First and foremost, we had to choose a stove that was within our budget. I learned quickly that the price of wood stoves can vary widely, and it seems to me that a lot of the extra expense goes to "pretty". As much as I love the look of soapstone stoves, they're way too pricey for us. Besides, living where we live, our heating needs are fairly minimal and so it wasn't essential for us to get the best stove possible. If we lived someplace much colder, I would consider it more of an investment and put up more money to get the best we possibly could, but that simply wasn't necessary in our case.
This stove is a Drolet Classic that we ordered from Northern Tool. Drolet is a Canadian company, and well, we figured they might know a thing or two about wood stoves. ;-) We looked at the technical specs on this and other comparable models and concluded that there wasn't really too much difference. We chose this specific one based on the following factors:
- The size (BTU output) is adequate to heat our house.
- It was within our price range
- It is UL listed and EPA certified (these were important to us).
- It had some small design features that we preferred over similar stoves in other brands (it has a flat top rather than "stepped", we preferred a pedestal base over footed, it has a large, pull-out ash drawer, etc.)
So far, we're very happy with it!