New to wood stoves & could use some advice!

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New Member
Nov 3, 2023
We just purchased a house that has an old, rusted out wood stove. We had it inspected, and it's absolutely unsafe to use. We live in Ohio and have 2 local dealers - one sells Vermont Castings and one sells Kuma. We're looking to heat our 1700sqft cape cod style home, nearly full time. There's a propane furnace to supplement, if needed.
Which company would you go with and why - Kuma or VC? For VC we were looking at the Defiant or Encore. For Kuma, we're not sure yet. I definitely want an ash pan, top and front load is a bonus but not necessary, and we'd love to be able to heat a cast iron kettle on top. Our biggest concern is emissions in the home. They both seem clean burning, but we've never used a wood stove before, so your advice is very appreciated!

Attached is a picture of the setup and stove we have to replace.

Kuma hands down, not even close. They make a great stove. I would read up on the differences between catalytic and non catalytic stoves.
Kuma, without a doubt. Great stoves. Fantastic CS. VC have been troublesome for a number of members here.
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The VC is a beautiful stove, but the Kuma has it for ease of use, reliability, lower maintenance, and customer support.

If this is your first wood stove, it's worth considering some simpler non-cat models too.
I'm sorry I can't advise; I don't know enough about the stoves you want, but I can say that the old stove would look nice on a porch or in a yard with some planter pots on it. 😉
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I'm sorry I can't advise; I don't know enough about the stoves you want, but I can say that the old stove would look nice on a porch or in a yard with some planter pots on it. 😉
Look better in a shop with a fire in it keeping someone warm like it was intended to do.
Whatever stove you get, it will look nice in that location and spruce it up compared to what you have now. VC has started to get back on track again as they used to make good stoves back in the 80’s to mid 90’s or so. Quality took a major hit under a previous ownership. As stated by someone else, the Defiant is a nice looking stove but I would be hesitant myself.
No matter what stove you get, "clean burning" is in reference to emissions to outside, not inside. With any stove, you will get some smoke in the house as you operate it. To minimize this, ensure a good draft, proper chimney height, and open stove door slowly on a refill. Top load is overrated...more stoves come with front and side load options. I just use the front door on my stove. My stove has an ash pan but I don't use it and prefer to scoop out from front.

There is a big learning curve in operating these epa stoves. Honestly, it's a little intimidating at first but the rewards are great heat, ambiance and the satisfaction of being self-sufficient. Congrats and enjoy!
Late to the party but I've been burning in my Kuma for 2 months and enjoy it tremendously. Simple to work for a cat stove and relatively easy to dial down for low burns.