Dean Forge Croft review

Dean Forge Croft review

The Dean Forge Croft stove is an all singing and dancing flagship from Dean Forge. They updated the model slightly in 2021 and they now make 3 versions:

The Croft Junior

The Croft Slim-Line

The Croft small


The names are odd, given that the largest model is called the small. This was caused by the removal of all the larger models that could not make the efficiency cut required from January 1st 2022, but that still doesn't explain why they didn't simply rename the new models. 


You still get a number of options including a profile top or a roll top, which is a purely aesthetic choice, but given the traditional style of this stove I personally always preferred the roll top. It is a wood only appliance with no grate or ash pan, it has double glazed glass and several handle options which like the top are aesthetic choices that do not cost anything extra. The stove is made from the ground up in England, it's typically over engineered, heavy and crudely built, but it only adds to its appeal.

Lighting the stove: 10/10

Lighting the stove is exceptionally easy, particularly when compared to the way modern "Eco-Design" stoves generally behave. The large single door has to 2 sliding flaps in the front which are there for lighting and getting the stove going again in the morning. They are very effective and allow the stove to light and get up to temperature in record time, and if you don't have the best drawing chimney or have other external factors making the use of a stove more difficult, this has also proved to be an effective remedy to many if not most potential issues.

Cleanness: 8/10

In terms of keeping the stove clean, the double glazed door is exceptionally effective. All stoves nowadays are Eco-Design and most including these are DEFRA approved too, but this is not necessarily the Crofts focus. Its function and fuel economy is where it really shines.

Controls: 8/10

Whilst using its controls what stood out was how effective everything was. Nothing was stunningly made, or beautifully engineered, all superfluous form over function is replaced with thick crudely engineered hinges and sliders that when moved really do what you hoped. They get hot and they don't feel special, but the effectiveness of each control is encouraging and allows you to enjoy using the stove.

Fuel economy: 10/10

This stove really shines in this category. This stoves over engineered, crude design is a big factor here, because where other manufacturers have become obsessed with managing air as cleverly as possible to maximise efficiency, Dean Forge seemed to have been satisfied with the minimum. As 2022 rolled round they had to add in extra air to comply with the new rules, and they also had to change their brick and baffle design, which they did reluctantly. The key thing was making a stove that complied, but most importantly it had to retain what made it special. That isn't easy in a world where every product and person has to be forced into a neat little box, particularly when what made this product special was the out of the box thinking (Instead of clever air systems to keep everything clean, Dean Forge had simply double glazed the glass keeping all the function and adding clean glass). The result was a stove that if you had the DEFRA kit fitted, would burn hotter, faster and less economically, but due to its innate design could still just about run for 8 hours on 1 load of fuel. But if you removed the DEFRA kit, retained that spark of magic that allowed the original Croft to chug on all day on 1 load.

Who's it for:

If you're after nicely finished, clean efficient and well engineered then this isn't for you. But if you're into:

Heavy, tough, functional, long lasting, traditional, British, serious use, overnight running and no hassle

Then look no further, its far from cheap, but the right tool never is and this is definitely the right tool:

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