- Why You Need a Wood Stove Fan
- Best Wood Stove Fans Comparison Chart
- How do Wood Stove Fans Work?
- Important Facts About Wood Stove Fans
- Troubleshooting a Wood Stove Fan
- Wrapping Up
Imagine getting more heat at home but using about 20% less wood for your wood-burning stove. This isn’t fiction – it’s an absolute reality. If you manage to get your hands on the best wood stove fan you will enjoy domestic warmth cheaply. This device will silently enhance the whole performance of your stove. You will have a well-covered room with no cool spots, will spend less burning wood and all of this will happen quietly without any electricity being required.
The only thing left to do for you is to actually select the fan which will suit your needs. Read our wood stove fan reviews and buying guide below and become familiar with all the details regarding purchasing and using a wood stove fan. We have also handpicked 6 of the best units on the market and have compiled short reviews on them. We hope that our article will be able to answer all of your questions and this is why we have also included such a section in it. See specs, features, and don’t forget about the pros & cons of stove fans. Let’s get going!
Why You Need a Wood Stove Fan
To start with, let us list and analyze the main pros and cons of wood stove fans so that you will know why you need one. Hint: the pros will significantly outweigh the cons and this has to show you that once you are comfortable with an eventual product, you should perhaps run and buy it.
Pros of Wood Stove Fans
This thing doesn’t cost a lot. You are not even looking into spending a 3-digit sum on one of these. Since the device has a pretty simple construction, there isn’t anything to make it expensive. This further improves the deal you are getting because you receive more heat at home without actually going broke.
A unit such as a small stove fan is a bare-boned device which is definitely not a luxury item. However, its effect will raise the level of comfort of your home significantly.
Not only that it doesn’t require hard fuel in terms of wood or liquid fuel such as propane, but a stove fan also doesn’t need electricity to run. That’s an incredible advantage because you get a mechanical device which will disperse heat around your room. The best part is that you will end up paying only the purchase fee.
Maintenance is not even a thing when we discuss this appliance. With the exception of the occasional dusting, you will not need to do anything else. There’s not oil cleaning, no taking apart stuff, nothing. Who wouldn’t love that?
Even the most energy efficient space heaters which have a fan included will require additional electricity in order to do what a wood stove fan does. Heat circulation typically costs extra but in this case, it is completely free.
You will enjoy even warmth in the whole room. Since the fan doesn’t allow heat to go right up to the ceiling, all the warmth will stay down where the people are. Additionally, when the fan’s blades spin they will make the heat circulate around the room.
This last part means that any cold and hot spots on your premises will be eliminated. A directional warm draft is the wish of so many people around the world and you can have it cheaply when you combine your wood stove with a sit-on-top fan.
Quick Heat Dispersion
Speed also matters as you wouldn’t want to wait forever before you get the much wanted warm draft. The good news is that if your wood stove runs smoothly and cleanly it will heat up fast and that will make the motor of the fan work. For maximum effect and efficiency, you want to know full well how to get and how to properly maintain a wood-burning stove at home. Read our wood stove reviews to find out more about them.
Just a few minutes are usually needed for the stove to reach 50-60 degrees. This ought to be enough for most fans to start spinning. You will need to wait just a little longer before it gets hot enough for you to start feeling it.
Reduced Fuel Requirement
Did we mention that a stove fan costs you nothing to run and maintain? Great, but we will now bring you more good news because this little gadget will also allow you to save on fuel. Since you are hardly going to lose any heat through the ceiling or the windows, you will, all of a sudden, have a more efficient wood stove.
A fan will allow you to feel and sustain more heat within the room and this means you will need to use less wood. Fewer logs burned also mean money saved and in our case, this is anywhere between 15% and 20%. Basically, every 5-6 days, you get 1 day of heating for free.
Lastly, we will address the noise or lack thereof. Believe it or not, this is one of the main reasons why people actually buy wood stove fans. The silent operation is a blessing for everyone in the family. You can also sleep in the same room with the thing and it won’t bother you one bit.
Even at the highest speeds, these fans are very hard to hear. Since the motor is powered by the heat and not by electricity or fuel, it is also a very quiet one. The Internet is full of people who are frustrated by the noise of their wall heater or space heating unit. Disregard them or tell them where the secret lies.
