Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Stove fans are in great demand, especially in autumn and winter, when it gets colder and darker early. So people look forward to an evening by the warm fireplace to make themselves cosy. Unfortunately, it takes a while to reach the feel-good temperatures.

The warm air first rises towards the ceiling. With our stove fan test 2021 we want to help you find the best stove fan for you. We have evaluated various models with different focuses to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




The most important facts

  • Stove fans are used to distribute the warm air of a fireplace evenly in the room to benefit from the heat more quickly.
  • In principle, stove fans work without an external power source and are "activated" by the heat of the fireplace.
  • You can use a stove fan directly without any complicated assembly instructions. You simply place it on your fireplace. However, it is important to note that the fan is placed at the back, to the side of the stove pipe.

The Best Stove Fan: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for stove fans

In order to be able to adequately compare the many stove fans, we have selected various criteria which we would like to present to you below. With their help, you can compare the stove fans that have made it to your shortlist.

In the following paragraphs, we will go into more detail on the individual criteria and explain to you what is important in particular:

Operating temperature

An important feature when buying a stove fan is clearly the operating temperature. It indicates at which temperature the fan starts to work. The optimal operating temperature often starts at 100 to 120 degrees Celsius. Some stove fans only work at around 70 degrees Celsius, while others already work at 50 degrees Celsius.

The specified operating temperature always refers to the surface temperature of the fireplace, as the stove fan is driven by its heat. This can be a problem for stoves with natural stone cladding, because such surfaces often do not get as hot. Stove fans work best on stoves with steel cladding.

Before buying, measure the surface temperature of your stove to check whether it gets hot enough and what temperatures are reached. This will help you later when deciding which stove to buy.

In order to achieve better heat distribution even with slower rotating stove fans, the devices are placed far back and close to the stove pipe. If the output of the fan is too low, it is still possible to set up another unit. This is particularly advantageous for large, spacious rooms.

Dimensions

Most stove fans are between 12 and 24 centimetres high. Since the stove fan (with a few exceptions) is placed on top of the fireplace, a smaller fan is more inconspicuous. However, you should make sure that the fan's rotor blades are not too small, otherwise they will not distribute the air in the room well.

When buying a stove fan, you should pay attention to the base of the fan. It should rest completely on the chimney and have a firm stand. Only then can the heat of the fireplace be optimally utilised.

Material

Note that the lining of a fireplace gets very hot, which is why a heat-resistant material is an absolutely essential requirement for a stove fan. For this reason, most fans are made of steel or aluminium.

For more information on the absolute maximum temperature compatibility, see the respective operating instructions for the appliances. It is best to check before use whether the fan is suitable for your fireplace.

How it works

A stove fan is most often operated without electricity from the socket. It takes advantage of the thermoelectric drive. There are three different types of drive:

  • Seebeck effect: The Seebeck effect describes the development of a voltage in an electric circuit with two different conductors at a temperature difference at the contact points. In this circuit, the lower part (equipped with thermocouples) is positioned on the hot stove. The upper part is positioned on the cooler air. The kinetic energy in the lower part is higher than in the upper part, which causes the electrons in the conductor to distribute more than the colder electrons. This creates an imbalance.
  • Stirling engine: This type of engine is a hot gas engine. Its main element is two cylinders. They are usually filled with a gas (e.g. helium). This gas is heated in one of the cylinders by the heat from the stove. The heat energy of the stove is thereby converted into kinetic energy by thermodynamic effects. The pistons are driven by this energy and so is the fan.
  • External power source: In the case of a permanently installed fireplace fan, for example, an external power source, a so-called heat distributor, is used. This power source uses electricity from the socket.

If your fireplace does not get so hot, it is advisable to buy a stove fan with a Stirling engine. This is also driven by the heat of the fireplace. Before buying, make sure that the stove fan is also suitable for your fireplace, otherwise it will not work properly.

In most cases, a stove fan works without electricity because it has a Peltier element as its drive unit. The rotor blades of the stove fan rotate by means of (self-generated) electricity, which is created by the temperature difference between the lower and upper parts of the fan. This requires a fireplace surface heat of approximately 70 degrees Celsius.

When the bottom of the stove fan has reached this heat, the rotator blades start to rotate. At the same time, they cool the top of the appliance to maintain the temperature difference.

Rotor blades

You are probably wondering why there are so many different models with different numbers of rotor blades. Generally, there are stove fans with two, three, four or even more blades. The number of rotor blades is related to the operating temperature/speed.

This means that a stove fan with many propellers distributes more air at a low speed in the room. The more rotor blades, the lower the necessary starting temperature. How much air the stove fan distributes per revolution also depends on the shape of the blades.

Volume

A cosy evening by the fire should not be disturbed by loud fan noises. Therefore, it is important that the appliance works quietly. Most stove fans operate almost silently. When buying, it is important to remember that the more rotator blades a stove fan has, the quieter it becomes, and vice versa.

Stove fans: Frequently asked questions and answers

In the following we want to answer the most important questions about stove fans. After reading the guide, you will know all the essential background information about stove fans.

What is a stove fan?

At autumn and winter time, many stoves are in use again. They heat the room and create a cosy atmosphere. It is nice and warm directly in front of the fireplace, but it takes some time until the whole room is really warm. A stove fan ensures that the heat from the fireplace is used effectively.

