pellet stove pipe

Best Pellet Stove Pipe Reviews- Comprehensive Guide

Pipes may not be glamorous, but you definitely need them. In this brief article, we hope to explain the essential function, installation, and brands of pellet pipes. Armed with this knowledge you will be a better consumer.

Why you need pellet stove ventilation

Although pellet stoves do not create a lot of smoke, they do release ash, exhaust fumes, and water vapor. These are natural waste products that come from burning pellet fuel. You don’t want these substances leaking into your home, so a pipe is attached to the stove connecting it to the outside. In this way, all the harmful byproducts of running the stove are safely outputted outside.

There are two main ways this excretion process can occur: mechanically or naturally. With a mechanical exhaust, a small fan blows the “bad stuff” through the stove pipe and sucks fresh air in from the other end. This fan is similar to the ones on handheld vacuums. Conversely, a pellet burning stove without a fan uses the natural air draft of the room to propel the exhaust particles out and provide oxygen for the fire.

Things to Consider before buying

Read this before you go out and buy a pipe. There is nothing worse than returning from a trip and realizing that you bought the wrong item. Actually, there are a lot of things that are worse, but making a wrong purchase is still up there.

  • PL Vent Pipe: This type of pipe is made and tested solely for pellet stoves, so if you care about maximizing safety and functionality you should buy a PL “pellet vent” pipe. These pipes are double walled with air space in between. All joints on these pipes should be properly sealed during installation. Additionally, IF YOUR PELLET STOVE HAS A PL PIPE REQUIREMENT->USE A PELLET VENT PIPE!
  • What NOT to buy: Any vent meant for appliances such as dryers, stovepipes that don’t feature the double walled construction, and plastic pipes.
  • Stove Pipe Reviews: Amazon can give you a lot of information on which pipes work out for people, but be careful not to over rely on Amazon reviews at the expense of doing your own research.

Installation Tips

Although stovepipes are great (read: essential) to have, installation can be a chore. On the positive side, you only have to install the pipe once. If you do it right the first time, you’ll never worry about it again (except for having it cleaned). Here are a few things to consider to make the process go smoother.

  • Clearance: Aside from stove burning byproducts, some heat also travels through the stovepipe. For this reason, there is a minimum distance the pipe must be from any other objects that could potentially catch on fire. This distance is listed in the installation guides.
  • Exhaust Methods: Think about how you want the stove pipe to be set up. It can be attached to the stove parallel to the ground (cheapest method) but the downside is that smoke can drift back into the house in the event of a power outage stopping the fan. The other option is attaching the pipe to the top of the stove, perpendicular to the ground. In this case, there is natural draft that will prevent exhaust back spill in the case of a power outage. These are the two main exhaust methods, but there are other variations that you can check out on this site. NOTE: If you are using a chimney for exhaust, be sure to have it inspected and cleaned.
  • Instructions: Follow instructions carefully, and make sure that all pipe joints are properly sealed. Many of these are pressurized and you don’t want gas to leak. If the instructions given by the pipe manufacturer are less stringent than the stovepipe installation instructions given by the pellet stove manufacturer, always go with the stove instructions. Better yet, seek out the professional opinion of someone who works at a fireplace store
  • Other Factors: You should also consider how easy it will be to clean the stove, what altitude your house is at (affects drafts), and the construction of your house (airtight houses vent less effectively).

Pellet Stove Pipe Reviews

Unlike our other review sections (e.g. wood stoves). There is not much to review about different types of pipe. What we can do is give you some insight into two of the most popular brands: Selkirk and Simpson (Duravent).

Selkirk vs. Duravent: In general, people prefer duravent as they say it is made at a higher standard of quality. This is obviously harder to assess when dealing with pipes. The duravent is also favored, because there is no need for locking bands between class A sections. Finally, the Duravent also comes in a longer max size (five inches while the Selkirk is one inch less.)

Find out what others have to say about Selkirk Pipes on Amazon

Read what everyone is saying about Duravent Pipes on Amazon:

NOTE:  A large amount of the above info was culled from posts on the forum Hearth.com. This website gives great info on all varieties of wood burning stoves, pipes, and related accessories. Be sure to check them out.

