Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove: How to Choose

Torn between pellet stoves versus wood stoves for the heart of your home? Don’t get left in the cold. Forge & Flame is here to help you pick the perfect match.

Whether it's the crackle of the wood or the hum of the pellets, the right stove can set the mood for your entire home (or cabin!). We will discuss aesthetics, heat output and maintenance to help you choose the right stove for heating your home. 


Learn about the 2024 Wood Stove Tax Credit and how it can save you money on a new heating stove.

Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove: The Basics

When choosing how to stay warm, wood and pellet stoves each have their distinctive features. Wood stoves are basic heaters that work with natural airflow. You put in firewood, control the air intake for burning and clean out ashes. They give you that authentic crackle and radiant warmth but need your attention to keep the fire right. 

On the other hand, pellet stoves use compressed wood pellets, offering a cleaner burn with a high-tech twist. This is not burning pellets in a wood stove, it is a unique heating option.

Pellet stoves work by automatically feeding pellets from a hopper to a burn pot, efficiently maintaining a constant temperature with minimal effort. If you lean towards convenience and ease of use, pellet stoves are a superb choice. For those who enjoy a more hands-on and rustic experience, wood stoves offer timeless appeal.

Heat Output

Both pellet and wood stoves have their advantages when it comes to heating your home. Heat output from pellet stoves typically ranges from 8,000 to 90,000 BTUs per hour. Pellet stoves are efficient, with a 70-83% efficiency rate. They can heat small cabins or large living areas well because of the quality of pellets used. 

On the other hand, wood stoves can range from 6,000 to 100,000 BTUs. Their effectiveness depends on the size and type of stove, the moisture content of the wood, and the efficiency, which can vary significantly from model to model.

Aesthetics and Experience

Wood and pellet stoves offer unique visual and sensory experiences, drawing attention in any room with their flickering flames.

Wood stoves exude a classic, rustic charm that transforms any space into a warm, inviting retreat. The crackle and pop of the logs fill the room with the comforting sounds of a natural wood fire. Conversely, pellet stoves offer a contemporary edge with a more minimalist look and consistent flame, characteristic of pellet heating. Their more streamlined operation and clean aesthetics appeal to those who value simplicity, modern design and warmth in their living spaces.

When considering the aesthetics and functional design of heating solutions, it's important to explore not just standalone stoves but also the pellet insert vs. wood insert options. 

Pellet inserts are notable for their adaptability; vented through an existing chimney, integrating seamlessly into the current aesthetic of a home. If a chimney is not available, you can also equip them with a twin-wall flue system. This alternative allows for installation flexibility and contributes to a more modern appearance.

Wood inserts, conversely, generally require an existing chimney for venting due to the higher temperatures of flue gasses they emit. This limits their installation options but maintains the traditional aesthetic. 

Installation and Maintenance

When you install a wood or pellet stove, be sure to do it in accordance with the installation instructions. This will ensure that the stove is safe and functions properly. 

Both wood and pellet stoves require a hearth pad, venting to the outside and precise placement to avoid combustibles. Pellet stoves also require access to electricity. Our network of hearth dealers are professional installers and can ensure the safety and proper operation of either unit.

As for maintenance, both stoves need regular ash disposal and glass cleaning. If your wood stove utilizes a chimney, creosote accumulation must be cleaned. Additionally, door gaskets should be checked regularly. In contrast, pellet stoves need frequent cleaning of the hopper and auger to ensure a smooth flow of pellets and prevent combustion.


When it comes to picking a stove, safety should always be a priority. Both wood and pellet stoves are safe when properly maintained and operated. Install correctly, clean regularly, remove combustibles and keep wood stove door closed to prevent accidents and ensure safety.


Pellet stoves and inserts tend to have a higher upfront cost, while wood stoves and wood inserts can be more budget-friendly. The installation costs for both types vary between $1,500 to $5,000 based on the complexity of the setup. Typically the chimney will cost quite a bit more for a wood stove than a pellet stove. 

Regarding fuel costs and potential savings, annual spending on heating wood pellets can range from $500 to $760, while those opting for wood might spend between $150 and $1,500 on firewood each year. Both options are energy-efficient, often reaching up to 90% efficiency, which translates to lower ongoing heating costs. Pellet stoves enhance these savings by also reducing electricity expenses, as their automated feeding systems and fans require minimal electrical power compared to a furnace or heat pump.

