Opinions on Jotul Oslo or Mansfield?

housekeepingSeptember 25, 2007

I am considering purchasing one of these stoves. Has anybody any opinion to share?

This would be our major source of heat (we have no central heat) in a northern NY house and would replace a worn-out Vermont Castings Defiant Encore. We usually burn 4 to 5 cords per year, and have burned wood for 30+ years.

I have looked at Harman woodstoves (not pretty and the firebox is too narrow) and Hearthstone (like the soapstone, but find the styling, and fit and finish lacking, plus the ash collection tray is ridiculously small). Not considering a new VC since the company appears to have gone downhill.

Of the Jotuls, I like the left hand loading door and the overall form of the OSlo better, but the other is in contention because of its larger size despite its poorer emissions rating and the silly shell-shaped faux handle on the top.

Anybody using these stoves?

Thanks for any reply you care to make.


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It would help to know how large your house is but if you only need 4-5 cords in northern NY then I'm assuming it's medium sized. The Mansfield is definitely a blocky looking stove. For a few hundred more you could get a Hearthstone Equinox, their largest stove but a bit better looking with a left hand side loading door and a big fireview window.
These are just coming out. I have two stoves, a Hearthstone Phoenix and a Quadrafire Isle Royale which don't both run all the time but which heat ~3,000 SF when both running. We love the even heat of the soapstone.

Others you might check out are the Hampton H300, Pacific Energy Alderlea T6, Pacific Energy Summit Classic, or for more modern styling the Pacific Energy Fusion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hearthstone Equinox

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Thanks for your reply about the Equinox. Do you know if they have redesigned the dinky little ash collector like the one that comes in the Mansfield?

I really like soapstone stoves, in theory, but in examining the Hearthstones stoves I've seen for sale, I'm just not impressed with the build-quality of the current generation of their products. I think they're going down the same sad path that Vermont Castings went by cheaping out on the components and QA on the assembly.

That's why I'm really only looking at the two cast-iron Jotul stoves at this point. Fortunately, my Jotul dealer says I can cover the top of the Oslo with a thick slab of soapstone to capture some of a soapstone stove's long heat cycle.

My house is about 2K square feet, so not very large. The biggest challenge is that it has no wall insulation and none can be installed without significant damage to parts of the historic structure. On the upside the walls are back-plastered so it's not as bad as no insulation might seem, but still a challenge to heat. It was always designed to be heated with stoves (this is an early-adoption area for stoves as they were made here from the beginning of the technology).

I will wait to see the Equinox when it shows up at my dealer and check out the others you mentioned.



    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 2:37PM
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Molly I forgot to mention Woodstock soapstone stoves. These are made right here in NH and would be another option. They are catalytic but the slow burn of the catalytic combustor and the even heat of soapstone is a good match. They are only sold directly to consumers with no dealers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woodstock Soapstone stoves

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 10:43AM
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Chris Newell

Hi Molly, I have been heating with an Oslo for 3 years now. It's a good stove for me and provides about 90 % of my heat for my 2,300 sf house. I have a very open floor plan, so that helps with the heat distribution. As far as the stove goes, I haven't had any material or maintenance problems at all. Burning 24/7 from about Nov thru Mar, I go though about 8 cords.

Although I'm very happy with the stove and highly recommend it, you should be aware of it's few shortcomings: First the ashtray is pretty small on the Oslo too, I have to empty it every few days The front door frustrating for loading wood because every time it is opened it spills a load of ashes onto the front catch. The air control is small and somewhat hard to fine tune, plus it gets wicked hot. The glass stays fairly clean, but over time it does get a soot buld-up. It is sometimes a bit reluctant to get an initial fire started. I generally leave the ash door cracked to provide extra airflow when starting a fire, but this is a no-no both from a safety standpoint and for warranty reasons. If you do it, make sure you keep a close eye on it.

Anyway all that being said, I rate my Oslo very highly and feel comfortable recommending it to others.

Good luck, Chris

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:22PM
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Hi Molly,
What did you end up buying? We are similar situation--retired a worn out 1986 VC Defiant Encore last year. Bought a Woodstock soapstone stove, but it is undersized for our house, and we are now looking to sell it and buy a Jotul Oslo. Any feedback you can offer?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 11:05PM
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You cannot go wrong with the Jotul Oslo 500 or the Jotul 600. Both are great stoves and now you can add a fan (new option). Jotul is one of the oldest and most respected stove manufactures in the world. You will not have to get another stove once you get a Jotul. They are nice looking stoves that really produce the heat.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 10:09PM
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