The Difference Between DEFRA Exempt And Non-Approved Stoves

DEFRA Exempt StoveOne important factor when it comes to buying home heating stoves is whether they are designed for smoke controlled areas or not. To determine this, the stoves can be either DEFRA exempt or non-compliant with DEFRA standards. It is important to know the difference between these two types of stoves before buying one.

Both options have their own pros and cons. Your choice will determine how convenient it will be to use your stove. It will also determine certain legal requirements that affect how and where to use these stoves. In order to help you make an informed purchasing decision, here is what you need to know about the differences between a DEFRA approved and non-DEFRA stove.

DEFRA Exempt Stoves

The UK’s Government Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) inspect these types of stoves to ensure that they comply with the Clean Air Act. The stoves simply have an enhanced ventilation system, which ensures that the fire is not starved of air. As a result, DEFRA approved stoves burn fuel efficiently without emitting toxic smoke. This is possible because no partly burned combustion takes place to allow formation of soot and tar. Therefore, the law allows anyone in the UK to use a DEFRA exempt stove with fuels that have been banned in smoke controlled areas.

The advantages and downsides of using a DEFRA approved stove have been listed below.


  • A DEFRA approved wood burner or multi-fuel stove prevents air pollution.
  • You don’t have to worry about buying a new stove when moving to a smoke controlled or non-smoke controlled area with a DEFRA stove.
  • Because of improved ventilation, these stoves send little soot, tar, creosote and other byproducts of part burned combustibles. This keeps your stove working at optimum conditions for a longer time.
  • Better airflow in DEFRA exempt stoves reduces risk of chimney fires.


  • Due to higher manufacturing standards, DEFRA certified stoves might cost more than non-approved brands.
  • These stoves have a slightly shorter burn time since they deliver a continuous flow of combustible air to fuel to keep the fire burning efficiently.

Non-DEFRA Stoves

These stoves are the exact opposite of DEFRA exempt models. They are not tested for carbon emissions by DEFRA. The stoves have the following pros and cons.


  • Non-DEFRA exempt stoves are cheaper due to lack of high manufacturing standards.
  • Can be used with no limitations outside smoke controlled zones


  • Can only be used in areas that are not smoke controlled
  • These stoves are not environmentally friendly because the emit high levels of toxic gases into the atmosphere
  • High levels of partly burned products such as soot clog up non-DEFRA stoves quickly
  • Using stoves that are not DEFRA exempt in smoke controlled areas could lead to heavy fines for violating the Clean Air Act

DEFRA exempt and non-DEFRA stoves are not that different from the outside. What distinguishes the two is the design and compliance with the Clean Air Act. However, DEFRA exempt stoves have many advantages over their counterparts. This makes them the ideal choice for people looking to buy a high quality home heating stove.

Cameron Stewart is a blogger from Sterling, Scotland. She loves to write about home heating appliances. If you want to purchase DEFRA exempt stoves, Cameron recommends you visit