At Today’s Cottage Living, we understand the importance of having a reliable and efficient heating source in your home.

If you’re trying to decide between a pellet vs wood stove, we’ve got you covered.

pellet vs wood stoves
Wood Pellets
pellet vs wood stove
Wood Stove

Both types of stoves have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article we’ll help you make the right decision by helping you match your specific preferences, lifestyle, and heating requirements to a stove that will warm your heart.

Why can you trust us?

As a property owner with a passion for country living, I’ve covered a variety of topics and written several articles on everything from best firewood practices, and wood stoves, to DIY construction projects. This guide combines my years of hands-on experience, together with extensive research from experts on the topic to help ensure a well-rounded perspective.

Looking for a Quick Answer to Pellet vs Wood Stove? 

For those of you who want a quick answer, let’s jump ahead by having you answer the following 7 questions: 

  1. Is your home located in an area that is subject to power outages?  

If so, it’s important to understand that during a power outage a pellet stove stops working. Pellet stoves have a lot of moving parts that require constant electrical power. So, if you are going to be relying on your stove as a primary heat source, just know that you cannot depend on a pellet stove to provide heat without power. 

Advantage: Wood Stoves 
  1. Are you prepared to have annual maintenance performed on your stove?  

Pellet stoves should have an annual inspection to ensure all the mechanical parts are in good shape BEFORE the upcoming burning season. Wood stoves require little maintenance beyond keeping the chimney clear of creosote buildup.   

Advantage: Wood Stoves 
  1. If you don’t have a local supplier of delivered firewood, are splitting, stacking, and seasoning firewood tasks you’re prepared to undertake? If not, wood pellets win on convenience.  
Advantage: Pellet Stoves 
  1. Will you be away from your home for up to 24 hours in a day? If so, many of today’s high efficiency pellet stoves can provide continuous heat for up to 24 hours.  
Advantage: Pellet Stoves 
  1. Is the convenience of a thermostatically controlled stove with an auto-start feature important to you? If so, most quality pellet stoves light themselves using an electric auto-ignition and include a remote thermostat.  
Advantage: Pellet Stoves 
  1. Are wood pellets readily available – and reasonably priced, in your area? There have been reports of pellets being rationed in some areas. (See video below.) 
Advantage: Wood Stoves 
  1. Do you and your family enjoy the traditions, smells, and ambiance of a wood burning fireplace? Is manually starting a fire, keeping it filled-up regularly, stoking the logs, and viewing the natural flames that are only available from burning firewood part of a lifestyle you enjoy? If so… 
Advantage: Wood Stoves 

As you can see, making the right choice between pellet stoves and wood stove comes down to which one meets your specific needs and personal preferences.  

But before you run off and make a (significant) purchase, read on to discover further insights that can help you confirm your best choice.  

Traditional Wood-Burning Stoves: 

What are the Advantages of Wood Stoves?

  • Affordable Fuel: Wood is a relatively inexpensive fuel source, especially if you you’re prepared to cut and split your own firewood. Either way, if you have access to a steady supply of firewood, heating your home with a traditional wood-burning stove can be very cost-effective. 
  • Authentic Heat and Ambiance: There’s something special about the ambiance of a wood-burning stove. The natural smell and crackling sound of burning wood can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your home. 
  • Works During Power Outages: Unlike pellet stoves, wood-burning stoves don’t require electricity to operate. This means that you can stay warm even if the power goes out during a winter storm. 

What are the Disadvantages of Wood Stoves?

  • Requires Maintenance: Traditional wood-burning stoves require regular cleaning and maintenance to operate efficiently. This includes cleaning the chimney, removing ashes, and checking the flue. 
  • Requires Storage Space: Firewood takes up a lot of space, so you’ll need to have a dedicated area to store your wood supply. This can be an issue for people with limited storage space. 
  • Can Produce Smoke and Pollutants: Burning wood can release harmful pollutants into the air, which can be a health hazard for people with respiratory issues. It’s important to use dry, seasoned wood and to have proper ventilation to minimize the risk of smoke and pollutants. 

