Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove – What You Need to Know

Not sure about you, but my energy bill is always on my mind. If you’re heating your home with gas or electricity I don’t have to tell you that it’s not cheap. Have you considered using your fireplace or installing a stove? Of course you have or you wouldn’t be here, would you? 

Heating your home with a stove is easy and far more cost effective than gas or electric. Which option is best for you, pellet stove vs wood stove?

Each has their advantages and disadvantages, so let us investigate.

Cost of Unit

Pellet stove if you have a limited budgeted for upfront costs when it comes to your selection then a pellet stove is the way to go most of the time. The initial cost is usually going to be lower for purchasing a pellet stove, however, there are elaborate pellet stoves that will cost you a pretty penny.  

Wood stove – if your bank account is full and you don’t have as many financial restrictions for upfront cost then a wood stove is where you may find yourself. As with pellet stoves you can find less expensive wood stoves that may suit your needs, but on average a wood stove will be more expensive.
 

The Cost of Fuel

Pellet stove as the name suggests they use wood pellets for fuel which is typically made up of sawdust and wood chips.

In the United States, pellets aren’t as common as wood so there are fewer  purchase options for quality pellets. In doing the math you would equate a ton of pellets to a cord of firewood. The cost of a ton of pellets ranges, but you would expect to pay between $200 – $250 for a ton of pellets.

Wood stove wood stoves work just like a fireplace, they burn wood logs which makes them cheaper to burn since wood easier to come by. If you’re lucky you can even find free resources for firewood. Firewood ranges in price if you do need to purchase it, so you should expect to pay between $125 – $200 for a cord depending on where you live.

Additional Energy Cost

Pellet stove – most pellet stoves will need some electricity to operate, unlike wood stoves. Although this cost is minimal (maybe $9/month), your pellet stove will not work if the power goes out, unless you have a generator

Wood stove – if you go the wood stove route you’ll be able to heat your house with or without electricity. All it’ll take is some dry firewood.

Eco-Friendly Rating 

Pellet stove in terms of being green, pellet stoves win, so much so that the EPA doesn’t even monitor their use. Pellets in fact are made from wood waste, so you are basically recycling and helping to keep wood waste out of landfills. In terms of carbon emissions when pellets are burned they emit 0.035 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt-hour.                                                  

Wood stove on the other hand, wood releases 0.00612 pounds per kilowatt-hour of CO2, meaning it is the less green of the two. It should be noted that both options are considered carbon neutral from some points of view (others disagree), so you may (or may not) feel guilty about using either of the two.

Safety

Pellet stove pellet stoves are generally considered safer as the flames are more contained and so no embers of sparks will be able to fly out and cause burns and potential fires in your home.

Although be aware that pellet stoves can get very hot, so avoid touching them when they are burning.

Wood Stove burning wood is of course riskier as there is the potential for embers, ash, and sparks to fly around and possibly cause burns or fires. Similar to pellet stoves, wood stoves get very hot to the touch so best to either wear gloves or stand clear. 

Maintenance

Pellet Stove a pellet stove doesn’t require as much maintenance as a wood stove, all that will be required is for you to monitor the motors and fans are working properly, and eliminating left-over debris.

As long as you follow the guidelines that accompany your pellet stove then you should be able to save money over the life of a pellet stove in comparison to wood stoves. Additionally, you won’t have as many inspections or service calls to make.

The only downside of a pellet stove is that sourcing a repairman can be more difficult than a service provider for wood stoves.

Wood stove maintaining a wood burning stove can be a lot of work, as you will need to maintain the flue, chimney and other components. More costly is the fact you will need a certified chimney sweep annually to check your system, in addition to a residue and soot clearance throughout the year.

Another important maintenance concern for wood stoves is examining the catalytic combustor, which must be carried out three times per year at least.

Energy Efficiency

Pellet Stove – on average will be more efficient than wood stoves. On average pellet stoves will prove themselves to be roughly 80% efficient.

Wood stove – are fairly efficient, but not nearly as energy efficient as pellet stoves. On average a wood stove will be about 70% efficient

Final Words

There are no equal winners when it comes to pellet stoves vs wood stoves as both have positives and negatives. The one you choose depends mostly on your personal preferences, however as the cost is usually the main concern, pellet stoves would be the better choice.

However, if you have difficulties finding a local wood pellet supplier, a wood burning stove is the obvious choice for you. Ultimately both are far cheaper and greener than other fuels such as gas and electric, so you’ll win whichever direction you go.

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