Things are definitely flaming here…

Things are definitely flaming here…

Disclosure

Here’s the problem with my reviewing Duraflame Stax: I am married to a Canadian, former Army officer, who is capable of growing a very full beard.

You KNOW what that means. The second he spotted the Duraflame Stax by the fireplace, he gasped.

“What is THAT?!” J’accuse was in his voice. My hubby uses precision techniques to build his wood fires. He reserves entire Saturday afternoons to split logs. Although he’s ridiculously easygoing, he is not the sort of man to allow his family to “shop” for fireplace logs.

“It’s a product I’m reviewing for a blog,” I reassure him. “Don’t worry. I promise to burn them when you aren’t around.”

And I’m happy to. Because there are plenty of times when he isn’t there to build the perfect fire, whether in our fireplace or our hand-dug firepit out back. And even though I’ve read my husband’s self-published 92-page flyer: “Building the Perfect Fire Really Isn’t That Easy,” my handbuilt ones often fizzle out before really catching. I just can’t get the oxygen flow right… or something!

So Duraflame Stax are handy.

Ease of setup: They come in a 3 or 6 pack. To light the fire you just take off the plastic wrap (don’t burn it!) and leave the logs in their paper. You place ONLY TWO of the Stax logs, in an X formation, in the fireplace, fire pit, or wood stove. Light their brown paper covers and that’s it.

Our fire was going in about 3-4 minutes. It lasted about 1.5 hours for us in a nice burn (see photo). Then you can add ONE Stax log as needed. I added one more from the three pack.

Duration: The entire fire stayed lit (with some flames, not down to embers) for about 3 or more hours. Compared to a wood fire that is a fair amount of time. In order to get a wood fire to last that long, I would have had to add one or two logs every 30 minutes or so. That is a big pile of wood and sticks.

Camping vs. Fireplace: I tried out these logs in our living fireplace and it was a good use for them if you don’t have access to firewood and you don’t have an in-home Canadian.

The Stax are not 100 percent wood however, but really cool “eco” logs made of sawdust, agricultural fibers, and non-petroleum renewable waxes and oils. In my mind, this makes them less desirable for campfires. Duraflame warns that they aren’t designed as “cooking fuel.” So, while you could make a great fire to sings songs around at the campsite, everyone would have to eat celery sticks and raw S’mores. That would be a camping tragedy.

The Green Factor: I didn’t actually climb up on my roof to sniff the smoke and see how clean it was compared a wood fire, but the engineers at Duraflame say that the Stax logs burn 50 percent less emission in fireplaces and up to 80 percent cleaner in wood stoves.

They are also made from 100 percent renewable resources (except the plastic shrink wrap) which is something to consider if you are going to shop for a firelog. However, wood is also a 100 percent renewable resource, so really Stax “renewable” feature should be compared to manufactured firelogs that once used petroleum wax in them, and not to plain wood. (More interesting info about wood burning here.)

Would I recommend Duraflame Stax? Yes. If you have no axe-wielding Canadian handy and you need to buy firelogs, these were easy to use and they have good eco qualities. They go from firepit to woodstove. The only down side is that you CAN’T cook over them, so remember to pack your indentured servants (ie. kids) with you when you go camping, in case you need someone to collect wood fuel.

Visit Duraflame’s website for more information.

Elizabeth

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a journalist, blogger & Demand Poet. Her articles have appeared in the Kansas City Star, Review Magazine, Boston Review, the American City Business Journals, All Green Magazine and more. She writes from her Connecticut home while fending off four kids and a dog. You can read more of her writing at "Letters from a Small State."

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