My second reason for buying a catalytic stove is:
A catalytic stove is easier to use. The catalytic combustor begins to burn volatile materials in the exhaust stream at 500 degrees F. Non-catalytic stoves do not begin to perform efficiently until secondary air is introduced to exhaust temperatures that are over 1000 degrees F.
This is a crucial difference for two reasons:
1. The hotter you have to get your fire before you can start operating efficiently, the more heat you send up the chimney.
2. Achieving temperatures of 1000 degrees in a firebox is not an easy task for every homeowner.
Getting secondary light-off in a non-catalytic stove can be difficult for an experienced technician in a test lab, and is much more difficult for a homeowner using cord wood of varying moisture content and density.
To achieve efficiency in a catalytic stove, all you have to do is close the catalytic bypass damper when the exhaust stream approaches 500 degrees F. (typically about 35 minutes after kindling a fire, or 15 to 20 minutes after refueling.