Coal is known for providing more even, consistent heating, but wood stoves require less maintenance and are regulated less harshly than those that use coal. Both types of stoves have largely been supplanted by gas and electric stoves.
Although coal was once a popular option for cooking, it doesn't burn cleanly, and the particulate matter and combustion by-products it releases are considered more dangerous than those released by wood. As a result, some areas allow wood stoves to be installed but ban the use of coal stoves. Coal also generates a greater amount of dangerous smoke and requires larger chimneys, which vent away much of the heat it generates.
By weight, coal stores more energy than wood, so less space is needed to store fuel. This greater energy efficiency also allows users to replace coal less frequently. Despite these advantages, coal fires need to be tended to regularly, and coal generates more ash, which requires careful disposal. Wood pellets and other similar products burn more cleanly and require less maintenance.
Gas stoves, by comparison, require only occasional maintenance and do not produce ash. Efficient gas stoves release only carbon dioxide and water vapor, which are not toxic. Those who do not have gas connections can rely on electrical stoves, which are more expensive to run but require no maintenance at all.