I realize the experienced owners here must get tired of this type of post; I appreciate your knowledgeable responses all the more. I Recently bought a cape cod style home built in 1935. balloon framed with no insulation in the walls. foundation footprint is 22ftx32ft. the fireplace is centrally located and is 29"H x 36"W x 18"D. In the cape cod, the house is basically divided into two halves on either side of the centrally located front door, vestibule and staircase going up (same upstairs, except stairs go down). doing the math, that's 600sf per floor. I built a single floor addition off the rear of the house which added 600sf of living space. when I did the addition I replaced all the old windows and the failing 30yr old oil steam boiler with a Buderus gas fired boiler that pushes hot water to a radiant floor heating system. upstairs I use low profile panels. In hindsite, I regret removing the old 1pipe steam system. the problem is the old half of the building. The heated radiant floor just can't compete with the cold plaster walls that radiate cold. The new portion of the house is toasty. The first floor is a single zone with thermostat by the front hall; with the temp set to 68F, the rear is in the mid 70's. The upstairs is a seperate zone and comfortable. (I have installed insulation in the attic). I see two alternatives which could be taken together but for finances I only want to do one at the moment. Insulate the walls in the old half of the house or supplement the radiant by installing a wood stove in the fireplace and distributing the warm air across the hall and up the stairs. I have educated myself a little on the pros and cons of insert vs freestanding, pellet vs wood. I've found this site helpful and am starting to search through the archives but my primary need is identify the brands which are not worth the steel they're made from. For example, I personally wouldn't be comfortable buying a stove from Home Depot. But is that founded? I'm leaning toward a free standing wood stove to put right in front of the fireplace. There are many brands out there; good brands that people are loyal to. I'd like something attractive, efficient, easy to clean and easy to light, trouble -free operation. I prefer simple and well built to one that is feature rich; just a personal opinion that it costs a lot for manufacturers to add bells and whistles without compromising the primary purpose of the car, appliance, bicycle, whatever. Anything in my post is open for discussion, but I'd like to talk primarily about shopping for a stove and how to find out if a particular stove historically meets it's claims and basic user expectations.