If you have a 500 square foot home, then I’m guessing that you are looking for a wood stove to keep you warm during those cold winter months. This article will help you decide what type of wood stove would work best in your tiny home.
Since there are so many different options on the market today, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your needs. In this article, we will go through the three best wood stoves for a small home, but first, let’s talk about the things to look for in a good wood stove in general.
A good wood stove should be the right size for your home and meet all of your heating needs. Wood stoves are not a one-size-fits-all product, so make sure you research which type is best suited to your living space before investing in this major appliance.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
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The problem with having a wood stove that is too small is that you will not be able to heat the entire house, and some spaces will be too cold for comfort. In which case, you will be tempted to burn it as hot as possible, which can be unsafe and cause your wood stove and stovepipes to overheat. You may also continuously stoke it with more logs to heat it up, which can be time-consuming and not very efficient compared to an appropriately sized unit.
But why not just get the biggest, most powerful wood stove then?
A wood stove that is too big for your home can also be a problem. When the stove becomes too hot for your home, you will need to dampen its air supply so that it runs cooler. This can lead to under-firing, which will cause black smoke and creosote to build up on the stove and in your chimney, leading to an increased risk of a chimney fire.
Quality Also Matters
Another factor when choosing a wood stove of any size is that it has a good reputation for durability and efficiency. Wood stoves that are made cheaply quickly wear down or stop working altogether, while ones with a good reputation last much longer than their counterparts.
The stove must also be clean-burning, meaning that it is EPA certified and burns wood more efficiently than other stoves on the market. This means you will get more heat out of your firewood with less smoke and creosote buildup in your chimney. It should also have an efficient baffle system for air wash (depending on the stove type), which ensures that your fire has a constant supply of air.
Finally, it should have a good safety rating. This is one area where cheap wood stoves often fall short—they are more likely to be susceptible to chimney fires and leaking smoke than their higher-quality counterparts. A safe wood stove will also come with a multi-year warranty to cover manufacturer defects.
There are two noticeable downsides to small wood stoves:
- They are lighter and have less thermal mass, meaning they will not be able to store as much heat and they will cool down more quickly.
- They have a smaller burn chamber, meaning you will need to keep feeding the stove with more firewood in order for it to keep burning efficiently.
This is an issue when you need to keep the heat going during the night. Of course, you can just get a very thick duvet to keep you warm and brace yourself for the cold when getting up in the morning. But I have been there, and I know it’s a lot nicer to be able to maintain a bearable temperature throughout the night.
Therefore, having a small wood stove that will stay warm all night is a lot more convenient. A heavy model that has sufficient thermal mass to stay warm for many hours after the fire has been put out will be preferable. If you need more mass than can be provided by a small stove, consider building a stone chimney or stacking stones around the stove.
What size wood stove should you get for a 500 square foot home?
The best wood stove for a 500 square foot home is one that heats up to at least 10,000 BTU, burns cleanly and efficiently, has efficient air circulation/air wash features (depending on what other appliances you have in your house), and will stay warm for a long time.
There are many factors to consider when buying a wood stove, and the best one for you is typically dictated by how much heat it can produce. A wood stove’s heat output is rated by its BTUs (British Thermal Unit) per hour. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
In general, it takes about 20 BTUs to heat one square foot. Meaning, a 500 square foot home requires a stove that can output 10,000 BTUs per hour. Wood stoves always offer a heat range and most people should be looking at a stove that outputs in the range of 6,000 to 14,000 BTUs.
If you live in an exceptionally cold area, it is vital your wood stove has the necessary BTUs to keep your home warm and comfortable throughout the winter, but if you live somewhere more temperate where seasonal changes are less impactful, you will do well with a lower BTU rating.
The Best Wood Stoves for a 500 Square Foot Home
While doing my own extensive search for my own little cabin I have come to find three models that all are great for small homes.
Perfect for Most Needs: CB-1008 Cubic Mini
This Canadian-made small and well-designed wood stove takes up little space while delivering a lot of warmth to your tiny home. Its secondary combustion system utilizes every last piece of energy for maximum heating potential. Made with eco-friendly materials and designed with features like a front-loading door and low smoke production, this easy-to-install Cubic Mini Wood Stove might be just what you need for a winter spent in a tiny home or vacation cabin.
The Cubic Mini is a relatively new addition to their stove line. It measures only 11″ x 12″ x 10.5″ and weighs 25 pounds. It creates a dry heat for drying out moisture from your wet winter boots, which is essential in such a tiny space. Output is 6,000 to 14,000 BTU which is sufficient for most 500 square feet homes. If you need a little more power, their CB-1210 Grizzly model outputs 8000 – 18,000 BTU.
For Off-Grid Cooking: Salamander Small Range Cook stove
Imagine, coming home from work, a fishing trip, or a hike to a refreshingly warm house thanks to the Salamander Small Range Cooking Stove. Plus, you’ll have the ability to cook your dinner on that same stove.
Not only can you use this powerful wood cookstove to prepare all of your favorite recipes, but its Stainless Steel and Cast Iron construction also doubles as an efficient way of heating up your living space by day or night. This makes it excellent for very limited spaces and off-grid living. At over 275 pounds in weight, this stove will also keep the heat of those flames radiating for a long time after they have gone out.
It also happens to be economical on fuel consumption when compared with other stoves of its caliber. Plus, it’s an excellent investment because this stove will last you many years into the future. And with 15,000 BTUs, this stove can keep all 500 square feet of your house warm and comfortable throughout the winter.
The Tiny One: Dickinson Newport
The Dickinson Newport is one of the smallest wood stoves on the market. It is just 7.88 inches wide by three feet 14.7 inches tall, five inches deep, and fifteen pounds in weight which makes it perfect for small spaces like a cabin or trailer home that doesn’t have much room to install any larger wood stoves.
The Newport Solid Fuel Heater burns one to two 1” thick wood logs in addition to the other varieties of fuel it can use: charcoal briquettes, coal, or even cooking fat like butter or bacon grease in a pinch. The removable ash drawer makes this easy for cleaning purposes, and the damper control activates when you want your heater less hot, making it safer and more comfortable than ever before.
The Dickinson Newport can produce from 3,000 to 8,000 BTU which is a bit on the low end if you live in a very cold climate or have little insulation. But it is the perfect little heat source for the occasional cold spell in warmer climates.