The original rocket stove is a cooking unit that burns small diameter twigs for the production of intense heat for a limited time. Its design provides adequate oxygen for burning the fuel while minimizing the smoke production. With the addition of a heat mass to absorb some of the heat the stove produces and radiate it back into the room, a rocket stove is useful in home heating.
Rocket stoves work on the same principle as oil lamps. The vertical chimney increases airflow to improve burning and increase heat. The rocket cooking stoves are available commercially, but campers often make their own stove by recycling used cans to create the horizontal fuel feed chute, upright chimney and cooking support. The intense heat works well for cooking and does not require a thermal mass for storage.
Traditional wood heating stoves use large pieces of firewood and air dampers to provide a controlled burn. This type of system provides slow consistent heat that maintains the temperature of the room as it operates. However, the approach is relatively inefficient and produces byproducts that include large amounts of smoke and wood ash. Rocket mass heaters use the heat from the fuel to provide some warming of the room air while the fire burns, but the mass stores most of the heat production to maintain a consistent temperature through radiation.