Review of Esse Ironheart cooking range

What a stove

Matthew T one year ago

We bought this stove second-hand to replace an oil-burning Rayburn. We liked the idea of a wood burning range in the kitchen to be the ‘heart of the home’ and this stove certainly seemed to fit the bill.

I think the previous owner had burned coal, and the stove had clearly suffered some abuse over the years and was completely full of creosote.

We cleaned out all of the creosote (bags and bags of it!) and replaced many of the consumable parts; the baffle plate, firebricks, firebox and ropes. Esse were very helpful in providing spare parts at reasonable prices.

Initially we installed the stove making use of the existing 5” flue with anti-downdraught cowl and were a little disappointed with its performance. The stove smoked a bit when lighting and when refuelling. Once lit it performed very well and the flames danced beautifully. Nevertheless I was frustrated by the smoking. I read every review and post I could find and this did seem to be a bit of a consistent story, but was possibly related to the flue size.

We upgraded the flue to a 6” flue and removed the anti-downdraught cowl and what a difference it made! The stove now lights easily and doesn’t smoke at all when lighting or refuelling. I must admit I was sceptical that the flue would make so much difference but it really has.

This stove produces a showroom quality burn; clean, lovely flames and the door glass stays crystal clear.

The children absolutely love it and want to light it every day and cook on it. It really is the heart of the home that we hoped for.

I would suggest anyone that is having trouble with this stove investigates their flue in the first instance.

The stove is incredibly heavy (about 350kg) and it is true that the side panels are made of steel rather than cast iron. Cast iron is certainly a nicer material for stoves, especially when leaded but possibly would have made the stove too heavy.

The oven is a good size, slightly bigger than the Rayburn I think, and the hot plates are very generous. You can easily fit several pans on it, and it provides a good temperature gradient from left to right. You can even cook steaks directly on the hot plate which is a good party piece.

I would buy another in a heartbeat.

Overall rating:

5 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 3.4)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 3.6)
Value for money 5 flames (avg 3.6)
Ease of use 5 flames (avg 3.8)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 3.7)
Firebox size 5 flames (avg 4.3)
How well does the airwash work 5 flames (avg 3.5)
Controllability 5 flames (avg 3.6)
Handle operation 5 flames (avg 3.6)
How likely are you to buy it again? 5 flames (avg 3.5)
What is your overall satisfaction? 5 flames (avg 3.6)