Wood pellets are one of the most popular types of pellet fuels. Most of the time, they are made of compressed sawdust. Or industrial waste from the production of wooden furniture or other wood products. Sometimes, they are also gathered from the milling of lumber or tree branches discarded during the process of logging. Best wood pellets are small and cylindrical. These wood pellets are made after the process of compressing, and then later densifying these wood waste. Wood pellets are easy to store. They are fed to the burner to ignite fire and smoke. Wood pellets are one of the most popular types of pellet fuel in the present-day world.
What is pellet fuel?
Pellet fuel is one of the frequently used words in discussions regarding the environment. But what exactly is pellet fuel? Pellet fuels are biofuels that are made of biomass. Biomass is commonly understood as a compressed organic matter. Wood pellets are the extremely familiar type of pellet fuels. They are used for various purposes, but mostly for cooking.
Wood pellets are generally used for cooking. They are simply placed inside the smoker to produce heat and smoke for the food. Pellet smokers and stoves use these wood pellets. They are put inside the pellet smokers or grills. They produce enough smoke to cook the meat or any other food item. These wood pellets when burnt, give the meat a tender, smoky flavor. People often buy these pellet smokers or grills. It is to get this soft smoky flavor of wood pellets in their food. Wood pellets can only be used in stoves or smokers that are particularly designed for wood pellets. You cannot use them in electric smokers or any other grill.
Apart from pellet smokers or pellet grills, pellet stoves are also very popular. Pellet stoves are also concerned with cooking. They can be used in either residential or industrial areas. They are generally used for mass cooking. Wood pellets are the most efficient source of power for these stoves as they are renewable. They have an efficiency of up to 90%.
You can use these wood pellets to cook various food items on the pellet grills or stoves. The most popular thing to cook with these pellets is meat. If you are a vegetarian, then you can try to cook various other vegetables using these wood pellets.
Using wood pellets is no big deal. You can easily use them without any chaos. In a smoker or a grill, you just have to put a specific amount of wood pellet in the hopper of the smoker. From the smoker, the pellets are automatically fed. The temperature and the fire are also automated and controlled using a digital remote of pellet smokers. Wood pellets provide the best smoky flavor in comparison to electric smokers.
Other than cooking, wood pellets provide a lot of other functions as well. They are majorly used for cooking, but they also help in heating the houses. In cold weather, wood pellets help play a major role. They are preferred because they are more cost-efficient as compared to other fuels. They also provide more heat and are comparatively cleaner. These pellets are easier to store in your house as well.
Wood pellets are the most prominent alternative for coal. So, sometimes they are used in industries instead of coal. They produce less air pollution and are safer for the environment. Wood pellets are also cheaper than the coal used in industries.
Alternatives of wood pellets
Wood pellets are the best in the business. According to some researches, there are some alternatives to wood pellets. These alternatives can be in pellet stoves if wood pellets are not available. Some of them are:
Sugar beet pulp pellets
These choices are available, but still, wood pellets remain on the top. As no option can provide the smoky taste that wood pellets provide.
There are two types of wood pellets accessible in the market. One is made to produce heat only. While the other, called food-grade wood pellet is made for cooking. These food-grade wood pellets are made of entirely natural wood remains. This ensures the safety of our food from the wood pellets.
Anything that we cook on high flame, including the grill or the smoker, produces unhealthy food. Food cooked on high flames is not perfectly healthy for us. But the use of wood pellets reduces the risk to a percent. Wood pellets are not fully healthy either. But as compared to the charcoal or any other substance used, they are relatively better. On pellet smokers, meat is cooked on high flames. Due to the high flames, some harmful chemicals get trapped in the meat. These chemicals are not healthy for us. And when we use charcoal in these smokers or grills, it makes the food unhealthier. The use of wood pellets is also unhealthy for us. But it is less as compared to the use of charcoal while cooking.
