Pellet Stove vs Wood Stove?

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Hexa Fox

Member
Sep 19, 2023
180
West Virginia
Hey guys,

I'm sure there has been posts like this before so feel free to link me to one. Many of you have probably seen me on the various other posts I have made lol. Unfortunately, this year I have to replace my wood stove and add some kind of liner to my existing masonry chimney. So I was recently talking with a friend and he recommended that since I need to do all this work he said I should strongly consider a pellet stove. He was telling me about the many benefits of them and I must admit, he definitely has me considering it.

First, I think it would benefit me because he said that pellet stoves only require 3-4" liners. This would probably be a huge advantage for me because my existing chimney would require modification or oval liner to make the 6" possible for a new wood stove. Second, I am now going to be the only person dealing with whatever it is that I get. My friend told me a big advantage to the pellet stoves is you can control newer ones from an application. This is the first I am learning of any of this so can I do things to say program it to turn on in the morning before I wake up or use my phone to turn it on when I am on my way home from work? This would be game changing for me because right now we have an old faulty cast iron wood stove that will not burn through the night and leaves the house freezing cold when I wake up in the morning.

He also said that he buys his pellets one ton at a time and he said it has been infinitely cheaper than wood. I think he told me at certain times he runs two of them and he said this last Winter he spent $300 to heat his home. Sorry for you other guys that may see all my posts. I am trying to weigh all my options right now and make a good informed decision. It would suck to install a wood stove and not have considered something like a pellet stove with advantages like these.

Anyway I will end my post there. I have burned wood my whole life so I would be completely new to pellets. I would love to hear what you guys have to say on the matter. Have any of you swapped to pellets from wood burning and regretted it? Likewise have you swapped to pellets from wood burning and love it? Another disadvantage is that I have several cords of wood already ready to burn. However, if a pellet stove proves to be a better choice I can always sell the wood I have to cover the cost of the new stove and/or pellets. I appreciate any perspective in advance!
 
I had a wood stove at my old place, and shortly after moving hear (late 2013), I put in my first pellet stove in this place.

The advantages of a wood stove are:
  • Don't need electricity to run, so during extended power outage that is an advantage.
  • Sometimes you can get wood for free (that was actually most of the time at my old place).
  • If you CSS your own wood, you get plenty of exercise
  • Less stove maintenance overall (few moving parts).

Advantages of a pellet stove:
  • Most can start up / shut down at set temperatures. Although my stoves have room temp probes that can work well, I have them on remote (wired) thermostats where certain rooms (like my WFH office) are kept at 69*. I don't have to do anything besides turn the thermostats on in the fall and make sure the batteries are good.
  • Because of the above, house/room temperatures stay more consistent and you are unlikely to have to open windows in the dead of winter to cool the house down - LOL
  • Some stoves (or remote thermostats) can be controlled thru an app, and/or put on a schedule for temp settings.
  • Less feeding of the stove. Stove hopper, depending on brand/size, outside temp, insulation of house etc, will probably hold enough pellets to get you at least 24 hours of burn. During milder weather, that can be several days.
  • No rodents or bugs so no mouse stink when brought into the house (or bugs waking up from their winter nap)
  • No mess from bark and other detritus to clean up (although pellets normally have at least some dust when poured from bags).
  • Stacks don't fall over (unless you restack exceedingly poorly). If you can handle full pallet delivery (or pick up), then restacking probalby isn't even needed.
Pellet prices can be more volatile than firewood at times I think. Existing exhaust for a wood stove cannot be used for a pellet stove. New pellet stoves are probably more expensive than new wood stoves. Also, some pellet stoves can be more picky about pellets you burn, or may need fiddling with draft when changing pellet brands.

Each person's circumstance is different so there is no "wrong" answer.

I love my pellet stoves and the only time I would have traded in one of them for a wood stove was during a 3 day power outage last winter. That was the only extended outage in 10 years. Whereas my old place outages were every couple of years). Still, a generator and/or battery stations can help ameliorate that issue (I was able to keep my house warm during those 3 days, it was just more a PITA than if I'd had a wood stove).
 
I had a wood stove at my old place, and shortly after moving hear (late 2013), I put in my first pellet stove in this place.

The advantages of a wood stove are:
  • Don't need electricity to run, so during extended power outage that is an advantage.
  • Sometimes you can get wood for free (that was actually most of the time at my old place).
  • If you CSS your own wood, you get plenty of exercise
  • Less stove maintenance overall (few moving parts).

