Review of Esse 300 stove

Great Design but Quality Suspect

James 9 years ago

I'll start this review by explaining that my view on the Esse 301 build quality and value for money has been somewhat coloured by having one that didn't appear to be have been properly checked before it left the factory. Given the price of the stove, I'd have expected better of Esse who weren't very good on customer service either, contrary to one of the reviewers on here. The fault meant the main vent wouldn't close properly, which we eventually found was a problem on a batch of stoves due to a sub-contractor Esse had used. Suffice to say it is worth checking the stove very carefully on receipt!

Away from that, the stove is very well designed and, in line with other reviewers, it has really changed the room it has been in. It throws out a lot of heat, which not only heats the north facing room it's in but also the bedroom above. I didn't fully appreciate both the convected heat from the vents and the amount it heated up the flue, making the chimney, effectively, a large storage heater. Tied in with the amount of heat radiated from the stove we've been able to turn off the central heating this winter for all but the very coldest of days.

Compared to an open fire (which I have had before and I grew up with) it's easy to light and to use. We tend to find it works best with smokeless fuel and filling up the firebox and closing the bottom vent is all that is needed to get it to burn overnight. Opening up the main (bottom) vent in the morning means it leaps back into life and it's ready for the day. In terms of control-ability, it is easy to keep at exactly the right level of heat and flames, whether it's burning wood or smokeless fuel. The only difference between the two is using the main vent for smokeless and the secondary vent for wood (which when it's heated up generates some really nice flames that fill the firebox and give a great effect).

Firebox size is quite small but it's only something we notice when we burn wood and even then it's a case of fuelling it a bit more regularly and cutting wood to the right size.

Finally, the airwash works as well as you would expect at keeping the glass clean, given it's a small stove. Burning smokeless fuel means the glass needs a wipe over every day (hardly arduous); wood means that it pretty much keeps itself clean as long as it's properly seasoned wood and the stove is given a blast every now and then.

Would I buy this stove again? I'd look elsewhere due to my experience with Esse but in terms of our satisfaction with the stove now it has been fixed, we're very happy.

St9ove Expert Replied: Information given gives a fair review of this stove, its pluses and minuses.

Overall rating:

4 flames

Build Quality 2 flames (avg 3.8)
Quality of finish 5 flames (avg 4.5)
Value for money 3 flames (avg 3.6)
Ease of use 5 flames (avg 4.9)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 4.9)
Firebox size 4 flames (avg 3.5)
How well does the airwash work 3 flames (avg 3.2)
Controllability 5 flames (avg 4.2)
Handle operation 4 flames (avg 4.4)
How likely are you to buy it again? 2 flames (avg 3.2)
What is your overall satisfaction? 4 flames (avg 3.5)