Many regions offer incentives for installing high-efficiency wood and pellet stoves, enhancing long-term savings and making both pellet and wood stoves economically attractive despite their initial cost differences.

5 years ago I announced the moto/wood shop project.  I put a rendering on my story and talked about how great it would be.  6 months later I broke ground,  It has taken a long time to get it to this point, A: because I only believe in paying cash (the shop comes last), and B: I like to do/build things myself (help from fam & friends always welcome) but I dont hire anyone.  The way I see it if shit hits the fan the people who are handy stand a better chance at ruling and I am 2nd in like to no man.  Anyway,

Explore all Forge & Flame stoves to elevate the ambiance in your home and bring warmth to your space.

Pros and Cons: Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves offer a high-efficiency heating option that blends automated convenience with wood pellet heat. They are generally more expensive initially and rely on electricity, which can be problematic during power outages. However, pellet stoves efficiently convert wood pellets into heat, providing a cleaner, more sustainable heating option than a traditional furnace.

Automated features on these stoves make them low-maintenance and convenient. They are ideal for people who want consistent heat without the need to constantly tend to a wood stove. These features shape the decision-making process for homeowners who are evaluating pellet stoves as a viable heating solution.


  • High Efficiency: Pellet stoves offer excellent energy conversion rates, reducing fuel use while increasing heat output, which enhances home comfort cost-effectively.
  • Ease of Use: Features like auto-ignition and thermostatic controls make pellet stoves user-friendly, streamlining operation for a seamless heating experience.
  • Sustainable: Using renewable wood pellet heating, pellet stoves promote environmental sustainability by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering carbon footprints.
  • Consistent Heat: Automated systems in pellet stoves ensure a stable and even heat distribution, maintaining consistent home temperatures during cold periods.
  • Less Soot and Ash: Pellet stoves burn cleanly, significantly reducing residue, which translates to less time cleaning your stove and a fresher home.


  • Upfront Costs: Although pellet stoves have higher initial costs, the efficiency and fuel savings can offset these expenses over time.
  • Electricity Dependent: Dependency on electricity is mitigated by using battery backup options, ensuring continuous operation during power outages.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance is crucial and enhances the stove’s efficiency and extends its lifespan, protecting your investment.
QDF 5700 Step Top wood-burning stove in rustic living room

Check out our wood stove buying guide to find the perfect zone heating solution for your home.

Pros and Cons: Wood-Burning Stoves

Wood-burning stoves are a classic choice for home heating, offering a cozy, nostalgic ambiance that many homeowners appreciate. They are often more cost effective upfront than pellet stoves and use wood, a fuel source readily available in many areas. The natural heat generated is potent and can warm a home efficiently. Wood stoves need more attention and upkeep than a pellt stove, which may not be ideal for those seeking a simpler option. 


  • Ambiance: Wood stoves provide a traditional, comforting glow and the soothing sound of crackling wood, adding a rustic charm to any room.
  • No Electricity Required: These stoves operate completely off-grid, making them reliable during power outages and appealing for more remote or rustic settings.
  • Fuel Availability: For those in wooded areas, firewood can be inexpensive or even free, presenting a substantial cost advantage.
  • Heat Output: Wood stoves are capable of producing a significant amount of heat, capable of warming large spaces effectively.
  • Durability: Built to last, many wood stoves are robust and can provide years of reliable service with proper maintenance.


  • Lower Efficiency: Compared to pellet stoves, wood stove efficiency has a lower rating. However, newer models are improving on this, making them more competitive.
  • More Effort for Fire Management: They require manual feeding and tending of the fire, which can be an added bonus for those who enjoy a more hands-on approach to their home’s warmth.
  • Clean-Up and Maintenance: Regular cleaning is necessary to manage ash and prevent creosote buildup, which ensures the stove’s safe operation. You can view this routine as an opportunity to inspect and appreciate the appliance's longevity.

Forge and Flame Heating Stoves Transform Home Comfort

Whether you lean towards the traditional charm of wood stoves or the modern convenience of pellet stoves, each offers unique benefits that cater to different lifestyles and preferences. Both stoves provide a cozy warmth and can be a more environmentally friendly choice compared to conventional heating methods. As you consider upgrading or installing a new stove, remember to also explore the benefits of the biomass stove tax credit which can offer significant savings. 

Ready to make your home warmer and more inviting? Explore our extensive selection of wood and pellet stoves and learn how you can benefit from biomass stove tax credits today.

Back to blog