Stove Top vs. Stove Pipe Thermometer – What’s the Difference?

Operating a wood stove without a thermometer is a bad idea – you will have a hard time figuring out the current burn temperature, which only leads to potential stove damage, waste of wood and chimney issues.

But here’s the deal – there’s a lot of options out there, so deciding on which kind, mainly between the stove top (which goes directly on the wood stove) and stove pipe (which attaches to the flue) can be hard.

Two equally great choices

Both of them work just as well, so the choice here depends entirely on your preference.

That being said, in some cases one option may be more easy to work with than the other. And that is if you have a stove which runs a double wall pipe.

If you’ll want to measure the flue temp with this kind of piping, you will have to get a probe type thermometer. A hole needs to be drilled in the flue in order for this to work, which not too many folks want to do.

And that’s when you’d want to use a stove top thermometer – it’s just simpler to work with!

Why not both?

If you have a hard time deciding between a stove top and pipe thermometer (and you run a single wall), why not go for both?

As a matter of fact, there is a bunch of fellow stove users out there that do exactly that – it makes for smaller margin of error.

That’s not to say you can’t measure the wood stove’s temperature with just a single one, but having a thermometer on the stove top and pipe simultaneously makes for a better peace of mind.

I mean, you can even get one of those infrared thermometers on top of that, to be sure every thermometer is consistent and not failing. You certainly can’t be too careful when it comes to operating a stove, because it’s just that important.

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  1. Thanks for having this site. Our magnetic stack surface thermometer never gets to 200. But we have no creosote buildup and our stove has a new 2” crack running from the front top edge inward. My husband likes vigorous fires and relies on the stack thermometer, so he dismisses the idea that the stove could be running too hot. The thermometer can be easily moved so iim wondering if moving it to different locations can give us a more accurate reading. Due to a labor shortage in our mountain town, we can’t get reliable propane deliveries and are using the stove to heat our house.

    1. My pleasure. For the best reading, I think it’s best to place the thermometer in the middle of the stack, that is, the flue. But you can also move it around different places and figure out the average temperature as well.

  2. I have a Vermont Castings Defiant stove… I run both stovetop and pipe. The pipe one never get to “overfire” but the stove top one gets pretty darn close. When I close the flue to run through the catalyst the pipe one get to the top of the creosote build up range but the stove top one is in the middle to low end of the good range. The glass front always turns black unless I run the stovetop thermometer at the upper end. What is the max temperature for a cast iron stove? This stove has zero problems heating a 2 level 2700 square foot home. I use it extensively and exclusively in the winter for heat.

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