Where to Buy

These pipes can either be found at your local hardware store, a specialty fireplace shop, or online on websites like amazon.com.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best wood pellet stove pipe can seem like a complex endeavor, but that is definitely not the case. The relative uniformity of pipe options means that there are small differences between manufacturers. As long as you follow the guidelines for buying the right type of pipe (and installing it properly) you should be fine. ALWAYS consult with a professional if you are uncertain about something. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Make sure you are fueling your stove properly: check out our guide to buying the best wood pellets.

best wood pellet

Best wood pellets – Our Complete Wood Pellet Buying Guide

Owning a pellet stove can be a rewarding investment. You aren’t tied to the grid for heat, and you get the cozy nostalgic feel of fire. So let’s say you went and bought a brand new pellet stove like our favorite Castle Serenity (see our  other top rated wood stoves), but now you need fuel, which comes in the form of wood pellets. The problem is that there are hundreds of different types of pellets and local dealers. It can be overwhelming to search through all these varieties to find the best pellet for your stove. Also, there’s the simple questions like “what are pellets?” and “should I buy hardwood or softwood?” That’s where we come in. We did the research for you, and wrote this guide to share our insight into finding and buying the best wood stove pellets.

What is in a wood pellet?

The contents vary, but pellets are generally made from compressed sawdust and sometimes mixed with other substances such as paper, glue, cardboard, and bark. There are also biomass pellets made from organic materials. The sawdust is a byproduct of lumbar processing, so through buying pellets you are helping to utilize every part of the tree. The type of tree that pellets are made from, the moisture content, ash production, and additives all influence the overall quality of a pellet.

Hardwood vs. Softwood Pellets – The classic debate

Hardwood vs softwood pellets

There is a lot of misinformation out there on whether pellets made from hardwood trees such as beech and oak are better than those made from softwood (cedar, pine, spruce, etc.). Hardwood is used in high end furniture, and has gained a reputation as being better for burning, but when we examine the facts objectively softwood has the advantage. Softwood outputs 9%-20% more heat per pound than hardwood. It may seem strange to hear considering that hardwood is often marketed as superior, but if you care about maximizing heat output softwood is the way to go.

What to Look for in a high quality pellet

NOTE: There is little regulation for what is put on the labels of pellet stove pellets, so you will have to test some brands for metrics like heat output and ash content yourself. It is a little bit of trial and error, but once you find a brand that works for you then you’re set.

  • Heat output: This is measured in BTUs, so you want to look for pellets that have higher BTU ratings. The best pellets are in the 8,000-8,500 range. It is important to note that you may see a “moisture free” label. This indicates the BTU rating when all the water is removed from the pellet. This rating is unrealistic, because you don’t store your pellets in a vacuum. If it is the only BTU rating available then aim for something between 8.2k to 8.8k BTUs.
  • Low Moisture Content: This influences how long it takes you to light your pellet stove. If you use low moisture pellets as fuel it won’t take as long. The best pellets have a moisture content of 6.5% and below.
  • Low Ash Content: This describes how much ash is left over in proportion to how much wood was burned. Having a lot of ash produced will make your stove run less efficiency, so look for pellets that say “low ash content”
  • No additives or bark: Pellets without bark, cardboard, glue, or recycled materials burn hotter and produce less ash.

Where to buy them?

As with a lot of important decisions-it depends. Unlike buying a stove, buying pellets for a pellet stove can be challenging. There are a few important questions you have to ask yourself.

Q: How much is a bag of wood pellets?

A: A bag of pellets costs between $4 to $6 for a 40 pound bag. The Home Depot wood pellet price will be similar. Prices are competitive, but we always recommend local suppliers. Most people buy pellets buy the ton, which cost around $200-$250 dollars. In total, you will probably go through 7 tons in a year, so the combined cost of pellet stove fuel ends up being $1,400-$1,750 per year. Considering the high price of other energy sources (heating oil) that figure isn’t bad.

Q: Are these pellets good?

A: Aside from following the buying criteria (and buying the top pellet  brands) we outlined above, there is a simple way to get a general idea of the pellet quality-take a sniff. No seriously, if you open the bag and smell the pellets and there is a chemical odor then you probably shouldn’t be burning those pellets. Premium pellets are made with wood alone, and as a result they just smell like wood.

