Top-Loading Wood Stoves FAQ

Written by charles pearson
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Top-Loading Wood Stoves FAQ
Wood stoves often have both a top- and front-loading door. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Wood burning stoves use wood to generate heat. Owners deposit the wood either on the side or through the top of the wood stove. Some stoves have both features. The top-loading feature is somewhat easier to use than the side-load stoves because the owner does not have to stoop to put the wood in the stove. However, some owners might find this feature more difficult because they have to lift the wood higher up to deposit it.

Efficiency and Safety

Wood stoves were not as common in the past because wood burning was not as efficient. Also wood stoves release smoke that contains harmful fumes that humans should ideally not breathe in. However, new advances have lead to wood furnaces that can burn some of the smoke, reducing the emissions and also increasing the stove's efficiency. This especially benefits with top-loading wood stoves since the homeowner stands over the stove when loading the wood.


The top-loading stove has a top-load door. Since heat rises, the door can get very hot. Therefore, the stove usually has a handle that, when pushed, lifts up the lid so that the homeowner does not need to touch the top door. By pivoting the handle, the owner can put the lid in the locked position so that the owner can focus on loading the wood in. Owners must never operate the wood stove with an open-top lid.

Stove Grill

Some wood-burning stoves come with an optional grill that the homeowner can cook food on. This allows homeowners to have the food-grilling experience even during the winter months and during rainy weather.


Homeowners can more easily fit larger quantities of wood into the stove. This feature allows the homeowner to add more wood, which provides her with a greater duration of wood burning before she must replace the wood.

Damper Smoke

When opening the top-loading furnace to add wood, some stoves have smoke that rises up into the homeowner's face. However, some stoves automatically close the damper, which blocks the smoke so that the homeowner doesn't breathe in fumes.

Ash Removal

Homeowners must remove ash from the wood stove periodically. Some wood stoves have more space in the ash pit than others, which reduces the frequency that the homeowner must remove the ash.


Wood stoves have either top or rear flues. Some stoves have both, especially when the homeowner also has the option of switching between top- and side-loading stoves.

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