soapstone stove vs jotul

ponderinstuffSeptember 6, 2005

I have read that many of you love your soapstone stoves, and they are beautiful. I am a little confused about "soft heat" though. Is this soft heat similar to the type of warmth you get from a pellet stove? We want a cozier heat like what you get from a woodstove. We've had both.

We have narrowed it down to a Hearthstone or Jotul stove.

Another reason we like the Jotul is that there is an optional screen you can get for an open fire. A big plus for fire lovers that don't have a fireplace. I'd love to hear pros and cons of both from you all!

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Some of the Harmans have an optional screen too.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:31PM
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Bumping this in hopes someone can answer the "soft heat" question.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 10:40PM
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I know nothing about pellet stoves.

And I'm not sure my reply is going to adequately address your question about "soft" heat, but I'll try. Soapstone stoves have thicker walls than metal stoves do. The fire in the box is more "removed" from the room and the heat is absorbed by the porous stone and then gradually released into the surrounding room.

I think "soft heat" addresses the fact that you don't get the extreme variances between cold and hot after lighting the fire. And while the stove is definitely HOT when the fires is really burning, the soapstone won't burn you immediately the way hot metal will should you accidently brush against it. Case in point; two years ago we adopted 3 kittens in October. One of them gracefully jumped from the back of the couch to the the stovetop. Obviously she instantly leapt off it. When we picked her up to inspect her paddy paws there was no burn, nor did she favor them a bit, I would be surprised it that would've been the case with a metal stove. Moreover, the insulating power of soapstone will nuture coals long after the fire is gone, and the stored heat is continually released to the room. We will load the stove as the sun is setting, burn it hot, and occasionally we feed it again before bedtime (depends on how cold it is). In the morning the stove is still warm to the touch and there is a bed of coals adequate to rekindle a morning fire.

We've had our's for close to 15 years now, so it's been a long time since I've operated a metal stove and I'm sure things have changed a lot in those years. But I don't think we'll ever have anything but soapstone again... it's like a down comforter or a really nice quality wool suit.

Does this help answer your question?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 8:01AM
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That sounds like a good summary. I've had a cast iron stove for 6yrs and I'm going to a Hearthstone Phoenix this year. I'm a little leary about the learning curve, but I'm thinking I can get the fire started earlier and get to bed before the stove starts putting out the majority of the heat.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 11:39AM
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What do you mean by "learning curve"? There's nothing to it; even the dreaded catalytic combustor is a breeze, really!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 5:03PM
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Thank you for responding Chelone.

Let me see if I can clarify what I'm asking. Hopefully you can help me understand through my thinking.

If I turn up my oil furnace my house gets warm, but it doesn't feel the same at 75 degrees as it does when the wood stove is producing the same heat (at least not to me). The pellet stove doesn't feel the same to me either even though it gets warm and can get hot. Perhaps the reason is the fans, I don't know. Hope someone does.

Does the soapstone feel more like oil/gas heat, or more like a wood stove? I hope I'm not the only one out here that feels that thinks there is a difference!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 10:38PM
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Oh, it feels like a woodstove, Ponderin'!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 7:46AM
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What I mean by "learning curve" is the time delay factor. From my understanding, you are not going to get heat right away but have it long after the fire has died out. This is something I had to learn with the cast iron stove too since I started burning 6 yrs ago.
Many mornings I'd wake up to a cold house, load the stove and leave for work. Then have my wife call me around 3pm and say it was 80 degrees in the house.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 10:13AM
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Now I see what you mean!

It DOES take time to find the "schedule" of burns to achieve the comfort level you like. So much depends on your home; it's age, layout, and your preference for heat. And, the quality of the wood you will burn. "Green" wood is frustrating; takes longer to get a good burn going, and it increases creosote build up in flues. We have 2+ cord split and stacked, and another 2-3 ready for splitting this fall. After that we still have trees that need to come down on our modest 3 acre lot. We purchased a splitter last year... .