Q: Are you buying in bulk?

YES: If you are purchasing a year’s worth of pellets then you are going to be ordering around 1 ton of pellets. Special delivery men will have to deliver and unload a pallet containing the pellets (known as a skid). These types of orders can only be serviced by local lumber mills or pellet providers. For a full list of providers in your area check out http://woodpellets.com

NO: You can order online from companies like Sears or Home Depot or buy at the physical locations of these retailers. We advise carefully checking the pellets to make sure there are no additives, because the highest quality pellets are not always available

Q: How far away do you live from the supplier?

FAR: If you live far from the supplier (e.g. different state) then the shipping costs of delivering such a large load will be very expensive. Just as with buying bulk, it is always better to purchase from a dealer in your area.

CLOSE: Nice, you lucked out. Form a relationship with the supplier and they might be able to give you a deal in the future.

Premium Wood Pellet Reviews: Best Pellet Fuel of 2016

There are hundreds of different pellet brands out there, so we wanted to take the time to highlight a few of our favorites. Although not all of these can be purchased online, it will give you a better idea of what constitutes a great pellet.

Okanagan Douglas Fir Pellets

These pellets have received some of the highest customer satisfaction reviews. They are made completely of softwood sawdust, and are considered one of the cleanest burning pellets on the market. Some reviewers note that ash output can be as little as 3-5 tablespoons per bag. The premium quality of these pellets makes them a bit more expensive, but in the grand scheme of things you save time and energy. No one wants to constantly be worried about their pellet stove pipe getting dirty, or their pellets not burning properly-with Okanagan pellets you don’t have to.

Vermont Pellets

These softwood pellets are a cult favorite among pellet stove owners. These are some of the highest btu pellet fuels, and extremely low ash production. This makes sense considering all the effort the company has put into over engineering their pellet manufacturing process. They have trademarked their “Heatright” process which was invented to create pellets with cleaner and hotter burn times. Additionally, the softwood used to make the pellets is sustain-ably harvested. If this all weren’t enough, all the employees of Vermont Wood Pellet Co. burn their own pellets in their homes. I can think of no greater endorsement.

Kirtland Premium Pellets

These pellets are from Michigan and are a blend of both hard and soft woods. There is almost no bark in them, which means that the ash content will be very low. Finally, the pellets are put through two screening processes in order to ensure that no broken pellets are shipped. One final benefit is that these pellets can be bought online from Standish Mill. A discount is currently running which would give you $50 the price of a ton of pellets ($250).

Bear Mountain Pellets

As with other Douglas fir pellets,  Bear Mountain delivers a superior product with a more intense and longer burn time. Reviewers also note that the bag does not contain much extra sawdust or debris. Bear Mountain is exemplary for their consistent quality. One pellet dealer mentioned that he recommends Bear Mountain to all of his “finicky” customers, because he knows they will most likely be satisfied.

Cleanfire Pellets

These pellets are the most convenient to order online, but sadly have some annoying issues. On the positive side, they burn very intensely and the heat output is good. On the negative side, there is a large amount of dust that escapes when the pellets are being poured into the stove’s hopper. Additionally, the ash content is not low (average) especially when compared to a high performer like the Okanagan Douglas fir. One benefit to their website is that it also shows the locations of other retailers that are close to your personal zip code.

Final Thoughts

Well there you have it, our A to Z guide about finding the best pellets. Once you find a supplier everything (NOTE: local wood pellet prices vary) will go far more smoothly. Stay up to date on our website, so you don’t miss any important information/rating changes/product releases. 

Tired of pellets? Maybe you should consider something else. Check out our guide to the best fireplace inserts.

Cheap pellet stoves

Cheap Pellet Stoves – Top 3 Reviews

Winter is coming and what better way to keep your home warm than a pellet stove. Although pellet stoves aren’t nearly as warm as small wood stoves, they definitely pack a punch for their size.

Because wood pellets are tiny they are easily manageable. They come in the size of about a mulch bag so it’s very convenient to store. They are also very easy to maintain as pellet loading is much faster than loading logs.

According to howstuffworks, pellets burn more efficiently than logs. They produce less smoke which means the smell in your house will be much less than a wood stove.

