Review of Villager Chelsea Solo

Good little burner

Steve Downing 8 years ago

Believe reviews should only be done after living with a stove for a while so here goes. I had the "Chelsea solo" installed in September 2013 and it is now April 2014 so it has a had a good winters burning. This is a nice looking stove with a decent air-wash function at a good price. I have found it easy to light using a firelighter on a small bed of solid fuel with a few sticks. If you leave the ash pan door open when lighting it encourages air to come in underneath the grate which means it gets up to operating temperature in about 10 minutes. For a steady burn, a small bed of solid fuel with (for me) mostly scrap wood, or a few good well seasoned logs it will keep in for quite a long time. I tried various smokeless fuels, Anthracite and house coal, but found house coal kept in the best produced the least smoke and the least ash for the solid fuels. Keeping in overnight was tricky as I was unable to shut down the air enough to slow the burn rate to keep in for 12 hours, best I managed was around 8 hours. The best way to adjust the air flow when fully lit was to close both air "sliders" and control the burn by loosening and tightening the "knobs" on the sliders. External riddle works well and the flat top was very handy when power was lost to the house for 48hrs as I was able to heat hot water and also do some limited cooking on the stove top. When the stove goes out, the glass tends to soot up a bit, but this is easily cleaned when re-lighting and turning the air up a bit. I have often been asked how often I clean the glass and the answer is never... Would I buy it again? Not sure, if I needed a 5kw stove of low height due to a wood surround then yes, if height was not an issue then probably not, I am however looking at a different Villager/Arado model for my next place. This is my 3rd stove having had a Clearview and a Stovax in previous properties so are speaking from experience

Stove expert replied: Household coal should not be used on a closed appliance, smokeless fuel or wood if the stove is a multifuel model only. Household coal is not a clean fuel and burns with a longer flame causing overheating of the internal components,

Overall rating:

4 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 3.6)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 3.9)
Value for money 4 flames (avg 3.9)
Ease of use 4 flames (avg 4.2)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 4.4)
Firebox size 4 flames (avg 3.6)
How well does the airwash work 5 flames (avg 3.8)
Controllability 3 flames (avg 3.6)
Handle operation 3 flames (avg 3.1)
How likely are you to buy it again? 3 flames (avg 3.5)
What is your overall satisfaction? 4 flames (avg 3.7)