Wood burners and biomass boilers – what’s the difference?

Here?s our guide to the difference types of wood-fueled heating and how to choose what is right for you


There are a lot of ways to heat your home using wood fuel, all are economically beneficial and sustainable, but with so much to choose from it?s easy to get bogged down. To help you steer a steady course through the vernacular we?ve tried to break the options down into easy to manage pieces.

What?s the difference between a log burner and a biomass boiler?

There is confusion about what a biomass boiler actually is. There are various heat generators which all burn wood products such as wood burners, log burners, wood stoves, log boilers and biomass boilers.

With so many wood-burning heat generators out there it is probably easiest to split them into two sections – room heaters and boilers.

  • Boilers, connected to a central heating system, heat the whole property, usually by radiators or underfloor heating.
  • Room heaters only provide heat directly to the single room the heater is installed in.

It is important to understand if that if you are hoping to apply for the Government?s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments, room heaters do not qualify.

Room Heaters


Typically these would burn logs, have a glass-fronted door and can be referred to as a wood burner, wood stove or log burner.  They may have a flue or chimney that will emit heat, and sometimes the flue is taken through the property so it will radiate heat to the rooms it goes through when the wood burner has been lit.


Log Boilers

LogsLog boilers are a type of boiler that generates heat that is used in a central heating system. These boilers typically need to be manually loaded with logs and lit once or twice a day.  If you are considering a log boiler the system must be designed very carefully. As you can?t control the heat or the flame, the system must be able to cope with what is referred to as an ?uncontrollable heat source?.

Log boilers can qualify for RHI payments but only if the logs are from a certificated sustainable source.

Froling Biomass BoilerBiomass boilers

Most Biomass boilers either burn wood pellets or wood chips.  The loading and lighting of the boiler can be totally automated and the boiler can automatically control the heat it produces. If you are looking to heat your entire home these are the easiest to use and most popular type of wood-fueled boiler.

Biomass boilers are a little larger than your average gas combi boiler and you?ll need somewhere to store the pellets. But with a significantly reduced fuel bill and Government subsidies available it can be a wise investment.

The fuel supply must come from a sustainable source for your biomass boiler to qualify for RHI payments.

The choice is yours

Burning wood pellets in biomass boilerWhether you are after heating your whole home or just one room, wood fuel is a great option. Cost effective, sustainable and cosy – there are plenty of benefits to be had. And of course, you don?t need to just choose one; with a combination of a boiler for your central heating system and a burner for extra warmth in a single room you can have all your heating needs covered!

For advice on the suitability of biomass for your home or business call 0845 371 3181 or find your nearest EnergyMyWay.

By: Louisa Stockley