Cons of Wood Stove Fans
For maximum effectiveness wood stove fans almost never have a protective grill in front of them. A grill would also be a bad idea because it would also get heated as part of the frame. This, however, bears the danger of someone injuring their arm or fingers.
You want to make sure that nobody reaches into the fan while it is working. The woodstove itself should be enough to keep children and pets away from there but the risks are still serious.
As stated above, you can’t put the fan wherever you want. It needs to pretty much have only one position and you have to find it. Read the manual thoroughly or re-read our guide here. The limitations that derive from the position of the fan can be quite frustrating.
Many people do not have a lot of clearance on the stove and that’s a problem. Others have a very little flat area on top of the stove and the flue might take up a lot of room. Since you want to avoid both the edge of the stove and the flue, it can be pretty hard to place the fan properly.
Hard to Regulate
There’s no thermostat here, no timer, no buttons to adjust the temperature. The hotter the stove, the faster the blades will spin and vice-versa. This means that a person has little control over how much heat the fan disperses.
In case you get too hot, you will need to either remove the fan or tone down the power of the stove. Either way, this isn’t an exact science. The absence of technology is definitely felt here and can be quite the drawback.
Because of the reasons described in the paragraph above, you also run the danger of overheating. The motor might malfunction if the temperature rises too much. There’s no automatic thermostat to save it and you got only one thing to do.
Buy a wood stove thermometer. This is an accessory that you simply must have when you run a wood stove fan at home. The instruction manual of each fan will have a maximum allowed temperature. If the thermometer shows you values close to it, you need to remove the fan from the stove. Don’t forget to wear a glove.
Best Wood Stove Fans Comparison Chart
VODA 4-Blade Heat Powered Stove Fan
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Bone Hearth 4 Blade Stove Fan
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Ecofan Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan
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Sonyabecca Heat Powered Stove Fan
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Ecofan AirMax Large Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan
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Kenley Heat Powered Fan
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1. VODA 4-Blade Heat Powered Stove Fan
We are simply obligated to kick off our reviews with the unit which gives you the best value for money. The VODA 4-Blade Heat Powered Stove Fan is an excellent addition to any wood burning stove and it will set you back a very small amount. It will produce about 240 CFM and the motor is powered by the heat. This is why the unit will work only with direct contact with the surface of the stove.
That being said, you shouldn’t even bother to attempt to use it with a propane heater or a radiator. The body of the fan is very durable and it will survive a contact with a surface heated to anywhere between 185 and 660 degrees. In other words, the fan will start spinning the moment the woodstove gets hot to the touch. Bear in mind that there is no protective grill around the fan so children and pets shouldn’t be allowed near it.
2. Bone Hearth 4 Blade Stove Fan
The universal nature of this wood stove fan will help you a lot. You do not have to put it only on a wood stove but can also place it on top of a gas or a pellet stove. No electricity is needed for the operation of the unit. The minimum temperature at which the fan will start spinning is 185 degrees. The maximum CFM you will be able to get if the temperature is high enough is 130.
Since you do not want your fan to stay on your stove when it gets too hot, there is a wood stove thermometer added to the set. It will prompt you to remove the fan if there’s any danger of overheating. Typically if the temperature reaches 600 degrees you want to save the motor of the fan from overheating. Silence is a crucial characteristic here and you will definitely remain satisfied with the lack of sound.
3. Ecofan Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan
This next fan on our list will give you ideal heat distribution in areas of 120 square feet or smaller. The device is so effective that it will actually warm up your room about 20% faster. Since it will not waste any electrical energy to do so, it will basically give you some free heat. Using the Ecofan Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan will allow you to save about 12% on fuel.
All of the above goes to show why this thing costs more than average. You need a flat top to use the appliance. Make sure you do not try to put it in a fireplace or anything like it. One of the biggest advantages of this wood stove fan is its quiet operation. Even though it is made out of metal, make sure you watch the temperature because the material can deteriorate in high temperatures.
4. Sonyabecca Heat Powered Stove Fan
A good argument to get this product is because of the low-temperature threshold that it has. It will start spinning at only 122 degrees which is the lowest among all units on our list. It will detect the temperature of its own body. The heater the base gets, the quicker the fan will spin. Bear in mind that if 644 degrees are reached, you should remove the fan from the surface.
