Adding a wood or pellet stove to a home provides an additional heat source in the winter and creates a cozy, cabin-like ambiance. Wood stove installation costs about $3,000–$4,000, including the stovepipe and labor costs, according to the Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association. David Johnson, owner of DNG Complete Home Improvement, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, agrees that’s an accurate price to install a wood stove (also called a hearth insert) into a working fireplace. Freestanding stove installation costs vary, Johnson says, depending on the type of stove, its capacity, where it’s installed, and the amount and type of work required to install it.
Wood-burning stoves range in price from as low as $100 up to $3,200, depending on the capacity. A stove’s capacity determines how much space it can heat, and prices also vary based on the manufacturer, stove material and fuel type.
Wood stoves are generally made of either cast iron or steel. There is very little performance difference between the two, although cast iron holds heat a little better. The main differences between the two are cost and aesthetics. Cast iron stoves are molded and often feature graceful curves, along with different colors and an enamel finish. Steel stoves are welded together, more plain looking and are almost always black. While a cast iron stove can hold heat longer, a steel wood stove tends to heat a room a little quicker than cast iron. Cast iron wood stoves typically cost 20 percent to 30 percent more than steel stoves.
The primary price difference between wood-burning stoves and those that burn pellets, which are made of sawdust or small wood chips, is the long-term cost of the fuel itself. Pellets, which cost more per ton and emit less particulate matter than wood, typically cost about $200 more per cold season than wood.
Catalytic versus noncatalytic
A catalytic stove traps smoke and other combustion byproducts in a coated combustion chamber (the combustor) where they ignite at a much lower temperature than normally required, which increases the stove’s efficiency and reduces carbon emissions. A catalytic stove is usually considered a better choice as a primary heat source. However, the catalytic combustor requires regular cleaning and maintenance and may need to be replaced every five years at a cost of $100–$300. Catalytic stoves cost about $500–$700 more on average than noncatalytic wood stoves, which are easier to use and require less maintenance. Noncatalytic stoves are often recommended as a supplemental heat source only.
Freestanding or fireplace insert
A freestanding wood stove usually cost more to install than a fireplace insert, primarily because these require installing a stovepipe and laying a heat-resistant base. Labor and materials for these tasks could add another $1,000–$2,000 to the total cost.