Pellet Stoves: 

What are the Advantages of Pellet Stoves?

  • Easy to Use: Pellet stoves are designed to be user-friendly. They have automatic ignition and temperature control, so you don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting the settings. 
  • Low Maintenance: Pellet stoves require less maintenance than wood-burning stoves. They produce less ash and creosote, which means that you won’t have to clean them as often. 
  • Efficient Fuel: Pellets are a highly efficient fuel source. They produce very little ash and burn cleanly, which means that they’re better for the environment than wood. 

What are the Disadvantages of Pellet Stoves?

  • Requires Electricity: Pellet stoves require electricity to operate, so if you lose power, you won’t be able to use your stove. You’ll also need to have an electrical outlet nearby to plug in your stove. 
  • Expensive Fuel: While pellets are efficient, they can be more expensive than wood. You’ll need to factor in the cost of pellets when considering a pellet stove. 
  • Limited Ambiance: While pellet stoves are efficient, they don’t have the same ambiance as wood-burning stoves. They don’t produce the same natural smell or crackling sound that wood-burning stoves do. 

Conclusion: 

As we said at the beginning of this article, the best choice between a traditional wood-burning stove and a pellet stove is which type meets your specific needs.  

If you have a steady supply of firewood and enjoy the ambiance of a wood-burning stove, then a traditional stove may be the best choice for you.  

But if you’re looking for a convenient and efficient heating source, a pellet stove is tough to beat. Ultimately, both types of stoves can provide reliable and efficient heating for your home. 

FAQs 

How do Pellet Stoves Work?

Pellet fuel appliances typically include a hopper to store fuel pellets until they are required for burning. These hoppers usually have a capacity of 35 to 130 pounds (16 to 60 kg) of fuel, which can last a day or longer with standard operating conditions.

The combustion process involves a feeder mechanism that gradually drops pellets into the combustion chamber. The rate at which the pellets are fed to the burner determines the heat output.

The exhaust gases are typically vented through a small flue pipe that can be directed out a sidewall or upwards through the roof.

More advanced models of pellet fuel appliances may have additional features like a small computer and thermostat to regulate the pellet feed rate.

Which type of stove is cleaner burning?

Pellet stoves are cleaner burning than wood stoves. Although the 2020 guidelines for wood burning appliances have resulted in highly efficient, low emission stoves for wood and pellet stoves, when it come to the cleanest burning challenge between pellet vs wood stove, the pellet wins.

Wood-burning appliances and fireplaces may emit large quantities of air pollutants. Wood smoke contains hundreds of chemical compounds including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, organic gases, and particulate matter, many of which have adverse health effects.

Energy.gov

Wood-burning appliances and fireplaces may emit large quantities of air pollutants. Wood smoke contains hundreds of chemical compounds including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, organic gases, and particulate matter, many of which have adverse health effects.

Can you heat a whole house with a pellet stove? 

Pellet stoves can provide efficient and cost-effective heating for a single room or a small area of a house. However, it may not be sufficient to heat an entire house, especially in colder climates, unless the house is well-insulated and designed to maximize the stove’s heating potential.  

It is also important to note that pellet stoves require a steady supply of pellets and regular maintenance to function properly. Therefore, it is recommended to consider other heating options such as a furnace or a central heating system for larger homes. 

What is the best size stove?

This is a great question, and getting the right answer can make a big difference. So, rather than giving you my opinion and interpretation, let’s lean on the unbiased experts at the Department of Energy:

When choosing a wood- or pellet-burning appliance, it’s important to select one that’s properly sized for the space to be heated. When an appliance is too big, residents tend to burn fires at a low smolder to avoid overheating, which wastes fuel and is one of the biggest causes of air pollution. An under-sized unit will not provide sufficient heat. You should discuss your heating needs with a reputable dealer. A good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (Btu) can heat a 2,000-square-foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 Btu can heat a 1,300-square-foot space.

