Commercially manufactured pressed sawdust logs, a.k.a. “Presto” logs or “fire logs,” can be a great source of fuel for your small stove. Manufactured logs tend to have relatively high BTU content, require no curing, and are safe to transport across long distances.
There are three general types of pressed logs available on the market.
Logs that use wax as a binder are NOT safe to use in a wood stove. The most common example of a wax log is Duraflame brand.
The limited air supply used in a wood stove can cause wax to fail to burn completely, and then condense inside the chimney as highly flammable creosote. Because of the risk of chimney fire, wax logs are generally labeled to specifically prohibit their use in wood stoves.
Loose Pressed Sawdust Bricks
Sawdust bricks with a relatively loose consistency (and no wax binder) can be a good fuel source for small stoves. Examples include the RedStone brand Ecobricks available at Tractor Supply.
Loose pressed sawdust bricks are made entirely of dry reclaimed hardwood sawdust, so they have very low moisture content and relatively high BTUs.
Since loose pressed sawdust bricks tend to shed sawdust relatively easily, they can be a bit messy to store and cut. The logs burn very cleanly, but due to the loose consistency, they have relatively short burn times compared to heat pressed logs.
Heat Pressed Sawdust Logs
By far, our favorite pressed logs are the denser heat-pressed logs. Made from reclaimed hardwood sawdust, these logs are formed with heat and very high pressure to make a super-dense, high-BTU, and long-burning fuel.
The availability of heat pressed logs seems to be regional, with most options available on the West Coast or the Pacific Northwest. Our favorite heat pressed logs include: