Household burning of solid fuels in traditional stoves is detrimental to health, the environment and development. A range of improved solid fuel stoves (IS) are available but little is known about successful approaches to dissemination. This qualitative systematic review aimed to identify factors that influence household uptake of IS in low- and middle-income countries. Extensive searches were carried out and studies were screened and extracted using established systematic review methods. Fourteen qualitative studies from Asia, Africa and Latin-America met the inclusion criteria. Thematic synthesis was used to synthesise data and findings are presented under seven framework domains. Findings relate to user and stakeholder perceptions and highlight the importance of cost, good stove design, fuel and time savings, health benefits, being able to cook traditional dishes and cleanliness in relation to uptake. Creating demand, appropriate approaches to business, and community involvement, are also discussed. Achieving and sustaining uptake is complex and requires consideration of a broad range of factors, which operate at household, community, regional and national levels. Initiatives aimed at IS scale up should include quantitative evaluations of effectiveness, supplemented with qualitative studies to assess factors affecting uptake, with an equity focus.