Wood Stoves vs Pellet Stoves

As fall approaches, we begin to say goodbye to scorching days and nights and prepare to say hello to the colder ones.  As that transition gets underway, we become more concerned with heating and begin to evaluate our options for the cool months ahead.  There’s always the option of more expensive home heating via gas, but what about a good old fire?  Any home can be equipped with a stove.  But which type should you choose?  Here the decision comes down to wood vs. pellet stoves, and each has its own ups and downs.  Let’s take a look.

Wood Stove Pellet Stove
Cost of Fuel

*Checkmark Indicates Advantage

Stove Pricing

Wood Stove

Wood Stove.

You want a new stove, so the first consideration will likely be price. There’s a lot to love about wood and pellet stoves, but the price tag will undoubtedly stand out.

Wood Stove Pricing
Price: $3,000 – $5,000, installation included

Wood stoves average around $3,000 – $4,200 when you factor in the cost of bringing in a pro installer.  For a premium model with all the bells and whistles, you may be looking at about $5,000.  If your home has a chimney and a preexisting fireplace unit, installation may be simplified and you may be able to save money and opt for a fireplace insert, which sits directly inside the fireplace’s firebox. If not, you’re looking at lofty fees to fashion a ventilation system.

Pellet Stove Pricing
Price: $3,500 to $4,000, installation included

On the other hand, pellet stoves come in anywhere from $1,700 – $3,000 prior to installation fees, and could total $3,500 – $4,000 when all is said and done.  That’s already lower than the higher price points of wood stoves, plus pellet stoves are able to be ventilated through a small hole in the wall, making them able to be installed anywhere in the room and saving on chimney costs.

Winner: With cost and installation flexibility, the better bet has to be a pellet stove.

Fuel Cost

wood pellets

Wood Pellets

The primary difference between pellet and wood stoves is their fuel source.

Wood Stove Opporating Cost
Fuel Source: Wood, ~6.5 tons per season
Cost: ~$190 per ton, ~$1,235 per season

Wood stoves operate much like fireplaces in that they burn logs.  This is generally convenient and cost-effective, as firewood can at times be harvested and seasoned on your own property (free wood!) or bought by the cord from stores for low sums.

Pellet Stove Operating Cost
Fuel Source: Pellets, ~7.5 tons per season
Cost: ~$190 per ton, ~$1,425 per season

Pellet stoves utilize wood pellets for fuel, composed of sawdust or small wood chips.  These chips are added to a reservoir to be burned.  Pellets are harder to come by as they are specially manufactured (not available in your own backyard) and not everyone sells them.  This fuel must be purchased from other areas in the US, making them somewhat less common, though plenty of regions carry them.  Using pellets means planning to buy and ship the item to use. Pellets are slightly higher in price per year, though they burn longer than wood.

In either case, according to the Department of Energy, you should expect to pay about $190 for a cord of wood or ton of pellets (at 6.5 cords or 7.5 tons of pellets per season, factoring in that a ton equals 1.5 cords).

Winner: Given both the abundance of and cost per season for natural wood, wood is a winner over pellets, as it’s both affordable and accessible.

Powering Your Stove

Pellet Stove Hopper

A motorized hopper on a pellet stove.

Another aspect that distinguishes wood and pellet stoves is power.

Wood Stove Power
Power Needed: None

Wood stoves work essentially like fireplaces—add wood, light it, stoke as needed, etc.  They operate completely free of power such as electricity, making them usable anytime as long as timber is available.

Pellet Stove Power
Power Needed: 100 kilowatt-hours per month, ~$9 per month

Pellet stoves rely on power no matter what.  Electricity is a cornerstone in their operation, so when the power goes out, so does your fire. The electricity powers a motorized hopper that feeds the pellets into the stove.  It is possible, however, to run your stove on a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) backup battery or generator during power outages.

Winner: Wood. Got dry wood and a match?  You’ll have fire.  Pellet stoves require extra resources and expenses.  With the electricity used for such a unit, you may be left in the cold during a power outage, all the while paying for 100 kilowatt-hours each month (about $9).

