Cast iron or steel: what’s the best material for a woodburner?

One of the many choices available to you when you’re shopping for a woodburner is whether to choose cast iron or steel.

These are the two materials from which almost all woodburners are made. So, which is best?

Better steel

Many years ago, steel was very much the poor relation and cast iron was by far the better option. Steel was weaker and struggled to withstand the intense heat of a woodburner, which meant they often warped.

But the quality of steel used in stoves is now significantly better and there is no noticeable difference between the two materials in this regard.

With that in mind, the short answer is that there is no bad choice to make between a modern cast iron woodburner and a modern steel woodburner. It mainly comes down to personal preference.

Here’s a rundown of the features that both materials have going for them.

Cast iron woodburners

  • Traditional appearance: Woodburners of yesteryear were generally made of cast iron, so cast iron woodburners bring a sense of that heritage with them.
  • Decorative details: Cast iron woodburners are made from molten panels, which means ornate detailing can be built into the mould.
  • Retain heat better: Since cast iron woodburners are made from those thick panels, they retain heat much better than their steel counterparts.

Steel woodburners

  • Quicker to heat: The metal construction of a steel woodburner is thinner than the panels of a cast iron stove. The metal heats faster, and therefore starts to heat your room more quickly.
  • Sleek and contemporary design: Steel woodburners are made from sheets of metal that can be manipulated into different shapes. This makes it well suited to contemporary stoves with unusual designs, as well as appliances with sleek lines and corners.
  • Sealed unit: A steel woodburner body is built from from a single piece of steel, with the top welded on. This results in a sealed unit, whereas cast iron appliance are made from panels the rely on rope and fire cement to avoid leaks.

Have a look at some cast iron and steel woodburners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.