It’s snowing but the wood stove is roaring!


We seem to be finally getting the snow that has been hitting much of Europe over the past week or so. It only started an hour ago here but the forecast is for more to come.

This is when the joy of a woodburner really becomes apparent. The heat, the happy sound of it chugging away, plus the ability to dry wet gloves and have a kettle on the go…it all gives you that comforting feeling that if the weather continues to deteriorate, you can sit it out in comfort. This is also when having your fuel to hand, in the form of wood pellets or briquettes, in clean, dry bags, wins out over having to brave the snow to get more logs or chop kindling!

This week we got a sample of Hotties, the wood briquettes with the hole in the middle!

We’ve been trying them out in the Charnwood built-in stove which we now use as an open-door room heater (since its back boiler burst!) and in the small studio stove.

In the open stove, one Hottie burned through in an hour, as against a Verdo briquette, which burned for an hour and a half under the same conditions. However, in the small Windy Smithy wood stove, the first one burned very hot for 2 hours and a second one, with the stove turned down half way, stayed in all night, though it was giving out very little heat by morning. So the more you can control the draught, the better they perform…which is true of all our woodfuel.

It’s too soon to give a definitive verdict but on balance, the Verdo briquettes are better value for money, given that they have such a high and sustained energy output. Once we’ve done more tests we’ll report back again.

Take care out there, people – and stay cosy!

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Quick guide to choosing the best Wood Fuel for your stove and lifestyle.

Wood Fuel Co-operative

*Break - We strongly recommend you break these briquettes in half (or less for very small stoves) because they do expand whilst burning and you don't want them to overfill the fire.
*Easy to light - We always use a Firelighter and Kindling Sticks to start our fires. Most briquettes are graded four stars to light because they are quite dense and require kindling.


  • All stove and flue combinations tend to have different burning characteristics. Fuel that works well in my stove may not work so well in your stove, and vice-versa.
  • Most modern stoves are more efficient than most older stoves, meaning a modern quality stove will burn fuel more economically and generate more heat over a longer period.
  • Always try to burn fuel with a 'lick of flame'. Smouldering fuel to try to extend burn time is bad for your stove, flue and the environment due to unburned particulate matter in the smoke.
  • Be prepared to break briquettes into smaller sections to fit into your stove comfortably. Many briquettes do expand whilst burning and you don't want them to expand onto the glass.
  • The chart above indicates which briquettes are easy to break. Some are small enough so they don't need breaking. This makes for a cleaner environment around your stove.
  • All briquettes, except Everyday Value and Hotmax, benefit hugely from using kindling to light them. I suggest five kindling sticks will be sufficient, meaning a net should last 30 days.