It concentrates the warm air, which would normally first travel towards the ceiling, and blows it into the room. As a result, it is not only warm directly around the fireplace, but everywhere in the entire room.

Stove fans enrich every fireside evening with their mode of operation. (Image source: Sergei Solo / unsplash)

A stove fan is a very sensible purchase. It distributes the warm air from the fireplace throughout the room. Most devices are thermoelectric fireplace fans, which work with self-generated electricity from a Peltier element (an electrothermal converter based on the Peltier effect). You can save both electricity costs and fuel. The use of a stove fan is particularly useful when heating large rooms. However, you should note that it only works on fireplace surfaces that get hot enough.

On a masonry mantelpiece or on soapstone-clad stoves, the use of a stove fan is unfavourable, as the thermal insulation contradicts its operating principle. In case you are one of the owners of a soapstone-clad stove or masonry mantelpiece, we have listed alternatives to the stove fan below.

How does a stove fan work?

In most cases, a stove fan works without electricity. The drive unit is a Peltier element, which makes it a thermoelectric fan. The term "currentless" is only partially correct, because the rotor blades of the stove fan rotate by means of (self-generated) electricity.

A stove fan concentrates heat so that cold feet are quickly warmed up in winter. (Image source: S-Wlocyk2 / pixabay)

It is created by the temperature difference between the lower part of the fan and the upper part. This requires a stove top heat of about 70 degrees Celsius. When the bottom of the stove fan has reached this heat, the rotator blades start to rotate. At the same time, they cool the top of the appliance. This maintains the temperature difference. More details will be answered in the next question.

What types of stove fans are there?

In the following, we will introduce you to the different types of stove fans and their advantages and disadvantages.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Stove fans with Seebeck effect The heat energy conversion rate can be increased, The residual heat can be used Only minimally applicable, Generation of very large amounts of energy not possible
Stove fans with Stirling engine Long-lasting Low-emission and economical Low maintenance and low servicing costs. Annoying drive work High risk of wear due to constant heat Efficiency low
Stove fans with external power source Inexpensive, Constant power The better the more expensive, Uses electricity

A stove fan is a sensible purchase if you want to distribute the heat of the fireplace better in the room.

What does a stove fan cost?

Stove fans are available in different price ranges. The following table shows you where you can find stove fans in which price ranges.
Retailer price range
Amazon from 25 euros
DIY store 60 to 100 euros
Specialised shops up to 200 euros

Prices start as low as 25 euros. Most stove fans cost between 30 and 100 euros, but you can spend up to 200 euros on them. In our recommendations, you will find models in the lower to middle segment.

What are the alternatives to a stove fan?

A stove fan is a sensible purchase if you want to distribute the heat of the fireplace better in the room. However, as already mentioned, it does not work on all fireplaces because they do not get hot enough to guarantee the optimal operating temperature of a stove fan.
Type Description
Normal stand fan You can place a normal fan next to the fireplace so that it distributes the fireplace heat in the room.
Ceiling fan The warm air given off by the fireplace accumulates on the ceiling after a while. A ceiling fan ensures that the warm air that has built up at the top is forced back down.
Electric radiator In a smaller room, an electric radiator with a small fan behind it makes sense.

Caution If you should now get the idea of preferring a conventional fan, this would be a momentous decision. The temperatures on your mantelpiece are far too hot for conventional fans with plastic housings and plastic cables. These could melt and cause serious damage!

How do I install a stove fan?

You can use it directly without complicated assembly instructions. As soon as the surface of the stove has reached the necessary minimum temperature, the fan starts to rotate automatically. You do not have to switch on the device, it works independently.

When the oven cools down, the fan also turns more slowly until it comes to a complete standstill. Depending on the design, the unit is either simply placed on the chimney (1) or attached to the stove pipe (2).

  1. To do this, you simply place it on your fireplace. It is important to note that the fan can be placed at the back, to the side of the stove pipe. This way, as much of the rising warm air as possible is absorbed by the fan and blown into the room. The base of the fan must lie as flat as possible so that they heat up evenly and as much as possible.
  2. In this comparison, you also got to know the variant that is attached directly to the stove pipe with the help of a stainless steel pipe clamp. If you decide to use this device, you must observe the product-specific instructions.

A stove fan is therefore very easy to install.

What influence does the room size have on the choice of the right stove fan?

For a small room, any of the presented stove fans will do. For a larger room, it is recommended to use several fans at the same time to be able to distribute the heat better.

Stove fans help to distribute the heat quickly even in large rooms to enable a high level of comfort. (Image source: Klara Ozerova / 123rf)

It is also important that the stove fan has a large contact surface so that it can absorb as much temperature as possible from the hot surface.

Conclusion

With the help of a stove fan, the heat of the fireplace is concentrated and better distributed in the room. On cosy evenings in front of the fireplace, it helps to warm up the couch quickly. It is also very easy to install and can be used immediately without much effort. You can use the stove fan directly without complicated assembly instructions.

Before buying, it is important that you check how warm your fireplace gets and weigh up accordingly which stove fan is most suitable for you. You can refer to our suggestions. If you have a larger room, it is advisable to buy two or more stove fans. This way you will achieve a quick heating of your living area.

Picture source: dolgachov / 123rf

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