Wood burning stoves provide the ability to burn all sorts of firewood in your home, including kindling and logs, cleanly and efficiently.
Pellets are small and compact pieces of fuel that can be made from wood, and are typically bought to fill the hopper of a pellet stove.
Pellets can simply be wood but compacted together into a small space, so can you burn pellets in a wood stove?
Pellets should not be burnt in a wood stove. Due to their density, pellets typically burn much hotter compared to traditional logs and can cause permanent damage to a stove if used. Pellets should only be burnt in a pellet stove.
However, there can be options for burning pellets in a wood stove, such as using a pellet basket.
We’ve explained in more detail below why pellets shouldn’t be burnt in a wood stove and what you should be burning in your stove instead, but also discussed how an item such as a pellet basket can be used to potentially burn pellets in a stove.
Can You Burn Pellets In A Wood Stove?
Pellets shouldn’t be burnt in a wood stove.
Pellets are small, compacted bits of material, and are usually made from wood derivatives but may also be made from other organic materials.
The main issue with using pellets in a wood stove is that pellets can burn much hotter compared to logs because of how compacted together they are.
Wood burning stoves are only designed to burn firewood, which can be in the form of kindling or logs. Wood stoves have not been designed to deal with the increased temperatures generated by burning wood pellets.
We have a number of stoves in the family and we only ever burn properly seasoned or kiln dried logs.
When you can remove any wet wood from your firewood supply you’ll be able to have more successful and hotter fires, without the need to resort to other types of fuel such as pellets.
We’ve shown exactly what’s inside a wood burning stove here, but the inside of a stove firebox is lined with fireproof materials designed to cope with the heat of a traditional wood fire.
The potential for increased temperatures generated from burning highly compacted and dense pieces of wood in the form of pellets may cause permanent damage to the key components of a stove, including this fireproof lining, the baffle plate or even the main body of a stove.
While it can be fine to add a number of logs to a wood stove at any one time, adding a large number of pellets to a stove may lead to over firing where temperatures reach higher than what is designed for.
Pellets need to be fed to a fire slowly and in small quantities.
In order for pellets to be burnt in a stove they would need to be continuously hand fed to the fire with the door open.
The door on a wood stove should always remain closed once a fire has got going to ensure that all of the air going into a stove can be controlled using the air vent(s).
Pellets For Pellet Stoves
Pellets should only be burnt in pellet stoves.
A pellet stove is a form of stove that is specifically designed to use pellets as fuel.
A pellets stove is able to handle the increased temperatures generated by pellets by:
- Storing pellets within a hopper located on the stove.
- Releasing the pellets into the stove slowly and in small quantities.
Unlike wood burning stoves, pellets stoves are both mechanical and electrical appliances. They automatically add pellets to the fire as and when required.
This means that temperatures from burning pellets are more easily controlled when using a dedicated pellet stove.
You can read more about pellet stoves here.
What Should Be Burnt In Wood Stoves
Wood burning stoves are designed to burn traditional logs and not pellets.
Even though pellets can burn hotter, generate more heat and produce fewer emissions compared to logs, if you’re burning the correct quality of firewood you can still have continuously successful and hot stove fires.
It’s important to ensure that any firewood that you’re burning is sufficiently low in moisture content.
The moisture level of firewood should be below 20% when being used in a wood stove. Firewood becomes progressively harder to burn as it gets wetter.
At 20% moisture content or below, firewood is much more likely to catch fire without any issues, burn more cleanly, burn hotter and produce less smoke.
You can use a moisture meter to check the moisture level of your firewood before it’s used.
Properly seasoned or kiln dried firewood will typically be dry enough to burn, but it’s always worth checking with a moisture meter before it’s burnt just to be sure.
A moisture meter is an essential tool for any wood stove. It helps to remove wet firewood from your stack of firewood to be burnt, which in turn will help to reduce issues with your fires such as struggling fires or smoke being produced.
You can view our recommended moisture meters here.
A wood stove fire should be built up using smaller bits of firewood and only move to larger logs once temperatures have increased.
For more information read our complete guide to using a wood burning stove (without the use of pellets).
Pellet baskets can be solution for burning pellets in your wood stoves.
A pellet basket can be inserted into your stove and holds the pellets inside.
Pellet baskets are designed to keep the pellets away from the sides and base of the stove to help reduce the damage potentially caused by the increased temperatures from burning pellets.
We haven’t used a pellet basket in our own stoves and so we can’t comment on it’s effectiveness but you can find the range of pellet baskets available here.
Pellets shouldn’t be burnt in any wood burning stoves.
The compactness and the denseness of pellets may cause damage to a stove due increased temperatures beyond what a woods stove was designed for.
Pellets should only be used with a pellet stove. Pellets stoves have a hopper in which pellets are stored, and the pellets are automatically released into the fire as and when required to control temperatures.
A pellet basket may be a solution for burning pellets within wood stoves.