Dowling Sumo stove

Overall Rating:

4 flames

based on 11 reviews    (View rating breakdown)
Dowling Sumo stove

The Dowling Sumo stove is available in a lot of different options.

I have taken the measurements from the smaller 5kw output model but you can get much bigger output models -

also available with back boilers.


The appearance is sturdy and functional with plain lines..

Technical Data

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Review Ratings Breakdown

Build Quality 4 flames
Quality of finish 4.5 flames
Value for money 4.5 flames
Ease of use 4.5 flames
Ease of lighting 4.5 flames
Firebox size 4.5 flames
How well does the airwash work 3 flames
Controllability 4 flames
Handle operation 3.5 flames
How likely are you to buy it again? 4 flames
What is your overall satisfaction? 4 flames

Most Recent Review

  • Huge disappointment

    Ian Thompson 3 years ago

    Fitted Dowling Sumo. Concerns about open chimney around flue ignored/brushed aside. Consequent ingress of rain meant appearance deteriorated rapidly. Photos sent to Dowling ignored for comment
    . So called self cleaning glass simply does not. Glass cracked three times. Morso Squirrel in another room performs brilliantly, If affordable, would have scrapped Dowling years ago. Avoid, avoid.

    Stove expert replied: If there is a gap around the flue then this is an installation issue and not a problem caused by the stove itself, the installer is responsible for this. Sealing around a flue not only prevents ingress of rain (which a rain cap or similar should also prevent) but prevents heat from escaping from the room. Having three glasses crack is concerning and unusual, were they put in too tightly? Dirty glass can be caused by the incorrect fuel or by the air controls not being set correctly, most air wash systems today work well with a good air flow into the firebox and dry wood.

    Overall rating:

    2 flames

Most Popular Review

  • Dowling Sumo Stoves

    Bernie Carnegie 12 years ago

    My first Dowling stove was a Sumo 8kw. I had an open plan kitchen dining room lounge and I found the stove great so simple and solid, no fire bricks no silly little windows of glass,easy to
    light and great heat.It has the added advantage that,because of the way the door drops down you can have it as an open fire, not so efficient like that but, nice on a winters evening. When I moved I decided to get another an 18Kw Sumo for a much larger house I sent Steve a picture and measurements of the fire place, he made a chimney with an angle so I could get the fire more into the room and it hasn't disappointed, it pumps the heat out and actually heats not only the downstairs but most of the house. I run it purely on wood it takes half meter lengths which is perfect, it will stay in overnight. I have been running it for 5 years and the only thing I have had to do is replace the glass, which is so simple because it just slides in. It look as good as new.I have just installed another Sumo,in a large open plan flat this is the updated and more heat efficient( because of the venting system) Sumo 20Kw with airwash. Very good,very hot. The airwash certainly keeps the glass cleaner than its predecessor, which I have become accustom to cleaning every day with a Stanley blade scraper,this stove once a week, a small price to pay. Two differences I have noticed, I preferred the original riddling system which rocked back and forward and I think the heat is a little less easy to control, in that I can't shut it down as far as my earlier model.However I think heat output to log input is excellent. I have found all the stoves very fuel efficient.Great stoves I would absolutely recommend them.

    Stove expert replied: Seems this range certainly meets this customers requirements. Good review.

    Overall rating:

    5 flames

More reviews for Dowling Sumo stove (page 1 of 2)

  • Sumo 16kw boiler - the best in the market

    Sum Product 4 years ago

    We've now had our 16kw Sumo installed for three months, linked to a 300l McDonald thermal store, heating 12 radiators and supplying all hot water. The stove is tremendous. We spent a year researching
    boiler stoves. A friend has a Dowling Firebug, and raves about its design, output and functionality. Seeing a Sumo up close, and one fitted in the local pub, was enough to convince us it was the right choice. We burn well seasoned hard wood, and the Sumo easily manages our heating, and enough hot water for baths all day if we chose to. The air system is basic (no air wash to speak of) but the glass stays reasonably clean - not so much with soft wood, which we stopped using and with far better results overall. The Sumo/thermal store combo was a leap of faith, but is proving to be a great system, and cost effective. We have a simple on/off gas boiler to top up the store when we're not burning, and the combo of convenience during working week (burning on evenings and weekends when home) means gas boiler is merely topping up the store. We spent a lot of time getting the store right - triple insulated and encased in a super-insulated boiler room - and were losing 2 degrees a day on really cold days. The Sumo is a fantastic piece of kit. Made to last a dozen lifetimes and a functional, easy to operate stove that does what is expected of it. Our 270-year-old house was a damp fridge prior to install. We're now opening windows on hard frost nights when it's got a good bed of hot ash. There is nothing on the market in this class that can touch the Sumo boiler. Best investment we've made so far in our renovation. The Engineer was also a joy to deal with. An engineer who really knows his stuff. If you want a stove to be an integral part of your heating system, look no further. No ropes. No fire bricks. No fiddly baffle plate. A steel monster that will no doubt be heating this old house long after we're gone.

    Stove expert replied: Great review, sounds fantastic!

    Overall rating:

    5 flames

  • The best ever!

    7 years ago

    I had a 16kw boiler stove installed three years ago. I cannot fault it. An original, ingenious, robust design. Easy to light & an efficient & enduring burn. Radiators heat up very quickly &
    little mess as nothing spills out...& generous ash pan means you only need to empty once a week...I also love the simple instinctive controls & sturdy handles. A personal service from the manufacturer with excellent after sales care

    Stove expert replied: It is not advisable to leave ash to build up in an ashpan as it can lead to shortening of the grate system otherwise a great review.

