During your search you will note that many solid fuel stoves (Stovax models included) are designed to be either dedicated wood burning stoves or multi-fuel stoves; although there is a certain amount of cross-over between the two categories, it is useful to be aware of the distinction before you decide which would best suit your needs.

Wood Burning Stoves

Huntingdon 40 burning wood

Huntingdon 40 burning wood

A wood burning stove is usually built without a fixed grate, but with a flat base: as the wood burns the ashes are collected and when the fire needs more fuel, fresh logs are placed on top. The effect is hugely positive for wood burning because logs combust more effectively and evenly when resting on a bed of ashes, giving you maximum efficiency and heat output from your wood burning stove.

When combined with Cleanburn technology – from which most Stovax stoves benefit, the effect is enhanced further. The introduction of air into the firebox of the stove to combust gases and hydrocarbon particles ensures that your fuel is used as effectively as possible meaning greater value for money and wonderful flames to admire.

It is also worth considering the environmental benefits of wood burning. It is regarded as a carbon neutral form of energy as during its growth, a tree will absorb the amount of carbon dioxide roughly emitted when it is burned on a wood burning stove or fire. It is thus a provider of ‘green’ heat. You may also be in a position to maintain your own private wood supply, thereby generating virtually free fuel that is exclusively available to you whenever you need it although bear in mind that logs must be sufficiently dry to burn. For more information on choosing the right type of wood and how to build an effective wood burning or multi-fuel stove take a look at our ‘how to’ videos on Stovax.tv.

Stovax also has a list of wood burning stoves that are suitable for use in Smoke Control Areas, please visit your local retailer to find out more.

Multi-fuel Stoves

Huntingdon 30 multi-fuel stove

Huntingdon 30 multi-fuel stove


Multi-fuel stoves are appliances that are capable of burning a variety of materials other than wood. Apart from logs, a multi-fuel stove can burn smokeless fuels (look for authorised fuels that are approved for use in Smoke Control Areas), anthracite and peat/turf briquettes. The design of these stoves is optimised to accept a greater number of types of fuel and to burn them as effectively as possible. Multi-fuel appliances have a raised grate with moving bars or a central riddling grate and ashpan. Both of these options allow the burning fuel to be de-ashed to maintain effective combustion conditions. Ash is then contained in an ashpan below the grate to enable safe removal.

Stovax multi-fuel stoves incorporate ‘AMS’ (Ash Management Solution) to facilitate removal of redundant ashes in a quicker and cleaner manner from an external ashpan. They also incorporate a primary air inlet which introduces air from beneath the grate. Both these features facilitate efficient combustion in multi-fuel stoves.

The heat output of a multi-fuel appliance will be similar, if not identical to that of a wood burning stove – and both types are highly efficient. Many also have Airwash and Cleanburn as standard and, as with a wood burning stove, the introduction of innovative functions and technologies has meant that running an appliance is easier and more cost effective so you can derive greater pleasure from the many benefits and ambience it will give you in abundance.

So, you may well be asking yourself: why should I choose multi-fuel over wood burning? The main advantage is one of convenience: as a multi-fuel stove can burn a range of approved fuels, you will be able to choose from a greater number of suppliers and therefore select the nearest. This will help to reduce not only the amount you spend on fuel but also the time and money you will need to transport it to your home.

Whichever you choose however, it is worth making note that some dedicated wood burning stoves and multi-fuel stoves can be fitted with a kit to enable the combustion of all types of solid fuel, thereby giving you the best of both worlds in terms of fuel availability. These are clearly defined in our brochures and our online product pages. It is also worth bearing in mind the visual differences between multi-fuel and wood burning stoves; for further information consult your local retailer for experienced advice and guidance.

Our range of wood burning & multi-fuel stoves