Alaska pellet stoves burn environmentally friendly biomass fuel called pellets rather than the normal wood that wood-burning stoves use. Pellets are less expensive and easier to feed into stoves than wood. Pellet stoves burn with less smoke, gases and odors than wood stoves, and their exteriors remain relatively cool.
Traditional wood stoves burn wood fuel derived from the decimation of forests, whereas pellet stoves use discarded by-products of the forestry industry, such as wood shavings, sawdust and other residual forest waste, as well as waste paper, straw, nut shells and corn kernels. Converting waste biomass into pellets makes the fuel drier, more condensed, and easier to transport and store than traditional wood fuel. Pellet stoves are easier to operate than wood stoves because homeowners only need to feed pellets into stove hoppers every day or two, whereas the wood in wood stoves needs frequent replenishing.
Because pellets are so dry and condensed, they burn without smoke and with little odor and harmful by-products, such as residual gases, unlike wood stoves, which often leave a room full of strong-smelling smoke. Pellet stoves do not operate by radiating heat, so they are not hazardous to touch and pose a lower risk of fire. Using a forced air system, they distribute heat more efficiently than wood stoves.