If a heating solution involving solid fuel is desired there are a number of options, all coming under the classification of solid fuel stoves. These heaters can further be classified according to the type of fuel they use, and the purpose of the heat they produce: are they intended to heat air or water, or perhaps heat food?
Wood Burning Stoves
One of the oldest types of solid fuel heater are wood burning stoves. Used for thousands of years to heat rooms, they are now becoming more popular due to the increasing price of mains gas and electricity. Aside from pre-seasoned and cut firewood logs, they are able to burn wood chip and wood pellets, the latter usually more efficient in terms of heat delivered. As well as standard models, designer models are becoming popular, as are second hand wood burning stoves.
Multi Fuel Stoves
If more flexibility in terms of fuel used is desired, then multi fuel stoves should be purchased. In addition to burning wood and wood pellets they can burn coal or coke, and advanced models can have gas or oil back-up units that allow them to function even when their primary fuel has run out. As a result of this, they can be more reliable than single fuel stoves, though are often more expensive to purchase as a result of this.
Coal stoves are another traditional type of multi fuel stove, which for obvious reasons have historically been more popular in coal mining areas. Able to use coal and coke as fuel, models range from simple, old-style coal burners to complex modern hopper fed coal stoves, which greatly increase efficiency and reliability. If the user has a ready supply of cheap coal, it should be no problem to find a stove to suit their needs and budget.
For those seeking a way to ensure their water is heated from renewable resources, wood boilers are an excellent option. They can be used in a variety of locations: sheds and narrowboats, for instance, in addition to homes and businesses. Also, they can use a variety of fuels. Aside from the usual firewood logs, wood chip and wood pellets are both an option. Wood pellets, being comprised of compressed wood shavings and sawdust, are generally a more efficient fuel source than normal wood.
Multi Fuel Boilers
When compared to other types of solid fuel boiler, multi fuel boilers have the advantage of being able to utilise a wide variety of solid fuels, such as wood, coal and even peat. For this reason, they would probably be more suitable for domestic and commercial users that are not tied to any particular fuel source for reasons of cost or supply. Such users can save money by using the cheapest fuel at any particular time, rather than having to stick to either coal or wood.
In areas with ready supplies of coal (such as areas where ex-miners still receive supplies of cheap or free coal), coal boilers can be an excellent way of providing hot water to a home, and heat via a central heating system. Such boilers are often a mainstay of industry in such areas.
Solid Fuel Camping Stoves
For those out camping, solid fuel camping stoves are an excellent way of cooking food and boiling water. Cheap, robust and lightweight, they are usually powered by hexamine fuel tablets.