Prepping 101: $998 Off-Grid Wood Cookstove $995

Authors Paul Helinski Prepping 101

This is the $998 wood cookstove from

This is the $998 wood cookstove from

Wood and Heat Cookstoves

This is one of the few articles in this series where I haven’t yet reviewed the product, but I plan to follow it up with a review in the future because I bought one. My intention in posting this today is to give the regular readers of this column a official heads up on a heavily discounted and apparently high quality product that may be a priority for you in your prepping supplies. For many years I have been looking at wood cook stoves. If you have never seen one (and I actually haven’t in person), these are not regular woodstoves. Wood cookstoves were popular in the US between the 1880s and 1930s. They look like a regular stove, with an oven and burners, but they run on wood and have no electric or gas components. Outdated technology yes and no though. There are a number of manufacturers of wood cookstoves today in the US and Canada, and they sell from about $1,700 to $7,000ish, plus freight shipping (and these badboys are heavy). In Alaska and many places in offgrid America, wood cookstoves are still popular and the market generally has a waiting period. This stove is $998 including shipping to the lower 48 until April 30th.

There is no way I can endorse buying this stove at all, because like everything else online, it is a gamble. I’m taking a leap of faith in buying one sight unseen, but it isn’t entirely without research. The company has an Ebay account selling these stoves and some other products that they produce, and there are over 400 feedbacks with 100% positive. The Ebay price is $1,295 plus $235 shipping to mcte in Florida.

As I've explained, this is one of the few products that I am covering that I haven't actually gotten in house for review. I have ordered one, and this $998 deal expires April 30th.  This stove has 6 burners, an oven, a warming box, and a water reservoir.

As I’ve explained, this is one of the few products that I am covering that I haven’t actually gotten in house for review. I have ordered one, and this $998 deal expires April 30th. This stove has 6 burners, an oven, a warming box, and a water reservoir.

Until I found this direct sale deal from, the cheapest cookstove I have found is from Lehmans. They are selling a stove made in Canada for $1,799 with a water reservoir pre-installed. That same stove is sold by the company direct for more, and the cheapest price I can find for it is at Badiahs Woodstoves. The other low priced cookstoves from those same suppliers are in the $2,400 range.
This is the best picture I have found of the "Heartland Sweetheart" stove, which is about $6,000. Do you see a huge difference?

This is the best picture I have found of the “Heartland Sweetheart” stove, which is about $6,000. Do you see a huge difference?

Compare that to stoves made for the wealthy Amish, Alaska hobby living and no budget preppers. They start at about $4,700 and fly all the way up to $7,000+. Stoves that look like our little $998 wonder here are in that range, and from what I can tell, the differences in the stoves at the higher prices are mostly about size, fit and finish, and much less about the actual use of the stove. The most expensive brand of the high end is Heartland, and their Artisan stove is $8,400. The Heartland Sweetheart is the closest looking I have found to this $998 stove, and it is…just north of $6,000 with the same features. I can only guess as to what would make a 500% increase in the quality of such a thing, but as a simple prepper on a budget, I’m willing to take a chance on the stove.

The only caveat to all of this, especially if you are on a tight budget, is that you might be able to score a cheap stove on Ebay that is local to you. If I was local to Fayettville, PA, there was a stove that popped last week for $50! For sure I would have bought it. As I said, I’ve been researching this for some time, and those deals are not unusual if you hit them right. Great condition stoves from the late 1800s are collectible, but none of the stoves from 1910 forward have much value at all. Most have been sold for scrap, and if metals were still at the high price they were only a few years ago, we wouldn’t even be seeing these stoves on Ebay at all. As a rule I’ve seen that anything on Ebay that is marked “local pickup only” goes for less than what would be normal value, and these wood cookstoves are almost always local pickup only. Now that Ebay has a “people who looked at this also looked at…” list (something GunsAmerica is sorely lacking still), finding them is easy. Just search on “wood cook stove” and you’ll find a few, then dozens of others will come up in that list.

This "Bakers Choice" stove is linked in the article from Lehmans and another supplier for about the same $1800, before freight shipping costs from Ohio. It has a stainless steel top and a water tank, and it was the lowest cost option I found prior to this stove.

This “Bakers Choice” stove is linked in the article from Lehmans and another supplier for about the same $1800, before freight shipping costs from Ohio. It has a stainless steel top and a water tank, and it was the lowest cost option I found prior to this stove.

