Pellet Stoves vs. Wood-Burning Stoves

Pellet stoves and wood-burning stoves will both heat your house, but the costs and efficiency of each is different.

Pellet Stove Pros

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Depending on your lifestyle and heating needs, one may be a better choice than the other.

Pellet stoves put out five times more BTUs (British Thermal Units) than standard wood-burning stoves and 75 percent to 90 percent of the pellets are converted to heat. Particulate emissions from pellet stoves are 50 times lower than non-EPA- certified wood-burning stoves and up to 5 times lower than EPA-certified wood-burning stoves.

Pellet Stove Cons

Many pellet stoves require electricity, so if the power is out the stove will not work, though some have a battery backup. Pellets for pellet stoves are becoming more common, but they are not readily available in all areas.

Wood Stove Pros

Wood stoves do not need electricity, and wood is easier to find in most places than pellets. EPA-certified stoves have fewer emissions than fireplaces and non-EPA-certified stoves.

Wood Burning Stove Cons

Wood-burning stoves are much less efficient than pellet stoves. Wood stoves also use much more fuel per season than pellet stoves.


The cost of a pellet-burning stove is higher than a wood stove, but the cost of pellets is about $500 per season. The cost of wood varies greatly. If cut from your own property or with a permit in the forest, it is cheap or essentially free. Otherwise it may cost about $175 per cord of wood, depending on local rates. A cord is about 15 trees that have a 10-inch diameter at breast height (or DBH--a common method for measuring tree size), according to the Tree Hugger website. Those who use wood stoves consistently throughout the chilly months may use up to three cords of wood per year.

About the Author

Sam Adams has been writing since 2009 for various websites, specializing in gardening, travel and green lifestyles. She graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern Illinois University in 2001 with a major in English and a minor in history.