A huge advantage is the material of the fan. It is anodized aluminum which is resistant to corrosion and rust. The airflow will come at about 250-360 CFM with a running speed of 1350 RPM. You will also enjoy silence and peace with this unit as it works at 36 dB. It also comes with a wood stove thermometer in order to give you maximum awareness. Don’t forget to always wear gloves before handling the unit and moving it.
5. Ecofan AirMax Large Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan
This is the largest unit on our wood stove reviews list today and this also leads to a number of advantages. It is also the most expensive product we are showing you. Canada is the country of origin and we strongly recommend considering this fan if you do not care about the money but want to have top quality. The height is 10 inches and the fan can get incredibly powerful thanks to its diameter. It will enhance the heat distribution of any room by at least 35%.
Furthermore, heat is also distributed evenly as the fan does not allow it to go up to the ceiling. It is not compatible with any inserts, radiators, or any other space heaters different from a wood-burning stove. If you want to keep better track of the temperature, you will need a wood stove thermometer. On the downside, you will need to buy this item separately.
6. Kenley Heat Powered Fan
First of all, you got two options when it comes to the number of blades in this model. The slightly cheaper version has 2 blades while the top class one comes with 4. It might be a better idea to go for the pricier unit because of better and more efficient heating distribution. It will allow you to save about 16% on fuel costs and you will warm up your room about 40% faster.
The manufacturer has also taken the necessary steps to upgrade the 2020 model and improve performance. It is important to also note that the fan is exceptionally silent and it is basically barely audible. Since the speed of the fan depends on the heat of the woodstove, it sort of becomes self-regulating. You do not need to start it or shut it off. The CFM isn’t impressive (130) but it gets the job done.
How do Wood Stove Fans Work?
Before we are ready to give you more tips regarding those gadgets, we need to clear up how wood stove fans work. Once we know the basics of their mechanics, we will be able to determine which qualities are worth our time and what can be disregarded as useless.
In case you feel confident in your knowledge of how wood stove fans work then go ahead and skip ahead to our questions and answers section. Feel free to also visit our troubleshooting guide on wood stove circulating fans.
So without going into too much detail, let’s check out which are the main parts of a typical wood stove fan:
- Base – typically metal and relatively broad for stability.
- Frame – the finest fans are made of aluminum.
- Blades – most fans come with either 2 or 4 blades. You will rarely encounter models with 6 or 8.
As you rest the fan on top of your stove the base will start heating up. As the temperature rises it will eventually trigger the thermoelectric motor. This is the soul of the fan. It will convert heat into kinetic energy. After a certain minimum temperature is reached, the motor will start spinning.
Typically, this temperature is around 50 to 80 degrees for most fans. There will be those that require a minimum of 100 degrees but it is arguable if those products are truly the best. After all, you want your heat powered wood stove fan to start spinning as quickly as possible.
As you already presume, the temperature will keep rising. Therefore the fan will start spinning faster and faster. This way you will enjoy even more efficiency. The device will not only circulate the hot air but it will also heat up the room evenly. And it requires no electricity – how cool is that!
So the actual function of the fan is to bring the heat to you instead of the ceiling. Hot air goes up – that’s a physics thing and it’s a fact. Wood stoves are efficient but all they do is radiate heat. So since you got nothing to direct the heat, it travels up and remains near the ceiling until it eventually evaporates, leaves the room, or simply heats up your neighbor’s floor above you.
The finest wood stove fans and blowers will actually prevent the heat from going all the way up. Such appliances will not only blow it forwards but they will also circulate the air. This means that the warmth in the room will start moving in a circular motion all around the people and the objects.
The fan will send the hot air across the room and thus you will be able to feel it. The amount of heat in the room will not increase. But the presence of the heat in the lower “levels” of the room will be greater. Thus the people in the room will definitely feel warmer. And all of that is achieved by getting an item that requires no fuel or electricity.
Important Facts About Wood Stove Fans
Here we will talk about 4 aspects which are all pretty much the same no matter which product you are going to choose. Even the best wood stove fan no electricity will have certain limitations to how it should be used or handled. Make sure you become familiar with these facts and then proceed to actually selecting a product suiting your needs.