A wood cookstove obviously isn’t for the family that is just getting started in prepping. If you don’t have a practical quantity of long lasting food put away, an ample clean way to get water year round and basic toiletries and self defense needs covered, start there, and you will find some great articles at the beginning of this series to help you. We have also covered what is called the “rocket stove.” It works great, allowing you to cook food, boil water and as you will see in a future installment of this series, even can food for later use with a pressure canner. But what the rocket stove is sorely lacking is an oven, and I have yet to find a solution to that. A rocket stove also can’t be used indoors, even though there is one manufacturer who claims that you can with theirs. A review on that will be coming soon, but it isn’t all its cracked up to be. A wood cookstove can heat a small space, less than 2,000 square feet, and it is obviously optimized for cooking, warming, pasteurizing, all with one load of fuel at one time. If you can afford a wood cook stove, I’d grab this $998 deal.

This stove popped for $50 on Ebay just the other day in Fayettesville, PA. You can get great deals on these stoves if you watch and wait for something local.

This stove popped for $50 on Ebay just the other day in Fayettesville, PA. You can get great deals on these stoves if you watch and wait for something local.

I am going to post the rest of the high res pics from the current Ebay auction for the same stove at $500 more expensive.

I am going to post the rest of the high res pics from the current Ebay auction for the same stove at $500 more expensive. Click on them for full size.

firebox stoveburner
ashbox stovoval

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  • Kathie Cunningham March 7, 2018, 11:27 pm

    This is my stove! I bought it on 2010 for $600 on eBay. It is produced in Mexico. Yes it is flimsy thin metal but it works just fine. Actually puts out quite a bit of heat but like another poster said the fire goes out quick. but that’s okay for me because we have another wood stove that heats the house

  • Terri Fortner February 27, 2017, 9:10 am

    Since this was written some time ago I am interested to see how it turned out.

  • judy dowell April 29, 2015, 10:46 pm

    It looks cheap and flimsey to me. I use a wood stove all winter to not only heat my 800sf house, but also for cooking. All you need is an old used wood stove with a flat top and I have two metal boxes stacked on the right for baking in. They are tin with a rack inside and the Amish use them. One has a heat guage, low/Med/high. Med is about 300°F. I cook biscuits, cakes, pies, potatoes in the “Dutch oven”. I think I paid $2.00 each for them at an auction. I paid $200.00 for the wood stove with the flat top, got it from a stove place, someone had traded it in. I’ve seen similar stoves sell for as little as $50. At yard sales! As far as heating water, I just keep a pot on top or if needed, I can sit a metal container on the hearth next to the stove and it gets boiling hot. My stove pipe is a seamless steel pipe. It will last longer than me. The thin stuff they sell at hardware stores will cause you grief. My stove pipe new was $200. But lasts a long long time. To keep kreasote from building up, just throw potato peels into the fire. It melts the creasote and it runs back into the stove and eventually burns up. Kind of like how a pan of ammonia will clean dirty grill racks except peels don’t smell. When you do the math, it pays to put your money into the stove pipe and not burn your house down or smoke yourself out. That stove doesn’t appear to have dampers for airflow and draft which is how you control the heat and smoke. Do your homework kiddo. Don’t become a statistic.

    • Joyce November 10, 2015, 9:53 am

      Thanks Judy! I’ll take your advice. 🙂

    • Danna July 17, 2016, 8:23 pm

      Sic ’em, Judy. Great comment, and I couldn’t agree more!!

    • sandy December 14, 2016, 3:25 pm

      I agree with you about the quality of the stove. I bought one and have since decided to go the route you mentioned about a flat-top wood heater with oven box to sit on top. I will keep the wood and heat stove for doing my cooking outdoors when weather permits.

    • Miki January 3, 2017, 7:33 pm

      Judy, can you send me pictures of your set up. I certainly can’t afford these wood cook stoves, but if your set up works for cooking and baking you are not only my angel but my hero as well. Thanks,

  • Keith Patton April 29, 2015, 9:47 am

    My great grandpa had a cast iron stove in the kitchen attached to the back of the house. After his death, the house fell into disrepair and the stove fell through the floor into the root cellar. I didn’t visit the property in a few years my father owned it then and someone pulled the damned thing out of the cellar and hauled it off. Not telling how much it was worth. It could not have been a trivial operation to lift the thing six feet out of the cellar and load it on a truck. I got on my old man about it, since he had not clue someone had been on the property and he only lived a mile or two down the road.

