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Wood vs. Pellet Fireplaces & Stoves

Many of today’s stoves and fireplace inserts are engineered to burn biomass – fuel derived from renewable and sustainable sources such as wood, pellets, corn and other alternatives. Stoves and fireplace inserts that run on wood or pellet fuel are both
economically and environmentally sound choices for your home.

There are a number of factors that will contribute to your decision about which is right for you, such as:

  • Geographic location – wood may be plentiful in certain parts of the country whereas pellets may be more easily accessible in others
  • Desired level of participation – for some, chopping wood may be a desired activity, for others, the convenience of filling a pellet hopper may be preferable.

The Benefits of Biomass

Environmentally-Friendly Fuel


  • Wood-burning stoves and inserts manufactured after 1992 are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as clean burning
  • Wood is a renewable source of energy, grows locally and is abundant in most areas
  • Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, replenishing the atmosphere
  • Most firewood comes from harvesting dead trees and, unlike fossil fuels, no net carbon is contributed when burning wood (as those same gases are given off when the tree decomposes in nature)


  • Pellet fuel is clean-burning and a renewable source of energy
  • Pellets are made of compressed sawdust that might otherwise end up in landfills
  • When burned, they generate minimal wood smoke and are the lowest emission solid-fuel burning products available, making them a popular choice an areas with air quality issues

Cost Effectiveness


  • Many people have access to their own firewood at no cost
  • Even when purchased, cordwood can be an inexpensive form of residential space heating
  • With new technology, wood stoves can heat the entire house, providing the home is well-constructed and adequately insulated

  • Pellet stoves burn a renewable fuel
  • Heating bills won’t fluctuate due to energy cost since you can lock in an entire year of fuel costs by purchasing the pellets before the beginning of the heating season
  • Once installed, they are very easy to maintain at low cost

Energy Efficiency


  • New technologies have doubled the energy efficiency of stoves since the early 1990s
  • The amount of smoke emitted by wood stoves has been reduced by an average of 70 percent since the early 1990s


  • Pellet stoves are equipped with technology to better control the fuel-to-air ratio within the stove and ensures almost complete combustion of the fuel
  • An automated feed system delivers pellets into a burn chamber where combustion air is forced through the fire creating a small, efficient furnace directing a maximum amount of heat into the room instead of through the venting
  • A single load of pellets in the automated feed system can burn 24 hours