Advantages of a pellet stove:
  • Most can start up / shut down at set temperatures. Although my stoves have room temp probes that can work well, I have them on remote (wired) thermostats where certain rooms (like my WFH office) are kept at 69*. I don't have to do anything besides turn the thermostats on in the fall and make sure the batteries are good.
  • Because of the above, house/room temperatures stay more consistent and you are unlikely to have to open windows in the dead of winter to cool the house down - LOL
  • Some stoves (or remote thermostats) can be controlled thru an app, and/or put on a schedule for temp settings.
  • Less feeding of the stove. Stove hopper, depending on brand/size, outside temp, insulation of house etc, will probably hold enough pellets to get you at least 24 hours of burn. During milder weather, that can be several days.
  • No rodents or bugs so no mouse stink when brought into the house (or bugs waking up from their winter nap)
  • No mess from bark and other detritus to clean up (although pellets normally have at least some dust when poured from bags).
  • Stacks don't fall over (unless you restack exceedingly poorly). If you can handle full pallet delivery (or pick up), then restacking probalby isn't even needed.
Pellet prices can be more volatile than firewood at times I think. Existing exhaust for a wood stove cannot be used for a pellet stove. New pellet stoves are probably more expensive than new wood stoves. Also, some pellet stoves can be more picky about pellets you burn, or may need fiddling with draft when changing pellet brands.

Each person's circumstance is different so there is no "wrong" answer.

I love my pellet stoves and the only time I would have traded in one of them for a wood stove was during a 3 day power outage last winter. That was the only extended outage in 10 years. Whereas my old place outages were every couple of years). Still, a generator and/or battery stations can help ameliorate that issue (I was able to keep my house warm during those 3 days, it was just more a PITA than if I'd had a wood stove).

Thank you very much for your response. I am still leaning toward a wood stove because it is just what I know but I had to ask. I am still looking at them online and it would seem that there is a good deal more to them, at least when compared with a wood stove. I really like the idea of being able to control one from a phone though. I leave a lot of mornings without starting my wood stove because I am out of town for various reasons and usually spend at least half the day out. It would be nice to turn it on while I am on my way home or something. Something I will never be able to do with a wood stove.

Like I said, I am done waking up in the morning and starting a fire when it is below freezing out. So whatever I get is going to eliminate that factor.
 
I would ask your friend and question the heating the home for $300 using two stoves. Pellets are $300 a ton here, and I go through 3-4 tons per winter. just about 3 ton last winter. I am in the southern mountains of PA.

wood can be stored out side and brought in, pellets can be outside also but they need to be kept dry, and the bags have holes in them so the will get water in them, making them useless except for in your garden, as they turn back in to saw dust. So you may need to consider if you have a place under roof for storage. I have never had a wood stove but have been around a few, they get dirt around them, pellets are dusty, I dump mine in buckets in the garage and bring in, so a lot of the dust is out there but as I dump the buckets there is still dust in the house.

I run my Harman off of a remote thermostat, nothing smart connected, and I run it in manual through the winter so there is always a flame and some heat given off. The stat is set up to come trigger the stove 2 degrees below set temp and turn it off 2 degrees above.

Pellet stoves have an auger and two blower motors so they will make more noise than the wood stove, and even more when the sealed bearings start to run dry.

Pellet stoves are easier to work with in my opinion, not much messing around, push a button or turn a knob and you are getting it started, it can be set to turn on and off and if you are away or asleep, provided you have power it just does it's thing, and when you come home or wake up the room is warm.

Depending on where you put it, they can be direct vented through the wall. Mine comes out the back and straight out through the wall with an OAK (Outside Air Kit) it extends past the outside wall maybe 18" or so and has a turn down on it.

Probably many things I have not mentioned but I am sure others will come along and fill in the gaps.

Good Luck with your final choice.
 
I would ask your friend and question the heating the home for $300 using two stoves. Pellets are $300 a ton here, and I go through 3-4 tons per winter. just about 3 ton last winter. I am in the southern mountains of PA.

wood can be stored out side and brought in, pellets can be outside also but they need to be kept dry, and the bags have holes in them so the will get water in them, making them useless except for in your garden, as they turn back in to saw dust. So you may need to consider if you have a place under roof for storage. I have never had a wood stove but have been around a few, they get dirt around them, pellets are dusty, I dump mine in buckets in the garage and bring in, so a lot of the dust is out there but as I dump the buckets there is still dust in the house.

