Wood burning stove - cast or steel

We are looking at buying a woodburning stove and do not know the pros and cons of cast iron versus steel construction. Is one more efficient than the other/ cost more than the other etc? We would be grateful for your opinions and experiences. Jonny & Lynn
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wrote:

What's your budget? The real difference between steel and cast iron is that an expensive steel one is like a cheap steel one, but perhaps more elegant, whereas an expensive cast iron one is very good but a cheap cast iron one may simply not last very long. If you're looking to not spend too much, go for steel.
There's a lot of difference between good and bad woodstoves, but not so much between iron and steel necessarily. Look for general quality of fittings, good design and good baffles (important if you want efficiency with softwood)
If it's portable, then steel is lighter, less prone to damage, and easier to repair if it is damaged. Steel stoves are basically indestructible - they just get repaired like brooms do, with new heads and handles as needed. As a general rule, you can't weld broken cast iron stoves.
Iron is typically heavier for a given capacity, which improves the warmth keeping overnight after it has gone out. If you care about this though, consider brick surrounds or tiled stoves.
You may also get an efficient baffle design into a small steel stove, where a comparable iron stove is baffleless - this makes a difference if you're trying to heat a boat or caravan and actually live in it.
Speaking as a stove maker, then it's steel every time for me. I can do more interesting things with it and the raw material is cheaper. As a user though, then so long as it's not a Machine Mart crappy, then iron stoves are fine.
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Many thanks for your comprehensive reply. Jonny
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We had cast iron Morso Squirrel. Very nice stove but needed parts fairly often - burnt out baffle plate and cracked fire bricks. Now have sheet steel "Firebug" from http://www.dowlingstoves.com which is not quite as airtight and perfectly controllable but seems much tougher and perhaps indestructible. Also burns sawdust quite well due to pyramid shape - the heap slumps slightly allowing air and burning to occur over the outside of the heap, whereas a square shaped heap will spread outwards and snuff itself out, if that makes sense.
cheers
Jacob
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Muttley's Dad wrote:

Also look carefully at ventilation options. Mineral fuel (Coal etc) tend to need air from underneath, wood from on top. We went for a cast iron Dunsley Highlander for 'occasional use' alongside oil CH a few years ago - it's been great!
Phil
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