There are four types of stove for you to consider-gas, electric, wood, and wood pellet. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Gas stoves are a convenient, low-maintenance way to have the beauty and charm of a real fire in your home. A gas stove can heat your home reliably using a thermostat. Many gas stoves come with a remote control. You don't even have to get out of your armchair to light a fire. A gas stove will keep working even if the electricity goes out.
A gas stove is relatively inexpensive to operate. Depending on the price of gas in your area, wood or especially wood pellet stoves will be cheaper. Electric will tend to be more expensive. Gas stoves don't require you to store and add fuel to the fire and they don't involve any messy cleanup afterwards. They do need to have venting so that fumes don't pollute your indoor air.
Even a small gas stove can heat 700 square feet. A large one can heat up to 2000.
Electric stoves can provide the look and romance of a fire anywhere in your home. They can be placed just about anywhere, and many are built with portability in mind. They are the easiest by far to install. Just take the cord and plug it in a standard wall outlet. They don't need to be hooked up to any venting. You only need to exercise caution that they aren't placed too close to anything that will be damaged by heat.
Electric stoves are thermostatically controlled to provide consistent temperatures. Some can be operated by remote control, just like their gas counterparts. The heater can be turned off if you just want to enjoy the fire. Electric stoves tend to be smaller and can be used to heat a master bedroom or den.
Nothing provides as realistic a wood fire as wood itself. For some homeowners, there can be no substitute. The varying height of the fire, its crackling, the smell of just a touch of wood smoke (there won't be too much if the stove is properly vented), can create a home fire experience like no other.
A wood stove needs to be properly vented with a good, draft-producing chimney. It is not portable, the way an electric stove is. It cannot be operated with a remote control, as gas and electric can. You will need to purchase and store seasoned wood for a wood stove. And you'll need to clean out the ash and charred logs regularly as well as having an annual chimney sweeping.
New ParagraphA large wood stove can heat up to 2,800 square feet.
Wood pellet stoves may be a good compromise for those who desire a real wood fire but want to avoid some of the muss and fuss. Made from sawdust, wood pellets burn more cleaning, releasing fewer pollutants into the air. That and the fact they come from a renewable resource makes them environmentally friendly. Pellet stoves can be thermostatically controlled and used to heat very large areas. An extra large wood pellet stove can be used to heat 3,000 square feet.