Wood, Pellet or Gas Stoves: Comparing Options for Your Home

Are you interested in installing a new heating stove in your home but don’t know which kind to select? Your main options are stoves powered by pellets, wood or gas. 

Adding a new stove to your home or upgrading your current one is an exciting project to take on. However, it’s important to understand the key differences between a gas, pellet or wood stove so you can select the option that’s best for your home. 

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Overview of Different Stove Types

There are three main types of stoves: gas, wood and pellet stoves. Each can infuse a home with a cozy ambiance and work as a practical heat source for the colder months. The main difference is the fuel type they run on. Plus, they each have unique characteristics and features that typically draw homeowners to one over the others, as we’ll discuss in further detail below.

Fuel Type and Availability

The choice of fuel impacts the practicality of each stove type. For instance, certain fuel sources are more available than others, more affordable and easier to store. Thus, factors like how much you’d like to spend to keep your stove running and the type of storage space available in your home can influence your decision between a gas stove, pellet stove or wood stove. 

Additionally, the fuel type your stove runs on can impact its usability throughout the year. Only certain types of stoves can continue running even when there’s a power outage

Pellet Stove

Pellet stoves use compressed biomass or wood pellets, which can be easier to store and handle than traditional firewood. They often come in 40-pound bags, and you typically need hundreds of bags a year to heat your home. So, you’ll need to figure out how to store wood pellets if you install this type of stove. Pellet stoves do require electricity, but it is possible to power them with a backup generator which could be a whole house system or a smaller version just for the stove. For some brands like Harman and Quadra-Fire you can also use an inverter with a deep cycle marine battery to run the stove in those outages

Wood Stove

Wood stoves run on the traditional chopped firewood, so the storage space needed to accommodate your reserves can be impractical for smaller spaces. You’ll need to consider how to get the best firewood, either on your own or through a local supplier. But, one of the top reasons to buy a wood stove is that it is not reliant on a power supply and can run independently even if the electricity is out. 

Gas Stove

Gas stoves run on either natural gas or propane. Thus, the ability to install a gas stove vs. a wood stove or pellet stove can be limited based on your home's existing infrastructure and the reliability of the gas supply. However, unlike pellet or wood stoves, this fuel type does not require any storage accommodations.

Man in a garage with a motorcycle, fueling his wood burning stove

Understand more about the ventilation differences between wood, gas and pellet stoves.

Installation and Ventilation Requirements

Proper installation is crucial for safety and energy efficiency with all three stove types, though they each have their own ventilation requirements. All three need direct ventilation to outside air to remove fumes and byproducts, so they’ll likely need to be placed near an exterior wall for easy access.

Where these stoves differ is how they are vented. A wood stove typically needs a Class A chimney and fresh air intake, ideally vented vertically. A pellet stove doesn’t require a fresh air intake, though this does make it run more efficiently. You have the option to vent it either horizontally or vertically. Gas stoves can also be vented in either direction and use direct vent technology that exclusively relies on outside air to fuel combustion. 


The financial commitment to purchase, install and maintain a wood stove, pellet stove or gas stove can vary. Consider the following costs to determine which stove is the right one for your budget: 

  • Purchase: The initial purchase price for each stove is comparable, typically costing a few thousand dollars to buy the appliance, depending on the exact style you select. 
  • Installation: Gas, wood and pellet stove costs for installation are also similar, costing another few thousand dollars. 
  • Fuel: If you can access your own free firewood source (e.g. chopping it yourself), a wood stove can be the cheapest option. This may change if you need to buy cords of wood locally. Otherwise, pellet fuel prices tend to be cheaper than propane but more expensive than natural gas, according to national averages compiled by the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI). 
  • Maintenance: Gas stoves typically require the least amount of maintenance, while the costs to upkeep a pellet stove can be more expensive based on the various mechanical components in the appliance. 

Heating Efficiency and Control

Each stove type differs in overall efficiency and temperature control capabilities. Understanding these differences is critical to maximizing home comfort and minimizing operating costs. We’ll now explore which stove offers the most precise temperature control and which generates heat with the highest efficiency: a gas stove, wood stove or pellet stove?

