Inset Vs Free-Standing Wood Burning Stoves

Morso Inset stoveBesides the ability to choose between multi-fuel and wood burning stoves, you can also choose between inset and free-standing stoves. In order to help you make the decision easier, we will take a closer look at both advantages and disadvantages of the two options.

Space Required

Conventional free-standing wood burning stoves require a considerable amount of space in order to function properly and generate maximum amount of heat. If you have a larger living room or kitchen with a generously sized fireplace, this is not an issue. However, if you are tight on space or/and don’t have particularly large fireplace, inset wood burning stove is a better idea. Like its name suggests, an inset stove is built into a wall and as a result, it can easily be enjoyed even in the smallest room.


As much as versatility is concerned, there are no major differences between inset and free-standing wood burning stoves. Both inset and free-standing stoves can be placed just about everywhere as long as there is proper outside ventilation. And besides heating your home, both can also be used to heat water and to create a central heating system. Lastly, both are also available in multi-fuel versions.

Efficiency and Output

Many people erroneously think that inset stoves generate less heat and that they are not as efficient as the conventional free-standing versions. However, you can easily find inset wood burning stoves with efficiency of over 80%, while the output depends on the chosen size. An inset stove with an output of 5kW will just as pleasantly warm up your home as the same sized free-standing model. By opting for an inset wood burning stove, you don’t have to sacrifice neither efficiency or output.

Aesthetic Appeal

Cast iron free standing stoveBoth inset and free-standing wood burning stoves are available in a wealth of styles and designs, making them easy to incorporate into just about every home. Both can be used to complement both traditionally and contemporary furnished homes and create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

Smoke Control Area Limitations

If you live in a Smoke Control Area, you are prohibited from using heating appliances that produce smoke. But you are allowed to use wood burning stoves that are approved by DEFRA. Whether it is inset or free-standing model is irrelevant as long as it is on the list of exempted appliances. Keep in mind, however, you are also obliged to burn exclusively approved fuels. If you produce too much smoke, you can be fined even if you use DEFRA approved inset or free-standing wood burning stove.


The cost depends greatly on the size and brand but in comparison to the conventional free-standing stoves, the inset versions tend to be slightly pricier. But since they are sometimes easier to install, the overall price is often about the same.