Help! which wood heater?? Aus vs Chinese made

2 years ago
Trying to decide which wood heater to buy. We’re going inbuilt model.

Have narrowed it down to these two....

Kemlan C900
Australian made
Radiant heat only (no fan)

Norseman Aura Insert
Chinese made
Fan mode

The dilemma is the Norseman is over $2k cheaper, I like that it has a fan. But the Kemlan does look a bit more solid, it really does radiate the heat out but will I wish it had a fan??

We are building our ‘forever’ home so quality is important but we don’t have an endless budget so the opportunity to save a decent amount of cash appeals. Just don’t want to wish in a year or two we’d spent the extra or had saved where we could.

I can’t find any online reviews for either. I’ve stood in front of an inbuilt Kemlan and it pumps the heat out. I’ve also stood in front of a freestanding Norseman and it seems as good but the guy did say that once it’s inbuilt it won’t have quite the same output.

Hubby thinks the fan mode will help push the heat out further into the room. It will be the main source of heating in main living room, we’ll turn ducted heating on low to circulate the warm air through bedrooms.

Any thoughts??

Comments (20)

  • Sara Graham
    2 years ago
    Personally I’d steer clear of the Norseman. It seems to be a BBQ Galore brand heater and I think your better off going with an established brand that specialises in wood heaters.

    The Kemlan is odd in that it says the energy output is 12.7kw but claims that it heats 250-330m2. Typically you’d expect to require 1kw power per 10m2, so an output of 25kw for 250 m2.

    Neither choice is particularly efficient (60%). You can get heaters with up to 80-85% efficiency. This means you would burn significantly less wood over the course of winter. Better for the environment and much better for your wallet. Unless you harvest your own wood it’s very expensive. A higher level of efficiency could save you more than $500 per year.

    This is one choice that is well reviewed, high efficiency and similar price to the Norseman. Canadian brand so they can certainly handle the cold.
    There are others of course. Some of the European brands and Nectre (Australian). This is just particularly good value and consistently gets good reviews.
    Of course aesthetics play a part too. I don’t think Nectre have the modern aesthetic you’re after in their insert model.
    Fans can be noisy so that’s worth considering. And inserts are generally less efficient than freestanding, all things being equal.

    Best of luck with your home.
  • Jodes
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    Thankyou both.

    Complete change of mind overnight. We have decided to go freestanding but still want to achieve the modern landscape look.

    Our worry with radiant only is the firebox burning out quicker.

    Suggestions on other brands appreciated.

  • Jodes
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    Interestingly the Norseman has a higher efficiency and peak output when comparing both freestanding models.

    Why can’t someone do an efficient modern looking heater?
  • Sara Graham
    2 years ago
    Hi Jodes,
    Obligatory have an extensive range of modern, high quality fireplaces. Mostly imported from Europe. They are the distributor, not the retailer.

    Also, Nectre (Australian), pacific Energy (Canadian) and Yunca (New Zealand) do modern looking heaters.
  • Sara Graham
    2 years ago
    The fan doesn’t affect the burn time. The efficiency, wood quality (dry, well seasoned hardwood), size of wood box and having a clean flu are important. Overnight you’d damp the fire right down and turn off the fan.
  • Sara Graham
    2 years ago
    Oblica, not obligatory
  • bozza100
    2 years ago

    Hi all,

    Thank you to all for the links above.

    I have checked them out but am still on the hunt. We are looking for a free-standing combustion wood heater that heats 250 - 300 m2 but is neither 'colonial' nor 'victorian' looking, nor made in China (otherwise the Norseman Aura was perfect :/). The hitch is trying to find this for around 4K rather than 6K.

    Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated!

  • Vicki Delpero
    11 months ago

    We have a Norseman Aura and it is the best heater I have ever used. I have lived with various wood heaters for over 60yrs and this is so economical with an amazing output of heat. We are burning half the wood we used to burn with our Kent freestanding. Thoroughly recommend. Looks amazing too and being able to store wood underneath if fabulous.

  • janinekearney
    11 months ago

    Nectar do freestanding and inbuilt. We’ve had ours (freestanding) for 23 years and it’s still doing a great job. Friends have an inbuilt and are happy too.

  • dellaslynch
    11 months ago

    You don’t want a Chinese or Australian Wood Heater. Take a look at the Pacific Energy (Canadian) Neo 2.5 - comes as a freestanding model or an insert. Incredibly energy efficient and environmentally friendly, looks brilliant and pumps out the heat.

  • C P
    11 months ago

    this is an old thread

  • HU-753666122
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    We have a Norseman Aura and whilst it looks fantastic I would never recommend it. Firstly we have had it for less than a full season and it has rust spots on the front and sides. BBQ galore own Norseman and they would not replace it. They did however send a person out to respray it. I do expect the rust will come through again by the end of this season. The second reason I say do not buy this one is more serious. There is a lack of area to catch anything coming out when you open the door. There is a small thin bar at the front which does not hold anything in. We have had to get a plate drawer made to put on the floor under the fireplace. We pull the drawer out to catch everything. Whilst this works, it is inconvenient and you could never stack wood under it as the cinders will eventually cause a fire. It is a beautiful fireplace but Norseman need to redesign the front to make it safe.

  • Zowie Crump
    7 months ago

    We have the Norseman and the fan seems to making alot of noise and not blowing out much hot air???

  • Gail
    6 months ago

    We have the Norseman Aura while I love the heat output ,it doesn’t last all night . So has any one got any recommendations beside letting it burn right down and loading up Then shutting down . there is too much air getting into it .

  • Johnno!
    3 months ago

    Have you had a look at the ADF Linea?

  • Jan Dobson
    last month

    Hey Johnno, I realise Jodes may have already decided on her heater, but we are at the purchase stage and wondered if you’d had any personal experience with the ADF? It’s on our shortlist but it’s almost impossible to find reviews on any wood heaters. I love the look and the stats seem good but nothing on irl usage

  • Johnno!
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Hey Jan,

    I still haven't bought one yet, probably decide in a couple of months.

    I nearly bought the ADF Linea in January but when I called up to purchase it, the sale-rep advised me it should not be burned every day and its only ideal for holiday-homes. I thought that was BS so I got in touch with who import them.

    They told me it was fine to be used daily so that took care of that. But did warn me that any wood heater used daily will need certain parts replaced with time.

    Because we are after something slick/clean and minimalist we ruled out all the bulky in-built. The compromise of this is that you don't get much heat from an in-built that doesn't have bulky metal facades, cause lets face it all these work on convection.

    If you want an efficient inbuilt, its worth looking at the Nectre (made in Canada), but its not very attractive.

    Truth is you wont find any reviews online about any of these heaters, I reckon I've looked at all of them by now, Regency Montrose ($6300)/Visioline Taurus ($4650)/Studio 2/ even the PAD 950 Guillotine which is 'Living Fire' own brand.

    At one point I was going to go to the Regency Montrose, but I still like the look of the ADF Linea 100 plus its latch is kid proof.

    At the end of the day none of these heaters have a great burn time, efficiency etc. So all you are really paying for is the look.

    Based on my research, from all the above the ADF Linea works out to be the cheapest once you take into account the flu kit/zero clearance/ fan(optional)

    FACT: Fans + Wood heaters is an AUSSIE thing, apparently around the world fans aren't a thing.

    Let me know what you decide, maybe you can sway my opinion.


  • Jan Dobson
    last month

    Cheers, Johhno. Looks like you have come to the same conclusions as we have. We’re definitely going for a freestanding heater which has the advantage of increased efficiency and having lived with both in built fan and fan free heaters, definitely not adding a fan. After searching, with little success, for reviews, we’re going with a reputable supplier and hoping for the best. Like you we’d prefer a more modern look if possible. Looked at the Visionline Taurus but I think that fiddlely door handle might drive me nuts tbh. We have an installer coming to the house for an on site check, and depending on his opinion, we’ll go with the ADF Linea or Hayra. I’ll let you know how it goes, although we’ll be well into winter before we will really know

  • Johnno!
    last month

    Hey Jan,

    That sounds good, for efficient a freestanding is definitely the way to go.

    Some also offer addition flue kits that you can spread through the house if it is your main source of heat.

    I look forward to hearing from you again, I'll be making my purchases closer to winter :)