Stay Warm on the Water: The Best Wood-Burning Stoves for Boats and Barges
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Stay Warm on the Water: The Best Wood-Burning Stoves for Boats and Barges

If you're a boat or canal barge owner looking to stay warm and cosy on the water, a wood-burning stove can be a great option. In this guide, we'll explore the best wood-burning stoves designed for boats and canal barges, helping you make an informed decision and find the perfect log burner for your needs. Stay warm and enjoy the beauty of the water with these top recommendations and advice on the flue system you’ll need.


Why Choose a Wood Burner to Heat Your Boat or Barge?
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Wood-Burning Stove
Top Wood-Burning Stove Options for Boats and Barges
Installation & Safety Tips for Wood Burners on Canal Boats
Enjoying the Ambience of a Log Burner on Your Narrowboat


Why Choose a Wood Burner to Heat Your Boat or Barge?

There are several reasons why a wood-burning stove is a great choice for your boat or barge and here we’ll explain why they are such a superb heating option. Firstly, wood is a readily available and affordable fuel source, making it cost-effective compared to other heating options. Without a mains gas supply to your boat or barge a log burner can be a versatile addition as it will not only provide you with a sustainable heat source but there are models that come with an oven or cooktop for you to bake your favourite dishes. At the very least you’ll be able to warm a cast iron kettle on top of a standard wood burner. Additionally, wood-burning stoves provide a cosy and traditional ambience, adding to the overall experience of being on the water. Finally, log burners offer excellent heat output for such a compact size, lots of models are designed with boats and barges in mind making them a practical and space-saving choice for heating your vessel. You won’t need to buy a wood burner that takes up large amounts of space either and your stove will ensure that you stay warm even in freezing cold weather conditions.

Some boat owners use electric plug-in heaters as a heating solution and whilst electric heaters are capable of heating small spaces they can be expensive to run when compared to a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove. An electric stove or heater can offer your living space instant heat but we would suggest using them as a supplement heater to your narrowboat stove.

Wood burner on a canal barge


Factors to Consider When Selecting a Wood-Burning Stove

When selecting a wood-burning stove for your boat or barge, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you'll want to ensure that the stove is the appropriate size for your vessel, taking into account the available space and ventilation requirements. If you own a wide beam boat, you’ll likely want to buy a stove with a decent size firebox which will mean on cold nights you can top your stove up with fuel and try to keep the boat warm until the morning. It's also important to consider the stove's heat output, as this will determine how effectively it can warm your boat or barge. We recommend you stick to a wood burner that produces a heat output of 5kW or less, at this level of heat there isn’t any requirement for ventilation to the outside. Additionally, you'll want to choose a stove that has been designed with marine and narrowboat use in mind, these stoves are built to withstand the unique conditions of being on the water and we’ll recommend some of the most popular models shortly. Finally, consider where you are going to position your stove, as well as any additional features or accessories that may be important to you, such as an oven or heat shields if you have combustible materials close by. Think safety first when choosing where your log burner will be installed. Don’t position the stove near access ways or a place where it may cause an obstruction and try to avoid placing it near steps (we understand this can be difficult on a narrowboat where space comes at a premium). By carefully considering these factors, you can select the best wood-burning stove to keep you warm and cosy on the water.


Top Wood-Burning Stove Options for Boats and Barges

When it comes to finding the perfect wood-burning stove for your boat or barge, there are several top options for you consider. We’ve put together some of the top rated models below that have been manufactured with the safety of your boat in mind. We’ve included cook stoves, wood-burning stoves and even long lasting cast iron options so you can stay warm and cosy on the water.

Go Eco Adventurer 5 with Freestanding Hearth & Heatshield
Saltfire Peanut 3 Marine Wood Burning Stove
Ekol Baked Apple Pie Cook Stove
Hamlet Solution 4 (S4) Multifuel / Woodburning Stove

Installation & Safety Tips for Wood Burners on Canal Boats

Installing a wood-burning stove on a boat or barge requires careful consideration of safety measures and the flue system will need to be appropriately designed so the stove can work as well as it can. Here we’ve put together some tips to ensure you have the correct flue parts and your stove will be safely installed:  

  1. Consult a professional: It is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional heating technician or a qualified installer who has experience with fitting wood-burning stoves.
  2. Choose the right location: Select a suitable location for the stove that allows for enough clearance around the fire from combustible materials. Ensure that the stove is securely mounted to prevent movement when sailing. Most wood burners installed within a barge have a heat output of 5kW or less so you won’t need any additional ventilation for the heater.
  3. Install an insulated flue system: A flue for your stove is necessary to safely vent the smoke and gases produced by the stove. We recommend that an insulated twin wall flue is used directly from the stove through the ceiling/roof of your boat and a cowl/rain guard is used at the top of the system. If you need help with knowing which parts to order please contact us.
  4. Use appropriate heat shields: If you’re installing a wood burner into a tight space you may need to use heat shields around the stove which will protect the surrounding area. There are marine-grade hearths available for log burners to sit on too which will provide you with heat protection to the base of the stove.  
  5. Buy a carbon monoxide detector: Wood-burning stoves produce carbon monoxide as a by-product of combustion. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in the vicinity of the stove will ensure early detection of any leaks or combustion issues.
  6. Follow manufacturer's instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance guidelines specific to the wood-burning stove you have chosen. This will ensure that you are following the recommended procedures for safe operation.  By following these installation and safety tips, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of a wood-burning stove on your boat or barge while prioritising the safety of yourself and others on board. 

 Wood burners on canal barges by StovesAreUs


Enjoying the Ambience of a Log Burner on Your Narrowboat

There's nothing quite like the cosy warmth and ambience of a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove on a boat or barge. However, ensuring the installation is done safely and correctly is important. By following the tips mentioned above, you can enjoy the comfort of a wood-burning stove while keeping yourself and others on board safe.

Whether you're living on a barge or a narrowboat or enjoying the use of one over a weekend, a wood burner is essential if you want to stay warm and enjoy the winter months. You can create a warm and friendly glow from the flames of your fire so don't let the cold weather stop you from enjoying your time on the water - stay warm with the best wood-burning stove for your boat or barge.


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