- 1 7 Reasons to Buy a Wood Burning Stove
- 2 Best Wood Burning Stoves Comparison Chart
- 3 Best Wood Burning Stove Reviews (Updated List)
- 3.1 1. Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Burning Stove
- 3.2 2. HiFlame Epa Approved Wood Burning Stove HF905U
- 3.3 3. Vogelzang TR004 Colonial EPA Wood Burning Stove
- 3.4 4. Drolet 60,000 BTU EPA-Certified Escape Fireplace Wood Insert
- 3.5 5. Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove
- 3.6 6. Ohuhu Wood Burning Camp Stove
- 3.7 7. Pleasant Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Medium Wood Burning Stove
- 4 Buying Guide: How to Buy a Wood Burning Stove
- 5 Wood Stove Energy Efficiency
- 6 How to Install a Wood Burning Stove?
- 7 Wood Stove Installation Tips
- 8 How to Use a Wood Burning Stove?
- 9 How Does a Wood Burning Stove Work?
- 10 Conventional Stoves vs Modern Stoves
- 11 FAQs
- 12 Wrap Up
The best wood burning stove will make your home warm and entertain your guests. When the cold season is coming, there’s nothing more pleasant than enjoying the warmth of your home while watching the burning logs inside a stove. But did you know that modern wood stoves are eco-friendly? Unlike the models used decades ago, these units produce few emissions, and using them will lower your carbon footprint.
In the following article, we present the wood-burning stove reviews of 2020. These models are not only efficient, but they look good as well. So, let’s take a look at the top wooden stoves available today.
7 Reasons to Buy a Wood Burning Stove
Using a wood-burning stove offers a lot of benefits. Sure, the stove it’s nice to look at, and it can also warm up your home, but does it offer anything besides? Let’s take a quick look
1. Reliable Fuel Source
Wood is a reliable fuel source because it’s cheap and renewable. Moreover, wood is easy to get a hold of. Even if you’re a city dweller, there are still a lot of sources you can try to find wood. Some stores, construction sites, and office buildings might be happy to get rid of their discarded scrap wood if you’re willing to ask.
If you live in a rural area, wood is even easier to come by, and you don’t even need to cut trees to get it. You can simply collect the wood on the forest’s floor and let it dry before using it as fuel. And the good thing is, you can plant your own trees to make up for the wood you use as fuel.
2. Doesn’t Need Another Power Source To Run
Wood stoves are reliable because you don’t need to be connected to the electricity or gas grid to use them. As long as you have wood and some kindle, you can heat up your space. This is great for those who enjoy spending their weekends in cabins placed in remote locations. If you do not mind using electricity as a power source, you may want to have a look at our reviews on electric baseboard heaters.
3. Efficient Heating Source
Unlike the stoves our ancestors used to use, modern models are really efficient. These models have efficiency ratings of up to 80% or more, which is impressive by any standard. Thanks to their well-thought designs, wooden stoves produce a lot of heat and they’re capable of warming up large surfaces.
4. Environmentally Friendly
You might think that burning wood is not eco-friendly, but it actually is. Wood is a renewable fuel source, and you can even plant some trees yourself to make sure the quantity of wood you use for heating will eventually be replenished. Wood burning is also considered “carbon neutral”, so you’re not actually increasing your carbon emissions when you’re burning it. Fallen trees are naturally decomposed in heat, water, and carbon dioxide. The wood you burn produces more heat, less water, but the same amount of carbon dioxide.
Wood is a great fuel and burning it will cost less than burning gas or oil, and it’s even cheaper than using electricity as a heating fuel while producing the same amount of BTUs. In fact, people who cut and gather their own firewood can get it for free, so wood burning can be the cheapest method to heat your home.
Wood stoves are safe to use. Even though they use a live flame to produce heat, these models come with heavy-duty doors that will securely keep the fire inside the firebox. Modern stoves have to pass several emission tests to be commercialized, so they won’t produce dangerous levels of pollutants.
7. Aesthetically Pleasing
Wood stoves look great. One of the advantages of using wood stoves is that they make a great focal point in your home. You can place a stove strategically to emphasize one of your home’s features or design peculiarities if you want to. Modern wood stoves come in many shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to find a model that will blend in with your home’s décor. And watching the fire in the stove will not only impress your guests, but it will also make you feel cozy in the cold months.
Best Wood Burning Stoves Comparison Chart
Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Burning Stove
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HiFlame Epa Approved Wood Burning Stove
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Vogelzang TR004 Colonial EPA Wood Burning Stove
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Drolet EPA-Certified Escape Fireplace Wood Insert
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Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove
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Ohuhu Wood Burning Camp Stove
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Best Wood Burning Stove Reviews (Updated List)
1. Drolet High-Efficiency Wood Burning Stove
The Drolet high-efficiency wood stove is a great model for those who are looking for a model capable of warming up a large space. Placed in the right spot, this model can heat a surface of up to 2,400 sq. ft. without any problems.
We were impressed by the stove’s efficiency. This model has an efficiency rating of 78%, so most of the heat it produces will be distributed inside your home and not lost, which is impressive for a wood stove.
As far as the stove’s design is concerned, this model has a rugged construction and uses a spacious firebox that can accommodate logs of up to 22 in. in length. The stove’s door is made out of cast iron and it comes with an adjustable handle for easier use.
Efficient – This model is very efficient, and will lose only a small amount of heat.
Cost-Effective – Thanks to the stove’s efficiency, you will use less wood and kindling to heat up your home.
Designed For Top-Side Venting – The stove is designed for top-side venting, so you can’t install it using a back vent.
2. HiFlame Epa Approved Wood Burning Stove HF905U
The HiFlame Epa wood stove is a good self-standing model that doesn’t take up too much space. This stove might be small, but it has a smart design that will make sure that even the smallest wood you load in the firebox will burn completely.
We were impressed by the stove’s heating output. Even though this is a small stove, it’s capable to warm up a considerably large space. This little guy can warm up homes of up to 800 sq. ft. even if they’re placed in cold regions.
The stove also has an impressive efficiency rating. If you use correctly aged wood, the stove can have an efficiency rating of up to 85%.
Small – This wood stove is small, so it won’t take up too much space in your home
5-year Warranty – This model comes with a 5-year warranty.
Quality Control Could Be Better – Even though this is a good stove, it could benefit from better quality control.
3. Vogelzang TR004 Colonial EPA Wood Burning Stove
The Vogelzang TR004 fireplace insert is an efficient model that will make the most out of your wood reserve. With an efficiency rating of over 75%, this model has low heat losses, which means that it will burn less wood and heat a larger surface.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it comes with a large air washed ceramic glass. The glass will provide a very good view of the fire, making your home warmer and more pleasant at the same time.
Thanks to its high efficiency, this fireplace insert will go through a single fueling in up to 8 hours, so you can leave it burning at night knowing you will find the house warm in the morning
Very Efficient – This model has an efficiency rating of more than 75%, which is impressive for a wood stove.
Aesthetically Pleasing – The stove is nice to look at, and it can improve your home’s appearance.
Firebox Could Be Bigger – It would have been better if the stove’s firebox was bigger.
4. Drolet 60,000 BTU EPA-Certified Escape Fireplace Wood Insert
The Drolet Escape fireplace insert is a good model for those who are looking to upgrade their old fireplaces. This model comes with a secondary combustion design that can increase its efficiency by up to 30% when you compare it to old units.
One of the things we appreciated about this model is that it has a long run time. A single load of wood can last for up to eight hours, so you don’t have to wake up overnight to stroke the fire. Another good thing about this model is that it looks good. This fireplace insert will enhance the aspect of your living room, and it will also spread a lot of warmth throughout your home.
Firebrick Lining – This model comes with a firebrick lining that will improve the insert’s efficiency by providing radiation heating.
Variable Speed Blower – This fireplace insert comes with a variable speed blower that will allow you to determine how fast to burn the wood.
Blower Can Be Noisy – The stove’s blower can be noisy. If it is, bracing it might help.
5. Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Burning Stove
The Guide Gear Outdoor wood stove is a small and resilient model that’s built to last. This model is made out of galvanized steel, and it comes with a hinged door that’s constructed out of cast iron.
