Wood burning stoves can be a big investment for a home and become a permanent feature, and so many stoves are built to last.
However, wood stoves won’t last forever. The high temperatures experienced by a wood stove and regular use can lead to stove that starts to lose performance.
So how long does a wood burning stove last?
On average, a wood burning stove can last between 10 and 20 years. Cheaper models may not last more than ten years, while a well constructed; well maintained and properly used wood stove can have a life expectancy of 20 years or more.
Like many other products, there is a wide range of differently priced wood stoves to choose from, and the quality of the materials and construction of the stove can have an impact on how long it can last.
There are also a number of other factors that can influence how long a wood burning stove can last including the maintenance regime and operation a stove has been subject to, which we’ve explained in more detail below.
How Long Does A Wood Burning Stove Last?
Wood burning stoves are a popular choice for homeowners because of their increased efficiency compared to using traditional open wood burning fireplaces, and are commonly installed within real fireplaces to help produce more heat for a home.
A wood stove can be a large investment for a home and so understanding how long a wood burning stove will last can help to ensure that the initial investment is going to pay off over the years to come.
In summary, a wood stove can last anywhere from 5 years to 20 years or more.
There is such a range because there are a number of different factors that can influence how long a wood burning stove lasts.
These factors include:
- The quality of the materials used.
- The quality of the construction of the stove.
- How regularly the stove is used and for how long.
- Whether the stove has been properly used or over-fired.
- Replacement parts availability.
- How well maintained the stove has been.
We have two stoves; one wood burning stove and one multi fuel stove, and so we’ve used our stoves as examples throughout this article to help explain what affects how long a stove can last.
The Quality Of The Stove
The quality of the materials and the construction quality of a wood stove will have a large impact on how long it will last under normal use.
As with many things, you can expect a stove you pay more for to last for a longer period of time. You can therefore expect cheaper models to not last as long as the more expensive versions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all expensive stoves will last a lot longer than less expensive ones.
The brand of stove may play a role in how long a wood stove can last. An expensive stove from a reputable brand may last a lot longer compared to an expensive stove from a less reputable brand.
We have two stoves in the family:
(Click on each of the above to go to our respective reviews of them for more information)
Both are relatively expensive models of wood stove from two different manufacturers, and both are middle of the range when it comes to the stoves offered by both brands.
Our Clearview stove can be bought for around $1800 (£1400) while the Parkray stove can be found for around $1400 (1100).
In our opinion both stoves feel well-built and work very well, but Clearview Stoves are a highly reputable brand that have come top of many independent surveys (more about that here) with high scores in durability, and we can really notice the high build quality of the stove.
We’ve been using our Clearview stove for a number of years and still looks and performs as good as the day we got it.
We know that this stove will last us for many more years, and hopefully 20+ years as many other stoves from reputable brands can achieve.
Although it was more of initial investment compared to our other stove, it will be worth it in the long run.
In summary, the brand of stove and the associated built quality can play an important role in how long a wood burning stove can last.
If you want your stove to last for as long as possible, look to buy a stove from a reputable brand.
You will typically need to pay more for such a stove but if you’re not planning on moving home anytime soon then it can be a great investment.
You can expect a stove that it used regularly and for prolonged periods of time to not last as long as a stove that only sees infrequent use.
Our stoves still work and look great even after a number of years but, although we use them regularly throughout the winter period, we don’t use them as much as some other people will do.
A good quality stove from a reputable brand will help to ensure that however often you’re using your stove it will last for as long as possible. However, by using your stove regularly you can expect to get more of your money’s worth from it and so this shouldn’t detract from using a stove.
As well as how often you’re using your stove, how you use your wood burning stove will also play a role in how long it will last.
A wood stove that is used as per the manufacturers guidelines is likely to last longer before any parts may need to be replaced, or even before the whole stove needs replacing.
A wood stove should always be operated at its designed capacity:
- Under-utilizing a stove can lead to a fire that is struggling to perform as designed, with less heat being produced and potentially more smoke being released.
- Burning too much wood in your stove for its size can lead to hotter temperatures than what the stove was designed for. This can also be known as over firing and can lead to premature damage to the stove (more about over firing stoves here).
For more information on how to use a stove we have a complete guide here.
Incorrect use of a stove, such as burning too much wood or leaving the air vents too far open, may result in damage to parts that would decrease how long a wood stove would last.
The baffle plate inside a wood stove can take much of the brunt of a fire, and temperatures too high within the stove can lead to a baffle plate that becomes cracked or warped and needs to be replaced.
Ongoing over firing of a stove may also lead to damage of the main structure of the stove and significantly reduce its life expectancy.
The baffle inside a wood burning stove can be replaced in many models of stove. It can be worth checking before buying a stove what can be replaced in the stove and what replacement parts are available.
Being able to replace parts rather than the whole stove can help to increase how long a wood stove will last.
In summary, how often you use your stove will play a role in how long it lasts.
Expect a stove that is used more often to have a slightly less life expectancy than one that is used less regularly.
Furthermore, the way you use your stove can also have more of an impact on how long it lasts.
Ensure to always build fires that aren’t too big or too small for your size of stove, or damage may be caused to the stove through improper use. If the stove has been sized correctly for the size of room it needs to heat then there should be no need to over fire a stove.
A well maintained wood burning stove can last longer than a stove that hasn’t been correctly maintained.
Through use, a number of parts of a wood stove can start to deteriorate. A stove that has been used correctly throughout its life is likely to see fewer problems, but the main parts that may have to change at some point through the life of a wood stove include:
- Baffle plate
- Door gasket
The baffle plate helps to increase the efficiency and heat output of burning wood by keeping waste gases inside the firebox for longer. A damaged baffle plate can therefore reduce how much heat a stove produces.
The door gasket seal helps to prevent air from getting into the stove. Air coming into a stove must come in through the air vents in order to be able to control the fire.
Ensuring that these parts (among others) are looked after through correct use of a stove, as well as replacing them as and when required, will help a wood burning stove to last as long as possible.
The length of time a wood burning stove can last can be anywhere between 10 and 20 years, but can be higher or lower depending on the quality of the stove, how well and how often it is used, and how well maintained it has been.
More expensive models of wood stove from more reputable brands will typically last longer, but will generally require a higher upfront cost investment.
Using a wood stove as designed will help to prolong the life of the stove, as well as ensuring that it’s well maintained.