We can’t lie, we love Charnwood stoves, but have waited a few years for a new superstar woodburner from the stove boffins based on the Isle of Wight for over 40 years. We’ve seen unique designs and technically brilliant performance from recent models, however not since the ground-breaking ‘C’ range including the iconic C-Four wood burning stove and the innovative C-Five have we seen a stove that ticks all the boxes for style, budget and functionality – until now! The Charnwood Aire 5 wood burning stove is a breath of fresh air – literally in this case, being both DEFRA and Clear Skies approved, whilst also exceeding the latest Eco Design 2022 regulations.

Despite the Aire 5 being a completely new stove design, it has an unmistakable Charnwood look. The door is solid cast iron, but not bulky, subtly curving in towards a huge glass window, which almost seems wider than the stove itself. The stove looks sleek, yet soft and comforting - as cosy when it’s unlit as when there’s a roaring fire inside. The smooth lines are only broken briefly by the black door handle nestled neatly to the right of the window.

This is where we start to discover some of the little features that make the Charnwood Aire 5 stove a joy to live with. Whilst blending in with the black cast iron door, the handle is actually Bakelite, a revolutionary material in its time for its heat resistant properties. We’re not scientists, but what we do know is we don’t burn our hands when opening the door! It’s a simple thing, but not needing to keep a dirty glove or ugly tool at the side of the stove is a plus. Charnwood have also used Bakelite to craft the air control. Sitting front and centre of the Aire 5, just below the stove door, but blending seamlessly with the sculped base of the stove is the single pull lever, embossed with the Charnwood stove logo. Smoothly gliding out to open the air intake, increasing the heat. You’ll feel a couple of notches as you pull the lever out, to indicate optimal burn positions – they really have thought of everything.

Moving inside the light and bright, vermiculite lined firebox, you can see the air inlets on the rear panel. The vermiculate stove lining have become commonplace now due to their ability to retain firebox temperature for optimum burning. Fans of multifuel grates will be disappointed – the Aire 5 doesn’t have one. It isn’t claiming to be a multifuel stove, this is a pure woodburner, however, somewhat unusually it does have an ashpan. Why did no one think of doing this before? It’s a gamechanger for wood burning stoves and something we’re sure we’ll see copied by other manufacturers in the future. People often seek out multifuel stoves when they only plan to burn wood, simply for the ease of emptying the ash – Charnwood has fixed that age old problem with ease – give the designer a promotion! We must say that the ashpan doesn’t get quite as much use as we thought, simply because the Charnwood Aire 5 burns so cleanly. We've got a bit of experience here, so are burning good quality kiln dried wood and also leaving a little ash build up to make a base for the next fire.

 

So, how does it perform? With it’s a single air control slide it really is as responsive as turning a gas flame up & down. Great flames and clear glass throughout, with a decent amount of heat. As with most EcoDesign stoves we’ve tested, the Charnwood Aire 5 will not be happy if you’re trying to burn the driftwood you’ve dragged off the beach that day. You’ll get out what you put in – good fuel will give you a good fire. Equally, the installation must be right - these stoves aren’t likely to perform on unlined chimneys. You wouldn't stick budget tyres on a Rolls Royce! Initial lighting takes a bit of trial and error, but once you suss it out, it’s a dream.

 

So, there has to be some negatives right? We’ll this is a review, so we’ll include the bad bits as well. Surprisingly, despite being a 5kw DEFRA approved stove, the Charnwood Aire 5 has been made with a 6” flue outlet. We’ve no idea why, but it does mean you will need to confirm with your installer that they can fit a 6” liner in your chimney before you part with your cash. Typically,  installers can throw a 5” liner down a chimney before finding out what stove is going at the bottom, such is the prevalence of 5” flue outlets. If we’re being critical, in the era of slimline stoves, the Aire 5 stove is a little deeper than we’d expect, but should still be accommodated in most chimney breasts.

 

If you’re looking to stamp your own style onto the Charnwood Aire 5, for a small additional charge you can select one of Charnwood's seven alternative colour options – the Aire 5 looks particularly splendid in Gunmetal. An alternative store stand base is perfect if your stove is going to be freestanding in the room or it sits in a taller inglenook.

 

Overall, this is going to be a stove that suits so many people and almost any property. We’re going to see strong sales of the Aire 5 and with Charnwood adding both the Aire 3 and the Aire 7 wood burning stoves to the range, this we see the Aire range being popular well beyond the introduction of EcoDesign 2022.