A 3-in-1 Wood Cookstove

Heat, home-cooked food and hot water: You can have it all with the Esse Ironheart.

| February/March 2011

esse ironheart stove

The Esse Ironheart woodstove can cook your food, heat a room, and even provide domestic hot water.


Do you dream of getting warmth, hot water and a good meal from the same efficient woodstove? While wood cookstoves have been available for generations, and a few have fireboxes big enough for serious wood heat, none until now could burn wood efficiently. The Esse Ironheart does, and this British cookstove is getting rave reviews. 

The Ironheart has many features that set it apart from other cookstoves. The first is a glass door with an air wash system that allows you to see the fire. Another is the hot plate covers that retain heat until you need the burners. You can even order a hot water collector for it. 

The Esse Ironheart sells for about $5,000. It’s a multifuel stove (meaning it can burn wood, clean coal or peat), but because North Americans will mostly burn wood, there’s a retrofit ($169) that improves combustion efficiency and increases the firebox depth. The Ironheart’s firebox is big by wood cookstove standards — about the size of a small heating stove. It will most effectively heat a room or small cabin.

5/26/2014 7:13:40 PM

Hello my name is Eric, I live in Alaska and purchased a ESSE Ironheart from Obadiah's Woodstoves in Montana www.woodstoves.net after doing my research on various wood burning cookstoves. There are lots of options out there and Obadiah's seems to be the most knowledgeable and helpful after talking with a few different companies, they also have the largest selection. Spending twice as much on a wood cookstove was something I had to ponder on for a while, but most of the reviews and all the You Tubes that Woody Chain had made about the stove convinced me it was a good value. My wife was a tad concerned, but I talked her into it and we went ahead and ordered one. It seems strange that there are so many folks who bought Ironhearts from Woody and everywhere you look and read about ESSE there he is, but ESSE North America does not acknowledge any dealers except themselves. Seems shady on their part not acknowledging a dealer that has done so much to promote the product? Obadiah's was easy to deal with and Woody and Annette Chain made sure the Ironheart arrived when and where they said it would. Living in Alaska and ordering anything is challenging, especially when making a large purchase like this. Montana is like Alaska in many ways and there are a lot of folks who go back and forth between the two States. The Esse dealer in Alaska at the time did not have one, and made it sound like they were not at all familiar with the stove. Obadiah's has a great online presence here and ships a ton of stoves to AK, so they seemed to have it down to a science. The freight was also reasonable (and that is always a challenge) as the stoves are shipped in via Steamship or Barge. Everything went well and the Ironheart performed pretty much as expected over the past 4-5 years. When I had questions, Obadiah's was always quick to respond with an answer or a solution. This past February (2014) I was cleaning out my Ironheart and noticed some issues with the top of my firebox warping as I was doing my routine maintenance. I called Woody and asked him "What's the deal, Woody?". Instead of dodging the bullet like some dealers I have dealt with over the years, he was honest and open with me and assured me he would contact ESSE in Great Britain and the North American Rep. Tony Pitt. It took a while but sure enough I received a call from Mr. Pitt who told me he had been contacted by my dealer Woody Chain from Obadiah's and he would send me the parts to repair my stove. Shortly afterword’s I received a follow up e-mail from Woody checking in to make sure I had been contacted by Mr. Pitt and I was satisfied, he told me he valued my business and no matter what would make this right even if he had to put me into a different stove, at his cost . I about fell off my chair! This being a rare example of extraordinary customer service. As the Ironheart is 5 years old, it is technically out of warranty, but when you spend $5k on a wood cookstove, it should last a lifetime. Woody seems to understand that without my even having to mention it. After a couple months and nothing more from ESSE North America's Tony Pitt, in spite of a couple of phone messages I had left for him, I was finally able to get a hold of him again and was told that ESSE has agreed to make good on this issue and that I would be getting a replacement stove before the summer is out. Wow, I'm stoked! I am optimistic and hopefully this is true and it really happens. So far I am happy with my dealer Obadiahs and they seem to have an excellent track record, has anyone had dealings with this Tony Pitt fella? He talks so smoothly, but he has not been good about returning my phone calls. Time is passing and I have nothing in writing, so I am left to wonder how genuine he really is. Woody is like talking to a local up here and is down to earth, Tony seems sincere when we talk but so far his actions haven’t exactly followed what was discussed. He seems to kind of just disappear sometimes and when that happens he is impossible to get into contact with. Soon we will be losing daylight and winter arrives early in these parts. I will continue to hope for the best. Has anyone had any experience with these companies?

