Pellet Stove Vs. Wood Stove: Know The Difference

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A pellet stove and a wood stove… both are alternative ways to heat your home, and both are increasingly popular. Both are wood burning alternatives to traditional heating methods, and while the thought of wood burning stoves used to bring up the idea of old clunky metal burners, that is not the case anymore.

Both pellet stoves and wood stoves are upping their design game, and in some cases, can be hard to tell apart!

While pellet stoves and wood stoves may seem similar at first glance, there are a few fundamental differences that consumers will want to keep in mind if they are looking to add either to their home.

Stove Style - Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove

Pellet stove vs. wood stove… it can be a hard choice between the two.

That fact that both stoves come in a wide variety of appliances with different features can make the decision even more difficult.

However, it does not have to be that way, not when you start to nail down the specifics of what you want.

Wood Stove

Woot stoves come in a variety of different models including fireplaces and fireplace inserts, box heat stoves as well as cookstoves.

While some wood stoves are catalytic, others are non-catalytic. Catalytic stoves are considered more efficient, but more expensive, while non-catalytic stoves are considered cheaper, but less efficient.

Because wood stoves are solely wood-burning appliances, they do not require any electricity to run.

Pellet Stove

Once seen as a boxy, simple and unattractive wood burner, pellet stoves have come a long way when it comes to their design and style! Pellet stoves come with or without viewing panels, and many consumers have a hard time distinguishing them from wood heat stoves according to The Spruce.

They also come as fireplace inserts and offer more up-to-date features than wood stoves, including hoppers that store and automatically load the pellets into the stove.

Pellet stoves are also considered cleaner and lower maintenance than wood-burning stoves.

Operating Costs and Fuel Supply -
Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove

Pellet stoves and wood stoves both have their pros and cons when it comes to their operating costs and their fuel supplies.

While they both technically use wood to burn, one takes traditional seasoned wood as verse to the other that use pellets.

Wood Stove

Wood stoves are generally more expensive to install but are considered cheaper to operate. KompareIt states that the average installation of a wood stove comes out to between $$$$ and $$$$.

Between the purchase of the actual stove and inserts and the extra add-ons that may be needed for the proper installation of the unit, it can get pricey!

However, the wood stove wins when it comes to the operating costs. On average, you could pay upwards of a few hundred dollars for wood delivery, but if you collect and store your own wood, then the cost to operate your stove goes down drastically, and in some cases, can become non-existent!

Pellet Stove

Where wood stoves cost upwards of $$$$ from purchase to final installation, pellet stoves cost much less, averaging between $$$$ to $$$$, not including the actual installation according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The actual cost of installation could range depending on the complexity of the install, but since pellet stoves can be direct-vented to the room, you do not need extras such as an expensive chimney.

Where pellet stoves can get expensive is in their fuel source. These stoves burn compacted pellets that are made of wood and other organic materials. While pellet stoves generally need only a daily refill, pellets can get pricey with a 40-pound bag costing anywhere from $5 to $10 each and are generally bought in bulk.

Since pellet stoves require electricity to operate the pellet feeder, controls and fans, they cost an average of $9 per month in electrical costs.

Stove Maintenance -
Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove

With any appliance, there is going to be some maintenance involved, whether it be simple or complex.

When it comes to any wood burning appliance, you will have to deal with cleaning out ash and restocking the burning materials. However, each unit has its varying levels of maintenance that will need to happen regularly.

Wood Stove

Because wood stoves burn full logs, they tend to be the dirtier of these two stove options.

Not only do the ashes need to be removed, woodchips or bark may also be left behind and will need to be cleaned out.

Then there is the regular chimney maintenance that will need to be done at least yearly to make sure there is no creosote buildup or any other cracks or holes in the chimney or chimney flue.

Pellet Stove

While pellet stoves generally are considered cleaner because they produce less smoke and ash, they still require similar maintenance as a wood stove.

If your stove is not direct-vented outdoors, you will need to have the same routine chimney maintenance as a wood stove. You will also want to make sure to follow your unit’s cleaning instructions when it comes to maintaining the hopper and make sure you inspect the unit’s fans and motors regularly. You will also need to clean the flue vent on a regular basis to prevent soot buildup.

What’s the Best Stove Choice for You?

Only you can decide what the best stove choice for you is. It depends largely on your location and your individual needs.

We hope that this blog will help you walk through all the facts to consider before making a final purchase. Happy stove hunting!


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