★★★☆☆ Pot Bellied Stoves

Discussion in 'Wood Stoves' started by LodgedTree, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. LodgedTree

    LodgedTree

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2016
    Messages:
    2,686
    Likes Received:
    10,650
    Location:
    Maine
    First off this review is about pot bellied stoves in their overall design and not a particular model.I have had two, a cheap modern Vogelzang and a 1893 antique one. For the most part, they are the same.

    Pros:
    It can burn both wood and coal. This is huge. If a persons does not have firewood, they can always buy coal, and can do so by the bag or by bulk loose ton. Or they can do what I do; burn wood in the Fall and Spring, but in the dead of winter when they need all night burns and gobs of heat, switch to coal. Alternatively if they buy firewood, they can buy whichever is cheaper, for instance as I write this, coal is cheaper then seasoned firewood.

    Not too many stoves, even those that say they can, can burn coal and wood equally well. They typically do better at one or the other. A pot bellied stove burns both wood or coal just as well due to their grates.

    They take small wood. This can be bad, but it also can be good. My home is big, but super insulated so once it is warm I do not need a huge fire to maintain temperature. A pot bellied stove, even in a big house, does that. When I had regular stoves, all I did was go through more wood. Anything over 80 degrees is a waste of wood.

    Small wood means waste wood. Think limbs and saplings here. A perfect machine for a pot bellied stove is a firewood chunker. The biggest wood I cut for my stove is 6" long and 6" in diameter. You can put in bigger, traditional sticks by putting them down through the top and thus get a long burn because the wood burns from the end up and not on its side. (Top loading is also a problem too though. See con as to why)

    The small firebox door size is deceiving; it is small, but how much small wood/coal is added can vary...really deep if a person wants. This can make for extended burn times.

    Very small in size and do not take up much room.

    They can look good in either a modern home, or one filled with antiques.

    They can be cooked on in a power outage.

    Shaking down ashes for wood or coal is easy. Having a "dump" grate also helps clean out the stove very easily and quickly.

    Because of the size of firewood, these stoves do not consume a lot of firewood/coal per year.

    Pot bellied stoves have so many draft controls that they can burn firewood, anthracite coal and bitoumous coal equally well. (air on top of an Anthracite coal fire will make it go out, Bit Coal needs a bit of draft over the top of the coal to burn the gas off, and wood needs air above or below

    If a person has a main stove, they can burn odd-ball pieces of wood with no extra firewood work.

    Cons:
    Cutting such small firewood sucks. What can I say, a cord of tiny wood is a lot of work!

    When burning coal, the design allows hot coal to lay on the sides of the stove making it glow fearfully. I combat this by putting in firebrick to contain the hot coal. Firewood does not burn hot enough to make the cast iron walls glow.

    When loading wood from the top, smoke can get into the room easier.

    Overall:
    Overall I gave the pot bellied stove a #3 but that is because it really depends. If a house is decent sized, but well insulated it will work well, just as it will work well in a smaller space. However if aa homeowner has a typical Maine Farmhouse where there is no insulation; a pot bellied stove will be inadequate.

    Overall a pot bellied stove functions well as evident by their age. They have been around for 150 years because they simply work. I like them because it burns wood and coal equally well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  2. yooperdave

    yooperdave

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    23,931
    Likes Received:
    138,158
    Location:
    Michigan's U.P.
    Thanks.

    Am I to assume that the rating of 3 is on a 1-5 scale?

    Did not know that about coal burning; regarding just where the combustion air should be directed. Haven't burnt coal since the late 60's early 70's!
     
    Eric VW likes this.
  3. yooperdave

    yooperdave

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    23,931
    Likes Received:
    138,158
    Location:
    Michigan's U.P.
    Yeah, I think the screen porch not only needs one but deserves one!
     
    Eric VW likes this.