We’re sometimes asked what the best wood stove is. Since most quality stoves performances are similar, it used to be a tough question. That was before Carl Johnson’s JUCA stove came to our attention.
Created more than 30 years ago and manufactured near Chicago, sold to tens of thousands households with nearly no advertising, Johnson’s stove is based on a brilliant, unique design that probably makes it the best woodstove ever. A JUCA woodstove burns so cleanly and so steadily that it produces almost no creosote, very little ash (similar to, or even better than, a standard pellet stove), and no toxic byproducts. Plus, being capable of producing a constant 140,000 btus per hour (as much an average gas furnace!), it is incredibly efficient and economical. (In fact, standard JUCA stoves have been tested that produced over 500,000 btus… think that’s enough for your split-level?)
Thisis so incredibly clean that you can even cook in it or operate it with the door open: something no one would ever consider trying with a conventional wood stove.
Why do we consider the JUCA to be perhaps the best wood stove in the world today? What makes it different than any other wood stove? The answer is the non-airtight design of the JUCA stoves.
Conventional wood stoves were originally designed to burn very hot for short bursts. In an attempt to create a steadier, even heat (as opposed to a blast of heat that left rooms too warm followed by a chill when that blast wore off), stove manufacturers began to make wood stoves more and more airtight.
Airtight woodstoves do burn longer and more progressively, but they also trap creosote in the chimney pipes and emit toxic gases into the open-air. The airtight design also makes the conventional woodstove fairly inefficient: most of the heat is lost up the chimney.
If a conventional wood stove used a heat exchanger to make use of that lost heat, so much creosote would be created that the stove would become dangerous to operate. Inefficiency is therefore built in to airtight wood stove design as a safety feature.
What makes the JUCA such an exceptional stove is that, by using a design that makes maximum use of normal air flow (instead of an airtight design), an aggressive heat exchanger can be built into the stove so as to capture almost all of the heat produced without any creosote buildup.
Because the JUCA is so efficient, it is also not subject to the stringent standards and codes that apply to traditional wood stoves, and it can burn much larger pieces of wood than a conventional stove, slowly releasing the energy as heat over long periods of time.
Another benefit of the best wood stove is cost-effectiveness. A $1900 JUCA stove can produce as much heat as an average gas furnace (about 140,000 btus per hour) at a fraction of the cost, and runs on asource instead of expensive fossil fuels.