Cast Iron v Steel?

We are always asked by clients “which stove offers the best value”, well this is a very difficult question as most stoves these days have good and bad points. Steel or cast iron? Well, again this is very much down to the individual and their budget. The most important part of choosing a stove for your home is to get the correct advice, always consult a HETAS registered engineer who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Plus points of cast iron stoves

Cast iron wood stoves are a popular choice of wood stove for many reasons, among them its ability to hold up to high heat and temperature changes. Iron is a durable yet workable material that allows for panels of it to be drilled into larger, complex assemblies, like stoves.

It disperses heat nicely, conducting heat well from one part of the stove to the others.

The downside of cast iron stoves

Cast iron wood stoves can be costly. As they are put together with bolts and caulking they tend to require some degree of maintenance or repair over time, with replacement parts also costly as each individual model of cast iron stove must have its own master patterns for casting new panels and parts.

Many manufacturers of cast iron wood stoves today focus more on form, or decorative appeal than function.

Plate steel stoves

A recent innovation in wood stoves that has taken off as a cheaper and sturdier alternative to cast iron is the plate steel wood stove. The biggest trade off with plate steel wood stoves, as you might expect, is decorative appeal, with many plate steel wood stoves looking a little nicer than big, black boxes

Plus points of plate steel stoves

Plate steel wood stoves are tough and resilient. Welded together, the seams are sealed tight, reducing the need for repair and maintenance. The ease and efficiency of welding also make it easier (and therefore cheaper) to make alterations or improvements to the plate steel stoves. Plate steel wood stoves also heat up and cool down faster than cast iron stoves.

The downside of plate steel stoves

Besides general inferior aesthetics and selection of décor enhancing designs, the other main drawback about plate steel is it doesn’t hold heat as well as a cast iron stove.

Need some help?

If you are looking for a new wood stove or advice with your existing one, please do make contact and one of our qualified advisers will be happy to assist.