ABOVE: The Debdale wood-burning stove by Burley has a heat output of 4kW and scores highly for efficiency. W38cm x D31.5cm x H56cm, £699.

Choose the right multi-fuel or woodburning stove to heat your space and ensure fuel efficiency. Maggie Stevenson advises.

In the imagination, a cosy sitting room has a stove glowing in the hearth to keep it warm on chilly winter evenings, but in smaller homes choosing the right size of appliance is key to cold weather comfort. Modern stoves are designed to be good-looking and efficient and while it’s easy to focus on appearance, heat output is the more important consideration influencing how long your stove will last as well as its fuel consumption, maintenance costs and the temperature of your home.

For a basic estimate of the size of stove you need, calculate the volume of your room in cubic metres by multiplying its length x width x height. You need 1kW heat output for every 14 cubic metres to give a consistent room temperature of 21°C when the temperature outside is zero. Th is calculation is a rough guide but before making your final choice, it is advisable to consult a HETAS (Heating Testing and Approval Scheme; hetas.co.uk) registered installer or retailer who will make a more accurate assessment of your needs taking into account your home’s insulation, the shape of the room, the size of windows and the level of background heat from central heating.

Where a room has a large fireplace or hearth, don’t be tempted to opt for a bigger stove that will be visually in proportion. Running a stove with too high a heat output for the space it occupies will make the room uncomfortably hot – but running it too low may result in it not reaching the correct temperature to operate efficiently. This means it will be more difficult to keep the door glass clean as the stove will produce insufficient heat to run the airwash system effectively; more smoke will be produced, causing a build up of deposits in the flue and increased pollution will compromise the clean burning performance of stoves approved for use in smoke control areas. If you have a large hearth in a small room, look for stoves with the right heat output for your space that give an impression of greater size, such as those with a log store beneath or a canopy above. For rooms with an average size fireplace, there is a wealth of options with free-standing and insert models that are sleek or rustic in black or coloured enamel, wood-burning or multi-fuel.

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing