We recently tested both the Ozpig and the Frontier stoves, two high quality outdoor wood stoves. We get asked a lot which we preferred; in fact they both have their pros and cons. This post briefly outlines some of their characteristics.
First off what do they both do well? Three things:
- use wood fires to produce a warming - and attractive - focal point for sitting out in our cool spring or cool summer evenings.
- include cooking surfaces wuitable for boiling a kettle and placing saucepans
- Venting smoke up a chimney and out of the eyes and clothes of your guests.
Both stoves look good; the Ozpig is a zaney head-turner (it gained its name from its pot-bellied shape); while the Frontier Stove has the more classical, though interesting, lines of a wood burner. The shipped chimney on the Frontier is higher than the Ozpig and more easily extended (we sell the extensions as an option), and any creosote formed on the inside would end up in the firebox, whereas the joins on the Ozpig mean that it would end up on the outside of the chimney. Not a big issue though.
The Ozpig is often referred to as an Ozpig BBQ; it is slightly more versatile as a cooker than the Frontier in that you can BBQ directly over the flames by swinging the top of the stove round to open it up. There are also some instructions for roasting included with the Ozpig and a Dutch Oven - not something I've tried, though I hear is very effective. There is a small removable section on the top of the Frontier, but this is mainly for dropping a kettle into.
In terms of clean and efficient burn, both are OK, though they are fairly crude burners lacking secondary air, firebricks, and grates, though the Ozpig does have a simple grate which lifts the fuel a little off the base; while the Frontier has a butterfly baffle in the flue. The verdict on combustion performance depends on whether they are being compared with an open fire, or a high-performance domestic wood burner. As they replace an open fire, perhaps that is a more useful comparison, and as such they do well.
Small details I like in each; the Frontier sports 3 legs so - like the ancient stool - will never wobble while the Ozpig has 4 legs; arguable more stable, but also prone to wobble. Both are raised off the ground so won't harm grass. The Frontier's larger firebox allows slightly larger pieces of wood to be admitted, which could save on cutting. The Ozpig's steel construction makes it heavier but arguably more radiant and also less likely to corrode than the Frontier, but the finish on the steel frontier is good.
Both stoves fold down fairly small, the Frontier the smallest, and incorporating a handle.
So Frontier or Ozpig? I'd say it was a toss up. They both do their job well, look good, and are well made. Out and about, weight is an important consideration for me, and I like to be able to plumb chimneys into my tent, which is easier with the Frontier. If I were just using on the patio, however, I would probably choose the Ozpig.
I highly recommend both of these outdoor wood heaters. If weight and cost aren't an issue, you could choose on looks alone.