I run my Harman off of a remote thermostat, nothing smart connected, and I run it in manual through the winter so there is always a flame and some heat given off. The stat is set up to come trigger the stove 2 degrees below set temp and turn it off 2 degrees above.

Pellet stoves have an auger and two blower motors so they will make more noise than the wood stove, and even more when the sealed bearings start to run dry.

Pellet stoves are easier to work with in my opinion, not much messing around, push a button or turn a knob and you are getting it started, it can be set to turn on and off and if you are away or asleep, provided you have power it just does it's thing, and when you come home or wake up the room is warm.

Depending on where you put it, they can be direct vented through the wall. Mine comes out the back and straight out through the wall with an OAK (Outside Air Kit) it extends past the outside wall maybe 18" or so and has a turn down on it.

Probably many things I have not mentioned but I am sure others will come along and fill in the gaps.

Good Luck with your final choice.

Thank you for the response. I could have misheard him. I know he said he gets them on a bulk one ton pallet at a discount from a place right down the road from him. He also lives in the Southern part of PA. I have only been to his place once quite awhile ago so I could not even pin it on a map but I would say he is no more than an hour from you.
 
I've owned both. From my perspective, it's pretty simple.

If you have access to free wood, or cut/split/stack then get a wood stove again

If you are buying wood anyway, then you might as well buy pellets.

From my experience, pellet stoves require much less maintenance, and are infinitely more controllable. House too hot?- turn off the pellet stove and you have a cold stove within an hour. Too cold? Stove is roaring hot in 30 minutes. Don't like temp swings? Put it on a thermostat. Lots of stoves can adapt your favorite smart thermostats, let's you program to your hearts desire, use remotely if you want.
 
I've owned both. From my perspective, it's pretty simple.

If you have access to free wood, or cut/split/stack then get a wood stove again

If you are buying wood anyway, then you might as well buy pellets.

From my experience, pellet stoves require much less maintenance, and are infinitely more controllable. House too hot?- turn off the pellet stove and you have a cold stove within an hour. Too cold? Stove is roaring hot in 30 minutes. Don't like temp swings? Put it on a thermostat. Lots of stoves can adapt your favorite smart thermostats, let's you program to your hearts desire, use remotely if you want.
So a major reason my father put this wood stove in this house is that we always got great deals on firewood. When I was growing up here he had a guy that would bring us untreated lumber trimmings in a dump truck super cheap. Not sure exactly what the lumber was because I was pretty young but I remember how happy my dad was with how well it burned in our stove. Unfortunately over the years we both got busy and usually bought our wood after that guy no longer had access/retired.

Having that said, last year two neighbors as well as myself had multiple trees removed. One of the neighbors cut down two Ash trees and mine was a Wild Cherry tree. I had a lot of time to myself last Fall-Winter so I bought a small log splitter from Tractor Supply to keep myself busy. I do not think I have even burned a single piece of any of that wood yet. To be honest, I haven't even finished splitting up the Cherry tree on my property yet. I do have some health concerns but I am not old enough to lay down and die though. I really enjoyed the exercise I got from splitting and stacking the wood too. I also bought four IBC totes that I have been stacking the wood in to try out something new as well.

I just wanted to hear what some of you guys had to say about pellet stoves and at least consider them. Like I said, I understand that after I do all this work for a new stove and have my chimney lined it will be nothing less than a pan in the @$$ to swap to something like pellets. I may need to consider another source of heat in the future if I decide to stay in the family home but I would like to keep heating with wood for as long as possible. Do not get me wrong, I hate carrying in wood and the labor but I would rather be complaining in the moment and getting that exercise.
 
If you get a modern wood stove with a catalytic converter (with a good size firebox) you can certainly get 10 hour burn times where you don't wake up freezing cold.

I'm not advocating you go one way or another. A new stove is a 15-20 year commitment. I'm lucky enought to have a house with two fireplaces. One has a wood stove, the other will have a pellet stove within a month. Last year I heat my home exclusively with the wood stove. I have a pretty ample supply of fire wood currently. I have a couple dead trees in my backyard woods that could supply me for another year or two. However, I do not have a splitter, I don't have acreage of woods to get trees from, and I do not have a truck to drive around gathering up free wood. So my supply will dwindle and I will need to buy. That's why I got a pellet stove. I anticipate that I will use my pellet stove M-F and my wood stove Sat-Sun, or similar combination. I'm thinking about where I will likely get my fuel 2,5,10 years out.

