Arada Ecoburn S3 and Holborn full review

Arada Ecoburn S3 and Holborn full review

Arada have developed a new stove engine that will be used in a number of their stoves including the Ecoburn series 3, the Holborn range and some of their Hamlet stoves too. This is becoming more and more common as the costs of getting stoves through all the relevant certification has forced manufacturers to simply make the same model several times with nothing more than different clothes on. In this case they currently make a few versions of these stoves:

Ecoburn 5 series 3 and Holborn 5

Ecoburn 5 Widescreen series 3 and Holborn 5 Widescreen

Ecoburn 7 series 3 and Holborn 7

In the case of the 5's the only difference is the door, and between the 5 widescreen versions and the 7, the only difference is slightly thicker fire bricks. I'm not impressed by this, whilst I don't blame Arada, regulation at this point is surely stifling creativity and making it uneconomic to take risks and allow an industry to properly innovate and move forward. Rant over 😬

All of them are made entirely in England, which is fantastic, even the door castings, handles and testing is all done in England. They have a grate which is heavily skewed to favour wood burning, but can take some smokeless fuel use. It has a fairly crude and simple riddling system, but it does a good enough job. Everything feels nicely engineered and the fit and finish is excellent.


Lighting the stove: 5/10

This stove can spill smoke into the room and that is always made worse during the lighting process, but with a few technique changes you can get passed this, and once you've learned the stove it is easy enough. 


Cleanness: 8/10

This is something that Arada always get right, the stove blazes away with a gorgeous lively flame and keeps the glass spotless. It's obviously also DEFRA approved and Eco Design so it has all those boxes ticked too.


Controls & controllability: 4/10

The feel of the controls is excellent. The handle is stainless steel and open and closes with a well engineered and smooth turn. It has 2 stainless steel air controls beneath the door, which also slide perfectly smoothly. However whilst Arada gets the clean bit right, the controllability part is never great, and in this particular case it is almost impossible to see a single difference between the stove on fully open to closed. This won't panic the casual evening user, but if you want to use a stove more seriously it renders this stove almost useless. 


Fuel economy & burn time: 2/10

Sadly this stoves controllability issue has also severely affected its fuel economy and burn time. During normal use you will need to re-load the stove every 45 minutes and even when fully closed down you're hard pushed to be able to leave the stove for longer than a couple hours.


Who's it for:

This stove is not for everyone, but it's certainly not that it won't serve some users. It really does look stunning when it's running, it's beautifully clean and the fit, finish and feel is lovely. If you plan on using your stove during the evenings, primarily as a focal point and to heat a room for the evening, then it is perfect. You will find this stove cleaner, and better looking than most of it's competition and it's fuel economy is also not a negative, as all stoves during the first 3 hours will essentially use the same amount of fuel. This is because this is when you are getting the stove and the room up to temperature, and you're wanting a big flame that looks great for the evening. If you were wanting to then keep it in, it is at this point that the Arada's would sadly get left behind, but of course not many of us are.


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1 comment

Three years ago I bought my first stove , the Arada ecoburn 5 widescreen s3. I have used it for the last three winters as my primary heat source as the central heating is run off lpg cylinders, very expensive ! I work full time and live on my own so the stove is not used 24/7. I also spend time away with friends and relatives.

Owning and using a stove efficiently and effectively comes down to hands on experience and gathering as much information from discussion forums, social media , and the manufacturer as you can. Just as car owners are keen to argue the merits of their chosen brand so are ‘ stove’ lovers ! And everyone loves to swap stories about their stoves!

In the beginning lighting the fire was a challenge , smoke in the room , the fire going out you name it I did it! But after experimenting using top down , bottom up , I finally come up with a perfect technique , for my Arada! My local supplier , DFC fuels ,were a tremendous help here as they burn anthracite all day and showed me their technique for lighting it. So I would agree 5/10 when I started , or maybe less , but with experience 10/10.

The one thing that this stove does well is cleanliness . I have joined wood burning forums where keeping the glass clean is discussed at length, with owners often asking they can keep their glass cleaner. The airwash system on the arada always keeps the glass clear, great for a novice as I was.

I took advice from the manufacturer ,who were always very helpful , about what to burn and operating temperature etc. they recommended using seasoned / kiln dried wood and ovals / anthracite . They told me the stove was tested with anthracite.

I get my ovals / anthracite from a local supplier. The anthracite is mined locally in weardale so I’m supporting the local economy too! I burn wood only when I get in from work in the evenings and on days off I use ovals to get the fire started then anthracite all day. Over the winter I used 5 × 25 kilogram bags of anthracite plus 5 bags ovals .

Keeping the fire going with only wood or only anthracite was a steep learning curve . I found the controls difficult to get used to it but once I had them figured out the economy of the stove was outstanding . The anthracite was £9.50 / 25 kilograms , I bought a lot before the price went up ! Once I had the bed of embers established I could then use the primary control to control the burn rate , the anthracite would last for hours. The secret here was that I have a very well insulated house , and I’m only heating the kitchen and ‘snug ‘. I would say the stove is much more economical using solid fuel then wood although I only used 2x dumpy bags of kiln dried wood , plus a small store of scavenged wood , all winter .

The stove is robust, beautifully made ,and a real centerpiece. The flames are a real feature of this stove, and , as per the review a lifetime guarantee. After three winters I have not replaced anything on the stove .

The chimney was swept today and the technician told my that the soot that came out indicated a very clean effective burn . The back fire brick has had a crack In it for the last year so I got a replacement (£25 from arada ) but the technician filled it with fire cement and said it was good for another year.

So would I buy the arada again , definitely!

What I have learned over the three years I have owned a wood burner is that in the beginning everything was a challenge , give yourself time to learn and get to know the idiosyncrasies of your individual stove . I know from reading the forums many newcomers , like me, often experience the same issues. I do not know how the arada would compare with other stoves as I have only ever owed this one but I would definitely recommend this stove.

Nigel carr

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