Discover how the right heating solution can reduce your heating bill.

Pellet Stove

Pellet stoves are efficient and offer precise temperature control. They are usually equipped with an electric control panel, remote control or are connected to a thermostat, making it easy for users to adjust the heat as desired and keep temperatures consistent. Keep in mind that pellet stove efficiency can vary depending on the quality of pellets being used. 

Wood Stove

When comparing a pellet or gas stove vs wood stove, wood is usually less efficient. There is room for variability based on the stove’s design, wood quality and operation. Make sure you know which wood burns best and how to season your firewood (i.e. remove water content from the logs) for the best efficiency, as this will maximize your fuel dollars. In addition, wood stove temperatures can be controlled by manually adjusting the appliance’s dampers or vents, though this isn’t as precise as with a gas or wood pellet stove.

Gas Stove

Gas stoves have similar efficiency levels to pellet stoves, based on data from PFI. However, the quality of natural gas and propane doesn’t fluctuate like pellets, making gas stoves more consistently efficient. Plus, these stoves are quick-heating and usually connected to a thermostat, so it’s easy and convenient to control the temperature with a gas stove. 

Environmental Impact

Gas stoves generally burn the cleanest compared to pellet or wood stoves; however, neither propane nor natural gas is a renewable energy source. In contrast, pellets are typically made from recycled wood byproducts like sawdust or wood chips, meaning they’re a renewable resource that helps to reduce waste.

Currently the biomass tax credit lasts until 2032, which encourages homeowners to install new wood-burning or pellet wood stoves or upgrade to more efficient models. This program rewards the environmentally friendly nature of using these stoves for heating.

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

Maintenance and Longevity

Another key difference when comparing a wood stove vs a gas stove vs a pellet stoves is the required maintenance and average lifespan of the appliance. As we compare the different stoves below, it’s important to note that proper upkeep does play a role in a stove’s longevity and long-term performance. 

Pellet Stove

Are pellet stoves worth it from a maintenance standpoint? Notably, they require regular maintenance due to their complex components, such as motors and augers. They can require a bit more work throughout the year compared to the other types of heating options.

Wood Stove

When comparing a pellet stove vs a wood stove for maintenance needs, upkeep for wood stoves is relatively straightforward. The main focus of wood stove maintenance is on chimney cleaning and ash removal, which isn’t too complicated or expensive. 

Gas Stove

Gas stoves have minimal maintenance needs and don’t require as frequent cleaning as the others. Regular inspections can ensure the integrity of the gas lines and check that the venting functions properly. 

Aesthetics and Comfort

The aesthetic appeal of each stove type can complement a person’s home decor and enhance the coziness of a space. There’s a certain comfort and ambiance that each stove type provides to living spaces, though each person will have to consider their preferences and aesthetic inspiration to determine which style suits their home best. 

Learn more about choosing the right wood to burn for maximum heat in your space.

Safety Considerations

With proper installation and maintenance, wood, gas and pellet stoves can all safely heat a home. Each of these stoves can get hot to the touch when in use—though more so with a wood or pellet stove. It’s important to keep furniture, pets and small children away from operating stoves to prevent accidents. Purchasing accessories like a fireplace screen or safety barrier can make your stove safer for your family. Be sure to explore safety features and accessory options as you consider which stove is right for you.

Deciding Which Stove Is Right for You

Each type of stove has advantages and drawbacks, and choosing between them largely depends on personal preference. Here are the main considerations to help you decide:

  • Assess Your Heating Needs: Each stove can be an effective heat source, though gas and pellet stoves offer more precise temperature control. 
  • Consider Installation and Maintenance: The cost to install each type of stove is comparable, though ongoing maintenance for a pellet stove might be greater. 
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Gas stoves tend to be the most convenient to use and maintain, while wood stoves require more work to source and store wood, and to operate. 

Find the Perfect Stove For Your Home From Forge & Flame

Regardless of your final decision, these stoves can all make an excellent addition to your home. Not only do they provide unmatched comfort and aesthetic appeal, but gas, wood and pellet stoves can heat your home better than alternative methods, leading to meaningful energy savings over the long term. 

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