Opinions on which is best? The front to back seems safer, but I think you would have more extension onto the hearth. It also would seem that you can pack more wood in the firebox with front to back loading. My brother-in-law, who hardly uses his fireplace, had a log roll out once and ruin his carpet. We really love the quadrafire on the current house, and it loads front to back. On the new place the wife seems to have a hankering for a more flush look, but I'm liking the q-f 3100i.