9/16/2013 10:01:13 AM

One point that is not covered is just how difficult it is to install a woodstove in most urban locales today. No mention of no-burn days, often the coldest days of the year, in many locales, along with the need for permits, catalytic converters and the gas or diesel needed to cut and haul the wood. Way too expensive a stove when one considers some of the excellent EPA legal stoves available for much, much less money and built in the USA! Once again Mother Earth is falling down for its readers, but making good money from its advertisers, which many if not most of its articles have become in the last few years. :(

9/14/2013 6:59:19 AM

So this stove the Esse Ironheart, the Flameview Heater, and the Lehman's stoves from Australia are all touted as "high efficiency" stoves. Does anyone have a combustion efficiency number? And specifically how do they compare to the efficiency of a Rocket Mass Heater that can also heat water and be used as a stovetop? I'm not saying one is better than the other but stoves due to their construction aren't inherently as efficient as the Rocket ones. Also, everyone on here is trying to do good things for the planet eh? So let's get along! Looking forward to some numbers- Thanks!

alfred green
9/13/2013 7:38:27 AM

***Two things about the picture. 1) the table is too close and 2) NEVER store a firearm that close to a heat source.

9/3/2013 11:30:31 PM

I am looking for feedback or comments on the Kitchen Queen Stoves, Kitchen Queen Cookstove_ Thanks, cathermanclan@msn.com

3/8/2011 1:31:07 PM

RE: Flameview heater: Forgot to include price. We purchased summer of 2010 - and it cost about 2800.00 all in. (so that's the base unit, plus the shelf and warming oven, plus the stainless steel water jacket, taxes and delivery) You may be able to do better depending on who you order from, (there's a few different dealers). Also note, there is a Flameview Heater, which I purchased, and a Flameview Cookstove, which also has the baking oven, and is quite a bit bigger.

3/8/2011 1:17:49 PM

I have a Flameview Heater made by some amish folks and we just love it. We got ours with the optional warming oven, and a water jacket that we've got plumbed to two 40 gallon storage tanks. IT comes with a cast iron cook top. It's rated to heat 1800 sq feet. So we've been using this stove for all our domestic hot water needs, and even then we find we have too much, so we're set up that we can dump the excess heat from our storage tanks through a heat exchanger into our radiant floor. It also provides all our heat in our home (about 1600 sq ft) and cooks almost all of our meals. It also has a glass door so you can watch the fire. I think it's the best combination of cook stove and wood heat stove I've found. No baking oven, (warming oven a little too cool to bake with) but with a good dutch oven you can do a lot. Here's a link if anyones interested: http://stovesandmoreonline.com/StoveFlameViewHeater.asp

linda eatenson
3/8/2011 10:03:23 AM

Actually, I reduced the numbers I found to a very conservative estimate. I agree that facts are required, on BOTH sides of this or any discussion. Your comments about pseudo-science, for example, are not facts. I didn't even include our rampant use of paper and paper products in my suggestion that we need to view our use of trees cautiously. Nor did I imply we shouldn't use them at all. Sure, we may be okay on trees for the moment, but how long can that last at our present rate of use? More than one civilization has collapsed due to overuse/mismanagement of resources, including trees. I know we'd like to believe we won't run out of anything we need, but if we're not replacing as fast as we're using, the end result is obviously running out. I applied that to trees because we've destroyed tens of thousands of acres of forest all over the planet, and have not begun to replace, or in most cases, even try to replace, what we've used. Our lack of foresight will cost us dearly.

