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Is a log burner better than central heating?

With winter approaching, it's time to think about heating our homes again. Interested in running a wood burning stove instead of central heating? Read on to find out more

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Are wood burning stoves better than central heating?

Following a surge in demand last winter of wood burning stoves, a similar situation is taking place this winter too. As more people look for alternative ways to heat their homes due to the cost-of-living increase, many of us are looking to replace traditional central heating with a log stove. But is this the best and most effective solution for you?

Arada M Series 5 Widescreen stove with glass door

What is the average cost of central heating?

According to Ofgem and based on the October 2023 price cap rates, an average UK household of 2.4 people uses 11,500 kWh of gas and 2,700 kWh - resulting in an average annual cost of £1,958. Although the price caps are in place, it is still a very high cost for a number of households which will likely continue to increase every year.

What is the average cost of running a wood burning stove?

The Stove Industry Alliance confirms that running a wood burning stove is generally cheaper than gas or electric heating, with wood logs now being the cheapest domestic heating fuel at between £150 to £210 per cubic metre. Based on annual wood consumption of around 3 – 4 cubic metres, the total cost is approximately £525 to £735 a year. The price will naturally vary depending on where you source your wood, but it costs an average household 74% less per kWh compared to electric and 21% less than gas.

How much might it cost to install a wood burning stove?

The price of installing a stove varies greatly from home to home and depends on several factors. According to Checkatrade, the average cost to install a log burner is currently around £2,000, with the wood burning stove itself costing approximately £950. As this initial cost is high, introducing a wood burning stove to the home is very much a long-term investment plus the inherent high reliability due to fewer moving parts as you can save money over time with a lower fuel cost compared to gas or electric.

Of course, it is still always possible to run both. By adjusting radiators down in an upstairs bedroom, for example, if run prior to retiring to bed, you can always use the stove on its own downstairs to run purely on low cost ‘wood-powered’ heat instead.

Always speak to a qualified fitter first who can confirm what work is needed and the final cost for the installation before deciding.

Arada Hoxton 5 Widescreen stove on optional low pedestal

Can a wood burner heat a whole house?

No, for a stove to radiate so much heat from one spot in the property to reach every corner of an average home, would make it so uncomfortably hot to sit in the room where that stove is installed! Therefore none of our wood burner stoves are designed to be able to work like that.

However, it is certainly feasible for heat to radiate out from the room in which the wood burner is installed into adjoining rooms. For example, if your living room with a stove adjoins a dining area via an arched opening or opened double doors. Whether you need to heat one room or slightly more of the house, you need to do a calculation to determine the typical kW heat output your property needs.

Roughly calculate of the volume your ‘heating area’ in metres with this simple bit of maths:
Example - A living room measuring 7m long by 5m wide by 2.8m high (7x5x2.8) has a volume of 98 m3.

Choose an example below that most closely matches your property. This figure will give you an idea of the typical heat output in kW that space will need to be heated by:

  1. For a new / recently built well-insulated property, divide the volume by 25
  2. For an average well-insulated property, divide the volume by 14
  3. For a poorly insulated, likely older building, divide the volume by 10

In the examples above, you’d need a stove that can reach these outputs:

  1. 98/25 would need just under 4kW heat output
  2. 98 / 14 is approximate 7kW heat output
  3. 98/ 10 may just under 10kW heat output

For a more accurate assessment, speak to your local Arada stove retailer to conduct a brief property survey.

Arada M Series 5 Widescreen stove with cast iron door and optional feet all in Pebble colourway

Pro's and con's of wood burners


  • Reduces heating bills compared to gas and electric
  • Wood is a renewable fuel source, making a log burner a sustainable and efficient ways of heating the home
  • Positive for wellbeing, the flame in a wood burner creates a delightfully inviting and cosy atmosphere that can't be matched by other heating appliances.
  • Adds a charming aesthetic to your home which can increase the property value


  • Potentially higher up-front cost for installation when compared to a gas fire, due to professional expertise required to survey and install 
  • Having only one stove installed will not realistically be able to heat an entire property.

Pro's and con's of central heating


  • Flexible and convenient to control with programmed timers
  • Instant heat when needed
  • More even temperature throughout the home


  • Gas and oil are not renewable fuels.
  • Higher energy bills which are variable and tend to increase year on year
  • High cost for installation and repairs when needed
  • Not as efficient if the boiler is older which can lead to a high cost for a new boiler

Find out more

Looking to install a wood burning stove, but aren’t sure where to start? Read out latest blog to find out what to know before choosing a stove.

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Posted by Alexandra Newell
6th November, 2023.

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