Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove: Which Is the Better Choice?

Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove

There is no argument to the fact that both wood and pellet stoves provide us with enough heat and the feeling of warmth when we sit close to them. In turn, they make our chilly nights extra comfy. Then again, many of us wonder which between a pellet stove vs wood stove is the better option.

When it comes to their physical attributes, they actually look very similar. In fact, not everyone can differentiate the one from the other, which is a problem in itself too. If they look the same and have the same purpose, are there even any differences at all?

Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove: The Differences

Well, if you look hard enough, you will find that there are quite a few differences between these two stoves. The way they operate, for instance, is very different from each other. Knowing their differences would give you the advantage of learning which one would work best in your case.

Below, we will discuss in detail how a pellet stove differs from a wood stove.

  • The Application and The Style

As mentioned earlier, these two stoves not only look similar but they also perform a very similar role. A pellet stove comes as either an insert or free-standing style. Both are great if you are looking to warm up the house, shed, or other similar areas.

Back in the day, pellet stoves used to resemble an industrial heater, which is actually not eye-candy. Thankfully, the new pellet stoves we have today feature a very modern look and blend in well with most décor.

Wood stoves are also available as either an insert or free-standing variation, making them suitable to warm a house, shed, and so on. What’s more is that wood stoves come in varied designs, which means that you are likely to find something that exactly fits the look of your house.

  • Installation Costs

Cost is a very important factor when it comes to choosing wood or pellet stoves. When it comes down to buying either one of these two, the costs are quite similar too. Then again, you also have to think about installation costs.

A wood stove will typically require a fully insulated chimney system, which has to extend above the roof peak. Certain pellet stoves, on the other hand, only need a direct-vent or even just a small chimney system. Obviously, this is cheaper in comparison to its counterpart. It is also relatively easier to install, which reduces the installation costs too.

  • Operating Costs and the Fuel Supply

More than the installation costs, you also need to think about the money you would need for fuel. Wood stoves can burn firewood and wood scraps. On the other hand, a pellet stove can only burn wood pellets that are specifically designed for pellet stoves, such as fuel composites or wood.

That being said, the costs and the availability of pellets and firewood may vary depending on where you live. For this reason, you must first compare the cost of the pellet to full cord firewood and then consider how long will each of them last and in what volume in order to make a proper comparison of the fuel supply costs.

If you count the supply for firewood in the winter, which would approximately cost you close to the value of about three tons of pellets, then the costs for operation will, again, be very similar for either of the stoves.

  • Fuel Storage

How pellets and firewood are stored are very different too. Pellets should be stored in a dry place, such as a room in the house, in the garage, or in the shed. Firewood, on the other hand, should be stored outside. In fact, it does not even matter whether it is covered or not.

The other factor that you also need to consider is the fact that pellets are mostly sold in 20- to 40-pound bags. This means that you will either need someone to get it to you or have to do all of the heavy liftings yourself.

  • Stove Maintenance

When it comes to the maintenance of the stoves, there is a very clear winner between the two. The pellet stove and the wood stove both require regular cleaning as well as the removal of the ash.

However, the volume of ash inside a pellet stove is lesser than that of a wood stove. The emissions are lesser in pellet stoves too. Since in a pellet stove only pellets are used, unlike a wood stove where wood chips or barks are used, the mess to clean is far lesser, and the operation is quite clean and almost free of smoke, which is something you cannot expect out of a wood stove.

  • Saving Money

This is the first thing everyone’s concerned about is knowing which stove will save them more money. Unfortunately, there is no exact answer to that question, and it entirely depends on factors like the insulation in your house, how it is laid out, and if it allows warm air to travel in every room quickly.

These are just a few of the several factors that make it difficult to decide which one’s going to save you more money. The best bet in this situation would be to have someone from a reputable stove store check your house and then decide for you.

  • Back-Up Heat When There Are Power Outages

In case there is a power outage, the pellet stove will immediately shut down as it works on electricity. Traditional wood stoves, on the other hand, do not function on electricity and will continue to provide you with heat even when there is a power outage. This is an important factor especially if you live in an area that has frequent power cuts.


Deciding between pellet stove vs wood stove may prove to be a task as both of them comes with their own set of pros and cons. For instance, wood stoves are a better choice since firewood is easily available and is economical. However, cleaning a pellet stove is far easier, and it emits close to no smoke too. So, it is best to make a list of pros and cons for yourself with the help of this article and whichever one wins will be your new stove.

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