On average, the price of a pellet stove can vary between $1,000 to $3,000 and usually require installation help.
Luckily for you, we’ll be going over some of the cheapest pellet stoves for sale on the market.

Top 5 Cheap Pellet Stoves

Below we review some of the most efficient pellet stoves available on the market. Each one has been hand picked to offer the highest quality while maintaining an inexpensive price.


#1 Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove

Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller

This is a highly efficient and reliable stove for the price. In our opinion, this stove is relatively inexpensive compared to the level of efficiency and quality. The design is very modern and the stove even comes with a smart controller to ensure proper temperature adjustment.

What is unique about the controller is that it allows the user to choose between running the stove on thermostat, manual, or in a weekly operational mode. This improved technology gives you style, affordability, and practicality.

Its design adapts a space conserving shape, allowing it to fit into smaller rooms.

One of the best features of the Castle 12327 Serenity is the fueling system. It uses a vertical auger system, which is controlled by the digital remote. The remote allows the entire stove to run in a non-continuous, time based cycle. This cycling system basically allows the stove to burn longer than the predetermined amount.

Notable Features:

  • 78% + thermal efficiency
  • 1,5000 sq. ft. heating capability
  • Auto ignite
  • Five feed rates
  • Blower speed control
  • EPA Certification

Product specs:

  • 18.25” x 23.75” 34”
  • 196 lbs
  • 40lb Hopper
  • 400 watt Ignition
  • Steel construction
  • 1 year Warranty (limited)

 

#2 Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style Pellet Stove

Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style 50000 BTU's Pellet Stove

This stove is the creation of Pleasant Hearth, one of the top manufacturers of wood stoves. This stove is known for it’s highest efficiency rating, regardless of the temperature outside, you can rest assure knowing that it will deliver the same amount of heat.

The cabinet style makes it common to be found in small homes up to 2,100 sq. ft.

The main feature of this stove is its efficiency. This stove has the capability to heat homes at an affordable, low cost. When you fuel the stove to full capacity, it can last up to a maximum of 70 hours.

It has a built in comfort control system to ensure that temperature control is automated.

Notable Features:

  • Heats 2,200 sq. ft.
  • 50,000 BTU
  • 120lb Hopper
  • Epa certification
  • 85% fuel efficiency
  • Auto Ignition
  • Heat control system

Product Specs:

  • 24” x 26” x 25.75”
  • 180 lb
  • 5 Year Warrant
  • 120 lb (Hopper)
  • 50,000 BTU heat output

 

#3 US Stove R5824 Pellet Stove

US Stove R5824 Pellet Stove with Igniter Furnace

This stove is actually manufactured in the United States. What makes this stove great is that it is feature packed. It’s fully automated, has auto ignition, and has easy to use electronic controls.

Another feature is the auger feed system. It is controlled by a digital circuit board which makes it possible for the stove to go into a time-based cycle loop. This basically means you get longer heat without having to modify the pellets to continue the flames.

A heat range setting in the control board allows you to maintain a steady airflow at a precise rate. In our opinion, this stove is very inexpensive for the amount of features that it offers.

Notable Features:

  • Compact design
  • Up to 20hr burn time
  • Ceramic viewing window
  • 48,000 BTU
  • Can heat up to 2,200 sq. ft.
  • EPA Certification

Product Specs:

  • 26” x 25” x 35”
  • 209 lbs
  • 120lb (hopper)
  • 120 CFM
  • 110 volt Blower power supply

 

Final Thoughts

Selecting a cheap pellet stove can be difficult, but with the right guidance it can be rather easy. Hopefully our review on the top 3 pellet stoves available for sale has given you some insight onto what to select. In our opinion pellet stoves are perfect for the winter upcoming winter months, so hurry up before they sell out.

Considering buying a stove? Make sure you read our reviews and get the best pellet stove pipe to go with it.

best pellet stove review

Best Pellet Stove Reviews – Top 5 Buying Guide

Pellet stoves are a popular option for homeowners who want a cost effective way to heat their homes, and like the rustic allure of a wood burning stove. The problem is that there are hundreds of pellet stoves on the market, and it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad. That’s where we come in. We’ve researched the top selling pellet burning stoves on Amazon, and our proud to present you with this year’s top 5.