Environmentally Friendly

Pellet and wood stoves vary in their degrees of “greenness.”

Wood Stove  Production
Smoke Production: 2 to 7.5 grams per hour
CO2 Production: 0.0612 pounds per kilowatt-hour

EPA-certified wood-burning stoves are tightly regulated, releasing between 2 – 7.5 grams of smoke into the air every hour— an improvement over those of the olden days that emitted 40+ grams. According to the Biomass Energy Centre in the UK, when burned, wood releases 0.00612 pounds per kilowatt-hour of CO2.

Pellet Stove Production
Smoke Production: <1 gram per hour
CO2 Production: 0.035 pounds per kilowatt-hour

Pellet stoves, however, emit almost no smoke—less than 1 gram per hour. With such a small footprint left behind, the EPA doesn’t monitor them. Additionally, as pellets are essentially wood waste, using them is a form of recycling, keeping wood particles out of landfills. According to the Biomass Energy Centre in the UK, when burned, pellets release 0.035 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.

Winner:  Pellets stoves. While both wood and pellet stoves have come a long way toward cleaner operation, pellet stoves have minimal smoke and CO2 impacts and also promote recycling. Both fuels are “carbon-neutral” and are not considerable hazards.

Stove Safety

wood stove fire

A fire burns hot in this wood stove.

“Playing with fire” is risky business all around and one must take necessary safety precautions when tending to a fire. Everything from using appropriate kindling to wearing gloves may be essential. Beyond this, however, are the safety factors of the stoves themselves.

Wood Stove Safety

Wood stoves give off flame sparks, which may lead to burns, and these units could accumulate creosote deposits resulting in dangerous house fires down the road. Additionally, firewood has the potential to bring mold or pests into the home from outside.

Pellet Stove Safety

Pellet stoves burn cleaner and safer, without the risk of harming you or your home. The contained flames keep your family safe from flying embers and sparks, however the pellet stove will become hot to the touch. All members of your household should be made aware that the stove will become very hot, and efforts should be made to keep pets away from the device.

Winner: Wood Stoves. In terms of immediate safety, wood stoves get a big thumbs-down here, leaving pellet stoves to take center stage. Sparks, creosote buildup and house fires from wood stoves are great risks associated with wood stoves. Pellet stoves contain flames and prevent users from getting unexpected burns from flying burning debris.

Maximum Performance


An efficient pellet stove.

Your stove is there to keep you warm, so which type does that better? This all depends on the units of heat measure, or BTUs and how effectively they’re used between the fuel sources and getting heat to your space. Each stove uses great amounts of BTUs to burn logs or pellets throughout the season. However, not all of this energy is converted into usable heat.

Wood Stove Production

Firewood is used by the cord (stacked wood equaling 4 feet high x 8 feet long x 4 feet deep). According to the Department of Agriculture, every cord utilizes 15.3 million BTUs. In heating your home, you benefit from 10.7 million BTUs out of that total, enjoying a stove efficiency level of 70%.

Pellet Stove Production

On the other hand, pellets come in 40-lb bags and the stoves have a BTU output of 13.6 million per ton of pellets. From this, you soak up 11.3 million BTUs of heat. The result is greatly improved efficiency over wood stoves, coming in at about 83%.

Winner: Pellet stoves.

Stove Maintenance

chimney sweep

A chimney sweep.

Some maintenance is required no matter what type of stove you opt for. Cleanings, component checks and more all must factor in.

Wood Stove Maintenance

Wood stoves are maintained like chimneys, requiring that a certified chimney sweep be brought in annually to do an inspection of the system, including the flue and other components, and need to have residue and soot cleaned out periodically. A major maintenance consideration for wood stoves is inspecting the catalytic combustor, and that must be done 3 times per season alone.

Pellet Stove Maintenance

Pellet stoves, however, are simple to maintain, so long as you follow manufacturer recommendations. It may be as simple as checking the working order of motors and fans or removing excess debris. Maintaining a pellet stove is a straightforward and potentially less-costly process. You can do much of the checks yourself by following guidelines and don’t need to pay for as many inspections. However, if your pellet stove needs serviced, finding repairmen with the necessary skills can be difficult and repairing one of the three motors or electronic circuit board can become costly.