Energy.gov – Department of Energy

Is it cheaper to run a pellet stove or furnace? 

In general, pellet stoves can be more cost-effective than furnaces, depending on factors such as the cost of electricity, fuel type, and local fuel prices. Pellet stoves use compressed wood pellets as fuel, which can be more affordable and eco-friendlier than traditional heating fuels like oil, propane, or natural gas.  

Additionally, pellet stoves are highly efficient, with some models boasting up to 90% efficiency, meaning they convert almost all of the fuel into heat.  

However, it is essential to consider the initial cost of purchasing and installing a pellet stove compared to a furnace, as well as the cost of regular maintenance and pellet fuel. Ultimately, the choice between a pellet stove or furnace will depend on individual heating needs, preferences, and budget. 

How long will a 40 lb. bag of wood pellets burn? 

The burn time for a 40-pound bag of wood pellets will depend on several factors, including the size and efficiency of the pellet stove, the heating needs of the space being heated, and the quality and type of pellets used.  

Typically, a 40-pound bag of premium wood pellets can burn for approximately 20-24 hours in a high-efficiency pellet stove, producing between 35,000 to 40,000 BTUs of heat per hour.  

Is it OK to leave the pellet stove on all night? 

It is generally safe to leave a pellet stove on overnight, provided that the stove is designed for continuous operation and is installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  

Just be sure to exercise caution and take appropriate safety measures, such as keeping the stove away from flammable objects and ensuring that it is properly ventilated.  

Additionally, it is recommended to regularly check the stove for any signs of malfunction or damage, and to have it serviced and cleaned as needed. Finally, it is important to follow local fire and building codes, which may impose additional restrictions or requirements on the use of pellet stoves. 

How many pellets does it take to heat a 2000 square foot house? 

The number of pellets required to heat a 2000 square foot house will depend on several factors, such as the climate, insulation, and efficiency of the pellet stove. On average, a well-insulated home in a moderately cold climate may require between 2 to 3 tons (or 4,000 to 6,000 pounds) of pellets per heating season to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.  

This estimate is based on a heating season of approximately 4 to 5 months and assumes that the pellet stove is used as the primary heating source.  

Keep in mind this is only an estimate, and it is important to consider other factors such as the efficiency and output of the stove, as well as personal heating preferences and habits. 

Is it cheaper to burn wood or pellets? 

The cost-effectiveness of burning wood versus pellets will depend on several factors, including the availability and cost of wood and pellets in your area, the efficiency of your heating system, and your heating needs.  

In general, wood may be a cheaper fuel source than pellets if you have a reliable source of wood and can cut, split, and season it yourself.  

However, wood may require more effort and maintenance than pellets, and it may produce more emissions and pollution. Pellets, on the other hand, may be a more consistent and convenient fuel source that produces less pollution, but they may be more expensive than wood, depending on local availability and demand.  

Does a pellet stove make your house insurance go up? 

In most cases, a pellet stove is unlikely to raise your house insurance premium or affect your eligibility for coverage. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider to confirm their policy on wood-burning stoves and to ensure that your stove meets any safety and installation requirements.  

Some insurance companies may require that the stove be professionally installed, inspected, and certified by a licensed technician to reduce the risk of fire or other hazards.  

Additionally, it is recommended to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors near the stove and to follow local building and fire codes to minimize any potential safety risks. 

2 YouTube Videos – 2 Perspectives

I selected two YouTube videos because I thought they both offer unique perspectives and insights to help you make an informed buying decision. Wood stoves and pellet stoves are a big investment, so it seems to me the more you know, the better you’ll feel about your ultimate decision.

Balanced Overview

Changed from pellet to wood stove

Related Article: If you’re trying to decide on the ideal type of fireplace or wood stove, we have a comprehensive guide. Click here


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Greg Jones

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