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Wood Stoves vs. Pellet Stoves?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dave M, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Dave M

    Dave M New Member

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    Dear Experts,

    With help from this forum, I was all set to buy a $3000 soapstone wood stove. Thank you, great help! Just then, a good friend urged me to by a pellet stove instead! From the wood stove purists, can some of you please explain the benefits of a wood stove over a pellet stove?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No power required is a big plus if you are in an area that has frequent outages. It usually is less expensive too. And the fire view difference is major. Basically a pellet stove is a pellet furnace. It's not the most attractive fire and then there is the noise...
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Silent intense heat. You can't get the same output from a pellet stove if large amounts of heat impress you.

    Free or cheap fuel. Even if you must buy cordwood, the fuel is cheaper. When was the last time you saw a pellet tree? If I need to I can break apart the dining room table and burn it for heat.

    No computers to break, blower motors to fail, augers to jamb with a woodstove. Power outage is no problem with wood.

    You chose a very expensive woodstove but as a rule, pellet stoves are more expensive to buy.

    If my woodstack gets wet, it will dry. If the pellets get wet, I believe they are ruined.

    You could and should ask this question in the pellet room since there are some benefits. The big one is thermostatic heat with a huge hopper full of fuel. Less daily work.
    dylskee, melissa71 and BrowningBAR like this.
  4. bostock

    bostock Member

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    I use wood stove. But i believe a pellet stove will offer more control and efficiency, but cutting your own wood is a lot cheaper (sometimes free if you'r lucky!) Paying a supplier for fuel (whether it's coal, pellets, electric, oil) you are ALWAYS at the supplier's mercy - not usually so with firewood. That said - if you are not in a position to take the time & effort to procure firewood (aha! that is where the cost comes in LOL), a pellet stove might be your best bet. I have friends with pellet stoves and they love them.
  5. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    swagler85 and dafattkidd like this.
  6. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    For me the advantages of my wood stove include the ability to heat the house during a power outage (aside from the wood it is all electric here), the opportunity to collect my own firewood, and the fun of building wood fires. There are times when it would be nice to have a pellet stove that would keep itself stoked while we are out of the house, but I never seriously considered pellets. I enjoy the opportunity to exchange my time and effort for money I'd otherwise spend on heating the house.
    Huntindog1 and bostock like this.
  7. joescho

    joescho Feeling the Heat

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    I run both. The pellet stove is much, much more convienent and easier to clean. The noise is insignificant. Keeps my whole upstairs warm. However, if I need REAL heat, I crank up the wood stove in the basement which will keep my entire house warm (and let the pellet stove start/stop when it needs to). Its cheaper to run, but is much more messy and more work but I really can't see anything other than a blow torch supplying more heat. Bottom line is if you intend to have your current heating method replaced, nothing will beat the wood stove. If you need a suppliment, then the pellet is the way to go.

    JS
    swagler85 likes this.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You have a premium pellet insert with variable speed DC motors that keep it nicely quiet. Many pellet stoves are much more noisy.
  9. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I used to have a pellet stove, the first year I had it there was a pellet shortage and the price shot up, burning pellets that year wasnt that much cheaper than oil, so why should I go through all the trouble of buying pellets, stacking them in my basement, filling the stove everyday, cleaning the stove twice a week when I could just set the thermostat on the furnace wher I wanted it. Since pellet stoves are more expensive and pellets are more than wood it will take longer to recoup your losses. Also, we lost power for a week last year in the oct snow storm, even though I have a insert I was still able to keep my house comfortable.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That was the deciding factor for us too. After a week long power outage and me pushing the little Jotul 602 for all it's worth I decided it was time to change. We had a Quad 1200i in the living room. I really liked the thermostat feature on a digital thermostat and the once or twice a day loading, but it was like a small pellet blast furnace and this was not one of the noisiest units on the market.
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    All of these were my reasons for going with wood.
  12. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    And we all love sitting in front of a nice wood fire. Keeps the family together, special times. Great when you have guests. everyone, including pets, naturally gathers around the stove. In my opinion, a wood stove improves the quality of your life. To say nothing of lessons learned if you have children and teach them some wotrk ethics while collecting and processing your wood....good times spent together.
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have wood heat for the main part of the house and a pellet stove in the basement. For me it is nice to be able to fire the pellet stove for the short times I need to do things in the basement and shut it down when I am through. That and if we need to be away for a lot of hours during the day I can light it off and hold the temp in the rest of the house until we get back and start up the wood stove. If I have enough time I just load the wood stove and level it out. If not its the pellet puppies job.
  14. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Adding that you can cook on a woodstove..