Winner: Pellet stoves win here, too.


wood stove

A log burning in a wood stove.

Ok, admit it. After all of this talk about wood and pellet stoves, you’re wondering, which is prettier? Well, each option comes in a variety of shapes and models designed to fit well with your home décor, many fit into preexisting fireplaces and still others are freestanding models that may be moved if necessary. Both wood-burning and pellet stoves are made to be attractive whilst being functional. Therefore, the deciding factor here has to be the burn itself.

Wood Stove Aesthetics

When you look into a wood burning unit, you see orange flames licking at dried, aged logs. Still more, you take in the smoky aroma of the burning timber.

Pellet Stove Aesthetics

Pellet stoves have the same bright flames, however, that “wow” factor may be diminished for some, as the logs you’d expect to see are replaced by minuscule fragments.

Winner. Aesthetically-speaking, then, wood’s got it won. In the war of wood vs. pellet stoves, you may still wonder which stove is the better option.  Strictly speaking, pellet stoves may be a better investment due to such factors as maintenance, efficiency, safety and more.  But ultimately, the decision lies with you.  What things are most important?  If it’s the crackle of logs burning, wood may be good too!  YOU decide!

In the war of wood vs. pellet stoves, you may still wonder which stove is the better option.  Strictly speaking, pellet stoves may be a better investment due to such factors as maintenance, efficiency, safety and more. But ultimately, the decision lies with you.  What things are most important?  If it’s the crackle of logs burning, wood may be good too!  YOU decide!

39 thoughts on "Wood Stoves vs Pellet Stoves"

james goddarf says:

I guess I have more of a question can I vent my pellet stove threw the chimney I use to vent my wood stove threw in my basement. The wood stove was ok just hard to find the time to deal with the wood mess and pellets are safer…

High's Chimney says:

Yes you can. Just remember that you can have only one appliance per flue (and I think you are saying you’ll discontinue using the stove) The only thing you’ll need to do is put in a properly sized liner. I’ll bet the stove is vented 3″ but you need to go up with 4″. Check the manufacturer’s installation instructions to be sure of course.

Stay warm!

tim says:

Aesthetics would be a tossup , unless your talking about the actual fire that is burning… wood has the nod in that department.

The average wood burner is actually cheaper at your local hardware stores, unless your talking about higher priced models, but for most people they would settle for the average model. The vent kits are also a little cheaper for a wood stove.

The fuel price, well, I would give pellets a small edge. For one…its greener and cleaner. Wood is not really free, even if you have a small forest. It still time consuming and takes a lot of work to cut down trees. As the saying goes “time is money”.

Brent says:

I have had a wood stove for 6 years have a couple of burns but the labour was terrible bringing in wood every day for a week just to get all of it in the house,
But recently i have bought a pellet stove (4-5 months ago) No burns and is really efficient!

Overall I personally prefer pellet stoves over wood.

High's Chimney says:

Yep. The pros and cons are easy to talk about, but they only matter in context of what you want to achieve. When I was 25 years old and lived next to a huge woods, being a manly man with a chainsaw, self-sufficiency and gathering free fuel was real big for me. Now I’m older and the thrill of cordwood is gone. Pellet suits me personally as well.

But for millions of others, the answer is still cordwood. No blanket answer here; it’s all about what works best for YOU.

David Lister says:

When comparing which is “greener”, cord wood or pellets, you did not include the higher manufacturing cost (in electrical/fossil fuel consumption) of pellets vs. cord wood; nor did you include the fossil fuel consumption related incurred by shipping wood pellets from factory -> home, often via an intermediate retailer. Cord wood is almost invariably more “local”.

High's Chimney says:

A very fair point. Kind of like electricity being non-polluting. At the wall socket maybe, but the mining and power production further up the chain isn’t so non-polluting. Same so with pellets. At the point of combustion they win a green contest, but the whole chain including delivery- cord wood would be the clear winner.

Given that pellets reclaim a lot of waste wood and burn so nicely they are still a good choice vs burning fossil fuel, you make a very good point indeed. Thanks.

