Review of Stovax Stockton 3 stove

Small things, good packages

Matt 7 years ago

Our Stockton 3 has now seen the tail end of last year's (mild) winter and the beginning of this year's (looking colder) winter.

It's small size is more than adequate at heating our two bedroom house but more crucially the size allowed it to be placed in our small fireplace opening whilst maintaining adequate air gaps.

The small size does introduce some downsides, particularly when burning wood, however. Officially the maximum log length is 8" (though it's possible to get away with 9") and this is something to consider when sourcing firewood. Be prepared to spend some time cutting wood down to size. Furthermore, the small firebox does mean fairly regular refuelling. And forget about burning overnight when burning even the densest of hardwood - the diminutive dimensions simply can't hold sufficient fuel.

All this changes when burning less environmentally friendly smokeless solid fuels however. The efficiency this little stove seems to eek out of every cob is impressive. Bank up no more than a dozen cobs overnight, close down the vents and the next morning be greeted with a hot stove containing a faintly glowing bed of embers - open everything up, riddle the grate, add more fuel and it's up and running again.

The airwash works reasonably well when burning wood. It's possible to strike a decent compromise between burn rate and glass cleanliness. The top vent spending most of the time half open necessitates a glass wipe every week or so. Burning wood fast and hot will keep the glass cleaner, though naturally detrimental to log stores.

Burning messier smokeless solid fuels, which prefer their air from the bottom vent, will understandably soot up the glass much quicker.

I can't fault build quality at all, it's a very solid (and heavy) piece of kit that is clearly built to last. Price wise, they're not exactly cheap but then not outrageously expensive either. A couple of hundred pounds more than no-name cheap import/ebay stoves of similar dimensions, but in the context of a lifespan measured in many decades and as part of a total bill including proper HETAS qualified commisioning it represents reasonable value.

It's size is both it's attraction and it's downside. Faced with a fireplace opening small enough to demand such dimensions then I suspect it is hard to find a better stove for the job. If you know that you will only ever burn wood then a pure wood burner (without bottom vent, riddling grate etc) may allow for a larger firebox within the same overall dimensions but the added flexibility afforded by being able to burn smokeless fuels on occasion is certainly valuable to us.

It's good at burning wood, it's very good at burning smokeless fuel, it fits in small fireplace openings and it's more than capable of heating the small homes in which such small fireplace openings are found. If you can fit a slightly larger stove then perhaps do so, but if you can't I suspect the Stockton 3 won't disappoint.

Stove expert replied: Good to hear about both fuel types and their performace, nice honest feedback.

Overall rating:

4 flames

Build Quality 5 flames (avg 4.4)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 4.5)
Value for money 3 flames (avg 4.1)
Ease of use 4 flames (avg 4.4)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 4.7)
Firebox size 3 flames (avg 3.2)
How well does the airwash work 3 flames (avg 3.2)
Controllability 3 flames (avg 3.7)
Handle operation 4 flames (avg 4.1)
How likely are you to buy it again? 4 flames (avg 4)
What is your overall satisfaction? 5 flames (avg 4.6)