February 2009. The Hearthstone Heritage woodstove uses soapstone for extra mass, so it radiates heat for about four hours even if you let the fire go out. It's rated for up to 1,900 square feet; the larger Hearthstone Mansfield model is available for larger areas. Both stoves have earned EPA certification for low emissions. They also have nice features: a lifetime warranty, a large glass window for viewing the fire, plus a side door for easy loading. There's also an ash pan to ease cleanup, but it gets a lot of criticism from owners. The stove is easily adapted to burn only outside air (to minimize indoor pollution). Experts recommend this type of stove if you live in a cold climate that requires heat all winter long. For quicker, briefer heat, consider a steel-bodied woodstove such as the Vogelzang Defender TR001 (*est. $600).
We found the most objective information on the Hearthstone Heritage from Hearth and Home, based on the stove's EPA-tested emissions. A chart at The Chimney Sweep adds useful information about burn time, maximum BTUs and average BTUs as a load of wood burns. The owner-written reviews at Hearth.com add much more detail, as does a long review by Chris Hardwick. Articles in Mother Earth News, Newsweek and GreenYour.com discuss the Hearthstone Heritage, but don't document any testing. The recent buyer's guide at FineHomebuilding.com recommends this general type: a noncatalytic EPA-certified stove. It's a fine article that we rank last only because it doesn't discuss specific brands.
1. Hearth and Home Magazine
The Hearthstone Heritage earns an Honorable Mention for relatively low emissions in this review of EPA-certified woodstoves, though the Vermont Castings CFM DutchWest earns a higher ranking.
Review: What Took So Long?, James E. Houck, Jan. 2006
2. The Chimney Sweep
This chart compares the Hearthstone Heritage with several other woodstoves by Hearthstone and Pacific, showing the average BTUs per hour during a standard six- to eight-hour burn time (overnight or while the homeowners are away all day at work).
Review: Woodstove Comparison Page, Editors of The Chimney Sweep
At the time of our report, 17 owners have reviewed the Hearthstone Heritage. Most are enthusiastic, but owners note that it takes one to three hours for the stove to start radiating heat, so it's not for quick fires or more than eight to ten hours away from home, even burning dry hardwood. Several owners complain that the ash pan is poorly designed, and a few complain about poor fit and finish for such an expensive stove.
Review: Stove Ratings, Contributors to Hearth.com
4. Chris Hardwick's Personal Web Pages
This well-illustrated review discusses the first six weeks of the author's use of the Heritage stove, but includes useful details not found elsewhere. For example, Hardwick figures out why the handles can seem troublesome at first.
Review: Hearthstone Heritage Woodstove Review, Chris Hardwick, Sept. 2006
5. Mother Earth News
This buyer's guide (by a writer who's written for years about wood heat) mentions the larger Hearthstone Mansfield as an example but doesn't document any testing.
Review: Choosing a Woodstove, John Gulland, Winter 2008
This very brief article recommends another Heritage stove as a good example of newer, cleaner wood burning stoves, but no testing is documented.
Review: The Tip Sheet: Renew an Old Flame, Paul Tolme, Oct. 24, 2005
This buyer's guide recommends four brands of EPA-certified wood stoves, including Hearthstone, but recommends buying from an expert local dealer. The article includes statistics that suggest burning wood is a eco-friendly way to heat.
Review: Buy an EPA-certified Woodstove, Editors of GreenYour.com, 2007
8. Fine Homebuilding
This buyer's guide doesn't recommend the Hearthstone Heritage stove specifically, but does recommend any EPA-certified noncatalytic woodstove as the best choice for wood heat – unless you can afford a more efficient (but expensive) masonry heater.
Review: Is Wood Heat the Answer?, Matthew Teague, Sept. 10, 2008