A pellet stove can provide a cozy heat setting for wood-burning stove lovers.
A traditional fireplace will give your house an ethereal look whereas modern designs will be ideal for more stylish houses. You can get all types of pellet stoves with different heating efficiency and heat levels at a variety of price ranges.
In this article, you will find everything you need to know about pellet stoves and the benefits of pellet stoves, this pellet stove buying guide. So, buckle up and learn everything about this heating source in just one article.
- What is a Pellet Stove?
- Our Top Pick
- What To Look For
- Other Considerations
- Make Sure It Will Work in Your Space
- Sizing Considerations
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- What Are Your Heating Needs- Occasional or Heavy use?
- Ceiling Height
- Types of Pellet Stoves
- By Ignition
- Auto-ignition pellet stove
- Manual ignition pellet stoves
- Wood pellet stoves
- Top-feed Stoves
- Bottom-feed Stoves
- The 5 Best Pellet Stoves
- Our Top Pick
- Video overview
- Most Efficient
- Video overview
- For Largest Coverage
- Video overview
- For Small Spaces
- Video overview
- Most Innovative Design
- Video overview
- How Long do The Wood Pellets Last?
- How Energy Efficient is a Pellet Stove?
- Does a Pellet Stove Need Electricity?
- Does a Pellet Stove Need Venting?
- How Exactly Does a Pellet Stove Vent?
- Are There Pellet Stoves That Have The Venting Built-in?
- How long do they last?
What is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet burner stove is a kind of wood-burning stove that uses wood pellet fuel or other such pellets made up of organic material instead of wood logs.
This type of stove provides a steady flame to your living space that requires little to no regular maintenance.
A pellet stove can be used in small residential houses, larger homes, and even in industrial places. This has such a wide variety of use because it is an easy and cheap way of indoor heating.
Therefore, many people use pellet stoves instead of traditional wood-burning stoves as a heating option for all types of homes, offices, and other places.
A pellet stove uses wood pellet fuel mostly, but there are tons of pellets in the market. Here are all the advantages of owning such a source of heat for your home, even works for mobile homes sometimes! Trust us; there are many advantages of modern pellet stoves.
- If used as supplementary heating, it is quite cost-effective as pounds of pellets remain almost constant at an affordable price.
- A pellet stove is very easy to use and maintain because the stoves keep getting smarter and smarter, using electronic control or remote control, and has no smoke as well.
- It has a very high burn efficiency as well as thermal efficiency compared to wood-burning stoves, almost more than 90% efficient in comparison.
- The fuel can burn for a long time in a pellet stove. The burn pots can keep on burning for a full day or even more than that.
- It uses forced ventilation which means there is no need for a chimney to help disperse the smoke. This gives more creative freedom for you to place all-size stoves. Read more about pellet stoves and chimneys here.
- The stove not only has an aesthetic design but is also designed to give clean-burning, making it environmentally friendly. Another reason it is good for the environment is that pellets are usually made up of recycled material.
- A wood pellet stove is also carbon-neutral as it uses wood shavings; this means that the amount of carbon used during the lifetime of the tree is equal to the carbon released during the burning of the pellets.
- The overall installation of a pellet stove is easy. It is the same as a wood stove but requires no chimney or vents for its combustion chamber.
Along with many advantages, these stoves also have some disadvantages. It is your job to compare the pros and cons and reach a decision of getting these efficient pellet stoves or not.
- Although you can work on it, these stoves usually have a less attractive design than other wood-burning stoves.
- It is overall easy to maintain while working but since it has so many complicated parts, it needs regular cleaning each week, like heat exchanger and all maintenance tasks done by professionals annually.
- The pellet bags are very heavy and need adequate space to store them all. The pellet capacity in a stove is a lot, too, and you need 4 full pellet bags to fill the stove.
- Since this type of stove uses tons of motorized parts, it makes a lot of noise while in action. Moreover, the ventilation system also makes noise, although more modern ones don’t have this issue.
- Unlike traditional wood-burning stoves, these stoves can’t function without electricity.
- The flames are not as large or majestic as other stoves as well.
- Installing even a budget pellet stove can cost a lot, and you need to have adequate money to purchase a powerful pellet stove that will fit all your needs.