Woof1 says:

Are there issues if we want to put a stove in a house that’s never had one before? We have a corner of our living room, probably a foot or so from the window but the other wall is solid with a bedroom behind it. We have cathedral ceilings, so we figured the corner of the living room would be the best, and assume the pipe will need to go straight up the ceiling through the attic and out. What kinds of questions should we ask when we’re looking for someone to install a stove? Thank you.

High's Chimney says:

Not being there of course I can’t know for sure. So said, it sounds like while you may have little room to spare, you might be able to do it. The 12″ clearance to the side is kind of a flag, but you won’t know for sure until you discuss it with a professional.

I’d do this. Make a very detailed drawing and take it to a couple hearth stores. Ask about clearances to the wall and don’t relax on that until you have an answer that makes sense. Different makes and models of stoves have different clearances, so trying more than one store will expose you to more options.

And listen carefully to make sure you are comfortable with the competency and honesty of the store. Everyone wants to make a sale; just be sure you aren’t sold the wrong thing. After you decide on a hearth store and unit, have them come to your house to measure and make sure.

BTW, check into gas units if wood isn’t going to work out for you. Sometimes you can find ones with tighter clearances.

Good luck!

Snug435 says:

We are looking into buying a house that had a wood stove that vented through 3 levels of the house through a large masonry fireplace-like wall with a few small slat openings on each level. Because of OR law, we would have to convert to a pellet stove. The old wood stove has been removed. Can a pellet stove be placed inside this fireplace like enclosure? Sorry, I know this is a rather vague question. I could provide pictures of what I am speaking of if you wish. Thanks. House also has a furnace, but we would love to be able to enjoy this chimney thing too.

Gene says:

We have a pellet furnace (outside) and a wood stove in the living room. I have been told that running the wood stove while running the pellet furnace decreases the efficiency of the pellet furnace. Should we just run the pellet furnace by itself?

Robert Cline says:

We currently have two wood burning stove, one in the living room and one in the family room, we were considering switching the family room stove to a pellet stove, I have heard that the pellet stove is dirtier than wood, although I don’t know how that is possible. Also my daughter had a pellet stove in her basement that caught fire. Is there a daily matintence that needs to be done other than just emptying ashes. We are both in our 60″s and where we can still get wood free, the hassle of splitting and carrying it in and worrying if its going to get wet is getting old fast.

Vinny says:

We’ve had a pellet stove for 8 years. Growing up, my parents had a wood burning stove. Both have pros and cons…Pellets stoves need to be cleaned once every two weeks for good efficiency and maintainence. It takes me about an hour, but I have to turn it off and let it cool to get a good clean…so about 3 hours of no heat (Sunday afternoons in January). They also make the room they are in somewhat dusty and dry.
That said, filling a pellet stove is easy. Obtaining bags in late summer is affordable (200-300/ton depending on quality…we use about 2.5 tons per year for 1800 sq feet) and we can store them in garage or basement. A 40 pound bag lasts 24 hours when cold, but in March/April can last 3 days depending on weather. We love the pellet stove..it’s saved a lot of money over electric heat or oil over the years (though oil is cheap right now).
From what I remember from wood burning, lots of work to keep it burning, easier clean, but if it is freestanding in the home, it puts out a LOT of heat. My in laws have an insert that I believe is VERY inefficient.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

You are fastidious about cleaning the pellet stove. Most people don’t
do it nearly so often.

As you say, pros and cons. Oil: very easy and not badly priced now.
Pellets: easier than wood but maintenance is a chore. Wood: no
electricity required so best for self-sufficiency but messy, though
maintenance is easier. And, as you say, lots of heat.

I’m impressed with how well you maintain your system. Stay warm!

[…] Pros and Cons of Wood Pellet Stoves Comparing Pellet Stoves with Wood-Burning Stoves (this one’s really good) Wood Stove vs Pellet Stove, Which is better? […]

Melissa says:

Hello. I bought a wood burning stove and wanted to install it where my pellet stove was located. Is it ok to use the same pipes from the pellet stove from the elbow up and the pipes from the wood burning stove below the elbow. Thank you.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

Quick answer is probably not. There are a couple things I wonder about here.