Not All Stoves Are Compatible With Fans
Getting to know all the options given to you by various heating and cooling systems is a huge advantage because you will know that not all stoves get hot. The infamous Cool Touch technology is not our friend here because there won’t be enough heat to power the fan. Propane heaters, gas stoves, or similar units will never give off enough heat to power your fan. Not to mention that a flat surface is hard to come by.
Fireplaces and fireplace inserts will also not work with your typical wood stove fans and blowers. You want to have a flat and open area for your unit to rest on. Fireplaces are basically rectangular holes in the wall – you can’t put a fan there.
Oil-filled radiators are a very attractive option but you shouldn’t waste money on a fan for them. The body of the radiator will never get hot enough for the motor of the fan to start working. Convection and radiant heaters are not your friends here.
There’s a reason why space heaters typically have a fan of their own. It is an electric one and is powered by electricity, not heat.
The Position of Wood Stove Fans
All fans regardless of their purpose work in the same physical way. They need to draw air from behind them. In our case, the wood stove fan will need to suck in cooler air so that it can blow some hot air upfront. That being said, make sure you leave some space behind your unit when you place it.
Never put your fan right by the wall as it will be inefficient and will not do you any good. Placing the fan right on the front edge of the stove is also not a very bright idea. All the heat will remain behind the fan and nothing useful will be blown around the room.
From a safety standpoint, you want the fan to be as far from the flue as possible. At the same time, you can’t have it on the edge as we just mentioned above. If you have it by the flue it will likely overheat rather quickly and that’s a big “no-no”. Make sure there is also plenty of open space above the fan so that air circulation can take place properly.
The Stove Can Get Pretty Hot
There’s a reason why all elite units also have a “highest” temperature. It is a really big number – typically something like 550 or 600 degrees but it can definitely be reached. This will compromise the integrity of your fan. Overheating will not only damage the motor but it also bears some safety hazards.
Getting a stove thermometer is perhaps the best choice in this case. You got no other way to monitor the temperature of your stove and this little addition will help you greatly. It’s worth the money.
No Power Is Needed
We already described wood stove fans as “smart” gadgets because you do not need to plug them anywhere. It is important to note, however, that batteries are also not needed and should never be used around a hot stove. All sorts of electrical connections can be quite dangerous if they are in immediate contact with a raging wood-burning stove.
The thermoelectric motor cares only about the heat differential between the top side of the fan and its base. This will cause the motor to spin thus achieving the main goal of the fan – distribute more heat to your room.
Troubleshooting a Wood Stove Fan
In this last section, we will address some of the well-known problems related to operating a stove fan. Before you go on reading about how to troubleshoot your stove fan, we recommend that you become familiar with some general wood stove safety tips. Our information below will be in the form of wood stove fan Q&A just to make it simpler:
My wood stove fan won’t start all of a sudden
Make sure you check the wires of the motor. They need to be properly connected. Any other sort of damage such as falling on the ground will likely affect the performance of the unit negatively. Check to see if the motor spins freely. Spin the blades manually and see if they make 1 or 2 revelations.
The temperature is 50 degrees but the wood stove fan won’t start
What matters the most is not the absolute temperature but the difference of heat between the base and the top of the fan. Additionally, if the ambient air is not cool enough, the fan will need a bigger temperature in order to start. Make sure you place it far from the flue pipe so that the ambient air can be cool.
I can hear rattling sounds
If any of the blades are damaged then this is the likely reason. Also, make sure that a blade hasn’t come out of alignment. Another likely reason is dirt and dust that might have piled inside the motor. Some dusting might be in order here.
There’s no point in repeating all the advantages of wood stove fans so in our conclusion we will only express the hope that we’ve helped you select the right product. Check out our reviews on the best wood stove fans one more time if needed and if anything is unclear, send us your question.
Leave us a comment in case our article has been useful and let us know if anything needs to be reworked or updated. All feedback is much appreciated. Comment and share the article with your friends. Don’t forget to explore some other heating options and our guides on them such as patio heaters and top-notch electric fireplaces. Thanks for reading and as always – stay put!