I LOVE the heat of the wood stove, but I HATE all the attention/maintenance. I have a smaller stove (5 hour burn time) so daily I'd have to light a new fire which means kindling, leaving door open for 20 minutes, closing at the right time, and then playing with the baffle, poking the wood every once in a while, reloading every 90-120 minutes. Not to mention the carrying of wood from outside into the house, watching the weather for when it rains or snows to bring extra wood. All the mess near my wood pile, inside and outside that would need to get cleaned daily. And of course bringing in bugs. It gets real old in late January.
Pellet stove = dump a bag of pellets into it once a day. Once a week, dump the ashes. Yes, it can be that simple.

I also have a gas boiler with radiators in the house when I don't wanna deal with any of it (Like when I have the flu, or we will be away for a week etc) so it's nice to have all sorts of options.

I say find a hearth shop in your area and talk to some people. They can give you the pros and cons and maybe some real life experience. Feel the heat of a modern wood stove vs pellet. Think about current sources of fuel and future sources of fuel.
 
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I am switching away from the wood stove to a pellet stove for a few reasons. First, the wood stove created too much heat. Nice to be warm, but too much is too much. Pellet can be shut off a while when it gets too warm, or if I wanted to I can download the app and/or set a desired temp. Secondly, every time you add wood to the wood stove which is basically all night, until bedtime, you open that door and smoke gets into the room. Maybe it's the cat, but asthma isn't fun so I won't be missing that smoke. Instead of adding a stick of wood every half hour or so, I can just be watching TV. I think the pellet way seems a lot more modern and convenient. I just got it recently, so we'll see how it goes.
 
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I am switching away from the wood stove to a pellet stove for a few reasons. First, the wood stove created too much heat. Nice to be warm, but too much is too much. Pellet can be shut off a while when it gets too warm, or if I wanted to I can download the app and/or set a desired temp. Secondly, every time you add wood to the wood stove which is basically all night, until bedtime, you open that door and smoke gets into the room. Maybe it's the cat, but asthma isn't fun so I won't be missing that smoke. Instead of adding a stick of wood every half hour or so, I can just be watching TV. I think the pellet way seems a lot more modern and convenient. I just got it recently, so we'll see how it goes.
My father knew a lot about pellet stoves and he despised them for several reasons and it just naturally turned me off to them as well. I never learned anything about them and I am sure he didn't know anything about modern ones that can be controlled with your phone. I remember him always saying that you had a lot more working parts on them and therefore a lot more to go wrong.

Definitely some great points. Right now I am leaning toward avoiding a completely catalytic stove but have not made my mind up.
 
My father knew a lot about pellet stoves and he despised them for several reasons and it just naturally turned me off to them as well. I never learned anything about them and I am sure he didn't know anything about modern ones that can be controlled with your phone. I remember him always saying that you had a lot more working parts on them and therefore a lot more to go wrong.

Definitely some great points. Right now I am leaning toward avoiding a completely catalytic stove but have not made my mind up.
As someone who works on wood and pellet stoves all the time and who has had both. I can tell you pellet stoves are great until they start to act up. Then they are a real pain in the ass. We had a pellet stove in one of our shops and got fed up with it. Switched to gas there and the other shop and wouldn't ever think of going back. If I were you the question wouldn't be wood or pellet it would be wood or gas.

Or do wood now and add gas elsewhere in the future. Or gas elsewhere then replace your old stove
 
As someone who works on wood and pellet stoves all the time and who has had both. I can tell you pellet stoves are great until they start to act up. Then they are a real pain in the ass. We had a pellet stove in one of our shops and got fed up with it. Switched to gas there and the other shop and wouldn't ever think of going back. If I were you the question wouldn't be wood or pellet it would be wood or gas.

Or do wood now and add gas elsewhere in the future. Or gas elsewhere then replace your old stove
Thanks for all the information you and others have brought to my multiple threads. Yeah I think both the advantages and disadvantages to pellet stoves seem to go the extreme in both ways respectfully. Being able to have heat and the press of a button and being able to control it from something like a phone are huge and will never be compatible with something like a consumer wood stove. So I definitely see the appeal but given the feedback I have been getting I think I will stick with a wood stove at least for now. I may even do a little research on natural gas as well.

