Now that wood pellets are becoming more abundant, there is a lot of question about which is better, pellet stove vs wood stove. There are advantages and disadvantages to both pellet stoves and wood stoves so the choice you make with pellet vs wood stoves will really depend on your own heating needs, circumstances and preferences. Pellet stoves are commonly bought as an alternative to traditional wood stoves by people who like wood heat, but don’t want some of the disadvantages of heating with firewood and wood stoves.
Pellet stoves are a mystery to a lot of people, probably because they haven’t become as popular as traditional heating systems like gas, oil, electric or even wood stoves. Pellet heat hasn’t caught on as much partly because it’s a technology that has had a few challenges, such as a lack of consistent availability of fuel. Another reason is people just aren’t familiar and comfortable with something they don’t know much about.
It wasn’t until the late 70’s that pellets started to be considered as a source of fuel. Since then, traditional fuels have been relatively cheap and readily available so pellet heat has had a tough market to compete in. Now as fossil fuel and electricity prices continue to rise, and as people are looking for sources of renewable energy, pellet stoves will probably only become more popular as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Advantages of Pellet vs Wood Stove
Pellet stoves are thermostatically controlled just like a gas, oil, or electric heating system. Set your thermostat and your home will stay close to that temperature, without the temperature swings you get with a wood stove.
No more getting up in the night to put wood on the fire or getting up or coming home to a cold house. Pellets are fed into the combustion chamber automatically, so you don’t have to keep putting wood on the fire like you will with a wood stove.
Pellet stoves are the cleanest burning solid fuel burning appliance available. When operating properly, they produce no visible smoke and can be used where wood stoves are not allowed because of air quality regulations.
Pellet stoves are more efficient than wood stoves. They burn fuel more completely and extract most of the heat that is produced. Because of this, a pellet stove’s exhaust is cooler than a wood stove, so it does not require a chimney. It can instead use a simple exhaust vent that can be easily routed through a wall. This can make a pellet stove installation cost less than a wood stove installation.
With a pellet stove, you don’t have to carry firewood or stack it or deal with the mess. You fill the pellet hopper on the back of the stove maybe once every day or 2 depending on how much you burn.
Advantages of Wood vs Pellet Stove
One of the biggest advantages of a wood stove vs pellet stove is for a lot of people, they just like the idea and the atmosphere and comfort of a traditional wood fire. People have been heating this way since prehistoric time and it brings a satisfaction and comfort that no other source of heat has.
Firewood has been around longer than pellets, so in many areas it is more available. Firewood is easier for a consumer to produce, if you have the tools and material you can cut your own wood and save a lot of money. With a wood stove, you don’t have to depend on pellet mills and distributors to supply your fuel. With a wood stove, all you or the people that supply you with wood need is a saw and a source of wood.
Many people actually enjoy making or handling firewood as a source of exercise or a way to get in touch with the outdoors. For a lot of people, it is something that is a a tradition passed down through many generations.
A wood stove works even when the power is out. Pellet stoves use a small amount of electricity to power some of their internal components like the pellet feeding mechanism. So when the power goes out, or if you don’t have access to electricity, a pellet stove will not work. This problem can be solved with battery backup systems that are available.