Wood pellets are also preferred by people, because of their greater affordability. Wood pellets are very cost-efficient. These pellets are readily available because of their higher demand. Almost everyone can easily afford these pellets. They are cheaper in contrast to charcoal or other fuel. The budget is the major factor while choosing anything. The budget is not at all a problem in the case of wood pellets because of their cheap availability in large quantities. You get high quality of pellets at lesser costs. You can easily enjoy the tender smoky flavor these pellets. The price of these pellets sometimes fluctuates with the rise and fall in the supply of sawdust and other wood material.
Wood pellets are relatively cheaper. But to use them, you need to invest in the grills or stoves that are specifically made to use wood pellets. Since these smokers or stoves are specialized, they are a little expensive. These smokers are like an investment. They are highly durable and last longer. You just need to spend once, and you can use their advantage at cheaper costs throughout their life.
Wood pellets have a higher energy output. A bag of pellets weighing 40 pounds can easily last up to 24 hours in a pellet grill. Wood pellets are highly efficient. With new technology, advancement in pellet stoves has taken place. With advanced stoves, it helps in increasing the efficiency of the pellets. They can now get a 12% higher value in terms of efficiency.
Top manufacturers of the wood pellets
The manufacturing industry of wood pellets is growing rapidly. Some manufacturers remain the best in the business. Some of them are:
Factors to look for while buying best wood pellets
You need to keep some factors in mind while buying the wood pellets for cooking. You cannot buy just any wood pellets. A lot of companies manufacture wood pellets because of their increased demand. But not all the manufactured wood pellets are of good quality. Not only character but other factors are also essential that you need to know before buying wood pellets. Some of the major factors are listed below:
Size of the pellets: Size of the pellets is one of the major factors to keep in mind while buying wood pellets for your pellet stove. Pellets should be of precise size. Wood pellets should be of smaller size to burn efficiently. Generally, pellets are of 6 mm or 8 mm in diameter. The length of the pellets is around 4 times the diameter. This is the ideal size for the wood pellets. Almost all the pellet manufacturers manufacture wood pellets of this size. This causes the uniformity of the pellets. Smaller pellets are also easy to store.
Ash content: While buying for wood pellets, always check for their ash content. Lower ash content means, the amount of ash left after burning in proportion to the number of pellets burned. Perfect wood pellets have less ash content. The release of more ash content makes the stove less efficient. The lesser the ash residue of the wood pellets the better they are for the pellet stove. Wood pellets should have an ash content of below 0.7%.
Fewer fines amongst the pellets: The fine level available in the bag of wood pellets should be very low as well. Fine is of no use to us while using wood pellets. When fines are put into the stove, they tend to burn faster than wood pellets. It causes a lot of wastage of the source of energy. If there is more amount of fine in the bag, then it is a total waste for us. Wood pellets should contain fines of less than 1%. This is the only acceptable limit for fines amongst the wood pellets.
Moisture content: Another critical determinant to look for while purchasing wood pellets is their moisture content. Just like the ash content, the moisture content of the wood pellets should be low too. If the moisture range of the pellets is higher, then it will take you longer to ignite the pellets. This often increases the difficulties of people. Wood pellets with low moisture content are easier to ignite. The ideal range of moisture content for wood pellets is between 8% to 10%. We can also use pellets below this range. These pellets will burn faster. Always check the moisture content of pellets before buying them.
Durability: The durability of wood pellets is an essential factor. The durability defines how long can these pellets survive without crumbling. When we buy wood pellets, we usually buy them in bulk. After buying them in large quantities, we store them. While storing these pellets, pellets with lower endurance breaks. The breakage of pellets leads them to become fines. It causes wastage of the money spent on these wood pellets. Therefore, wood pellets must be highly durable.
Flavor: We prefer wood pellets because of their smoky taste which we get in our food.The principal aim of these pellets it to give a soft smoky flavor to the food. Fresh pellets accomplish this function very well. But some pellets do not provide the fresh, smoky flavor to the food. The main reason for this is their lack of freshness. Pellets need to provide a fresh smoky taste. Therefore, always check for the flavor and freshness of the wood pellets before buying them. The essence of the wood pellets can make or break the deal.
