I've heated our home and my large commercial building(s) with wood since the late sixties.
Our home is owner designed and built using strawbale construction and other alternative building procedures. The house is extremely well insulated and we require very little heating in the winter or cooling in the summer. We looked at various wood stoves, mostly on the Internet, and decided the box wood stove would meet our needs.
The cost at Lowes was about $45.00 less than it would have been if purchased from the manufacturer. The Vogelzang replaced another wood stove that we found impossible to seal, and keep sealed, around the door. This caused problems with smoke and fumes inside the house.
The stove was crated up and in pieces but was easy to assemble and all the parts were there, which isn’t always the case with a lot of DYI assembly items. After assembly, replacing the old stove pipe and stove pipe cap, we opened the windows and fired up the stove. When the paint is cured or burned off, it gives off fumes and you need to have good ventilation.
The first thing I noticed was the door would drag on the sliding draft control, also called a sliding clean out. It appears the main stove casting, where the legs attach, was cast at a slight angle. The door opens and closes if the slider is closed but won’t open completely if the slider is open, even partially. I placed a couple of small flatwashers between the door pins and the tangs they swivel on. on the front of the stove. That remedied the dragging problem but increased the gap under the bottom of the door, which makes it more difficult the control the airflow into the stove. We haven’t had any problem with too hot a fire but we only need to use very small amounts of wood since the house is so well insulated.
The first couple of days I was somewhat disappointed with the performance but discovered if I placed the wood at the front of the grate, and as far toward the door and away from the outlet as possible, we got a lot more heat than if the wood was placed in the center or at the rear. Doing that caused the heat to have to travel further inside the stove and not as much went straight up the pipe and out.
We bought the grate we use at Home Depot and it was about $20.00 less than the Vogelzang grate. I had to trim about an inch off the ends to make it fit, but I have a grinder and it took about 5 minutes.
Overall, I would rate the stove an 8 out of 10 for what we need. The stove isn’t an airtight and would only work for small square footage dwellings, small shops or for homes that are very well insulated.