One is just the size of the pipe. Your pellet stove had 3″ or 4″ pipe I’d think and woodstoves nowadays use mostly 6″ ( but whatever yours is I’d be pretty sure it’s not as small as the pellet pipe) You need to use the same size connector pipe as the collar size on the stove.

The other thing that might be an issues is if the pellet vent was installed through the wall. If it was installed into a chimney, as long as the chimney is at least the same size as the connector from the stove, that’s fine. But if it was a through the wall installation you have not only a sizing problem but also a clearance to combustibles problem.

Hope this helps, even if it’s not what you were hoping for. Stay warm!

Heidi says:

Hi. We have an existing wood stove that has an 8 inch pipe that 90’s through the wall into an outside masoned chimney. We were gifted a gorgeous pellet stove that we want to exchange out with the wood stove. Can we use the existing chimney for the pellet stove?

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

Yes you can, though it will require new, properly sized venting. This basically means getting pellet vent and a 4″ liner in your masonry chimney. I’d suggest having a chimney professional do the installation for you. And a little “inside information” do it RIGHT NOW. The demand for pellet vent is up 200% over last year and the factories are about two months behind shipping. Distributors are starting to have shortages; I’d say in another week or two you may not be able to get pellet vent at all.

And another word to the wise: the same problem is coming for the pellets themselves. Load up now because it’s expected that in February pellets are going to be scarce and expensive. It’s all because of unusual demand this year.

Good luck, and stay warm!

KP says:

Pellet stove requires a weekly cleaning after a couple seasons. They are just as dirty as a wood stoves – but most important fact is: You can’t cut pellets. You are at the mercy of suppliers, who decide when their stock is not replenished and price. Pellets went from $220/ton to $270/ton in fall of 2014. Good luck finding pellets in March. My last season fooling with pellets.

Kirk says:

I currently have a fire chief 700 and the flue is 6″ which runs into a full masonry chimney. I am able to put a “basket” inside the furnace and burn pellets? It is already ducted into whole house.



High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

Hi Kirk,

The fast answer is “probably not.” So said though, try it out.

The reason I think it won’t work out well is because because the pellets will probably burn up too fast because of the spaces between them. Also the basket would have to be tight enough that the pellets couldn’t fall through. In a pellet stove the baskets are small because they are meant to burn only a few at a time, and are auger fed. My guess is that it won’t work well but no harm in trying.

Good luck.

Terry Green says:

Can I use my wood Jotel stove for pellets? What do I need to do? How about coal? I’m sick of how dirty & short lasting wood is – can’t get through the night.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

I answered a similar question not too long ago. The quick answer is no, but the bigger answer is that you can try, I just don’t think it’ll work out. Wood stoves and pellet stoves are engineered and built differently, specifically with different air flows for different types and sizes of fuel loads. If you can find a basket that will hold the pellets you can try, but I suspect it won’t work out. And more to the point, there’s no particular reason they’d last through the night any better than the cord wood did.

Making it through the night on cord wood has always been problematic; you either have to burn so low that the system gunks up with creosote and tar or you run out of fire about 1-2am. Here’s my suggestion.

If you want to burn pellets go ahead and get a nice pellet stove. If the expenditure is out of the question just let the fire die at night and let the main heat kick in for the last few hours. Then you just reload the stove in the morning; there will be embers to fire up again. Depending on what you pay for wood, the cost may be a wash anyway.

Re coal. I’d give that a much better maybe. You should try it. I do not have any personal experience with burning coal so not sure if a lump will last all night or not. But at least the basket is meant to stand off the floor and convection air fed from under the fuel. My guess on this one is that you are likely to have success. Try it out! And if you think of it later, go ahead and post again with how it worked.

Stay warm!

Renee says:

This may be a really dumb question but can I put a fireplace where a pellet stove exists?

