Many of the stoves on the market are spartan in appearance but perform as designed. The most recent model of the Vermont Casting Vigilant, the model 2310 Vigilant II is designed inside as a coal only stove. Not at all like the hopper version, the 2310 is a batch burner. It's the one of few that have long flame paths that produce excellent radiant only heat exchange. Like the base burners of old, the 2310 puts heat out on a serious level. I've been putting 3-5 ton a season through mine for the past 11 years. It's not the best on the shaker side and you'll never dump a fire unless you try really hard for many minutes. Like any stove, once you learn how to operate it, it works extremely well.
There's many good stoves on the market. It's the buyer's choice