Our Top Pick
What To Look For
Here are some things that you should look for when buying a stove with burn pots for pellets. A wood pellet stove requires pounds of pellets, and premium pellets are even better for heating capacity, so here are some things to look for before buying a stove.
- Pellet stove heating capacity (in BTU): The capacity of heating varies a lot in a pellet stove, but a good stove should have a capacity between 8,000 BTU to 90,000 BTU per hour. The most common ones have heat output between 40,000 BTU and 60,000 BTU per hour.
- Hopper size: Hopper capacity and hopper location are very important aspects of a pleasant hearth. A hopper is a place where you feed your pellets and is either located at the top or bottom of the heater. The usual hopper capacity can hold anywhere from 35 pounds to 130 pounds of pellets, the average being 55 pounds.
- Energy efficiency: One of the advantages of this stove is its energy efficiency. Because of the combustion efficiency, these are known as efficient pellet stoves. EPA-certified stoves have between 70% to 83% efficiency range for the burn pots.
- Reliability: With anything that you want to get installed, making sure it is reliable is important. The reliability of the material as well as the combustion chamber, exhaust pipes, and automatic ignition, are important things to keep in mind. Even the pellet stove insert needs to be reliable. Luckily, most of these stoves are reliable.
Of course, you have to be careful of hopper capacity and other such technical aspects of the stove, but there are other less technical things to consider as well. Here are some more things to keep in mind before deciding on the stove for a pleasant hearth.
Make Sure It Will Work in Your Space
Usually, a pellet stove works in all types of places inside a house. Since it has all the necessary safety features, this fireplace insert can be placed near any housewall as it can work with both outside and inside air.
However, make sure the stove that you choose will fit your place properly and will not be too big or too small to give the perfect heating. A powerful pellet stove can reach all corners of the house if you have a larger house. Nevertheless, it should be placed in an area that provides the most coverage for maximum heat.
Just like making sure that it works in your space, you have to make sure that it is of the right size. An efficient pellet stove will heat up the indoor spaces quickly, even if it is smaller in size.
The size of the pellet stove will determine the heating cost as well, but it mainly depends on the hours of heat you require each day. Many people use pellet stoves as a backup heat source and the usual wooden stove as the primary heat source. If you are using a pellet stove as a primary heat stove, it should also be bigger.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Just like most things, you can install a stove yourself if you have some experience and dedication. Moreover, it is easier to install a pellet stove in a way because it does not need a vent pipe, blower fans, or chimney.
There are even freestanding stoves that do not require installation, so most people DIY them. If you need your stove to look professional and well done, then a professional is the way to go. In addition to that, the job will be much easier for you. However, if you like to DIY, you can read blogs and watch YouTube videos that will help you; granted, most of them will be for freestanding stoves. This is because the others are harder so require more professional help.
What Are Your Heating Needs- Occasional or Heavy use?
This topic was touched upon in a previous section as well. The hours of heat required and whether or not the pellet stove will be used as the primary heat source are important factors to consider as well.
For constant use, you should install a pellet stove that has a more BTU rating and a bigger hopper for a higher feed rate to your combustion chamber for longer. This stove will burn for a long period of time. However, a pleasant hearth can also be obtained with a stove with a smaller hopper and BTU rate if it is for occasional use. The maintenance task for smaller ones will be easier as well.
Each heating device comes with the appropriate ceiling height it requires, so you need to check this requirement beforehand.
This is mainly for safety reasons, and the recommended height above the ceiling is 12″. Thankfully, this is not something you have to deal with if getting installed by a professional. This automatic ignition machine is not that dependent on ceiling height. However, before buying, you should know your ceiling height and discuss it with the seller to ensure there will be no problems when using any fuel source.
Types of Pellet Stoves
It’s certainly a unique type of fireplace. There are many types of wood stoves, and then there are many types of pellet stoves as well. Different types of stoves have different burn levels and operational modes available. Even thermal efficiency depends on it. So, let’s look at some different types of stoves that you can find.
According to ignition, there are different stoves. They all have one thing in common: an ignitor that lights the fire and determines the burn time. The burn chamber is the same as the other types of wood stoves. So, let’s look at more types of ignition stoves.