We have a relatively new home with lots of insulation and a 5 zone heating system. We essentially live on the second floor and large south windows allow winter sun to stream into the house and keep it quite warm during the day. Our thermostats are usually set at around 55-60 degrees and we keep less used areas closed off. For us, we've found a pre-dawn fire begins warming the area in about 20-30 minutes. We typically light a second one when the sun is setting, and then feed it before bedtime if it's really cold out. Our main living area maintains 72-76 easily; perfect for my elderly mother is usually cold. Sometimes we find it a bit warm, but we can always wear tee shirts and shorts (which is preferable to putting ON polar fleece, lol).

You will find soapstone a wonderful material and your comfort will be greatly enhanced. Good luck with your new stove. :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 11:04AM
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Thanks a bunch for the info, it is appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 2:36PM
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Which wood burning stove did you purchase - soapstone or castiron - jotul? I am currently where you were a couple of years ago. I am about to purchase a wood burning stove and I want a hot - heat. I want the same kind of heat (or as close to it that I can get) that I get from my propane gas furnance - which I can not afford to use. Which stove did you end up purchasing and does it give you the kind of heat you were seeking?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 2:48PM
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I'm not Ponderinstuff, BUT...

I'm about to purchase our second Woodstock Soapstone Co. product. We've owned a Fireview for close to 17 years now (replaced the DREADED cat. combustor twice) and the next stove will be a "Classic". I have no qualms WHATSOEVER about buying this company's product. The stoves perform flawlessly, year in/year out, and we've had to replace the combustor every 3-4 yrs.(?).

I'm OK with that! I'm FINE with paying attention to what "feeds" our stove. I'm fine with NOT using our stove as a disposal for everything burnable! HELLO?!

Woodstoves are for firewood, NOTHING ELSE.

Reduce, re-USE, RECYCLE.

Don't shove it into your woodstove, PLEASE!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 3:53PM
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we have a hearthstone phoenix
we installed it in the fall of 05
we love it
it paid for itself within two years as we saved all that fuel oil. ( which would have cost 3K a year)
it takes some getting used to, while you are learning to burn it
i wouldn't live without a soapstone stove or soapstone masonary heater.

we are hoping to build, if we do we will be installing a soapstone masonary heater AND taking this stove with us

i will tell you
make sure you install double wall stove pipe, the first year the dealer had installed single wall ( they never even discussed double wall with us)
the double wall made a HUGE difference in the way it burns

we love this stove
and it is the primary heat source for us
we won't ever have anything but soapstone from now on

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 10:05AM
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contemplating a jotul firelight 600 or a hearthstone mansfield need input and view points

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 8:26PM
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I bought a jotul 600 cb firelight recently and was comparing it to the hearthstone equinox. Our house is a passive solar 3200 square ft. timber frame house with ceramic tiled radiant floor heating and a huge amount of thermal mass in the chimney structure. I tell you all this to say I believe the descison should be made on how much thermal mass is inside the insulation of your house! Alot of interior thermal mass will absorb the BTUs of energy produced by the stove and re-radiate it into your living space slowly over a period of time. If you do not have a lot thermal mass inside the insulation of your house the soapstone stove is much better because itself contains the thermal mass in the soapstone structure of the stove and it will do the same thing. I hope this helps you decide. Laying down the money to purchase on of these stoves is a big decision, good luck.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:28PM
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I do own a Jotul and happy to say so, on the other hand, my in-laws own a soapstone that they paid "MUCH MORE" for and now has a crack in the stone in back of it. My father in-law has decided that he wants to throw out it. I (some how) will salvage it from him-fix it up-post it on EBay where one of you might bid on it. Sorry to hear that-ALMOST-because I'll take your money and go buy a REAL wood stove, a Jotul. With the money I'll save, maybe, I'll take my family to Disney for a couple weeks. Oh yeah-did I mention that I to have a screen!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:31PM
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