Our Top 5 Picks

 Product NameHeat RadiusOur RatingPrice
Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart ControllerCastle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove1,500 Square ft.4.5 star$$$$
Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style 50000 BTU's Pellet StovePleasant Hearth Pellet Stove2,200 Square ft.4 star$$$$
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP222,000 Square ft.4.5 star$$$$$
US Stove 5500M King Pellet Burner with IgniterUS Stove 5500M King Pellet Burner1,400 Square ft.3.5 star$$$
US Stove 5660 Bay Front Pellet StoveBay Front Wood Pellet Stove Heater 20151,800 Square ft. 3.5 star$$$$$

Best Pellet Stove Reviews


#1 Castle Serenity Wood Pellet Stove – (The best value for the money)

Castle 12327 Serenity Wood Pellet Stove with Smart Controller

Quick Facts

  • Heats 1,500 sq feet
  • Greater than 78% efficiency
  • Programmable
  • Great Price

The Serenity is one of the most popular small pellet burning stoves on the market. This type of support isn’t warrantless, but stems from the stoves reliability and programmability.

The heat output of the stove is consistent and radiates a deep, comforting heat.The stove was sturdily created without many convoluted interior parts making it easy to clean, and its forty pound hopper is big enough to hold a bag of pellets (albeit it is a tight fit).

Where the stove truly shines is with its programmable features. You can use the controller at the top of the stove to have the stove adjust the heat output based on the day and hour. This means you can have the temperature set lower during the nighttime when you are sleeping, and higher during the day when you need more warmth. You can still manually adjust the stove’s thermostat or burn level (5 levels) if you don’t wish to program it. The best part about all of this-there’s an included remote that can do everything we just mentioned.

The high quality and innovative features would be in vain if the customer service were shoddy, but this is the polar opposite with Castle. They are the only pellet stove company that offers live customer support. In the event that a part of your stove needs replacing they stock all service parts to make maintenance a breeze.

The only downside we can think of is that the Castle Serenity might be a bit small for some homeowners, but this is a small complaint for an otherwise fantastic product.

Overall, if you have a smaller home and want a highly reliable pellet heater with programmable options-this stove is for you.

 

#2 Pleasant Hearth Pellet Stove – (best pellet stove for large house)

Pleasant Hearth Cabinet Style 50000 BTU's Pellet Stove

Quick Facts

  • Heats up to 2,200 sq feet
  • 120lb hopper
  • EPA certified 85% efficiency

Pleasant Hearth is a big player in the wood stove industry. You may have read our review of the best wood burning stove here. With this pellet stove their philosophy is no different-maximum value for minimum price. Overall, this mentality works out well, but there are some quality control issues we will address later on.

To begin with, this stove is a powerhouse in both heat output, and hopper size. If you want to heat a large area this stove has what it takes. A woman living in Colorado mentioned how the stove kept her warm in 5 degree temperatures. The temperature will remain constant due to a control system that allows for auto maintaining of the temperature you initially set.

The hopper can hold three bags of pellets at 40 pounds each, so you will be able to wait a day between refills if you like.

The stove is shipped attached to a wood pellet, so when you get yours you will have to unscrew the legs. Other than this simple step, setting up the stove is considered relatively easy by most users. As always, we recommend professional installation to ensure safety and adherence to local zoning regulations.

The stove itself takes up a relatively small footprint in the house, and is styled after a steel wood stove. The chrome accents on the handle and ceramic glass viewing window add to this cozy vibe. It is worth noting that the flame pattern will not be as beautiful as a wood log stove.

The majority of reviewers find this stove to be a proper workhorse that keeps them cozy, but some have had issues with the reliability of the components. Most common, the fan or augur (feeds pellets to the stove) has stopped functioning. There is a 5 year limited warranty, but most important components only have a 1 year warranty.

Overall, if you need maximum heat and want a machine that can cover a large area efficiently-this stove is for you.

 

#3 Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22 – (Highest Quality wood pellet stove for a large house)

Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22

Quick Facts

  • Heats up to 2,000 sq feet
  • 86% EPA rated efficiency
  • Built to last
  • Large fire viewing window

The Comfortbilt is very similar to the Pleasant Hearth in heat output and efficiency, but differs in its construction and reliability. Whereas the Pleasant Hearth had some complaints for poor quality parts, the Comfortbilt has received accolades for its hefty construction. Reviewers have raved about the heavy duty construction of components like the stove door’s rope gasket.

