As others have mentioned i think the biggest factor is lifestyle. I work way too many hours, travel, try to stay in shape, and have two kids under the age of 4. To think i would have time to find, cut, stack, haul, and load wood jsut didn't make sense. Although i thinks it pretty proven if you don't equate time into the value, than a wood stove is your best bet. If you do value your time i would make the argument that a pellet stove is the best investment. A couple comments on things that were said and my experience with pellet heat: - Pellet stoves are a bit noisy, typically the higher end you go the less it is. I have a Harman XXV which is pretty top end, and if maintained i don't think its that loud. I have pretty much gotten rid of any auger squeek and rattles that use to be an issue for me. I have it in a main living area and have no complaints related to noise. - Heat output is less with a pellet stove. Although i will say i heat my 2800 sq foot house easily with my XXV, less some of the far upstairs bedrooms. I also think layout of the house and good insulation and tightness help this greatly. - Pellet stoves are easier to install and can be incorporated into a floor plan better to spread the heat. I kitty cornered mine into a large open floor plan and in a way that allows the heat to travel nicely upstairs. As for install i direct vented out the side of the house and ran pipe about 4 feet up. No issues with draft or soot on the house. It also makes for cleaning the flue a heck of a lot easier. - Cleaning is easy although i'm nazi about cleaning it every use, mainly just so i don't get additional noise, and heat output is best. Also there are more moving parts on a pellet stove compared to wood, so although there is typically less cleaning/emptying of ash, pellet stoves are more susceptiple to failure. Although i haven't really had anything break on mine, minus a replaced hopper due to the fork lift wacking my stove when i bought it. - Pellet stoves are safer. The reality is it all gets hot, but with little kids if they happen to touch the stove it will be a little burn if none at all. Does not apply to the glass. - Fuel costs have been consistent the past few years, i average around $200 a ton. I could buy cheaper at around $175 a ton but pellet quality is important. So last years mild winter i went through about 2 tons of pellets and maybe 50 gallons of oil. - One of the biggest factors for us was pellets are cleaner and less work. Pellets are so much cleaner, have no or very little smell associated with the burn, and in general just less work to load. I have a bench with built in storage by my stove so i can store about 10 bags right next to the stove. It makes loading the stove a non issue for my wife when i'm away on business. - For me the biggest pain with the pellet stove is power. I sure wish it didn't draw any power, but a decent battery backup followed by generator support will make it so during power outage you don't have the fire go out and smoke backup into your house. - Originally pellet stoves were pretty limited on their aesthetics but i think my XXV is not an eye sore and actually adds to the decor of our living space. The reality is its a tool, but the looks keep the wife happy. - My stove was expensive, but at the time i got an $800 tax credit for the purchase. Not sure what they are offering these days for energy efficient heat sources.