We were impressed with this model’s well-thought design. Portable stoves are usually flimsy things, but not this model. Thanks to its detachable legs and pipe nest, the stove won’t take up too much space.
Moreover, the legs and the pipe nest fit inside the firebox, so you won’t have to carry them separately.
However, the whole stove weighs 47 lbs, so it might be difficult to carry anything else besides it. We also liked that the stove’s top platform can be used to keep pots and pans hot.
Portable – This small stove is portable, making it a great addition to every camper’s kit.
Durable – This model is made out of thick steel and it has high-quality welds, so it’s very durable.
Outdoor Use – This stove was designed for outdoor use. You can still use it indoors, but you have to make sure you use it only in a well-ventilated area.
6. Ohuhu Wood Burning Camp Stove
The Ohuhu camping stove is a small and reliable model that would make a great addition to every camper’s kit. Even though it has a small and compact design, this model is made out of high-quality stainless steel, so it’s very sturdy.
One of the things we liked about this model is very stable. This model comes with a 3-arm base that will keep it level even when you use it on dirt or on the grass. Moreover, the base will prevent the stove from topping off in windy conditions.
Despite the fact that this is a sturdy model, it’s also lightweight. The stove comes with a mesh carry bag you can attach to your backpack, making it easy to carry around.
Cool Bottom – The stove’s bottom remains cool enough to touch even after you use it, so you can move it easily.
Easy Assembly – The stove is easy to assemble, so you can start cooking as soon as you make camp.
Pot Stand Could Be Better – The camp stove’s pot stand is large and suitable for large pots. However, typical camp cups are small, so they won’t fit on the stand.
7. Pleasant Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Medium Wood Burning Stove
This is a top-quality wood burning stove, which allows you to heat up to 1,800 square feet. So, if you want an item that can easily handle such a surface, this stove might be a decent pick. Not only that it is efficient and practical, but it is also aesthetically pleasing. There’s nothing more calming than watching the fire.
Moving on to the maintenance of the stove, thanks to the ash drawer, you can easily clean up any ash remains. You also get a helpful DVD that has instructions on how to use it. If you want to make the investment, you can get a separate variable-speed blower for an even heat distribution. It’s up to you whether you need it or not.
In order to optimize the efficiency of the burning stove, you should fuel it with seasoned cord firewood. That’s what the manufacturer recommends. On a final note, since this is EPA Certified, you have peace of mind that you’ve chosen a reliable, dependable unit you can use for many years to come.
- Heats up to 1,800 square feet
- Easy clean-up and maintenance
- EPA Certified
- For an even heat distribution, you should purchase a variable speed blower separately.
Buying Guide: How to Buy a Wood Burning Stove
Buying a wood stove is difficult because there are a lot of variables you have to take into account. The stove’s price, installation difficulty, efficiency, and maintenance are only a few of the variables you should think about when buying a stove because all of them will influence the way the stove works. This is why we decided to create this buying guide, and hopefully give you a clear idea on how to choose the right wood-burning stove.
Top Things to Consider if You Want to Buy the Best Wood Stove
The first thing you should consider is how large a surface you want to heat using the woodstove. As you could see in our short wood stove reviews, every model can cover a certain surface, so you have to make sure the model you choose will suffice.
Not all wood stoves burn wood in the same way. In fact, each of them burns the wood differently. We will talk at length about the different types of wood stoves below.
All the stoves largely fit into three categories. Let’s see what each has to offer
Stoves that have a traditional design are usually self-standing. These models might have large or small fireboxes, but they don’t use blowers, so some of the heat they produce will ultimately be lost. The traditional wood stoves are safe to use, but they usually come with a small ceramic glass, so you won’t be able to see too much of the flames. These models might need top ventilation, but there are some models that can be installed using back ventilation. They are usually made out of sturdy materials such as cast iron or steel, so they can be very heavy.
Stoves that have modern design can either be self-standing or they can be inserts that will fit in nicely in your old fireplace. These models usually have large fireboxes, and they use blowers to increase heat output and burn more wood. Most models are suitable for both a top and a back ventilation installation, and they usually come with a large ceramic glass that will allow you to watch the fire from a distance. While these models are sturdy, they’re usually made out of lightweight materials, so they’re not as heavy as the traditional models.
