Wood and pellet stoves are two alternative type of heating units that burn firewood and pellets (which are made out of compressed wood and other organic materials) respectively. Though both types of heaters make use of burning wood based products to heat your home, the slight material differences in their fuel and differences in their installation provide each type of stove with a distinct set of advantages and drawbacks. Understanding what each type of stove has to offer your home can help you pick the one that best fulfills your heating needs.
Wood Stove Heaters
Wood stove heaters make use of traditional firewood, made up of kindling and logs, but can also be used to burn any sort of scrap wood or organic materials. This means that you can effectively get fuel for free, if you have a lot of scrap wood or dead trees on your property. In addition, you can store firewood outside of your home, as long as you let it dry out before you burn it, which can help save you storage space.
However, wood stove heaters require a more extensive and expensive installation process, as they require a complete chimney to be put in to properly vent the heater. Furthermore, wood stoves require constant cleaning to remove ash and charcoal remnants, and the smoky residue from burning wood needs to be cleaned out of your chimney every year or so to reduce the risk of a fire occurring in the chimney (which can then spread to the rest of your home).
Pellet Stove Heaters
Pellet stove heaters, on the other hand, can make use of uninsulated vents and smaller chimneys than their wood stove counterparts. This makes the installation process much easier and reduces costs, and also means that you can place a pellet stove in an area that would otherwise be unable to fit a standard wood burning stove. Further, pellet stoves allow you to moderate your home's temperature to a much greater degree, as they are controlled by a thermostat despite still burning wood based products to produce heat.
However, pellet stoves do come with the disadvantage that they can only burn pellets as a fuel source, which can drive up long run usage costs. Further, pellets that become wet or are exposed to the elements will not burn cleanly or as efficiently, which can lead to heating problems, which means that they require indoor storage space. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact that pellet stoves require electricity to operate, which makes them useless in the event of a power outage.