Auto-ignition pellet stove
An auto-ignition system is used by a simple stove that requires minimal interference. All you need to do is push a button, and it starts burning. However, it depends on electricity so that it will turn off on its own in case of a power outage. You can leave your stove to burn after igniting it and selecting appropriate thermal settings.
Manual ignition pellet stoves
This is more of a budget pellet stove as it is cheaper than the auto-ignition one. In this, you need matches and ignition gel to light the stove. You have to start the fire manually, but you have more control over the fire and fewer heating bills to pay. Moreover, unlike auto-ignition stoves, these require less maintenance of the parts.
Wood pellet stoves
This is the most common pellet stove used due to its thermal efficiency and ability to use softwood pellets that can be bought easily. There are two types of stoves in a wood pellet stove as well, which are listed below.
- Freestanding wood pellet stoves: As the name suggests, these can stand anywhere with appropriate floor protection. These come with their own exhaust pipe and in many different sizes, colors, and materials—a common option for people looking for a pellet stove.
- Pellet stove inserts/inset stoves: You can transform your old wood-burning hearth into a new modern pellet stove by just buying an insert. All you need is a professional to determine the size of the hearth so that you can find an appropriate stove that fits.
The name is pretty self-explanatory. These stoves have a hopper located at the top of the stove, so compatible pellets are loaded from the top. From the top, the pellets slide down to the heating chamber and into the fire. This design prevents the hopper from burning up but can also cause the ash to block the tube.
The opposite of top-feed stoves as they deliver the pellets horizontally into the fire. This design is mainly to prevent ash from clogging the pipe as the movement moves ash away from the burn area. However, these types of stoves are not as efficient as the other ones.
The 5 Best Pellet Stoves
Here are some suggestions by us about the pellet stoves that you might like. These are stoves that most people love, and hopefully, you find that you love among them as well.
Our Top Pick
- Size: 23.75 x 18.5 x 34 inches
- Weight: 186 pounds
- Material: Clean Ash Pot
- Heating: 1500 Square Feet
Castle Serenity Stove 12327 Wood Pellet with Smart Controller: Castle pellet stoves are known for their quality. This is one stove that is made up of alloy steel and can be smartly controlled.
- It has a lot of features to be run smartly
- It is made up of strong material so very reliable
- The weekly clean up is easy as no hidden chambers
- Has built-in thermostat (read more about pellet stove thermostats)
- The hopper is small so not many pellets can fit
- It makes loud noises due to the loud fans it has
- Does not have temperature based on and off control
- Size: 24 x 26 x 40 inches
- Weight: 283 pounds
- Heating: Up to 2,800 sq feet
The Comfortbilt HP22-N Pellet Stove: It has 50,000 BTU per hour, making it very efficient and powerful. It is an EPA-certified stove that also has a large viewing area for a more aesthetic feel.
- Reliable and strong design that is not flimsy at all
- It is very attractive and fits well in a house
- It is cheap for its performance
- Does not make noise while running
- The size of the hopper opening is very small
- The instructions can be a little hard to understand
- The stove shuts down before all the pellets are used up
For Largest Coverage
- Size: 22.8 x 24.5 x 36.5 inches
- Weight: 243 pounds
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Heating: Up to 2,500 sq feet
The Pelpro Pellet Stove: This is a pellet stove made up of alloy steel and has very extensive coverage. A high BTU of 50,000 can heat up to 2,500 square footage of a house.
- EPA certified for having clean-burning performance
- It is sturdy and looks great in a house
- Has great temperature control
- Has a big hopper so you can fill it with lots of pellets at once
- The parts need replacing after a while
- The customer service is not the best
- Cleaning small parts can be complicated
For Small Spaces
- Size: 23.75 x 34 x 18.25 inches
- Weight: 186 Pounds
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Heating: Up to 1,500 sq feet
The Castle Serenity Stove 12327: Another stove from this brand. Again, it is made from alloy steel and designed in a way that takes very little space. Perfect for small houses and cabins.