My biggest gripe with what I have now is that I cannot achieve an overnight burn to save my life. It seems a lot of people are in agreement that I can achieve it with just about any modern wood stove.
 
Ask this question in the wood stove section. I see a lot of misconceptions about wood heating here from happy pellet burners.

For me, pellet stoves are super noisy and make all kinds of racket. Cost way more to burn, cost way more to maintain. My house woodstove burns 24 hours between reloads but reloading is not as simple as dumping in a new bag. You pay for that convenience with money and noise.

I have a pellet bbq. That’s fun I guess.
 
Unless you have access to many chords of wood and can cut it yourself (or a friend who is in the firewood business) pellets are not a bad choice. I have both a wood insert and a pellet stove, but that is due to the layout of my home. The actual maintenance of a wood stove is easier. It's the mess and handling to get the fuel to the stove that makes it harder to own a wood stove. I can stack a ton of pellets in my garage from my driveway in 20 minutes. I can stack a chord of wood in 2 to 3 hours, then have to bring it into my outside porch, then handle it again to bring it into my stove, with a lot of mess in between. Handling 40 lbs of pellets in a bag is a lot easier than handling 40 lbs of loose chord wood. With that said, it is nice to know I could chop up furniture to heat the house, but then again, not sure I would want to live in a world where that would be required.
 
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Ask this question in the wood stove section. I see a lot of misconceptions about wood heating here from happy pellet burners.

For me, pellet stoves are super noisy and make all kinds of racket. Cost way more to burn, cost way more to maintain. My house woodstove burns 24 hours between reloads but reloading is not as simple as dumping in a new bag. You pay for that convenience with money and noise.

I have a pellet bbq. That’s fun I guess.

Yeah I knew that I was going to get pro pellet comments lol but it seems they have come a long way and have some serious advantages. Any kind of noise is a major turn off for me. So the basement room where I am installing whatever appliance I choose next is a room I spend a lot of time in. It has a pretty large work bench on one side and a entertainment system on the other. I got very concerned when I saw some people having a "whistling sound" coming from their Blaze King Princesses. Some people said it was enough to be annoying and others said it was too faint to care about.

I think I have decided to avoid a catalytic converter for my situation. I am still looking at various Drolet's, the England Stove Works Englander 32-NC and now the Pacific Energy Aldeara T5. The PE has been mentioned several times and it seems like people agree that they have slightly longer burn times that other secondary air stoves. I am still considering the Englander 32-NC because of the overall good feedback, price point and another advantage for me is that the opens from the right side which would make it slightly easier to load from my indoor rack. As I said before not a major factor to consider but it might be considering I will probably be loading this stove for many years.
 
Good luck on whatever you choose.
I grew up splitting and stacking wood for our wood stove at home growing up.
I bought a house many years ago, and dealt with keeping the fireplace going as the house has ceiling heat. $$$
Our first pellet stove was a bit small for what we needed.
I bought a Harman P52i and have not looked back. It is like owning a Jeep; they love their maintenance, but when they run good it's a top notch experience.
It also keeps Ms. Jelly warm. My .02

IMG_20231101_180258399.jpg
 
i have both a wood stove (BK Ashford 30) and a pellet (Enviro Empress) here is my take:

They are both easy to use. About the same burn times between the two until it needs a refeed of pellets/logs or clean the ashes.
Woodstove is by far cheaper since i have my own wood and pellets around me are $375/ton.
The woodstove provides alot more heat.
Maintenance is similar on each.

I suppose if you pay for cord wood then it would be close to a wash.
 
i have both a wood stove (BK Ashford 30) and a pellet (Enviro Empress) here is my take:

They are both easy to use. About the same burn times between the two until it needs a refeed of pellets/logs or clean the ashes.
Woodstove is by far cheaper since i have my own wood and pellets around me are $375/ton.
The woodstove provides alot more heat.
Maintenance is similar on each.

I suppose if you pay for cord wood then it would be close to a wash.
Thanks this is sort of what I was hoping to find, people that have dealt with both or have both in their home and can offer advice. Because whatever I select will be my only appliance, at least that is for the near future. My home is about 1,500 square feet and this old faulty stove we have now has always done a pretty great job of heating the whole downstairs and upstairs. My only gripe if I had one would be that burn times with it are non existent. The Ashford and Princess were the two stoves I was looking at but found out with my setup a catalytic stove may cause me issues. So I have been looking into a secondary air stove.
 