j russell bailey
3/7/2011 1:27:09 PM

Hey Linda, Take a look at your VERY generalized numbers again! Were they to be accurate, then considering the usage of both North America and Europe combined (forget about the PRC and the rest of Asia, as well as Africa), there shouldn't be a single tree left standing right now, much less whole forests which stretch from hundreds to thousands of miles!!!! However, we DO have such forests and LOTS and LOTS of trees!!! Plenty of wild critters too! (Texas deer hunters harvest about 3 MILLION deer a year in Texas and STILL they don't make a dent in the deer population! Take a look at deer harvests in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and where I'm at, the Rocky Mountain States!!! Plenty of critters everywhere!) I would urge you to look at things through VERIFIABLE empiricism, rather than Pop pseudo-science 'fact sheets' from Eco-Radical-Terrorist organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, ELF, Greenpeace, Nature Conservancy, PETA, etc.: these organizations tell more lies than all of Congress put together! Facts Linda, VERIFIABLE and confirmed FACTS, not half-truths and outright lies from money grubbers seeking to keep themselves in luxury cars and hotels as they play the perpetual victim game. Cheers

linda eatenson
3/6/2011 3:24:07 PM

I'm not convinced wood is a sustainable resource for heat, cooking or building. Indicators are 14 mature trees, per person, per year. How long does it take a fast-growing tree to mature? Maybe 8 years??? (5 at best) So I need to plant 5 x 14 trees (70 trees minimum) for a head start on what I'll use before any mature, and I need to plant 14 trees each and every year, from now on. This doesn't allow for population increase, drought years, forest fires, insects, or other unexpected events. A very cold year could certainly increase that number. Trees don't readily return on their own (look at Chaco Canyon 800 years after residents cut down the trees, or at Easter Island, same scenario.) I think we must be very cautious in our assumptions about wood and how we use it. Remember, the trees are sequestering C02 and contributing oxygen as well, to say nothing of habitat for the wild things.

j russell bailey
3/6/2011 12:15:48 AM

Hey Pacia, Kudos to YOU on EXACTLY what I was thinking about the article!!!! I hollered about the IDIOT decision to put a great application on an iPhone instead of a platform that exists in the majority of homes across the country: a PC or Mac! What did they do instead? LIMIT their customer/client base by the intentional decision to limit their platforms! This stove is another great idea, but tell me why an American firm can't do the same thing for a THIRD of the cost? Oh, wait, that would be OSHA, the lowlife bureaucrats at the EPA, and ah yes, Trial Lawyers waiting to sue before the proverbial hat is even dropped! I'm for coal/wood combos for all kinds of stoves....the more the merrier...but bureaucratic and trial lawyer mentalities intrude on our desire to live more frugally, more efficiently, and more naturally. Sad but true! Cheers

3/4/2011 3:14:36 PM

My first thought was "cool" My second thought was $5000 - that is ridiculous... How about advertising something in Mother that those of us who are building their own off-grid houses could actually afford to buy - Really - this thing costs more than some of our homes. This reminds me of the "choose the chicken" app - very cool too - but only available to IPhone users

suzanne horvath
3/4/2011 11:34:03 AM

There is also a nice cookstove, made in Australia (sorry). http://www.lehmans.com/store/Stoves___Cook_Stoves___Wood_Burning_Cook_Stoves___Baker_s_Oven_Wood_Heat_Cook_Stove___17120600?Args= Not as expensive as the one pictured above. Maybe if an American company comes up with something comparable, we'll buy it. Every time I find something I like that is well designed and efficient, it seems to be made elsewhere. Australia is now one of the better design centers - look at the Breville brand. Most of our "made in America" products are no longer made here - usually made in China now. I believe the picture was probably set up for aesthetic purposes, not to teach someone how to use a wood stove.

howard freeman
3/4/2011 10:38:51 AM

Please for the price of the stove you could buy a round trip plane ticket for less. By the way how about all of us helping each other out !! BUY goods manufactured in the USA. The global economy has really made life in our US good huh ?. Well if you beleive that I,ll sell you some ocean front property in Arizonia, like the song says. Best Regards Howard

helen highwater
2/24/2011 2:08:34 PM

Nice picture, but I can see several woodstove safety violations right away. Put that little wooden table right up next to the woodstove. NO! And the firearm right beside the woodstove? NO! Anybody who uses wood heat should learn right away not to put wooden objects next to the woodstove. First of all, they are flammable. Nothing made of wood should be put within several feet of a woodstove. There actually safety regulations issued by insurance companies that show how far away flammable items need to be from the woodstove. If you have a fire and they prove you weren't following the safety regulations, your fire insurance may not cover you. Storing your firewood right under the firebox is not a good idea for the same reason. Secondly, wood dries out in the presence of heat. So you will dry out the wooden stock on your firearm and ruin it. I am surprised that Mother Earth News would run a picture like this.

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