Free shipping within the
continental United States!

Phone Hours
Mon - Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm EST

Choosing Between a Wood-Burning Insert and Wood-Burning Stove

When it comes to enhancing your home with the warmth and charm of a wood-burning appliance, both wood-burning inserts and wood-burning stoves are excellent choices. However, selecting the right option requires careful consideration of various factors, including installation, features, and your specific heating needs. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the differences between wood-burning inserts and stoves, the installation types, their pros and cons, and address frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision. Additionally, we'll discuss the feasibility of self-installation.

Understanding Wood-Burning Inserts and Stoves

Wood-Burning Inserts:

A wood-burning insert is designed to be installed into an existing masonry fireplace, transforming it into an efficient and effective heating appliance. Inserts are known for their energy efficiency, as they prevent heat loss through the chimney and increase the overall heating output of your fireplace. They are essentially fireboxes encased in a metal shell, with a venting system that connects to the chimney. Inserts often come with a glass door, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the flames while benefitting from improved heating efficiency.

Wood-Burning Stoves:

Wood-burning stoves are freestanding heating appliances that can be placed in various parts of your home. They are available in a wide range of styles, from traditional to modern, and are designed to efficiently burn wood to provide both heat and ambiance. Wood stoves are known for their versatility, as they can be placed in open living spaces, kitchens, or even as central heating units. They require proper venting through a chimney or a designated flue.

Installation Types

Wood-Burning Insert Installation:

Installing a wood-burning insert involves placing the insert unit into your existing fireplace. This process requires professional installation to ensure proper fit, venting, and safety. A properly installed insert can significantly increase heating efficiency and reduce heat loss.

Wood-Burning Stove Installation:

Installing a wood-burning stove typically involves placing the stove in a designated area of your home and connecting it to a chimney or flue for proper ventilation. Stove installations may require more complex venting solutions, such as installing a chimney liner or creating a new venting route.

Pros and Cons

Wood-Burning Inserts:


  • Improved heating efficiency by preventing heat loss through the chimney.
  • Efficient use of wood, as inserts burn wood more completely.
  • Enhanced ambiance with the glass door showcasing the flames.
  • Potential for zone heating, heating specific areas of your home.


  • Requires a pre-existing masonry fireplace for installation.
  • Limited to the design of the existing fireplace opening.

Wood-Burning Stoves:


  • Versatile placement options in various areas of your home.
  • Wide range of styles and designs to choose from.
  • Can serve as a central heating source in smaller homes.
  • Offers a full view of the fire from multiple angles.


  • May require more complex venting solutions and professional installation.
  • Some designs might not have as efficient heating distribution as inserts.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I self-install a wood-burning insert or stove?
While it's possible for experienced individuals to self-install, it is strongly recommended to have a professional perform the installation. Proper installation is crucial for safety, efficiency, and compliance with building codes.

2. What are the maintenance requirements for inserts and stoves?
Both inserts and stoves require regular maintenance, including cleaning the firebox, ash removal, and chimney cleaning. Regular inspections by professionals are also recommended to ensure safety and efficiency.

3. Which is more energy-efficient: an insert or a stove?
Both options can be energy-efficient when properly installed and operated. Inserts are known for preventing heat loss through the chimney, while stoves can efficiently heat open spaces.

4. Can I convert my existing wood-burning fireplace to a stove or insert?
Yes, it is possible to convert an existing fireplace to a stove or insert. Consult with a professional to determine the feasibility of the conversion and the appropriate steps to take.

5. Do I need to comply with building codes when installing a wood-burning appliance?
Yes, compliance with building codes and local regulations is essential when installing wood-burning appliances. Professional installers are familiar with these codes and can ensure a safe and compliant installation.


Selecting between a wood-burning insert and a wood-burning stove requires careful consideration of your home's layout, heating needs, and design preferences. Both options offer unique benefits and can provide years of comfort and enjoyment. While self-installation might be possible for experienced individuals, professional installation is recommended to ensure safety, efficiency, and compliance with building codes. Ultimately, choosing the right wood-burning appliance will help you create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your home while providing efficient heating during the colder months.