wood stove vs pellet stove

Wood Stove vs. Pellet Stoves – Buying Guide (July. 2017)

With fall approaching, it is time to say goodbye to the hot summer days and get ready for colder weather. Arming your home with a heating stove is a smart way to prepare for the transition in seasons and to keep warm. Rising fuel costs have pushed homeowners to buy a wood stove or pellet stove in order to cut utility costs.  However, the multitude of options may be overwhelming and confusing. The first thing to consider is if you would prefer a wood stove or pellet stove, and we going to help differentiate these two types of heating options. You can’t go wrong with either choice, but let’s take a closer look.




Buying a new stove is a great investment for your home that comes at a reasonable cost. Wood stoves and pellet stoves have miniscule price differences that should not influence which type you decide to purchase. There are many other factors about how the stoves work that will help you pick a stove type. Both stoves have lower end and premium options based on quality and performance. Finding a stove that matches your budget is a tremendously simple task.

Fuel Cost

The focal difference between wood and pellet stoves is the fuel they use to operate.

Wood Stoves Cost

Wood stoves are similar to wood burning fireplaces because they both use logs as fuel. Finding wood to use for your stove is cheap and convenient. There are plenty of opportunities to acquire free wood, and purchasing firewood is cheaper than buying fuel for pellet stoves in the long run. In essence, wood is the least expensive fuel source for stoves.

Pellet Stoves Cost

Pellet stoves received their name based on the fuel they need to operate. Wood pellets, made up of concentrated sawdust and wood chips, are used to fuel pellet stoves. Pellets are made by special manufacturers and sold in home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes. The pellets are typically sold in 40 pound bags that store well if kept away from moisture. People who use pellet stoves often burn through around 2-3 tons of pellets during the winter time. For this reason, we recommend that you buy all your pellets up front because shortages can be common if local suppliers run out.

Powering Your Stove

The power that either stove requires to operate is another characteristic that distinguishes pellet and wood stoves.

Wood Stoves Power

Wood burning stoves operate just like fireplaces. You add your wood, light it, and stoke as needed. A key factor of wood stoves is that they do not need power or electricity to work. Wood stoves are always operational as long as there is wood available. If your home is prone to power outages, wood stoves are your best option.

Pellet Stoves Power

Pellet stoves, unlike wood stoves, depend on power to run. Electricity is a necessity for pellet stoves to function, so if the power goes out, so does the stove. The electricity is used to operate a motorized hopper that shoots the pellets into the stove. Nonetheless, a backup generator or alternative power supply can be used to run your stove during power outages.

Environmental Friendliness

Neither stove emits hazardous levels of smoke and carbon, but there is a slight difference that should be considered if environmental friendliness is a priority.

Wood Stoves

Wood stoves release about 2 to 7.5 grams of smoke every hour. This is a minimal amount and is accepted by EPA standards.

Pellet Stoves

Pellet burning stoves essentially release almost no smoke, at an amount less than 1 gram per hour. Furthermore, wood pellets are made up of wood waste, and using pellets to fuel your stove is equivalent to recycling them because you keep them out of landfills.


Stoves are not toys and precautions should always be taken when there is fire involved. Wood and pellet stoves operate differently and have their own safety factors. Understandably, both stoves become extremely hot, and small children and pets should be kept away from the stoves.

Wood Stoves Safety

Wood burning stoves, much like fireplaces, have flame sparks that can cause burns. Additionally, the firewood brought inside the home may bring pests from the outside.

Pellet Stoves Safety

Pellet stoves don’t have the risks that wood stoves have because they burn cleaner and safer. Wood pellets burn differently than wood logs and your family will be able to avoid erratically flying embers.

Stove Maintenance

Each stove type requires different forms of maintenance and cleaning.

Wood Stoves Maintenance

If you have ever owned a fireplace, you know exactly how to maintain a wood stove. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be cleaned and have excess ash removed. Furthermore, a certified chimney professional should annually inspect the system.

Pellet Stoves Maintenance

Pellet stoves, on the other hand, are far simpler to maintain. Maintaining a pellet stove is a straightforward process that can be done by following the manufacturer’s guide. Simple checks of the motors and fans, as well as removing used pellets is all you need to upkeep your pellet stove.

Key Considerations

Wood Stove

  • No power required (essential if your home is prone to frequent outages)
  • Uses wood to operate
  • Offers more intense heat
  • Provides the homely ambiance of a fireplace
  • Can be used to cook food if necessary
  • Usually requires a chimney to vent out smoke

Pellet Stove

  • More convenient to maintain and easier to clean
  • Requires electricity
  • Can run for a long period of time unattended
  • Often noisier than wood stoves
  • Relies on wood pellets to operate
  • Steady, soft heat (controllable thermostat)
  • Easier to install
  • Can be vented through a small hole in the wall, rather than a chimney

Final Thoughts

Both options have clear advantages, depending on if you decide to buy a wood stove or pellet stove. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with either one. This being said, compare the pros and cons between the two and decide which features are most beneficial for you. Stoves are growing in popularity because of their cost-saving and convenience benefits. Your decision to invest in an appliance that keeps your family and home warm is remarkable, and we are happy to help you along the way.

If you are interested in alternative sources of heat be sure to check out our article on the best infrared heaters.

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