Catalytic vs Non-Catalytic Wood Stoves – Which Is Right for You?

February 27, 2020

Which is better a Catalytic or Non-Catalytic Wood Stove?

One is not inherently better than the other, catalytic and non-catalytic wood stoves operate differently and therefore have different applications. Catalytic wood stoves are better suited to long, stable, continuous primary heating applications, whereas non-catalytic wood stoves are suited to intermittent or supplemental heating applications.

You can still use a non-catalytic wood stove as a primary heating source and get long burn times, high efficiency ratings and warm a large area, however catalytic wood stoves offer extended burn times and a more stable heat output when compared to the non-catalytic versions.

Note: A Hybrid Catalytic unit utilizes triple burn technology, whereas a Catalytic unit uses double burn technology. For discussion purposes assume these units operate and perform similarly – see Technology Explained section below for more detail about the differences.

Wood Stoves vs Wood Inserts

When it comes to the base technology and functionality wood stoves and wood inserts are essentially the same. Now there are some differences but for the purposes of understanding the difference in technology, burn rates, efficiency etc. you can use the term Stove or Insert interchangeably in your mind.

Comparison of Catalytic vs Non-Catalytic Wood Stoves

The following graph shows the difference in fuel consumption, burn temperature, and total burn time of a Regency F2500 Hybrid Catalytic Wood Stove (blue) compared to a Regency F2450 Non-Catalytic Wood Stove (red).

As you can see the F2500 (Hybrid Catalytic) burns for up to 12 hours, maintains a higher, more consistent heat output over a longer period, and uses the available fuel slower than the F2450 (Non-Catalytic).

Catalytic vs Non-Catalytic Wood Stove Burn Times

Note: the above burn was done under a specific set of conditions and not all burns will be equal, it is meant to be used for demonstrative purposes only to highlight the difference between Catalytic & Non-Catalytic models. Heat outputs and burn times will vary based on local conditions, installations & wood type.


Questions about burn times and how they are calculated? See how Regency calculates burn times.


Watch: Our Regency F2450 Non-Catalytic Wood Stove burn for 10 hours

Which Stove Do You Need – Catalytic or Non-Catalytic

Here is a quick guide to help you identify if you should be shopping for a catalytic or non-catalytic wood stove.

Note: The most efficient and environmentally friendly stoves on the market today are 2020 EPA certified to produce less than 2.5 grams/hour of emissions.

Catalytic stoves/Hybrid catalytic stoves are ideal for serious wood burners who are seeking longer, overnight burns. If you live in very cold climate and/or are using your unit as the primary heat source in your home or if you are an eco-conscious consumer looking for the lowest emission wood burning product available a hybrid catalytic wood stove will be your best fit.

Non-catalytic stoves are well suited to someone looking for a straightforward, traditional wood burning stove. Thing to consider for non-catalytic stoves are whether you use your wood stove for supplemental heat, do not live in an extremely cold climate, or only use your wood stove occasionally. In addition, these units are better suited to rental or holiday homes as operating them is very straightforward.

To get expert advice about your specific heating needs and how to choose between a catalytic or non-catalytic wood stove for your application contact your local authorized Regency dealer.

Technology Explained – What is the difference between Catalytic, Non-Catalytic & Hybrid?

The difference between a non-catalytic, catalytic, or hybrid catalytic stove has to do with the way that the fuel is burned after initial combustion. Catalytic and non-catalytic stoves burn the fuel twice – either with a catalyst or with air tubes, where hybrid catalytic stoves burn the fuel three times – with both air tube technology and a catalyst.

What is a Non-Catalytic Wood Stove?

A non-catalytic wood stove uses air tubes and super-heated oxygen to mix with and generate a secondary burn with the gasses and particulates released from burning wood. This results in a fewer emissions and greater efficiency.

Benefits of Regency Non-Catalytic Wood Stoves

  • Easy Operation
  • Highly Efficient
  • Mid-Long Burn Times
  • 2020 EPA Certified
  • 96% Reduction in Emissions*
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
Looking for a non-catalytic wood stove? Check out Regency’s Classic series of wood burning stoves.

What is the difference between a Catalytic and a Hybrid Catalytic Wood Stove?

A catalytic wood stove uses a catalytic combustor to re-burn the gasses and particulates that are released from the burning wood. These gasses pass through the catalytic combustor, which operates at very high temperatures, and combust – providing increased efficiency, fewer emissions, and longer burn times.

A hybrid catalytic wood stove uses both air tubes and a catalytic combustor to burn the gasses and particulates three times – resulting in extremely efficient fires, very limited emissions, and the longest burn times. After initial combustion the gasses and particulates from the burning wood are mixed with super-heated air and combust a second time. After secondary combustion the remaining gasses and particulates are funneled through the catalytic combustor where they are then ignited for a third and final time, removing virtually all particulates and gasses.

Benefits of Regency Hybrid Catalytic Wood Stoves

  • Hyper-Efficient
  • Very Long Burn Times
  • Stable Heat Output
  • 2020 EPA Certified
  • 98% Reduction in Emissions*
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Industry Leading 10 Year Catalyst Warranty
Looking for a hybrid catalytic wood stove? Check out Regency Pro-Series and Cascades series of wood burning stoves.

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