Having the most efficient wood stove is great, but if you want to maximize the heat flow from your stove then you should invest in a wood burning stove fan. These small heat fans will help the hot air emanating from the stove circulate throughout your house. This helps warm up hard to reach areas, and allows the house to be heated much faster.
How do heat powered fans work? (Hint: It’s not batteries)
These non electric wood stove fans are powered by the heat coming from the top of the stove. After you load stove and ignite the fuel, the stovetop starts to heat up (warming the fan as well). When the base of the fan reaches a certain temperature (different per fan) it converts the thermal energy to electricity via a thermoelectric motor which causes the blades to spin. This unique power source means you don’t need batteries, and the fan will function automatically. Just set it and forget it. The only part that will need periodic replacement is the motor, which gets worn out after a while. Although, to be honest, most people will replace the entire fan. That’s why it’s a good thing that you’re here to read our heat powered stove fan review.
What to Look For
- CFM Rate: How many cubic feet of air the fan moves. The higher the value the bigger the difference the fan will make in circulating air throughout the room.
- Start-Up Temperature: This is the minimum temperature required for the fan blades to start moving of their own accord. If you normally run your stove at a lower temperature then it makes sense to buy a fan with a low starting temperature (100-150F). Otherwise, you will have to manually start the fan by giving it a spin. It is not a big deal, but we prefer the completely hands off approach.
- CFM: N/A
- Start-Up Temp: ~200F
This is currently the best selling wood stove fan on Amazon, but not all is what it seems. Although, the reviews seem fantastic, most of them were written in exchange for free product/discounts. The fan is a Chinese knockoff of the ecofan. The claims it makes about CFM are not accurate, and the statement that the fan does not need maintenance is false as well. There are fans that are more powerful, and all fans need maintenance. The price is cheap, but the poor airflow is not worth it. Spend the extra money and get one of our other options.
Caframo 812AMXBX Limited AirMax Ecofan – best for most people
- CFM: 175
- Start-Up Temp: 150F
This is the tried and true fan for wood stove enthusiasts. Made by the Canadian company Caframo, this fan has a CFM rate of 175, and will do a great job of circulating the hot air around your home. This unit is incredibly quiet, and produces the highest airflow out of the Airmax line (still less than the vulcan though). You will have to experiment with placement on top of the stove in order to find the spot where the fan heats up quickest. Also, the fan may need to be pushed to start at lower temperatures. In general though, this fan is built to last, and is the top fan we recommend (unless you can afford the Vulcan).
Kenley – best budget
- CFM: 110-130
- Start-Up Temp: ~120F
This is your best option when it comes to budget stove fans. The Kenley comes in either 2 or 4 blades, and will cost you far less than an Ecofan. That being said, the quality is definitely NOT far less. The Kenley produces 110 CFMs with the two blade variant and 130 CFMs with the four blade version. These stoves are reliable, but just don’t have quite as much airflow as the Ecofans. The benefit is that they have low start up temperatures, so it will not take much heat to initiate spinning. One option is to buy two Kenleys and set them up in tandem. Overall, this is our top budget recommendation.
Vulcan stove fan – All around best
- CFM: 200
- Start-Up Temp: 150F
Now for a fan with legendary status. The Vulcan moves an incredible 200 CFMs of air, and is capable of operating at higher stove temperatures (past 250 degrees Farenheit) at which point fans like the Ecofan would struggle. Additionally, the Vulcan will last longer because of its unique engine design. It uses a stirling engine, which uses heat from the stove to rapidly heat and then cool a fixed quantity of air. The expansion and contraction of this air (due to heating and cooling) drives a piston up and down, thus powering the blades. The only downside to this stove is the high price, but the combination of compact design, high CFM, and reliability is hard to beat.
Warpfive Glasshopper – Most powerful
- CFM: 260!
- Start-Up Temp: 158F
Warpfive is a fitting name for the company that produces this incredibly powerful and technologically advanced fan. The Warpfive is known as a stirling engine fan, because it uses a stirling engine, and by the merit of its larger blades is able to output a ridiculous 260 CFM. It has the added benefit of having a start up temperature (minimum stove temp for blades to begin spinning) of only 158 degrees. Unfortunately, this fan does not look as attractive sitting atop a pellet or insert stove due to its large size. Speaking of large, this stove costs quite a lot, but if you want the most CFMs with the lowest starting temperature there is no better option than a Warpfive.
So there you have it, our wood burner fan reviews. There are many heat activated fans for wood stoves, and they are a small accessory purchase that can make a big difference in the performance of your wood stove. You will love feeling warm faster, and being able to sit further away from the fire while still feeling the heat. Finally, we would be lying if we didn’t admit that there is something plain fascinating about a fan that operates without any wires or batteries. It’s almost like magic, but then again prehistoric man thought fire was magic so maybe our obsession with these fire fans is a logic evolution of this primal belief.