    Overall rating:

    5 flames

  • Our second Dowling stove

    8 years ago

    We've had a "Firebug" for many years and it is excellent - not least the zero maintenance. Now got Sumo in another part of the building and that too is brilliant. It looks a bit of a monster
    compared to some of the slick modern alternatives but that's OK by me.
    Overall rating:

    5 flames

  • The stove everyone notices.

    Geoffrey Lake 9 years ago

    I have a 16kW Sumo just starting its fourth year of use in a newly built house.The stoves unusual design, large size and output attract favourable comments from almost everyone who sees it.The
    stove is easy to use, efficient in fuel use and surprisingly flexible. It can be extremely clean burning. It has consumed about nine tonnes of softwood, a tonne of hardwood, five tonnes of anthracite /smokeless briquettes and a small amount of house coal so far. I stopped using the house coal as it produced too much soot.I inspect the chimney frequently and have just swept it for the FIRST TIME this weekend. Very little debris came down and the flue is now visibly clean and smooth. I find this astonishing and it says much for the design of the stove (and presumably the construction of my chimney). I do tend to run the stove fairly hot, then let it burn out. I don't try to 'bank down' the fire overnight, which probably helps keep the flue clean.I would recommend the stove without reservation.
    Overall rating:

    4.5 flames

  • Good for burning Anthracite

    William Fillingham 10 years ago

    I think the main thing about Dowling Stoves is that it is properly made from welded sheet steel.... basically after testing many different fuels, I found pure anthracite the best... this is
    fine in a Dowling, but would destroy any other stove... I have had my 12Kw Sumo since 2010 (after divorce.) and during the harsh winters (-15Deg C) it can be safely loaded up with a huge load of Anthracite... and with the lounge door open keeps most of the house warm.. to the extent I do not turn the oil central heating on...It can burn anything, but its not the stove you need to worry about, but your chimney installation, as whilst the Dowling stove can cope with a mini-Chernobyl scenario, your chimney still has to be looked after...hence, once going, the air supply must be closed right off. I found Anthracite more controllable in this respect, as it can easily be "turned down", whereas if you burn something more volatile it takes longer to subdue....I found the perfect fuel combination is to get started with say Taybrite, a small amount to get it warmed up, then dump a load of Anthracite on...with plenty of air.. then when that gets going close the air right off... it will then be fine for the whole evening. The 12Kw version is big enough to get through a whole 25Kg sack in on day during the worst weather..
    Overall rating:

    4.5 flames

  • sumo 8kw

    John Moore 14 years ago

    was already installed in house when i bought the place, and is now approximately 7 years old-had previous experience with much wenlock and morso squirrel, so getting a stove with no firebricks
    to replace is just great, albeit that i was initially sceptical about going over to boilerplate-output is super and could shoe horses with the heat-will burn anything and does well with mixture of coal, bord na mona bricks and wood-kept oil bill well down this winter which was exceptionally cold-very easy to light, clean and control-the firebox takes huge pieces of wood and the fuel falls in on itself given the design of the firebox-when we move, we will definately get another-only criticism is the airwash-the factory is well worth a visit just by the bladnoch distillery
    Overall rating:

    4.5 flames

  • Dowling Sumo 40K Boiler (The Mutha!) Again...

    Martin 14 years ago

    I'm the guy that wrote the first reveiw on the Sumo stove earlier thsi year. And I now read it back, I don't think I was fair. I am here again, not to look at stoves but, to of all things,
    look at web sites. I'm in business and remember this interesting site and now want to look at a product comparison site for my own companies marketing. So I am back. Anyway...The Sumo: Actually I don't know what I was thinking, I've made out this product to be quite poor. Not true. Build is great and efficiency brilliant. Particulary when you consider what it actaully does. No other stove on thsi site could go near it for output. I can only knock it on the airwash, but with it a blast furnac of a thing, what do you want? And I made it out to be complicated to install. yet done prperly, thay all are. And yes it burns a lot, but I'm heating a lot. So what was I saying exactly? Jeezz! So now, my corrected top 5 rating for all is realistic.In real terms cheap. Easy to use fill and empty. Control under the circumstances, rember this things output is 3-4 tims what others call a stove, is good. So I was unreasoable. Humble pie. I was likely having an off day. So, if like me you have a large LPG or oil bill this is the way to go. A Sumo. And buy your coal in June. never in Dec! 5 ton a drop from CPL direct. 230 a bag June 2009. (10kg) and then just throw them in. So sorry Steve, actually you DO sell a great product. So Mr/ms webmaster please put up this review an set the record straight for me.
    Overall rating:

    5 flames

  • another review

    John Wynne-eyton 14 years ago

    as per the last review, we have this stove linked to a dunsley neutralizer. you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand how it all works, the only difficult /expensive part is the
    normally open valve. the heat exchanger is basically a metal box with tappings if you can weld properly and understand how it works you could make your own. the weakness of the standard system is that it requires power to the circulation pumps to distribute heat, if power is lost the solution is to drain off domestic hot water, connect generator or install battery back up. The stove itself is a beast ! 220kg of beast! built to last. the only down sides are that the simplicity of design meeans that control of the heat out- put is down to the flue damper. in practise this is not a problem. we installed ours with a back up gas boiler, that we have never used . our gas bill is £5-8 quarter (the gas hob) the back up back up immersion heater has not been connected.

    Stove expert replied: This stove user may not have a heat leak device in their installation. A heat leak device gives you a way of getting rid of excess heat in the case of a power cut or pump failure. Often you have a dedicated heat leak radiator, or you may have a coil in the boiler which is flushed through with mains cold water in the event of overheating (although this option is not available for this particular stove). Always get a boiler stove system designed and installed by an expert.

    Overall rating:

    2 flames

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