I'm new but have read many posts. Thanks to everyone for being so informative, helpful, and polite to the uninitiated. Here's my story: - 1,400 sq. ft 2 story home - oil heat - live in New England - want to replace oil as my heat source - propane and natural gas aren't options I originally investigated free-standing pellet stoves with small footprints (such as St. Croix Element) to minimize loss of space in my small living room. I avoided wood burning stoves because the black chimney pipe is too obtrusive for the room. After an in-house visit from a dealer, I now realize that even small pellet stoves require more space than my room can accommodate. I do, however, have a fireplace in the room and won't lose any space if I place an insert into it. An insert means that I could go with either a wood burning or pellet insert because I no longer have to worry about ugly stove pipes. Here are my worries in choosing between pellets and wood. Of this list, what should I be focusing on? Fuel: Pellets seem to be widely available now. I don't ever plan to cut my own wood and would have to purchase it. It's doubtful that I can find wood dry enough to start burning now. Transporting inside: I have a bad back. Lugging 40 lb bags of pellets is an unpleasant thought, but at least everything is inside once I'm done. Walking in the freezing cold repeatedly to a pile of wood in the yard doesn't seem fun. Storage: I'd have to store pellets in my basement, making transportation worse. I have no wood shed, and unless you think it's kosher to store wood in an unfinished basement, I can't think of a good way to keep wood dry in winter. Heat: The dealer told me that a wood burning stove would make my living room feel like an oven. I tend to like it cool and would find an 80 room unpleasant. I'm under the impression, though, that a wood stove can heat an entire home better and more quickly than a pellet stove. Heating patterns: I tend to turn the heat low or off during the day and then turn it up when I get home at night. I don't know which stove better matches this pattern. Maintenance: The pellet forums and dealers describe pellet stoves as high maintenance relative to wood burning stoves. If you add stove maintenance to the transporting, storing, and loading of fuel, I can't figure out which stove requires less labor. Annual costs: Fuel + maintenance + service seems like a wash between pellets and wood, but I fear I'm overlooking something expensive. Models: If I buy a pellet insert, it will be the St. Croix Ashby because the dealer is 1 mile from my house. If I buy a wood insert, I'm lost. I really like the looks of flush inserts but don't know if they throw enough heat to reach upstairs. And I can't figure out what the value of a hybrid is. Smell: A neighbor burns wood. It's smelly and smoky. I don't want to pollute the neighborhood and can't determine which type of stove will annoy the neighbors less. At the moment I'm leaning toward wood, hence posting in this forum. Thanks for reading something so long.