Types of Wood Burning Appliances

In the hearth industry, there are a number of different types of wood burning appliances, and it can be confusing. When searching for product and using the filters on our website, it helps to understand the different types of wood burning appliances. Here we discuss the various types of cord wood and pellet burning appliances to help you find the right product for your needs.



Wood stoves or free-standing wood stoves are appliances that burn cord wood (logs, sticks of wood) and do not install into a wall, rather they stand on legs, a pedestal or some sort of base. In the United States, wood stoves must meet EPA emissions standards. As of May 15, 2020, Phase 2 of the New Source Proficiency Standards (aka. 2020 EPA emissions standards) require that any new wood stove have an EPA 2020 certification sticker on it to certify that it is a clean burning appliance.  If it does not, then it is unlawful to sell the wood stove in a retail store. However, old, used wood stoves are still lawful to sell, and it is lawful for people to possess and use their “pre-2020” wood stoves. There also exist a few types of wood burning appliances that are exempt from EPA certifications. These are wood cookstoves (such as the Hearthstone Deva), masonry heaters, such as the Marcello100, Babina+5 or Merethe+5-2 by Norsk Kleber, and certain decorative fireplaces such as the Biltmore by Majestic and more modern looking decorative fireplaces such as the Invicta Nelson or the Stuv 21. Radiant fireplaces, such as the Biltmore, are not very efficient (typically under 40% efficient), but they tend to be rather affordable and they offer the customer the ability to install a fireplace into a room where it might not be possible to install a large, heavy and spacious masonry fireplace, whereas other decorative fireplaces, such as the Stuv 21 offer higher efficiencies (typically between 60-70%. However, since they are classified as secondary, decorative fireplaces they are exempt from EPA emissions standards. Zero-clearance fireplaces are fireplaces that are designed to be primary heat sources and us such, they must meet the same emissions standards as wood stoves. Zero-clearance fireplaces can be very efficient like today’s EPA-certified wood stoves reaching efficiencies of up to 80%. Click here to see examples of EPA-certified zero-clearance fireplaces that we carry.  The final category of wood burning appliance is the fireplace insert.  Fireplace inserts are commonly confused with fireplaces, but they are rather different in that a wood burning fireplace can be framed into a wooden wall, whereas an insert must be installed into an existing, code-compliant fireplace. Fireplace inserts, like zero-clearance fireplaces and wood stoves, must meet the 2020 EPA emissions standards. Click here to see examples of wood-burning fireplaces inserts that we carry.

Pellet stoves, fireplaces and inserts have similar classifications as cord wood appliance, except that all pellet stoves must meet 2020 emissions standards. There are no exemptions for pellet burning appliances. Pellet burning appliances are available in free-standing units with legs, such as the Harman XXV-TC or the Lopi Deerfield, or commonly as upright units, such as the Harman Allure50 or the Ravelli RV 100-C. Pellet appliances are available as both fireplaces inserts (for existing fireplaces) or in zero-clearance fireplaces, which can be framed into a wooden wall. Many pellet fireplace inserts, such as the Harman P52i, can be purchased with a zero-clearance cabinet so that it can be framed into a wall, while the Ravelli Roma comes as a zero-clearance unit and can be installed into a wooden cavity or into an existing fireplace.