Portable stoves have simple yet efficient designs. These models are small and usually lightweight. Thanks to their designs, portable stoves are usually easy to assemble, and they’re also easy to break down into pieces. Most models come with special features that will allow you to transport them with ease. Some models rely on covers and bags to increase their portability, but some come with built-in handles. Even though they are efficient and produce a good amount of heat, these models should not be used indoors because they can release pollutants into the breathable air. You should always make sure you use these models in well-ventilated spaces.
Nobody buys a wood stove just to look at it. The stove also has to have a good heating output. Each model can produce a maximum amount of heat, and you have to make sure that the heat it produces will be enough to warm up your home.
Wood stoves are easy to use. You put fuel in the firebox, light it up, and it will produce heat. The process of making heat, however, is quite different for some stove models. There are two types of wood stoves – those that use catalytic combustion and those that don’t.
Wood stoves that use catalytic combustion are usually more expensive, but they are also more efficient. These models have a more complicated design, but they offer a steadier heat output and they will also burn the wood for longer. The main problem of using this type of stoves is that you will have to replace the combustion element periodically, about once every two or three years.
Wood stoves that do not use catalytic combustion are usually cheaper. These models are sometimes preferred by users because they tend to produce more powerful fires that are more pleasant to watch. The main downside of using such a model is that it will produce a good heat output, but not a steady one. The flames will peak for a time, but then the amount of heat produced will decline steadily.
The size of the firebox is also an important thing you should think about. The larger the firebox, the larger it’s capacity, so it will hold more wood or fuel for the stove. The size of the firebox is also important because it will determine how long you can cut the wood that will fit into the stove. However, stove models that come with large fireboxes are usually more expensive than those that come with small ones. But the firebox is also important in determining the stove’s autonomy. If the stove you use has a large firebox, you will be able to load it up with a lot of wood, so you won’t have to reload it very frequently.
These models are better suited when you want to heat large spaces. On the other hand, buying a stove with a large firebox for a small room might not be justified. Using a large firebox might overheat the room, making it uncomfortable.
Using a wood-burning stove that comes with a glass door is better than you would think. Sure, the glass door will offer you a good view of the flames, increasing the room’s ambiance. But the ceramic glass is also an amazing conductor. This means that a large glass door will not only make the stove look better, but it will also make it more efficient at warming up your home.
You should make sure that the stove you’re buying comes with certification. There are a lot of counterfeit models on the market that are made out of cheap materials that will not withstand the rigors of a harsh winter or the demands of a powerful fire. These models might present problems as soon as the weather starts to worsen or as soon as you build a fire. Moreover, every stove has to have a certificate that states it’s safe to use because it doesn’t produce harmful emissions.
Wood Stove Energy Efficiency
As a rule of thumb, modern wood stoves are far more energy-efficient heaters than the models used decades ago. These models either use a catalytic converter or a baffle to increase their efficiency.
Wood stoves that come with a catalytic converter allow the gasses resulted after the wood-burning to pass through the converter. Once the temperatures are high enough, the converter will ignite the gasses, producing more heat in the process. The only downside of using a catalytic converter is that you will have to change it periodically, once every two or three years or so. This will increase your maintenance costs
Just like the catalytic converter, the baffle helps to produce more heat by using the gasses resulted from the wood-burning. But unlike the converter, the baffle will push the gasses right over the fire as soon as they’re produced.
Every wood stove has losses. This is unavoidable since the stoves require a connection to the exterior in order to work. However, modern models are very efficient, and most of them have efficiency ratings of more than 70%.
How to Install a Wood Burning Stove?
A wood-burning stove can be extremely useful in a house if you are looking to cut some of the costs that go on heating. In order to install a wood stove, you must have the necessary knowledge and skills in doing so, or else it’s recommended to seek the help of a professional in the field.
First of all, you need to find a suitable model, after which you can start planning the installation. The steps you need to take after purchasing your stove should be:
Finding Its Location
The thing about wood burning stoves is that you can’t just put them anywhere. They need to be positioned in such a way that heat is distributed evenly and properly in the entire house. The goal is to heat all rooms, not just the room where the stove is going to be positioned.
