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Differences between a Cast Iron Wood Stove and a Steel Wood Stove

Cast Iron Wood StoveOur UFS Member Stores offer the best wood stoves in all of North America. If you are looking for a top quality wood burning stove, whether it’s cast iron or steel, speak with a Hearth Expert at your local United Fireplace & Stove Member shop.

Homeowners everywhere have discovered that a wood burning stove is an excellent, environmentally friendly heat source that helps to cut energy costs. The newest models have efficiency ratings as high as 78%, which represents even greater annual savings. Not all wood stoves are made with cast iron, as in former times. There are other choices, including a steel wood stove. Before buying a wood-burning stove, take a close look at these two types of stoves, since they offer different benefits.

Construction

Steel. Steel stoves are cut with modern computerized equipment and have tight construction because the stove components are bent and welded together, with no need for furnace cement.

Cast iron. Molten iron is poured into molds and then cooled and hardened, to make the parts of a cast iron stove. The various components of a cast iron wood stove are assembled with the use of cement and gaskets, to fill the stove’s seams. There is a greater likelihood that various parts and components of a cast iron wood stove will need to be replaced, as compared with steel.

Operation

Steel. Steel wood-burning stoves usually heat up rapidly when in use and then cool down rapidly when the fire has been extinguished. Steel stoves offer more control over providing heat when you want it. Typically, a steel stove will be more friendly to a first time buyer.

Cast iron. Cast iron is slower to warm up than a steel stove, but the cast iron stove radiates heat for a longer period of time after the fire goes out. This strong material endures well when exposed to extreme heat and changes in temperature; cast iron is the main material in many car engines. If the wood stove will be a primary heat source, cast iron is a great choice.

Care and Maintenance

Enerzone Wood Burning StoveSteel. The construction of a steel stove is very tight, and not much is needed for upkeep. Gaskets in any stove need to be maintained. As with all wood-burning stoves, ashes need to be removed routinely and creosote should also be regularly cleaned from the chimney, to prevent a hazardous chimney fire.

Cast iron. There are sometimes over a dozen parts to a cast iron stove, which means there are more components which need to be maintained. Old cement and gaskets must be removed and replaced over time, to keep the stove as airtight as possible.

Design

Steel. When they were originally made, steel stoves were simple steel boxes with cast iron doors. They are now available in gray and black with accents that add a lot to the aesthetics of the appliances. Compared to the styles available in cast iron, steel stoves are considered more functional than decorative.

Cast iron. Because cast iron stoves bond well with enamel, they are available in many styles and models, including red, white, blue and green in varying shades. Cast iron stoves are available in many ornate styles.

When you compare construction, operation, maintenance, and design, it is easy to see that steel is the ideal wood stove material for many homeowners and cast iron is the better choice for others. Both stove types are great investments.