  • Dennis April 28, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I live just a couple of miles from Kidron, Ohio. We are fortunate to have Lehman’s hardware which carries a ton of different kinds of wood stoves and cook stoves and combinations that will do both. They have a catalog and web site. I am in the middle of the largest Amish community in the US and so we have a lot of used stoves that come up at estate sales. Wood burners for cooking are fine but it takes awhile to get the hang of it. Many people keep them in a summer kitchen to keep the heat down in the warm months. Use good double lined smoke stack that is higher than your house to avoid the smoke issue and the problem with stack fires. The investment is a wise one. Back a few years we had almost the entire neighborhod in our house when the electric was out. We ate well and were toasty warm.

  • Bruce April 28, 2015, 1:21 pm

    I found a combination gas / wood stove similar to the pictures you posted, disassembled in the back of the basement of a house I was renting in Colorado. I bought it off the owner for $200 and threw on the trailer as I left town to my new home in Alaska. Once I finish purchasing my new house I intend to install it. Just have to refurbish a few rust spots.

  • john gallus April 28, 2015, 10:39 am

    we had an old Prizer stove like this that burned coal or wood. used it for 35 years till we sold the home in’13. not only cooked , but heated half a 2000 sq.ft house. as long as the stove and fire box are cast-iron it should hold up well. take out a building permit. if there is a fire without an inspection home owners insurance may refuse to pay.

    • Susan Peterson August 10, 2017, 4:34 pm

      I also had a Prizer at one time. Cooked and canned on it. People we rented the house to put it out on the stoop, let it get wet, freeze and crack. A real shame. Now looking to buy a good new one. The late 1800’s ones were really made for coal. The fireboxes are very small. You can cook on them with wood, and I did, but the fire goes out too fast for consistent heating. The way they are built the tops of the oven collect wood ash, and you have to do a thorough cleaning any time you want a hot oven for biscuits. So I am looking for one with a large firebox with a draft and oven specifically designed for wood. Maybe top price $4000. Nordica has some in that range. My issue is that they have only two holes for pots, although I guess you can fit more on the flattop. They do not have the piping to heat water automatically in the firebox. I would only need that in a grid down situation. Back when I had the Prizer I gave my kids baths in a washtub in front of the stove. The teens took cold showers rather than wash there though.

  • StBernardnot April 27, 2015, 4:50 pm

    My Grandma had one, too. A Monarch, white porcelin, nickel trim. Warming oven, copper water tank on the side. Thermometers on the doors that still work. Some sheet metal has corroded a little. Plenty left to make a pattern for new pieces. I have it now. Might sell, might restore.

  • Harold Newell April 27, 2015, 3:09 pm

    My grandmother had one of these cook stoves and we kids would fight over who would get to split and carry the wood. That was back in early 1950’s. She cooked some of the best food I have ever tasted. When I retired out of the Marine Corps in 1990 I went to work in Yellowstone National Park and I lived just outside of Livingston, MT. I built a great little three room log cabin and had a wood burner stove for heat and because it was a large flat top I always kept a large pot of water on top of it to reduce the amount of static electricity in the house plus with a higher humidity it was warmer. We had high winds a lot in the winter times and several time’s we would loose electricity, and we cooked meals of top of that same wood burner. It brought back a lot of memories. As mentioned by one commenter the draft was priority. Plus you will find that if you run a pipe that is used for venting water heaters, from outside to the fire box it will draft much better and you won’t have a draft of cold air coming in from every crack and crevice in the building.

  • W Anderson MD April 27, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Apparently, it’s not airtight. Don’t use it indoors! It will kill your family. BTW I have a lot of experience with wood cookstoves and they vary greatly.

    • Susan Peterson August 10, 2017, 4:36 pm

      It will not kill your family. It just will not hold a fire. I heated and cooked with plenty of non airtight stoves.

  • Jim April 27, 2015, 12:19 pm

    We had one like this on our farm in Indiana in the 1950’s, I was 5years old, it sat in the middle of the kitchen, sometimes dad would burn coal in it, must be a good design as it looks the same, we took baths in a galvanized wash tub behind it. Brings back old memories.

  • Randy April 27, 2015, 12:12 pm

    Other then the $50 ebay stove… i would think it is time to invest $250 in a stick welder and some steel…the skills it take to make a wood heat stove will scale up for kitchen and even gun safe vault doors truck bumper….don’t take the short cut go for the skill set and it will pay you back a life time.

