Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove

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Choosing between a pellet stove vs wood stove is a common dilemma many homeowners face, especially when the weather turns cold.  

If you are considering wood heat for your home you have probably wondered about the relative benefits of installing a pellet stove and whether or not it would be better than installing a wood burning stove.  

By comparing the merits of each type of heater you can figure out which one would work better for you and your home.

Ease of use is a major consideration for anything you are going to be depending on.

Longtime wood stove users can generally look past some of the inconveniences of bringing firewood into the house all winter, but new users are often surprised by the amount of work it takes to cut and stack a winter's worth of firewood and the mess associated with it.

Pellet stoves by contrast have their fuel in relatively clean bags that can be stored in convenient locations so they create little or no mess, which is something that is often appealing.

Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove - What Are The Benefits?

Pellet stoves can be both self lighting and manual ignition. 

Since they are designed to be run continuously a manual pellet stove may not need relighting until it runs out of fuel or there is an interruption in electricity.

During power outages is where the pellet stove loses ground to the wood stove

Wood stoves require no electricity to run, so unlike a pellet stove which will stop functioning with no power, a wood stove is unaffected by power outages which would leave your other sources of heat useless.

To some landowners the wood stove will offer an additional ease of use. 

The ability to harvest and utilize fuel from your own property is a major advantage for those so inclined and able to do so.

Efficiency in a heating appliance ensures that you get what you pay for

Whether it is money or sweat equity, nobody wants to waste their work.

When you are thinking about efficiency there are a lot of variables when considering a pellet stove vs wood stove.

Wood pellets are for the most part made of industrial waste products from the milling of lumber. 

This fact (as well as the economy of scales that they are produced and transported at) has given wood pellets the reputation as being very ecologically friendly.

While this has some validity it is hard to argue that locally sourced and produced firewood has a smaller ecological footprint in its production and lack of packaging.  

In markets where firewood is not available locally or is overly expensive due to transportation costs the relative efficiency of firewood changes, but as a general rule when comparing modern wood stoves to modern pellet stoves, the wood stoves win in most efficiency categories relating to production and consumption of fuel.  

The fuel source that is more convenient for you and your lifestyle will likely dictate which one you choose.

Wood Stove vs Pellet Stove - Noise

Noise is a consideration for anything that is going to be in your living environment. 

This has long been an argument when comparing pellet stoves vs wood stoves.  

Wood stoves are by their nature relatively quiet

A gentle breeze outside or a fan in another room could easily mask the quiet clacks, clunks and shifts coming from a wood heating stove.  

Pellet stoves by contrast were known historically to be intrusive with their auger winding and fan blowing. 

This has changed dramatically since the early years of pellet stoves.

Pellet stoves are now designed to fit seamlessly and unobtrusively into the home, allowing you to have them right in your living area with no disturbance. 

Wood Stove vs Pellet Stove - Which Looks Better In Your Home?

Ambience is usually an afterthought or left completely unconsidered when thinking about heating appliances

When considering pellet stoves vs wood stoves styling and ambience are anything but an afterthought.

Wood stoves have always had style going back to the days of the Glenwood and before, wood stoves were made to be seen and added to the overall style of the room.

Drolet HT3000 High-Efficiency EPA Certified Wood Stove

Pedestal style wood stoves like the Drolet HT3000 offer a modern and simplistic design esthetic. 

There are wood stoves to match any taste in design.

This allows you more freedom in designing your ideal home.

Pellet stoves have come a long way in styling

Gone are the days of the soley utilitarian designs. 

Modern pellet stoves are designed to add style as well as warmth. 

Pellet stoves like the Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22 Apricot offer many of the same styling benefits of glass front wood stoves.

Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22

When you are considering relative cost differences for a pellet stove vs wood stove there is a lot to consider. 

Each unit has its own unique considerations, whether it is a pellet stove or a wood stove, some things are universal though.  

Pellet stoves are less expensive and less intrusive to install in a home that does not already have venting for a pellet or wood stove

Pellet stoves can be vented through the wall and do not require chimneys which can be expensive.

This makes new installation of a pellet stove considerably quicker and less expensive

On top of that pellet stoves can use fireplace/wood stove chimneys if your home already has one.

Wood stoves by contrast require chimneys that can handle the high temperatures of their exhaust gas. 

These chimneys will add time and expense to any new installation.

Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove - Overall

Is there a clearly better choice when you are considering a pellet stove vs wood stove? 

Only you can really answer that question for your home. 

When considering a pellet stove vs wood stove, just remember that both are great additions to your home. 

In some cases people find that having both is really the best way to provide convenience and safety to your household during the coldest months of the year.  

If you do your research and carefully consider your needs, it is hard to go wrong with either one.


About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videos to help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.