I heat my house with both wood and pellets. The pellet stove is in my family
room 400 sq ft of poorly sealed under-insulated built-in 1936 frame construction.
The stove keeps that room warm and the rest of my log home (1860) during the spring and fall.
The main house is heated by a wood furnace. Woodcut off my 220-acre bush lot and the
fence lines of the farm. I use 3 tons of pellets and 4 cords of wood. We had a wood stove
where the pellet stove is but found when we got up in the morning that that room was ice-cold
with the pellet stove, the room is always warm so that you don't have to run around getting a fire
going first thing What we have and how we use it works for us. You will have to decide for
yourself what you want and how to use it. We are older now and really enjoy the convenience
of the pellet stove. Note I do have a backup propane furnace ( for insurance purposes) Have
not bought propane in 3 years tanks sitting at 60 % right now
 
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Dunno if it's been mentioned, but how well is your house insulated? A pellet stove will cost a fortune to heat a house with poor insulation.
 
I've used both over the years. Have to say the convenience of a pellet stove with a thermostat (Harman 52i) wins for my situation hands-down. It is set to automatically drop the temp overnight, warm up for when we wake up, then drop again while we are away for the day and be warm for when we get home. Only need to fill once a day and scrape the burn pot. Empty ash about once every 2 weeks, and a mid season clean. When I'm away, easy for the Mrs to deal with as well.
 
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Dunno if it's been mentioned, but how well is your house insulated? A pellet stove will cost a fortune to heat a house with poor insulation.
Agreed. I have a ~100 year old house that has had some updates but that is usually where we have problems.
 
currently there are 4 pellet stoves i am aware of that require no electricity to run. one is the wiseway from US stove ( I do not care for the company though having dealt with one of their other products in the past.) the next is Gap 2020 from independent stoves ( this was the originator of the wise way, Liberator rocket stove ( Ohio mfg wood or pellet), Whitney from stove mountain stove works, variation on the wise way unit. There might be more. Only downside I see on these is the venting which puts you back about where you are now as far as the liberator or gap units. i am not sure of the flue requirements for the wiseway or whitney units. One thing about the conventional pellet stoves is the forced air venting as noted in a previous post- lot less cost in that area vs a wood stove.
I run a 30NC Englander( previous model of the 32) it heats my well insulated 2200 sq ft ranch in WI all by it"s self 98% of the time. ( we get cold snaps that can be as bad as some parts of Alaska- then it needs a bit of help from the propane unit- when the thermometer reads -31F in the garage it is a bit nippy out) I have an old PDV englander pellet unit which will go in basement as I work down there 4 days out of 7. 50 or so degs is a bit to cool for me and also raises problems with critical demensions when machining items. ( thermal expansion).
 
Pellet bags weigh 40 pounds, so you'll have to factor that into your decision.

Pellet stoves need to be thoroughly cleaned on the inside approximately once per week to maintain efficiency. That includes shutting the stove down and brushing/scraping out all the ash from inside the stove down into the ash pan. If you don't have the desire to set aside 15-20 minutes every week (depending on how much you burn) to maintain your stove, or the desire to pay someone else to do it, then it's probably not a good purchase.

I love my pellet stove, and it saves me a ton of time, and provides excellent reliable heat, but it's not for everyone.
 
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I had never used pellets stoves until I bought a house about 4 years ago that heated with 2 of them. Both of them (like the rest of the house) were in disrepair.

There was learning curve the first winter about how to keep them clean and functioning at their best. Since then I have had very little issues, and any that I have had were easy to diagnose/fix.

Wood heat feels great and can be fairly cheap if you have access to cut your own. If you don't have access, or don't want to do the cut/split/stack labor, then a pellet stove can be great.

Pros:
1. Easy to install and maintain.
2. Pellets in my area are less than most other heating options
3. Since they have fans they can help the heat be more even
4. Easier to maintain a specific temp since they can be thermostat controlled.
5. Safer in general. Less chance of fire and the stove (except the front) stays cool.

Cons:
1. While maintenance is easy, you have to do it. 95% of issues with them not burning well have to do with them not being kept clean.
2. You have to buy and tote 40lb bags of pellets around. I use about 3-4 tons a winter to run my 2 stoves in northern Indiana. I can usually get decent pellets for $225-250 a ton.
3. Have to have a place to store the pellets if you buy in bulk.
4. Take electricity to run and have some blower noise