    Ray
  15. Dave M

    Dave M New Member

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    Wow, you guys are great, thanks for all these quick replies. I was told that the wood would be a push compared to the pellets, not so sure now. I have a 2000 sf home, kinda drafty. My old dutchwest stove looks nice and works ok but has a crap burn time of under 4 hours when things get rough. Was gonna replace that with the soapstone but now the wife is complaining about the space the wood takes up(what will she think up next to complain about?) I still have time to cancel the soapstone and get a pellet stove, but as you good people mentioned, I like the here and now aspect the wood provides. I could keep the old wood stove, and add in a pellet stove as a supplement or secondary heat source. Still thinking here, thanks all!
  16. rijim

    rijim Member

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    Wood stove plus:
    - No power required for wood stove.
    - You aren't likely to score free pellets but there is always the chance to clear a downed tree for someone.
    - You can always buy Eco Bricks if you don't have dry wood.
    - Can cook on if necessary.
    Pellet stove plus:
    - T-stat control.
    - A little cleaner.
    It is all what you want, good luck deciding
  17. hilbiliarkiboi

    hilbiliarkiboi Member

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    Got wood?
  18. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    My wood stove takes no electric to run i can cook on it and a pellet is loud.
  19. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Very simple for me I can find wood anywhere pellets have to be made and the price is all over the place usually high on pellets. Second no power o well I can heat and cook no matter what its like outside.

    Pete
    raybonz likes this.
  20. Dave M

    Dave M New Member

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    Well I do have a generator, so I'm not too concerned about outages anymore. I also have a separate propane tank for cooking gas, so thats not a concern for me. Wood is plentiful around here, but I can also get a pallet of pellets from tractor supply company. Not sure about the price, I have to check that out. On the noise of the pellet stove, is an upper end model still loud?
  21. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    No when we where trying to decide the higher end models where very silent and we really couldn't hear them. Acctually most of them in all price ranges where relatively quiet.

    Pete
  22. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Dave, the guys in the pellet room could give you more info on using a generator for a pellet stove. Some (many from what I understand) produce "dirty" power, that could be harmful to the circuitry of some pellet stove.

    When it comes to which is better, you'll find lots of folks on both sides of the isle.

    -From those that I know personally, who have nothing good to say for burning pellets, when I asked them about what they did for maintenance I've seen them look at me as if they knew they should have an answer for that, but didn't :( In other words, their problems were self created.

    -From those that I know personally, who have nothing good to say about modern wood stoves, and who swear the "good ol' fisher's are king" are the same ones who think that wood can be seasoned in a month or two :(

    For my particular lifestyle, preferences, and home, wood just works best. For my neighbor, pellets work best. Pick one, and learn to run whichever it that is the right way for your maximum chance at happiness with that given unit.

    pen
    MasterMech, Pallet Pete and raybonz like this.
  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Pen is right. Check out the pellet room. There you will find a lot of converts from cord wood to pellets that would never go back. And some that did go back.
  24. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    We have both installed in the basement of our house, the pellet stove is a steady soft heat which is nice, since buying a woodlot we bought the woodstove which is a more intense heat.

    Another reason we bought the woodstove was the price of pellets went up every year. We went from burning 200 bags of pellets per year down to burning 50 bags and under.

    Woods more work but you can't beat the heat.
    zap
  25. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    To add to this, aren't clearances smaller for pellet stoves and the installs are cheaper, too, right?

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