Material: Do you want a cast iron stove or a steel stove?
Many stoves are now made from steel, the traditional material for stoves is cast iron. The main difference between the two metals when used in a stove is the retention of heat available from cast iron. Cast iron stoves work with radiant heat, meaning that the cast iron heats up and acts as a radiator in the room.
Even after the fire goes out, a cast iron stove will still radiate heat for up to a few hours while the castings cool.
Note: When first firing a cast iron stove it is advisable to expand the castings as these will be cold, an easy way to do this is to put a small fire into the stove for the first few days. It is also a good idea to follow this practice if your stove is stood cold for a long period of time e.g. summertime.
Steel stoves can heat in two ways. A radiant heat like with cast, but in the case of steel stoves the heat is lost very quickly when the fire goes out.
Steel stoves can also work with a convecting heat. These stoves usually have twin walls and the heat is pushed up between these walls and out of vents made into the steel.
This method works particularly well with inset and cassette stoves as the cold air is drawn into the stove helping the fuel to combust and warm air is pushed out into the room giving immediate warmth.
A radiant stove that is inset will transfer a lot of heat to the bricks and the surrounding fireplace and these areas will need to warm up before you feel the full benefit of the fire inside.
Convector stoves can also often be installed closer to other objects as the walls are cooler to touch.