During the long winter months, it is essential to provide a heating source that is economical, easy to maintain and produces enough heat for the home. Generally, many homeowners think to purchase a wood stove as an easy solution to keep warm in the wintertime. However, there are other options, including using a pellet stove, as an economical alternative to wood.

Pellet Stoves versus Wood


There are significant differences between pellet and wood stoves. A pellet stove is designed to burn efficiently, and cleaner than a wood burning stove. All manufacturers make pellet stoves that require a connection to electricity, while only blower-installed wood-burning stoves need to be plugged in.

To use a wood burning stove, it will require a functioning chimney or an approved vent. Alternatively, nearly every pellet stove simply requires a traditional, conventional flu. Whatever particular model you purchase, it will have to meet your local codes.

Heat Output


The efficiency of burning pellets in a pellet stove provides heated output that naturally distributes the warm air evenly throughout the house. The stove does not generate enough heat to be hot to the touch, which should be taken into serious consideration for homes that have small children. A pellet stove can quickly produce high levels of heat, and cool down quickly turned off.

Most wood burning stoves simply radiate heat. Other models are built with fans to blow the hot air into the open space. Wood-burning stoves can get extremely hot and cause severe burns if touched.

Operational Requirements


A pellet stove only requires minimal attention in comparison to a cord-wood burning stove. The pellets are purchased in bags, or can be filled from a service truck into a bin in the basement. Pellets can be fed directly into the pellet stove using augers. Other options include a pellet hopper that is built into the pellet stove, traditionally holding approximately 40 pounds worth of pellets.

The single biggest advantage of a pellet stove over a wood-burning stove is its ability to set a desired temperature. The stove can be self-ignited, and pellets automatically fed to maintain a constant temperature inside the house. Based on its design, the pellet stove has the ability to keep your house comfortably heated for nearly 40 hours at a time, without requiring direct attention.

The overall cost of purchasing pellets in comparison to cord wood is based on the region where you live. However, even if the cost were the same, pellet stoves are significantly cleaner to operate than a wood-burning stove.