Review of Firebelly FB1 stove

Morso 04 vs. Firebelly FB1

Sid Logs 13 years ago

No review can be much use unless it objectively refers to other items in the market. I have a Morso 04, a Firebelly FB1, and a Jetmaster 700. This review is about both the Morso and the Firebelly.\n\nThe Morso 04 (5kw) is smaller than the Firebelly FB1 (6kw). I have put the Morso in a larger room (5.5mx4.85m), because it is in a south facing room, unlike the Firebelly, which is in a smaller North facing room (3.8mx3.5m). Also, the Morso has to stay burning all day, whereas the Firebelly usually has to warm up a cold room (usually under 10 degrees in the winter) for a few hours in the evening. So the rated sizes are good for me.\n\nI generally get the impression that many vendors suggest, and many purchasers buy woodburners that are too large. This means they do not burn efficiently, or the room overheats, or both. If you have background central heating as well, you want a much smaller woodburner because it will not be your only source of heat in the extreme cold.\n\nBoth fires are very efficient compared to the Jetmaster, and use fewer logs. It is hard to compare efficiencies, but the Morso probably has the edge over the Firebelly, but not by much.\n\nYou can fit way bigger logs into the Firebelly, which is useful for slowing down the burn.\n\nThe Morso has a multi-fuel grate built in, while the Firebelly doesn't (you can buy one separately).\n\nThe Morso has an ash pan, so clearing out the ash is easier than the Firebelly.\n\nBoth fires are quite messy when you open the door.\n\nThe airwash works fine on both of them. Neither have double-glazing, and both get sooted up if you don't burn hard enough (is that a reason not to over-size your woodburner). Even Clearview stoves get sooted up as well, according to some friends, who have 3 Clearview woodburners. When we were round for dinner recently, they kept the doors of their Clearview 650 open, and it was just smouldering. I think they should have put in something half the power for that room.\n\nControllability is better for the Morso, as the top slit in the Firebelly is a bit of a pain. They have now revised the design with a thing that you twist. I'm not sure whether that is an improvement, as the range of implements I would be able to use to move it is probably smaller. Currently, I usually use a lighter to open and close it, and only very occasionally bother to get the supplied tool to have it half open. With the Morso, you just do it smoothly with your hand.\n\nI personally find it is better to run both of them fully open and adjust the size and arrangement of logs to regulate heat.\n\nThe handle on the Firebelly stays cool. Yes. You don't have to put on a glove to open the door. This is a major advantage over the Morso, and in fact, most woodburners. The function you use most often is... opening the door. So this is one of the most important factors.\n\nI'm very happy with both, and they suit the rooms well. I've heard a couple of vendors say uncomplimentary things about the Firebelly: that the glass gets sooted up (so do others), the ventilation control is pants (true), but no one mentions about the glove that you don't have to use. I think that outweighs the ventilation issue.\n

Overall rating:

3.5 flames

Build Quality 5 flames (avg 4.1)
Quality of finish 5 flames (avg 3.9)
Value for money 3 flames (avg 3.9)
Ease of use 4 flames (avg 4.2)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 4.2)
Firebox size 4 flames (avg 4.1)
How well does the airwash work 3 flames (avg 4)
Controllability 1 flames (avg 3.5)
Handle operation 5 flames (avg 4)
How likely are you to buy it again? 4 flames (avg 3.8)
What is your overall satisfaction? 4 flames (avg 3.9)