  • BR549 April 27, 2015, 11:55 am

    These stoves were great in the kitchen, but unless you lived in a “really” small house, maybe something like 500-600 sf or less, you couldn’t heat the whole house with it. The fire boxes tended to be small; fires tended to be short and hot. It was a cook stove, primarily. You could never really throw enough wood in to go overnight.

  • randy April 27, 2015, 10:18 am

    A real budget Cooking wood stove would start with a $255 welder and some steel. After you build you first wood heat stove you will have all the skills in place for any thing, front vault doors…ggun safe….ccook stove….nnew bumper….trailer….do not pay for a finished product when a skill earned will pay you for a life time…

  • Capn Stefano April 27, 2015, 9:54 am

    Google ” Dutch oven”…

  • Bruce April 27, 2015, 8:36 am

    Good luck. As a regular on eBay I avoid most sellers who hide/privatize their feedback items. There is usually a good reason. The positive feedbacks are a few from stoves but the majority that you can identify are from a tortilla maker. This borders on deception to infer that these are based on this stove when obviously they are not.

  • Jim Sency April 27, 2015, 8:34 am

    I would be very surprised if this stove turns out to be a value, this coming from someone who’s burned coal and wood his entire life. My most recent disappointment is the rusted pile of iron sitting out back that used to be an Elmira Stove Works ‘Oval’. Oh, I got about 15 years of use out of it – which might seem like a useful product life to the uninformed. I can also show you the ‘Warm Morning’ coal stove that is being used this very minute, and it has got to be at least 70 years old. The Heartland ‘Oval’ is still being made (in fact in Michigan) today, for the mere sum of $7,000.00 or more. The stove I bought was from when the company was located in Canada (Elmira Stove Works). When the company was sold and relocated to Michigan, they ‘re-engineered’ the Oval such that trying to obtain replacement parts would be a huge and expensive crap shoot. Ask me how I know. Most of these modern day stoves are made of a lot of thin gauge sheet metal that just disintegrates over the years and thin cast iron that is poorly fitted and likely to warp. That Baker’s Pride from Lehman’s would be a much better bet. I can also recommend D&S Stoves here in Pa. They are Amish and make a good product for a reasonable price. They ain’t purty, but are made primarily from heavy plate with a simple efficient design. They just don’t make a cookstove at this time.

  • RJH April 27, 2015, 8:26 am

    I spent about three years in Vermont back in the early ’70’s using nothing but wood cookstoves. The key to having success with your stove greatly weighs on the intelligence you have used in setting up your stove pipe so that the draft for the stove is as close to perfect as possible. Even the smallest and cheapest and leakiest will be a complete pleasure if the stove draws cleanly. But any stove becomes a nightmare after only one or two smoke-outs where you have flooded the inside of your house with choking black smoke (it happens in an instant!) because you stove pipe isn’t exhausting properly. Do your research!

  • Mark April 27, 2015, 7:52 am

    My brother got one of these for his cabin in the Missouri ozarks.
    It is smaller and lighter than your average cookstove. The ‘sheet metal’ is just that, very light. There is no ‘caulking’ around the doors, joints, etc. so it is very smokey. Wood must be cut smaller to fit in the firebox. It will cook ok, best done outdoors or on a porch due to the smoke. I don’t know if lips for gaskets can be welded on, but stove gaskets are pricey for the ammount needed. He went cheap and used furnace cement to seal it up as good as he could. It looks bad, but helps. It can warm up his little 8×8 cabin, but must be refueled often as it is NOT air tight and burns quickly.
    Just a warning, you get what you pay for.

  • Mark April 27, 2015, 7:35 am

    My granny had a big ol’ cook stove like this.
    She used it in the winter and cooler weather. I remember she used to let me drop pine splints into it for her.
    In warmer weather, she had a stove that burned kerosene. It had big wicks like a heater and a fuel tank on the back.
    I remember she had that one in the shed off the pantry because it smelled so.
    And her mother did most of her cooking in the fireplace.
    Ahhhh, the ‘good old days’.

    • stravo lukos April 27, 2015, 10:43 am

      Aside from the higher mortality rates, the old days were good days in so many ways. The biggest plus is that they were more human-scaled, slower. And, depending how far back one wishes to travel, free land was available to homestead. Of course, the indigenous people in that area might have a few words w/ you about the matter; however, if one were polite & sociable, my guess is that the First Peoples would take a shine to such a fellow, esp. if he adopted some of their social customs & made himself useful.

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