How to Achieve the Aesthetics of a Wood Burner With-out Burning any Wood.

Want that cosy glow without it costing the earth and any of the start-up or clean up hassle? If you’re looking for an alternative to a log burner, we examine the best options available.

ARE WOOD BURING STOVES THE BEST OPTION?

The log-burner has long been a fixture on many people’s home lust list; it’s comforting flicker, characterful charm and ability to quickly turn a room from chilly to toasty make them a hugely popular feature. In fact, an estimated one million households in the UK now have one.

However, wood burning stoves are not the right choice for everyone. Those living in smokeless zones are not permitted to fit one and some people feel they require too much maintenance when it comes to cleaning them out and ensuring a constant supply of firewood. While others have no chimney, or may have concerns about the environmental impact of a wood burning stove.

Although all wood-burning stoves manufactured and sold in the UK must now be Ecodesign standard, meeting strict European requirements on low emissions, thankfully there are alternatives that mean you won’t even need to consider log storage or particle pollution.

If you can’t imagine your perfect home without a stove you’ll be delighted to know that is it is still possible to create a snug, warm and cosy home without a wood burner, and our round up of the best wood burning stove alternatives will ensure the flames you desire are still within your reach.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO WOOD BURNING STOVES?

If you have decided that a traditional wood burning stove is not the right option for you, just what are the alternatives? We supply two options: gas and electric.

WHY CHOOSE A GAS FIRE?

Gas fires offer the same warmth and flickering flame as log burners and come in a huge range of styles to suit your home – from classic and sturdy to sleek, modernist works of art. With no ash or sooty deposits to clean up, they’re a great option for those wanting a hands-off stove experience – plus the top models can often be controlled via remote control from the comfort of your sofa.

While you won’t need to order and buy logs for this option, you will need a gas supply. On the downside, if it’s the gentle crackle and woody smell of logs burning you are craving, then you might be disappointed. You should also note that even though no chimney is required for a gas stove, you will need adequate ventilation. Finally, a gas fire installation requires the services of a Gas Safe registered engineer in order to comply with regulations.

Gas fire: pros and cons
+ Cosy flickering flame effect
+ Range of styles to fit your home
+ Easy to maintain and control
+ Cheaper to run than an electric fire
– Requires adequate ventilation
– No wood-burning crackle or smell

WHY CHOOSE AN ELECTRIC FIRE?

Electric stoves are easy to install (connected to your mains electricity supply), require no chimney and are maintenance-free, plus they are one of the more cost-effective types of fire to buy.

However, there are disadvantages with electric fires to consider. They do not produce real flames (though this is much safer if you have children or pets) and even though there are some fairly realistic flame effects out there, it’s hard to beat the real thing. Then there is the fact that they become redundant should you experience a power cut.

If you’re looking for a winter warmer, they do not give off the same levels of heat as gas or wood burning stoves – most electric fires and stoves are limited to just 2kW or less.

Electric fire: pros and cons
+ Cheapest to buy and easiest to install
+ No smoke, fumes or mess
+ Simple to use and control
+ No chimney or ventilation required
– Not as much heat as the alternatives
– Fewer style options than gas fires
– No wood-burning crackle or smell

WOOD BURNING STOVE ALTERNATIVES: OUR CONCLUSION

While electric fires are the most cost-effective option, they’re also the least powerful as a primary heat source. For the most number of boxes ticked as the closest alternative to a wood burning stove, it has to be the good old gas fire. Available in a range of attractive styles and offering a cosy living flame and serious room-filling warmth as and when you need it, the only thing missing is the unmistakable crackle only a wood burning stove can give you.

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