- It makes no noise while working
- A cheap pellet stove option
- Can burn both hard and soft pellets without trouble
- Very easy to temporarily clean
- The hopper size is small, so it needs to be refilled twice a day
- The opening of the hopper is very small, causing pellets to fall
- The controller is not very easy to use
Most Innovative Design
- Size: 33 x 22.2 x 25.8 inches
- Weight: 128.7 pounds
- Material: Cast Iron
- Heating: Up to 900 sq feet
The US Stove Company US GW1949 Wiseway Non-Electric Pellet Stove: It is made up of alloy stool and a design that is very unique. It has 40,000 BTUs to heat up around 2,000 square feet of a house and is also EPA certified.
- It looks cool in a house
- The stove does not arrive broken or damaged
- Very easy to assemble
- Very complicated to maintain
- The hopper easily fills with smoke
- Perfect to use with only softwood pellets
- Unlike the description can only heat up to 1,000 square feet of the house
Here are some questions that you might have before installing a pellet stove of your liking. Luckily, we answered all of them; all you need to do is scroll down and read them. Then you will be ready to have your house warmed for winter.
How Long do The Wood Pellets Last?
Wood pellets are very sensitive, and if there is little moisture, they get too wet to be useful. This is why they need to be stored inside the house.
If you store them properly, then the packages of wood pellets can last up to 6 months. For them to last this long, the humidity needs to be below 10%. If the environment is humid, the pellets get loose and can't start fire anymore. The answer to the question is, it depends on where you store them when not in use!
How Energy Efficient is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet stove is actually much more efficient than a wood-burning stove and other such burning stoves. People usually like pellet stoves for their efficiency.
A good and EPA-approved stove will be in the 70% to 83% efficiency range. It is the cleanliest solid fuel. This is something you should not worry about at all. Since they are so efficient, they can be used in huge homes as well as apartments and cabins.
Does a Pellet Stove Need Electricity?
Usually, yes, pellet stoves do require electricity to function. However, there are some exceptions, but they will not be as great as the electricity-run stove.
Don't worry though because the stoves’ electricity is very minimal, but it still can't function without electricity. Some more advanced stoves that are controller controlled or WiFi controlled will require more electricity than the traditional ones. So, make sure to remember this before deciding to switch to a pellet stove.
Does a Pellet Stove Need Venting?
As with most other stoves, there will be smoke from the fuel, which will need a proper way of venting or leaving the house. So, yes, pellet stoves do need venting.
The smoke is harmful, which includes exhaust gases, fine ash, and water vapor must be moved safely, so it must be vented outside the house using a suitable form, like internally within the home or externally up an outside wall. But, unlike traditional stoves, they don't need a chimney to vent air. The smoke can be vented out through a side wall alone. Most pellet stoves will come with a venting pipe, so you don't have to worry about it.
How Exactly Does a Pellet Stove Vent?
If you are curious, here are more details on how a stove vents. Since smoke can be so harmful to health, having carbon monoxide detectors is a wise choice to make. Anyways, here is how a pellet stove vents.
Basically, a pellet-burning stove can be vented vertically through the roof or horizontally through the wall to the outside. This needs to be done using a suitable form of a flue, which is usually a pipe that is given with the stove. Exhaust blower fans push the smoke out of the stove which is then pushed out of the house through the vents. A pretty simple technique!
Are There Pellet Stoves That Have The Venting Built-in?
People are curious about how the venting of pellet stoves work, so here is another question you might have.
These types of stoves are mostly built into existing hearths, so the vents are connected to factory-built fireplaces and chimneys. But a vent is usually not built inside the stove. There are many different types of venting options for the stove, like horizontal, vertical, or natural draft venting, but none have this venting feature built inside the stove. Simply, the answer is no, it is very difficult to find, if not impossible, a stove with vents inside.
How long do they last?
This is the last question that people may ask. Stoves usually last for a long time as they are expensive and are built to endure harsh winters.
Under normal usage with proper monthly and weekly care and maintenance, your pellet stove can last for 10 years or more. However, there are many factors that affect this. For example, a poorly made and cheap stove will not last for 10 years neither will a stove that no one took care of. Moreover, if you use the stove occasionally, it will last longer than using it almost every day. So, take care of the stove, and it will take care of you for a long time.
This is all that you need to know about pellet stoves before buying them. These types of stoves are environmentally friendly and can look great in a house, so definitely a great way to warm your house in winter and enjoy the fire!