Tom Whittier says:

Regarding burning pellets in a woodstove. I am doing that this season. Was too busy last year to cut wood and we have a pellet and a wood stove. I picked up two sheets of expanded steel from home depot for $20, did some snipping and bending and 8 1/4″ nut and bolts later I have a pellet basket. It takes about 12 lbs to fill it and I can get heat out of my stove for close to 6-7 hours with it and way less mess. You can buy baskets online but usually $125-200 and i’m a cheapskate.

Tom Whittier says:

Oh and get yourself a $7 copper dustpan from Amazon and ben the edges….then you can fill teh basket while it’s still glowing and hasn’t gone out

John says:

I think that also should be mentioned is that when the electricity goes out for several days you freeze to death so if you go pellet you better get a backup UPS!

Tim Smith says:

Have a wood fireplace insert right now getting to crippled up to do wood anymore looking on a pellet burner can a person buy one that would fit into a fire place that looks like a insert and how much do they use in a day

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

They do have units like that. Go to a store that sells pellet stoves and I’m sure they’ll have something to show you.
How much fuel it uses depends on 1) how much it can use of course and 2) how hot you run it. But a rough rule of thumb for a smaller insert not trying to heat a whole house might be 10-15 pounds a day. The people selling the stove will be able to give you pretty good figures about how much it will burn.

Good luck with it! Stay warm.

Kevin says:

We went with a pellet stove. And we are extremely pleased with the results. Cleaning is a breeze as you only have to clean out the ash trap. Very little ash I might add. 1 bag of pellets will last us roughly 2 days of constant running. The actual heat it dispenses is enormous. My back bedroom is the farthest room from the stove (living room) at sometimes it gets so warm we have to shut it off, even on some of the coldest days. Installation was was as pie. Ran the included pipe through the wall and up along the outside of said wall. Starting it is also very simple, fill the hopper with pellets, close the lid, hit the on button. And it does the rest. The stove does get hot to the touch but there is almost no risk of a house fire because the fire is contained inside. Other than carrying the bags of pellets in from our deck its a lot easier physically than carrying enough wood for a wood stove. In my opinion it really beats out our old wood stove in our basement. By miles. We have had 3 types of heating in our home, wood, gas, and pellet. And pellet has been the winner by far. The only drawback I have seen with the pellet stove is the humming of the motors. They can get a bit annoying. Especially when you are trying to watch tv.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

Glad you are enjoying it, stay warm!

Jake Randall says:

Guys, I put a pellet stove in my 1,020 Sq ft basement. The previous homeowner must have has a stove because the vent stove pipe or exhaust pipe was in place already. It goes up through the floor in the bedroom closet, then through the ceiling through the attic then through the roof. The exterior of this exhaust pipe is approx. 8″ Stainless and it appears to be 2 or 3 wall/layer pipe. I know it has at least 2 wall (for sure) cant say for sure if it is triple wall. The way it is built as it goes through the floor ceiling and roof has proper metal flashing or thimble type fittings so as to (not touch) the wood. When I installed my pellet stove, I went from the 3″ exhaust fitting up to a 3″ X 5″ reducer, then a 5″ 90 deg ell and 5″ single wall pipe right up the center of the existing stainless double wall or triple wall existing pipe. So if the existing 8″ SS was double wall and my 5″ up the center makes it triple wall, if the existing was triple wall my 5″ makes it quadruple wall. My concern is as I turn on my pellet stove and the stove runs for about 2 hours, that outer stainless pipe as it goes through the floors and ceiling still reaches almost 100 deg. What temp is SAFE to have this vent/exhaust pipe as it goes through the house?? 100 deg stainless pipe will heat the bedroom nicely but I cant feel good about leaving this alone until I get some advise and some temperature numbers will be nice also. What is safe temp of that pipe as it goes through the house floors ceiling roof and spaces? Before I inserted my 5″ pipe up the center I taped the seams using the high temp steel tape. I also looked up the 8″ pipe and it is solid with no holes or brakes in the existing 8″ SS.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

Wow. OK…

The chimney with the 8″ OD is almost certainly 6″ ID. It requires a 2″
clearance to combustibles. You may have this with respect to the walls
and floor etc. but you mention it’s going through a closet. That should
never have been so; there’s no guarantee that clothing etc won’t come
into contact with the chimney. You see the issue. Though you are not
running a wood stove there now, you could be. So as a general statement
it’s bad set up and there’s a strong case to be made for taking down the
old chimney and doing something different to go up and out of the house.