Typically, a wood-burning stove should be installed somewhere in a central location. Also, you should know that it obviously has to be kept on the floor, because that allows it to send heat towards every room in its immediate surroundings. Preferably, the location of the stove is a room where you can also store enough wood for it, as well as remove the ash in the end.
The last thing you want is to burn your house to the ground because your wood-burning stove has gotten too hot, and set fire to surrounding items. These stoves are going to get extremely hot and can be very dangerous if placed near any combustible surroundings. So, no matter what, ensure that its placement is safe, at least 36 inches away from combustible walls and 12 inches away from non-combustible ones.
The floor you place it on should be non-combustible as well, because otherwise there’s the danger of catching fire too. If you think the conditions are not good enough as of yet, you can try installing either concrete slab, 28-gauge sheet metal, or any other heat-safe material underneath and near the stove. Your safety and your house come first.
Consider a Chimney
Chimneys are crucial in eliminating the smoke generated by your wood-burning stove. Wood generates a lot of smoke as it burns, so it has to go somewhere, right? Inside the house is not the best idea, unless you want to cough all the time or barely be able to see a thing.
A chimney ensures the smoke makes its way out of the house. The best type of chimney would be a straight, vertical one. The chimney should be UL approved and insulated, or a masonry one.
Just make sure that the chimney extends about 2 feet above the things that are within its 10 feet peak. In the end, you should seal the interior pipe of the chimney so that smoke doesn’t leak. Furthermore, cap it to prevent birds or other animals from entering it.
Wood Stove Installation Tips
Stoves use live flames as a heat source, so they represent a fire hazard. But thanks to their well-thought designs, modern stoves are very safe to use. However, a stove should be installed correctly in order to work as it should. If you don’t install the stove correctly, you risk letting the pollutants resulted after the wood-burning accumulate in your home, or even worse, you risk spreading the fire. This is why it’s recommended to hire a licensed professional to install the stove for you. However, there are some tips that can be helpful when you’re considering buying a wood-burning stove.
- Decide The Stove’s Location – Make sure you know exactly where to put the stove before the installation team arrives at your home.
- Select The Right Model – Small stoves are very good if you want to use it in a single room. If you want to use the stove for your entire home, choose a large model.
- Make Sure Your Chimney Is In Working Condition – If you’re planning to install the wood stove in your old fireplace’s spot, you should make sure the chimney is in working condition. The chimney should be straight and long to allow the exhaust to exit your home. The chimney should also be clean, so if you haven’t used it in a long time, you should make sure it’s cleaned before you start installing the new stove.
- Make Sure The Exhaust Is Placed In The Tallest Spot – The stove’s exhaust should be placed in the tallest part of your home. If you don’t do this, some parts of your home will be colder than others, and you also risk causing air pollution.
How to Use a Wood Burning Stove?
Before you start maneuvering your wood stove, you should have some understanding of the way it works. Just like most other house appliances, wood-burning stoves come with a set of instructions that tell you how they operate and what you should do to get them to work properly. Luckily though, unlike other appliances, it doesn’t need that much time to understand the instructions, so you can quickly get to use the unit after getting familiar.
After you learn the basics, here is how you should use your new wood-burning stove:
Use the Right Type of Fuel
The stove won’t perform perfectly unless you choose the right type of fuel, which is why so much attention should be given to this aspect. Basically, you have to choose the right type of wood. If you weren’t already aware of it, fresh wood won’t burn too easily, as it’s not dry enough and contains too much water. The perfect type of wood should have been drying for at least a 6-month period – so, make sure the wood you use is dry enough before throwing it into the stove. Otherwise, you will wonder where all your money is going.
You can also choose from multiple types of wood. The ones available are softwood and hardwood. The difference is that softwood is not that dense and is perfect for spring and fall nights, whereas hardwood is very dense and is meant for harsh winter nights. The latter is able to produce way more heat.
Use Some Kindling
Kindling works great when you want to start the fire, which is why you should consider it. It can make it easier to start a bigger fire, and it also heats up the firebox prior to the fire. You can do it by taking a few pieces of dry newspaper and making it into little balls, after which you put them in the center of the firebox. After doing this, make sure to place around 15 kindling pieces on top of it. Light the fire by using a match or a lighter, and start under the kindling. The newspaper should be fired in multiple places.
