The combustion of solid-fuels for heating and cooking in traditional fireplaces and stoves remains as the most popular residential energy system for 40% of the world population. Among the major contributors to air pollution, the World Health Organization considers it the largest global environmental health risk. Research stressed the need to increase the performance of conventional interplays between users, stoves and buildings. This scientific review aims to characterize the performance and environmental effects of 9 wood-burning stove categories by installations worldwide. This investigation shows that the efficiency of new heating stoves tends to be higher than 80% (45% for cookstoves) when fuel loads are adjusted to heat requirements. The adoption of air-tight installations can reduce wood consumption by more than 50% when compared with fireplaces. Fine particulate matter emissions from wood combustion can be reduced by more than 30% when switching from appliances using a manual control of combustion air inlets to automate systems that optimize air-staging to values below 150 mg/MJ-del. The mitigation of household air pollution in areas with limited access to modern fuels requires information campaigns to tackle the new air quality standards. Further investigations are recommended to evaluate the performance of advanced stoves during daily-life practices.