Pellet stoves beat out traditional wood stoves in initial price, efficiency and safety, but wood pellet fuel generally costs more than regular firewood, and many people do not find pellet stoves aesthetically pleasing. Wood pellet heating is generally less costly than oil, propane or electric heating.
Pellet stoves are easy to use once installed. Many high-quality pellet stoves run automatically, in sync with a standard thermostat. Pellet stoves also store large amounts of fuel for up to 65 hours of unattended burning. However, wood pellet bags are heavy and hard to handle compared to oil and natural gas connections. Wood pellets are also more expensive than unprocessed wood, except in some large urban areas.
Wood pellet stoves also require electricity to run the automatic hopper that feeds them. Some pellet stoves run on battery backups, however even these only last about eight hours. Traditional wood stoves require no extra power.
Pellet stoves burn very efficiently and only require a small vent as opposed to the large chimney required by traditional wood stoves. This makes pellet stoves less expensive to install, though receiving repairs later may be a problem due to a lack of trained service people. Pellet stoves emit far less greenhouse gases than traditional wood stoves. Pellet stoves are generally safer than traditional wood stoves due to the lack of open sparks or creosote deposits.