Open the Controls
One of the most important things in starting and maintaining a good fire is air. Air allows the fire to burn, whereas a lack of air will prevent it from unleashing. Therefore, you must let air enter the stove by opening the valves, thus letting air into the appliance. You will have levers to allow you to do that, so make use of them and fully open the valves when making the fire.
Add More Logs
The wood in the stove will burn out and the flames will get smaller as time passes, so you should start adding at least 3 smaller logs when you notice the flames are dying. This will ensure your house will be warmed up for as long as necessary.
Add a wood stove fan to enhance the performance.
How Does a Wood Burning Stove Work?
Aside from burning wood in order to generate heat inside a household, there’s more to a wood-burning stove to make it work properly. So, how does a wood-burning stove work? It uses primary air in order to draw the air, which usually enters through the front of the stove. The cool thing about this feature is that you can control the amount of fire that enters the stove, thus determining how big a fire is going to get in the first place.
Some stoves also use a system that works to distribute heat evenly around your house, and this is done through convection air. Simply put, the system takes all the cool air inside the room and starts to heat it before it releases it into the room. As such, the environment will be more comfortable, to begin with.
Not to mention that wood-burning stoves also use an air wash system that maintains the glass of the stove as clean as day. This system has two or more vents that draw the cool air from the room – when heated inside of the stove, it doesn’t allow dirt and soot to ruin the aspect of the glass.
All of these features are meant to help the appliance work properly but they also maintain the good condition of the stove.
Conventional Stoves vs Modern Stoves
There are many differences between conventional and modern stoves. Some of the most important differences are
- Efficiency – Modern stoves can be more efficient by up to 30% than the conventional models
- Safety – Thanks to their recirculation systems, modern stoves do not eliminate so much gas, so they will produce less creosote in your chimney. This makes them safer to use by a long margin
- Better Fireboxes – Modern stoves use fireboxes that are lined with ceramic tiles that will refract the heat even when the fire is out, increasing their efficiency.
- Eco-Friendly – Modern stoves recirculate the gasses produced by the wood burning, so they will have fewer emissions. The amount of emissions they produce is similar to the ones produced by a decomposing tree.
1. Do you need permission to install a wood-burning stove?
In some cases, you do need permission to install a stove, but it also all depends on the state. You will need to be someone qualified if you want to install it yourself, and if you’re not someone with experience and knowledge in this field, you’re going to need a professional.
You also need to let the local authorities know that you are going to install a heating appliance inside your house. The Building Control department needs to be aware that you are going to burn wood in your own house. Basically, their approval is needed in case you ever want to put your house out for sale.
2. Does wood stove need grate? (Read detailed reviews of the fireplace grates in the related post)
A grate isn’t absolutely necessary in a wood-burning stove. Since not all of them come with an already established grate, it is not necessary for starting a fire and properly heating up your home.
In some cases, the inside of a stove is not able to withstand the heat, and a grate could help the airflow, raising the fire up to the base where the stove is protected. Since the bottom is not always well protected, the stove may be damaged over time, so a grate can help maintain it for longer.
Read our reviews to find out the best fireplace grates.
3. How to keep a wood stove burning all night?
If your house is really cold during the night, you can keep the wood stove burning by using several tricks. For example, you should rake the charcoal towards the stove’s frontal side. This will provide enough heat to ignite the logs for a much longer time.
Behind the charcoal, you should make sure to place between 5-7 larger logs tightly, thus ensuring there’s enough fuel to burn over the night. Kindling and newspapers are not necessary, as the coal will do all the work. And last but not least, close the door after the wood stove ignites, and you’ll have a nice fire going on for many hours.
You may also like our pellet stove reviews.
As you could see in our wood-burning stove reviews, every model has its own pros and cons. That doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as the best wood burning stove, but it means that every one of them might be the right one in different situations. The first thing you should do when looking for such a unit is to determine where you want to install it and how much heat you need it to produce. Once you have a realistic view of what you need, you can browse different models according to their size and heat output.
Check out our other reviews such as the highest-quality box fans, as well!