Stovax Futura Review

In this video, The Tortoise, an independent reviewer of stoves and fires, provides an overview of the Stovax Futura wood burning and multi-fuel stove range. Discover how easy the Ecodesign Futura is to light and control, its cleanliness, burn duration, and final thoughts.

The Tortoise’s Review of the Stovax Futura 5 wood burning stove:

Well finally, this is the Stovax Futura. Not only have a lot of you been asking for this review, I’ve been really keen to have a look at one of these for a couple of years now.

I don’t really know why but it’s all about this air vent. From the moment I saw this stove, I was like, that just looks premium, it looks right. I know my car analogies but it’s like, you know, not like plastic with a bit of metal look finish on, you know, um, car air vents and that or anything like that. When you feel something and it’s like a proper chunk of metal, it just, there’s something about it. And uh yeah, let’s see how we get on.

Is it easy to light?

Right, let’s light it up. Ignore the other camera, it’s not there really. Same as always with these wonderful things, stick in some logs at the base, slowly get smaller. Could be tricky to get that camera out actually. Well, it exists. And we’ll put that there. That looks good, got a bit of a gappy creation there. That’s sort of after the battle of course, a firelighter on the top. Ah, I do have some correct matches. Obviously no cooks or anything else here, only the best.

Okay, um, push the door to open the air vent by sliding it all the way to the right and uh let’s see how we get on. Well, that was phenomenally quick. Um, 10 minutes up to temperature and at this point, I would simply shut the door which, as I mentioned in the first impressions, is incredibly easy on the stove. Literally one finger. Lovely.

About the stove

Well, they make three sizes of this stove: the four, this five, and then the eight. All of them are focused on burning wood but the first two, the four and the five, can come with an external riddling grate full ash pan setup. Actually, if you’re interested in how the multi-fuel one performs, we’ve also tested the Stovax Huntingdon, which is essentially the same stove, but we tested it in the multi-fuel version. Underneath the whole sort of aesthetic facade of the stove, the actual engine within are identical.

So yeah, it’s quite an interesting one to have tested the multi-fuel one and the wood burning version of the other. They’re all British made from steel and whether you get the wood burning version or the multi-fuel, you get a really nice cast iron base on which to burn. Like all Stovax’s, you get a really smart pair of gloves with the stove, you get some rope glue for resealing it as and when you need that, and this particular one has direct air and a little heat shield for behind the collar. The rest of the stove is already heat shielded to give you really small distances to combustibles.

Interestingly, this stove is actually a convection stove which effectively means it’s a stove within a stove, and that air gap allows it to heat the room more effectively. It also has that really cool square handle that stays cool and is really lovely to use. In fact, actually drop a comment and let us know what you think of the design of this stove because it was nominated for best overall stove of the year and best domestic heating product of the year as well. So also I’m a fan of the look.

How efficient is it?

Well for starters, this stove runs at 82% efficiency which is really high and it’s got an A+ rating on the sort of rating scales as well. Obviously it’s Ecodesign, DEFRA approved. In terms of clean glass, clearly it can do clean glass with good technique and dry fuel. This is easy. If you start pushing it a little bit further, I have run this overnight, got up in the morning, still clean on the glass. Even leaving it for long periods and running it all week or a couple of weeks, I could still basically just keep it clean.

I did once shut the stove, yeah, I was trying to trip it up and if I put brand new fuel on but didn’t open the air vents at all, this, you know, the fuel would never get going, it would never flame and I managed to get it to all go black on the glass. But as you can see here, I then got the stove hot and actually it cleaned most of it off. I did properly make the glass go black through doing that, um, so obviously don’t do that in your home, you know. I’ve tested that to show you what not to do, um, but as long as you don’t make silly mistakes like that, keeping it clean is easy as anything.

Is it easily controllable?

I think the controls are going to be a real high point for this stove. The first thing is this very unique square handle. Obviously it’s boiling hot stove and yet, I’m not burning myself, um, so that’s very convenient. The main control I’m having a bit of a fanboy moment over. Um, I really like the look, the feel of it, it’s smart. It’s also bearing in mind this stove is permanently DEFRA approved. That’s fully open and we go to fully closed. It’s not sort of deadening it right down but the effect is immediate. Does exactly what I want and it’s more than enough to get the stove to burn for 9 hours whilst maintaining clean glass. I fully closed it, the glass stays clean, um, so it’s really well balanced and as I say, this, it’s just lovely, really really lovely.

How economic is it?

We test fuel economy by getting the stove up to operating temperature and then burning a single net of kiln-dried logs on it to see how long we can maintain operating temperature. Obviously, we’re shutting it down a lot, trying to maintain it right at the sort of base level, um, but actually I got this to run for 10 to 12 hours. You know, different nets you will of course, there’s variation in the logs, the size of the log so there is variation in the results, um, but I thought that was a really good score. Particularly given that this is for sort of intermittent evening use, it’s sort of quite encouraging that I’m not going to be galloping through fuel. Despite the fact that I obviously want a big glass and a big flame and it looking lovely, um, throughout that time it stayed perfectly clean and even when I run it overnight I was able to get it to burn for 9 hours with it staying clean and able to relight it again without any sort of, you know, kindling or, you know, just small logs, leave the door ajar and off it goes again.

Final Thoughts

Well the control gets a little bit hot and, uh, it’s not sort of fully shut down because it’s DEFRA approved and you can’t remove that, um, but having said that I really love the look. I love the feel of the controls, the look of the controls, the ease of opening and closing the door, the fact that they’re focused on burning wood, that lovely cast iron smart grate underneath, uh, and just that big view. It looks fantastic. The stove isn’t designed with constant use in mind. It’s a backup and focal point for evenings and weekends. And if that’s you and you’re burning mainly wood, obviously they do a multi-fuel version, but if you’re burning mainly wood then go and see one because it really doesn’t disappoint. Particularly that little air control. I’m obviously nuts about that control but it’s, if you look from 100 yards, you can recognize the brand of a car and for me, it’s good enough to be part of the design language of future Stovax’s going forward. It’s expensive, it’s solid, it looks lovely. I mean it dominates like any of the marketing images. That’s what stands out. It’s unique, it’s sort of vaguely special. I’ve obviously got a little bit of a fanboy moment over this, you know, insignificant control, but I see a lot of stoves and that for me is the real design cue. It’s like the four rings on an Audi. You spot it and it’s just key to where you’re going. I don’t know, it just, maybe it’s a personal thing, but for me it was what drew me towards the stove and actually having spent two weeks using it almost every day, putting it through its paces and doing this and that with it and any number of stupid things just to try and find its pitfalls and, you know, what its character is and what it’s really focused on, I just, I still love that control. I just think that’s such a key part of the design and obviously it’s a very clean contemporary smart look. I just really enjoyed it. Obviously normally I want a stove that’s going to run 24/7 and be a, you know, this isn’t that stove, but it is a really enjoyable stove.

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