Masonry heaters have one of the highest efficiencies that can be achieved by burning wood. The heat transfer efficiency of masonry heaters of the best design is within the range of 80 to 85%. This is considerably higher than the efficiency of standard metal stoves and fireplaces. An effective, efficient and trouble-free masonry heater requires a chimney with a good and reliable draft.
Keep in mind that modern, efficient stoves, when properly turned on, release less heat to the fireplace, so the fireplace in the basement should be optimal. Instead of a cast-iron wood stove that would need to be constantly powered, I installed an efficient and less labor-intensive masonry heater in my house. One of the great advantages of using a masonry heater is that it is just as effective and efficient regardless of the type of wood used as fuel.