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New Member
Jan 3, 2018
Ontario, Canada
Hello everyone,

Having spent a somewhat chilly New Year's holiday at our cottage here in Ontario Canada, I'm now researching so that I have good facts to convince my Hubby to get a wood burning insert! Would you kindly share your recommendations with me, as the information is a bit overwhelming?

Given our young adult daughter - and I - will likely use this fireplace on our own, Hubby believes a non-catalytic insert would be better - easier for us to use. I don't disagree. Beyond that, we're looking for the largest viewing area possible. I've looked at the Osburn 2200 (272 sq in), but prefer a more contemporary facade vs the bay window look. Others I've seen are: Vermont Castings Montpelier (272), or Merrimack (330), Napoleon Oakdale EP13C (300), or the Osburn Matrix (only 233). However, just doing a quick search here, I've also read about Quadra-Fire, which I'd never heard of before. So I'm likely also missing other good options. There is a renovation/addition planned in 2-3 years, by which point the cottage will be ~1900 sq ft, so I'd like to size to future space.

Overall the viewing area needs to be balanced with heat output and cost, but I'd like to be able to show him well-recommended - and known to be long-lasting and reliable - inserts. I'd really appreciate you sharing your expertise!

Thanks in advance for your help!
Lots of good options.
Check out pacific energy for some decent non cat options. Their Neo series has a clean contemporary look, and is pretty simple to run with only one lever. http://pacificenergy.net/products/wood/contemporary-inserts/neo-25-insert/

Don’t get too hung up in glass area.

There are many reasons to go catalytic or non cat. But ease of use isn’t one IMHO, just remember to open the bypass before opening the door. Some cat stoves are far more set it and forget it than most non-cats.
There are many reasons to go catalytic or non cat. But ease of use isn’t one IMHO, just remember to open the bypass before opening the door. Some cat stoves are far more set it and forget it than most non-cats.

Thanks very much, Super J. Can you elaborate a bit on the easier to use cats? Which ones would you consider to be that way? I notice you have a BK stove. Are BKs that way?
Some additional questions that will help in making some recommendations.

What are the dimensions of the fireplace opening the insert is going into? How big is the current flue? How well insulated is the cottage? Will this become the primary heat source or a supplemental source? Is the floor plan pretty open?

Knowing these will help determine sizing and what will actually fit.
Just have to say, the screen name of wife_as_king is how I read it initially instead of wife_asking. Had a good little laugh as I wondered if this was the husband or wife writing a post - quickly resolved in the first sentence, but still had a laugh.
I think what you’re experiencing is a problem of plethora of options. Too many choices. It’s both good and bad.

I call it (too many options) the starbucks phenomenon. I think I’ve calculated over 10,000 variations at the starbucks counter. No wonder I don’t know what to order and can feel overwhelmed at the counter. Lots of good wood stove options. Not 10,000, but a lot.

Cat vs noncat. That’s a briar patch. I like to think of it this way -same amount of heat is held in the wood. It’s just how you let it out and use it. Slow and steady with option to burn hot and fast is cat. Hot and heavy at a high level then cools off- noncat. Not as much in between trmp with a non-cat.

If you can operate a car or a microwave, I don’t see why anyone can’t use either one. It’s all about following directions and getting used to it, whatever it is. And of course having seasoned wood.

Think of how you want to use it, size area to heat and what you want it to look like. Then look at the top 5-6 manufacturers and see what products they have. Jotul, lopi, woodstock, blaze king, etc etc.

Lots of good products out there now. And a great resource- hearth.com - to look at reviews and search posts so that you salivate over all the options. Give it 3-4 months of consideration too if you need. Don’t stress out. If you don’t like it, sell it and try another and call it a learning “tax” if you need to justify it.
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I am very happy with my VC Montpelier. Looks great and provides nice heat for several years now. As others have said find what fits the best and stay with a proven brand. Also get a quality installer as installation is just as important as the appliance when it comes to wood stoves
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I love our osburn 2200, picked it specifically for its large bay window. But I am not in Canada, you loose some efficiency with glass doors I read they do not radiate the heat as good as a metal door. Does not make sense to me, but I have read it many times so less glass more heat. Overall they are efficient at 75%, you can get higher efficiency with less glass but we love to look at the fire. When I go to site like woodlanddirect.com I do not even see catalytic stoves being sold anymore. We really wanted the bay window but was leaning towards one that could run at lower BTU's and higher BTU's so we could heat int he cold and throttle it down and not burn our selves out of the house when needed also. But a used 2200 came up close to our house and made our choice for us, glad it did.