Wood Stoves for Small Cabins
There's nothing quite like a real wood fire to make a small space feel cozy and welcoming.
But not every stove is appropriate for smaller cabins. Most household sized wood stoves are simply too large to use in a small space And some mini stoves are just too tiny to be practical for serious heating. Take the time to find the perfect stove for your space and lifestyle, and you'll spend countless evenings enjoying the warm glow of a real wood fire in your cabin retreat.
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What is the best wood stove for my cabin?
Choosing the right size wood stove for your cabin is the first step to enjoying years of cozy evenings by the fire. Whether you're looking for an off-grid primary heat source, or just a little extra heat and ambiance for an on-grid space, the right wood stove makes all the difference.
Traditional household stoves are simply too large for most small cabins. If your stove is too large, it will be difficult to use it without making your space uncomfortably hot. Choking down a too-large stove can also produce dangerous amounts of creosote, which can cause a chimney fire if not properly managed.
On the other hand, some mini stoves are just too small for serious heating. A properly sized stove can provide longer overnight burns, plenty of heat for even the coldest Winter days, and can even help manage the humidity in your cabin.
Our wood stove BTU Calculator for tiny homes is a great place to start. To choose the right stove for your needs, consider how you plan to use your stove, and what features and accessories are important to you. Will you be using your cabin year-round, or just during the milder months? Will your stove be your primary or sole heat source, or will you just use it for supplemental heat and ambiance? Do you want the option to use your stove for cooking as well as heating? Do you want a large fire viewing window, efficient airtight controls, or a direct air kit? Do you want options to customize the look of your stove, like an enamel door or wood storage stand?
If your cabin is a permanent structure subject to building codes, keep in mind that many small wood stoves are not UL listed or EPA approved for residential heating. Be sure to check with your insurance company and local permit office before settling on an unlisted stove if building regulations are a concern.
The Dwarf 3kW
Our smallest stove, the Dwarf 3kW, is a great option for very small cabins and milder climates where less heat is required. The compact size is perfect for fitting in tight spaces. The tall firebox, airtight controls, and secondary burn technology give the Dwarf 3kW stove the longest burn time in the 3kW size. Enjoy cozy nights at home, watching the fire through the large window while you warm a kettle on the cooktop.
The Dwarf 3kW Standard is a full-featured stove designed for serious heating. We've packed in all the same features and options as our larger stoves, just in a smaller package. For cabins on wheels or ice shacks where weight is a concern, our Dwarf 3kW LITE offers a simpler set of features in a lightweight package. Compare the Dwarf 3kW Standard vs. LITE.
The Dwarf 4kW
The Dwarf 4kW is our medium sized small stove, and it's our most popular model for small cabin builds. The 4kW size is a perfect fit for medium sized cabins in mild climates, and smaller cabins in colder climates. With more features and options than many full-sized stoves, the Dwarf 4kW is a great choice for serious heating in a small space, unmatched ambiance, and lots of options to customize the look of your stove.
The Dwarf 5kW
Our largest small stove, the Dwarf 5kW cranks out plenty of heat and provides longer burn times for larger cabins and very cold climates. With all the features you need in a wood stove, and tons of options available to customize the look and functionality of your stove, the Dwarf 5kW can turn long, cold winters into cozy evenings by the fire.
For even more functionality, add the oven accessory to make the Dwarf Cookstove Combo.
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How to install a wood stove in a cabin
When installing a wood stove in your cabin, planning ahead for a safe and functional installation is a must! Small spaces present unique challenges for wood stove installs. Using proper materials, good flue design, and adequate safety clearances will ensure a safe and reliable installation for years to come.
Building Your Flue System
The flue system is the "engine" of the wood stove. Without the flue creating draft, a wood stove will not burn properly. Consult our flue design resources for detailed information on good flue design principles.
Proper materials are critical for a safe wood stove installation. Only use solid fuel rated stovepipe and chimney pipe for installing a wood stove. Pellet pipe and B-vent are not rated to withstand the high temperatures produced by a wood stove.
Start with one of our installation kits, then add extra pipe as needed to fit your space. Run your space through our flue system builder for a complete list of parts for your project, or contact us for help from a human.
Roof exits generally draft best, and are cheaper to install than wall exits. If a roof exit is not an option, though, wall exits can be used for 4" or larger stoves. Be sure to review the installation instructions for your roof exit or wall exit kit before you complete your install.
If your cabin will be movable, especially if the height is near the 13.5 - 14.5 foot legal highway towing maximum height, you may want to plan for a detachable chimney.
For cabins subject to building codes, most jurisdictions that allow installation of unlisted stoves still require the chimney system to be UL listed. For those installations, use a Ventis brand UL Listed 5" chimney system. If your stove's flue flange is smaller than 5", you can use an adapter to connect your small stove to a larger flue size as long as the increase is not too large.
Installing Your Stove
Your wood stove will generally need to sit on a fireproof hearth that protects the floor below from heat radiating from the stove, and from embers falling out of the door. A hearth is usually made of some combination of tile, stone, metal, or cement board. Consult the Dwarf Manual for specific requirements on hearth design.
Wood stoves get very hot during operation, so they require a significant amount of air space between the stove and surrounding combustible materials. Some cabin installations use heat shields to reduce the required clearances by up to 2/3.
Consider elevating your stove off the floor with a wood storage stand, or installing it on top of a custom cabinet or counter. Raising the firebox off the ground can make stoking and viewing the fire more comfortable, and often looks more visually appealing.
If your cabin is relatively airtight, consider adding a dedicated fresh air supply with the direct air kit. Feeding your stove with outside air will ensure there is plenty of air available for combustion, and will prevent the stove from creating cold drafts through leaky window and door seals.
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Why work with Tiny Wood Stove?
Tiny Living Community
We live in tiny spaces, and are working to live intentionally and to support others doing the same. We care about your journey, and can relate to the challenges you're running into along the way. Read more about us.
Building or remodeling a cabin is not an easy project! But you're not alone. Whether you're using our products or not, we'll offer whatever help we can to help make your tiny living dreams a reality. Contact us to chat about your project, email us at email@example.com, or call at 208-352-3417.
The Right Materials
We carry wood stoves and solid fuel rated flue parts that are specifically designed for small stoves. We're familiar with the unique challenges of building in small spaces, and we carry specialized parts to support compact and mobile installs.
If you need something we don't carry, we'll tell you where to find it. And if you need help with an unusual or creative design, we're here to help with that, too.