Choosing the correct Anthracite burning room heater (stove) is easy once you define how you want it to operate and how it should look. A coal stove is a perfect choice for heating your whole home from a central location. It also adds to the aesthetic of your home, creating a warm and inviting vibe. The first question is hand-fired Vs. Stoker? Hand-fired stoves do not require electricity to stay burning, whereas stoker stoves require electricity. The benefit of a stoker is automatic coal feed and an easy-to-fill hopper for long burn times and more even heat output. Additionally, Leisure Line stoves are designed with advanced technology, resulting in even heating and easy operation/maintenance.

Clean burning anthracite stoker stoves offer many advantages, including a hotter fire than any other solid fuel, safer burning with no creosote build-up, quick heat-up times, and lower cost per BTU than any other heat source, all while remaining environmentally friendly (no particulate emissions or EPA regulation). In most cases, the purchase of a coal stove will result in lower heating bills while making your home cozy warm. However, choosing the best coal stove for your home can be a daunting task as there are several different designs on the market. So, how do you know which one is right for you?

When choosing a coal stove for your home, there are many factors to consider. These factors include the type of property, current heating system, insulation levels in the living space, etc. But, not to worry – here are four tips to help make your decision easier.

4 Tips To Choose The Best Coal Stove

1. Consider the size, quality of construction, and layout of your home.

A home of fewer than 1,500 sq ft will usually stay cozy and warm with only 70,000 BTU of heating capacity. Homes between 1,500 and 2,500 sq ft stay toasty warm with a 90,000 BTU stove. Of course, home layout and whether the stove will be located in the basement or living area are prime considerations. Generally speaking heating from the basement for a 1,500 to 2,500 sq ft home requires a 110,000 BTU stove with an extra fan to help circulate the air and move heat upstairs while pulling cool air toward the stove. For homes over 2,500 sq ft, a stove capable of 180,000 BTU will do the job very nicely.

If the home is ranch-style on one floor, a 90,000 BTU model will often heat 3,000 sq ft or more. If the home is two-story and is being heated from the basement a larger stove will be required to help get the heat upstairs. Also, the basement door will need to remain open to allow the flow of cold air down and warm air up.

Another big factor in stove size selection is the quality of construction. A well-insulated modern home may only require 90,000BTU to heat up to 5,000 sq ft. Conversely, a poorly insulated 2,000 sq ft home with leaky doors and windows may require a 110,000 BTU stove to heat it comfortably. Another factor to consider is that an uninsulated basement may take up to 50% more energy to maintain comfortable temperatures. Any work that can be done to seal air leaks, replace faulty doors and windows, and add insulation value will pay large dividends with less coal burned and a warmer home.

2. Stoker Vs Hand Fired?

Coal stoves come in diverse shapes, sizes, and types. Defining what you want and then choosing one that best matches your requirements will ensure a happy relationship with your new stove. Hand-fired stoves best suit those that are not away from home for long hours and require the stove to remain burning with no electricity. They also can burn wood as an alternate fuel. Stokers burn only anthracite and put out even heat for many consecutive hours if not days without attention. Leisure Line Stoker stoves are controlled by the Coal-Trol system and are designed to heat up and cool down quickly. This feature is particularly suited to the warm days and cold nights found during fall and spring. Additionally, the thermostat can be turned down to allow up to 5 days of burn time while away from the residence. This feature is particularly suited for busy people who are away from home for a few days for work or travel. Whether you are looking for an efficient, durable, and just aesthetically pleasing stove, there is a perfect stove out there waiting for you!

Depending on what’s most important to you regarding your holistic living experience (e.g., more about the aesthetics of the space vs. more about how energy-efficient it is), one may be better than another. Most importantly, when deciding on a hand-fired Vs a Stoker consider your requirements for long burn times and ease of use. The stoker will excel in these two areas, whereas if you want to be off the grid and not dependent on electricity a hand-fired stove will be perfect for you.

3. What to look for when buying a coal stove?

As consumers we generally shop for a good deal and consider price one of the most important attributes, however, the initial purchase price is not the only consideration. Availability of parts and customer service after the sale are both big factors in total lifetime cost and usability for a stove. Make sure the stove brand you choose stands behind their product with a strong warranty and availability of parts for any required service.

Another consideration is the simplicity to operate and design the life of the stove. Check out the available resources such as videos, online manuals, and talk to others who own the particular stove brand and model you are considering. It is much better to do extensive research before making your final selection, this will help to ensure a lifetime of happiness with your stove. With proper care and operation, a typical anthracite-burning appliance will last at least 30 years if not more.

There are no official government efficiency ratings for coal stoves, however, most manufacturers will give a percentage based on flue temperatures Vs the heat coming out of a stove. The cooler the flue temperature the more heat you will get out of the stove for heating your home. Also, consider how quickly the stove can heat up and cool down. Stoker stoves have a small amount of coal burning at any given time Vs hand-fired stoves which usually load in 50 to 100 LBS at the beginning of the burn cycle. This allows stoker stoves to be fabricated from lighter materials without the requirement for a heavy fire brick lining to deal with the intense heat generated in a hand-fired stove. Also, flue temperatures are considerably lower in stoker stoves which adds to the overall efficiency.

In summary, the selection of the best stove for you should be fairly easy as long as you do a little homework and ask questions.

4. Should you get an insert or freestanding coal stove?

Many customers are looking to use an existing fireplace as a means to install a stove. This provides an available flue for drafting the stove and if constructed with brick it can utilize a stove insert. Only hand-fired stoves are available as a true fireplace insert. However, stoker stoves can be placed on the hearth and partially inserted into the fireplace opening with the coal hopper on the side. In this scenario, the flue pipe from the stove will be routed up the chimney and the opening sealed to prevent downdrafts. Also with additional masonry work, any free-standing stove can be placed in front of a fireplace.

A freestanding stove can be placed anywhere a chimney is present. All hand-fired stoves require a chimney. Stoker stoves have the unique ability to be vented without a chimney through the use of a power vent or direct vent. This further adds to the freedom of placement by allowing the installation of a stoker stove anywhere with access to an outside wall of the home.


When looking for the best coal stove, it’s essential to consider all factors determining how well your particular model suits your needs. We hope these four tips will help you determine what kind of stove is best for your home and lifestyle.

Leisure Line Stove Company, a leading stove company in the U.S., is committed to providing quality products and the finest customer service available. You can browse through our collection of coal stoves and other products to suffice your heating needs. Matt, the owner, is available to answer your questions by calling 570-752-1811.

Connect with us today!