Aside for quality manufacturing, the stove comes with the normal suite of electronic control features such as 24/7 automatic runtime and a programmable thermostat. Some reviewers complained about the electronic interface being difficult to use.

In regards to general usage this stove is well regarded for its high heat output. The efficiency rating is higher than the industry average, which means you will get more heat per pellet of fuel. Speaking of pellets, Comfortbilt claims the hopper can hold 55lbs of pellets, but in customer experience it seems that around 40-50lbs is more accurate. One minor quibble is that the hopper opening is small relative to the size of wood pellet bags, so you have to be careful when loading.

Finally, the design is a slightly more modern aesthetic, but the large window helps showcase the fire, and lend a cozy atmosphere to whatever space the stove is in. Some pragmatic design features also include a built in ash pan and automatic ignition.

It is worth noting that the US distributor is very helpful to his customers, and does everything in his power to leave them satisfied. There is a one year parts warranty, and if you ever need any help with installation/technical work there is support.

Overall, this is the best made wood stove for large spaces. The downside is that it costs about 400-500 more than its closest competition the Pleasant Hearth. In the end the decision is up to you, but if you have the choice go with the Comfortbilt.

 

#4 US Stove 5500M King Pellet Burner

US Stove 5500M King Pellet Burner with Igniter

Quick Facts

  • Hide your children
  • Hide your wife
  • Buy a different stove

This article is technically meant to point out the best pellet stoves, but in this case we thought it necessary to briefly cover the worst wood pellet stove. There are takeaways from this review that will help you understand warning signs in other wood stoves you may be thinking of purchasing.

One of the biggest complaints about this stove is that the parts break down. One owner had the augur (feeds pellets to the stove) break down multiple times another had to have the electronic components replaced multiple times….the list goes on and on. Read through the amazon reviews, and all you’ll find are dissatisfied customers who have become close with US Stove’s (bad) support.

Another issue with this stove is a fire hazard caused by two holes on the bottom of the stove. There are supposed to be bolts inside those holes, but that is not always the case as one reviewer found after his stove started smoking.

Quality control errors as egregious as those outlined above should never be the most well known features of a product. If you want to save money on a wood stove purchase a Castle Serenity or save up for a bigger model, but do not, I repeat DO NOT purchase the US 5500M King Pellet Burner. It is more like a peasant than a King.

 

#5 Bay Front Wood Pellet Stove Heater 2015

US Stove 5660 Bay Front Pellet Stove

Quick Facts

  • Electronic Ignition and Digital Thermostat
  • Heats about 1,800 sq feet
  • 40lb hopper

This is a small little stove that will get the job done without too much trouble. It has a pretty slick operating interface, which allows you to see temperature, what phase of combustion the stove is in, and whether the feeding motor is working. Other than the display the rest of the stove is admittedly average, which is not a bad thing.

We have a few qualms with it though. One is the high price, which does not make sense for a stove with such a small hopper. Another, is the unclear heat output. In a response to a customer’s inquiry the manufacturer stated that the stove would heat 1,800 square feet easily, but could even go as high as 2,500 square feet based on the height of the room. This approximation is exceptionally wide, when you consider other stove manufacturers will give a single digit response. There is truth to the fact that heat output will vary based on room size, but the lack of a specific number seems odd to us.

Overall, this seems to be a reliable stove, but is relatively unpopular with consumers. If you don’t like anything by Comfortbilt, Pleasant Hearth, or Castle then this is probably the stove for you.

How Does a Pellet Stove Work

A pellet stove works by burning wood pellets, which are compressed pieces of wood waste such as sawdust.

  1. The pellets are loaded into the stove’s hopper (storage area)
  2. They are fed into the stove’s burn pot (steel bin for burning)  by an augur (corkscrew conveyer belt). There are also gravity fed pellet stoves that do not require an augur, but these are normally much larger machines.
  3. The pellets are ignited by an electric ignitor or manually with a grill lighter.
  4. A series of electric combustion fans and air intakes causes the pellets to burn intensely, and the heat to radiate around the room (also excretes exhaust gas).

