During your search you will note that many solid fuel stoves are designed to be either dedicated wood burning stoves or multi-fuel stoves but what are the differences?

Wood Burning Stoves

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  this effect is enhanced further. The introduction of air into the firebox of the stove to combust the gases and hydrocarbon particles ensures that your fuel is used as effectively as possible meaning greater value for money and wonderful flames for you to watch.

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 therefore 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.

Multi-Fuel Stoves

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 cleaning and safe removal.

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.

About Defra and Smoke Controlled Areas

Smoke Control Areas were introduced by the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 to tackle the growing pollution derived from domestic and industry emissions following the Industrial Revolution. Local authorities only allowed heating appliances such as stoves which demonstrated particularly clean burning combustion.

For those homeowners wanting to install a stove in their urban property, there are a large collection of wood burning and multi-fuel stoves available for these Smoke Control Areas. Whether you are looking to fill your cosy inglenook or thinking of mounting your stove onto a bench to create an alternative look, there’s a selection of traditional or modern stoves available in various styles, sizes and colours.

Properties with a non-exempt stove appliance may only be allowed to burn a list of authorised smokeless fuels. Please visit the Defra website to see a list of these authorised smokeless fuels that you are allowed to burn.

Most wood burning and multi-fuel stoves also include the latest Cleanburn and Airwash system which means that it provides cleaner burn and greater thermal efficiency.

To find out more information on whether you live in a Smoke Control Area, visit Please visit the Defra website.

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