While the 100 degrees is probably not a problem, I wouldn’t want this
set up at my house either because of going through the closet. The 5″
single-walled pipe in the chimney is curious. 4″ would be expected
here. My suggestion to you (aside from actually removing the existing
chimney and starting anew) is to run 4″ pellet vent through the middle
of the chimney. This will lower the outside temperature more. Then
you’ll have four or five layers 🙂

Another thought for you: assuming you probably are not going to remove
the chimney going through the closet, why not at least install red tags
galore saying “Danger! This is a bad installation! Never run a wood
stove in this chimney because the house might burn down!” While you may
stay in this house until it falls down, the likelihood is that you too
will move one day and the next owner will inherit all this but won’t
know what you know.

Hope this helps!

Conor O'Neill says:

I grew up with a woodburning stove and no other heat. Recently bought a house with a pellet stove, and I hate it. I could almost heat the house with my hatred. Let’s talk auger speed. If it’s too low, the fire doesn’t get enough fuel, and it goes out. If it’s too high, the fire gets smothered and goes out. And of course, it doesn’t leave a nice hot bed of glowing coals, upon which you can throw a log and get it going. No, you have to shut the thing off and wait for it to finish venting gasses and cool down, clean out the firebox of all those ashes and half-burned pellets, put it back in and start the 10 minute warm-up cycle again. Oh yeah, there’s always a chance the pellets just won’t ignite, so you have a big pile of pellets and no fire. Clean it out and start over, sucker.
Hey, are you in the mountains, or someplace remote and cold as hell? Maybe you get blizzards in the winter? Funny thing, blizzards tend to knock out electricity, and they’re cold. So when you really need the heat from that stove, you’re screwed.
My last complaint is more about mine than all of them, but this sucker is LOUD. I’ve used smaller units that were fairly quiet, but it’s an issue that may come up. Seriously, so loud. Sitting down in the evening, getting a fire going, and watching A Wonderful Life is not going to happen.

High's Chimney Service Inc. says:

I feel your pain. I used to have a pellet stove and went back to cord-wood myself because my power goes out several times a year- usually when the weather is the worst.

There are battery back-up units for times without electricity and lots of people have a much better experience with their pellet stoves than you have had. So said, I think your stove is a stinker and the auger is totally out of synch. Replace it.

There are trade-offs with everything, (work, mess etc.) of course, but for reliability you can’t beat a regular wood stove.

Good luck, try to stay warm…

Mark says:

First off I love this site. Thanks! The only knowledge I have of wood stoves or pellet stoves is what I’ve read here so far.

My question is which would you recommend to fit inside of a very narrow fireplace, specifically 21w x 16d x 33h? I wanted an insert but can’t find one to fit. Now I have to pick from wood stove or pellet stove and stick it inside there. And as for venting it do I have to knock out the old damper and drop a 6″ or 4″ liner down to connect to a stove?

I’ve been thinking about adding a stove to my home to help heat it during the winter, but I wasn’t sure what kind I should buy. I really liked your post, and how well it addresses the differences between wood and pellet stoves. After reading through it, I feel like pellet stoves are the better option in general. You mentioned that apart from being safer than a traditional wood stove, they’re also better for the environment. I think that both of these things are very important, so I’m going to start looking for a pellet stove as soon as I can! Thank you for the help!

Sandy Devin says:

I am a senior lady, living in an all electric home, in a senior HOA. They won’t even allow us to supplement with propane gas, and the house (1,100 sq. ft. open floor plan Ranch) has no insulation in the walls. Can’t afford to keep warm in winter, so I was checking out used Vermont casting wood stoves online. There are some for sale in the $600-$700 price range from 1977 etc. Is it ok to buy? What to look for? How many BTU’s?
The house was built in 1983, has a crawl space (cinder blocks surrounding sand foundation). What do I look for in an installer?
I learned so much from your site. Thank you.

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