As you may have noticed from the step-by-step, pellet stoves require electricity to operate the fans, thermostat, and circuit board which controls the operation. These electrical components make pellet stoves more hands off than wood stoves, but the downside is that you are reliant on electricity. A simple solution would be to connect a backup battery pack that uses an inverter and a battery from a small car or boat. There are non electric pellet stoves, but those are rare.

Pellet Stove Benefits

  • Efficiency: Since the internal air circulation in pellet stoves is managed by electrically programmed and optimized fans/blowers, pellet stoves have a high average efficiency. The actual number is between 60-80% efficiency depending on the stove (as rated by EPA). This means you will be getting more heat from your pellets.
  • Save Money: Overall, the cost of heating using wood pellets is cheaper than using electricity or oil (but still not as cheap as natural gas). Additionally, there are some states that give tax incentives for using wood pellet stoves.
  • Clean: Pellet stoves burn cleanly and produce only a fine ash. If you take care of your pellet stove it will not produce creosote, which is a sticky black substance that can accumulate in the stove exhaust, ignite, and pose serious damage to property.
  • Easy Maintenance: Simply dump pellets in, and clean the ash out
  • Approved for RV homes: Pellet stoves (although not all of them, so make sure you check) meet requirements for use in a mobile home.
  • Horizontal Venting: Unlike a wood burning stove, which requires a vertical exhaust pipe, pellet stoves have a double walled exhaust pipe that is oriented horizontally. This mean you can route it directly outside same as you would a cooking stove.

Pellet Stove Installation

We recommend hiring a professional to handle this step for you. This is a complex process, and involves drilling holes into your walls for airflow and ventilation. The average price is between 300 to $1,000 depending on how much work will be needed. This may be steep, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are installing your stove on your own then this video from This Old House may help.

Pellet Stove Maintenance

There is less maintenance involved, because the overall burn is cleaner. That being said, here are some helpful tips.

  • Refill the stove with pellets daily (depending on the size of the hopper)
  • Empty the ashpan once a week (average if you are using stove daily).
  • Examine (daily)  the burn pot to make sure the air vents are not being blocked by anything.
  • Professional cleaning/examination once a year. This will take care of hard to reach stuff like vent cleaning, and give you peace of mind.

Pellet stove accessories

  • Ash vac: An ash vacuum is a great way to easily get rid of all the ash that wasn’t caught in the ash pan. It’s worth noting, that if you try to dispose of ash by dumping it some particles may become airborne. Ash particles are not healthy to inhale, so using an ash vac will limit airborne exposure. Finally, you’re less likely to make a mess vs. dumping the ash into a plastic bag.
  • We recommend the Bad Ash Vacuum it has rave reviews, and an affordable price. It  will hold 5.3 gallons of ash, so it will be weeks before you have to worry about emptying it.
  • Coal Scuttle: These can be helpful for scooping wood pellets into the hopper if you don’t like/don’t have the strength to dump the entire 40lb bag in at once.

FAQ

Q: Where to get wood for Pellet Stove?

A: The best wood pellets are going to have 1% or less ash content (per 40lb bag) additionally you will want to decide whether to purchase hardwood or softwood pellets. Softwood has a 10% higher heat output, so that is what we recommend. You can buy pellets from stores or online. We advise going through woodpellet.com. For more information on the best wood pellets read our guide HERE.

Q: How long before you refill the hopper?

A: It depends on the size, most stoves will go through 40lbs of pellets a day. If the hopper can hold more than 40lbs you will be able to wait more than a day between refilling.

Q: What is the best small pellet stove for RV?

A: Not all mini pellet stoves are certified for mobile home usage, but the Castle Serenity is certified and capable.

Q: What is the best small pellet stove?

A: Again, this depends on personal preference, but the most popular by far is the Castle Serenity.

Final Thoughts

Pellet heating can be a great source of warmth for your home, and depending on what you currently use as fuel (eg. heating oil) it can be a cost effective alternative. We hope you enjoyed this article, and as always be sure to contact us if you have any ideas for future content we should include.

All the options we cover too expensive? Be sure to check out our guide to finding cheap pellet stoves.