Hearthstone Craftsbury vs. Vermont Castings Intrepid II

Question sent in from Ellen-

Hi Stove Guy, Your website is a great resource for first-time buyers like me (and probably long-time owners, as well!). Thank you for compiling this information and for sharing your personal expertise. I am shopping for a wood stove for a small house. The main level is 800 sq. feet. There is a converted attic space that is an additional 500 sq. feet (also a basement that is 800 sq. feet if that is relevant, but I have no plans to use this as living space). I have pretty much narrowed my options down to two: the Vermont Castings Intrepid II and the Hearthstone Craftsbury. They both seem appropriate for the space I need to heat and they both seem to be high quality with low emissions. I am torn… I really like the top-loading feature of the Intrepid II, but the Craftsbury is bigger, which I like because I want this to be a focal point of the living room (which may not be an issue either way– it’s 200 sq feet). I am wondering if you have any advice or points to consider? Any thoughts are very appreciated! Thanks, Ellen

Well Ellen, they are both great stoves. I do love the top loader in the Vermont Castings as you know, but unless there is a really good reason I typically shy away from the catalytic stoves because of the replacement costs. The Vermont Castings Intrepid II is a catalytic stove. The Hearthstone Craftsbury is not.

So my recommendation in your situation would be the Craftsbury not just because of the non-catalytic system but also because I would go with your gut on how it is going to fit into your room. Your new stove will be off more than it is on and having it look right in the room is critical.

I used a Craftsbury for a few years in my own house as the sole source of heat and was extremely impressed with it.

Hope that helps,

The Stove Guy

Small wood stove in moderate climate

Question from Diane-

First, thank you. Your reviews are tremendously helpful. We live in Southern California, where people are not so well informed on wood stoves, even though many use them in areas not connected to the gas grid. So the resource you provide is most appreciated. Second, we have access to tons of wood, so we are looking to buy a wood stove to heat our 1100 sq ft home. It has three main living areas separated by walls/doors, and a bathroom. We need it for about half the year, most of which it is only needed for parts of the day/night to raise the indoor temperature by 10-15 degrees. We’d ideally like it to be our main heating source, supplemented by an existing fireplace in the living room. If you have a recommendation for the best stove(s) for this application, I would be most grateful.


In your case I may suggest a catalytic stove. Simply because it can burn at a cooler temperature and not have problems. A non-catalytic stove requires a hotter fire to engage the secondary burn system and since you live in a very moderate climate I think that may tend to be an issue for you. The catalytic stove is a lot more forgiving in that if you want a smaller or even cooler fire it will still burn efficiently and blast you out of your home. There is the downside of having a catalyst that you have to replace every few years but that is still what I would recommend for you guys.

So with that being said maybe the Vermont Castings Intrepid II might be a good option. If you did not want to go with a catalytic stove I would make sure it was a fairly small stove. Rated to heat 600 or 700 sq feet. Again just because of the fairly moderate climate.

Yours Truly,

The Stove Guy