Reviews: Before buying wood pellets for yourself, always check the reviews. Reviews are very valuable to check before purchasing any product. The reviews of the wood pellets can help you know more about their features. You can get to know more about their flavor, heat, ash content, etc. from the users of that particular product. These reviews are simply found online. Not all the reviews are good, but all of them are true from the genuine users of the product. From the product reviews available online, you can know as much as possible concerning the chosen wood pellets.
Composition of the pellets: The composition of the wood pellets refers to the raw material like sawdust used to make the pellets. The wood pellets must be made of 100% hardwood. Pellets made of hardwood provides smooth and clean burning. The quality of the pellets automatically grows when they are manufactured using hardwood. Wood pellets made of hardwood are good for our health as compared to any softwood. Softwoods can seriously harm our health. Hardwood pellets also cause less air pollution. The heat created from these hardwood pellets is higher and provides more smoke.
Heat output: Wood pellets need to have higher heat output. The heat output of these wood pellets is measured in terms of BTU. Pellets need to have greater heat output to create more smoke. Extra smoke is an essential feature of wood pellets. The best wood pellets should have the BTU ranging between 8000-8500. If the heat output of the wood pellets is low, then the pellets would not burn well. To cook using wood pellets, it is important to have pellets of greater heat output.
No bark in the pellets: The wood pellets must be pure. There should be no bark, glue, cardboard, or other recycled material in them. The pellets with these materials heat slower. These pellets have more content in them. The ideal wood pellets are without these additives. Pellets without these substances burn faster and cleaner. They produce lesser ash residues.
Good for cooking or not: Some wood pellets are good for cooking while some are not. Before buying for these wood pellets, you have to make sure the purpose of these pellets. If you are buying the pellets for cooking, then buy the ones specifically for cooking. If the wood pellets are not for cooking, then it can cause serious harm to your health. Always check for this factor before purchasing wood pellets for your home.
What will you cook? Sometimes wood pellets are also food-specific. Some pellets are preferred to cook one type of food while others are preferred to cook another type of food. If you want to cook chicken, then you should go for the best wood pellets for chicken. These pellets will give a better, enhanced flavor to your chicken. If you want pellets to cook pizza, then you should opt for the best wood pellets for pizza. The pellets can be employed to cook a variety of food. But several food items are there, whose taste is enhanced using some wood pellets.
Availability of pellet stove or grill: The majority of wood pellets only work with pellet stoves or pellet grills. Before buying the wood pellets, make sure that you have these specialized machines to use them. Or else these pellets will be of no use to you.
Advantages of wood pellets
There are various benefits of wood pellets over any other source of energy of that kind. Some of them are stated below:
Wood pellets are renewable. This is their biggest advantage over conventional sources of energy or other fuels. They are composed of remains of wood or sawdust. Wood is generously accessible. They can easily be made and renewed over some time.
These pellets are highly economical. They are very cost-efficient when in comparison to other sources like charcoal or other fuels. Almost everyone can simply afford these wood pellets. The only investment they have to make is in the form of the stoves. These stoves are specialized to use wood pellets only.
These wood pellets, when burnt release a small quantity of ash residue. A small amount of ash residue reduces the mess. This minimizes the difficulty of cleaning after cooking.
Wood pellets are easy to store. Because of their small size, they can be carried and stored easily. No extra storage or carefulness is needed to store these pellets.
Pellets are eco-friendly as contrasted to the charcoal or other fuels. Firstly, they are a non-conventional source of energy. Secondly, they provide clean-burning. Clean burning leads to less air pollution.
Wood pellets provide higher heat. This helps in heating the stove faster.
These wood pellets provide a tender, smoky taste to the food. This smoky taste is one of the primary reasons why people prefer pellet grills.
Wood pellets are manufactured with the remains of wood furniture or sawdust. They are 100% natural. This means that there is no harmful chemical incorporated in these pellets.
Pellets are relatively safer than charcoal.
Difference between wood pellets and briquettes
Briquettes are block-like structures. They are made of compressed coal dust. They can also be created with flammable biomass materials. The material used to make briquettes is usually the same as the wood pellets. But the machines that make them are different. They are in the shape of bricks which is different from wood pellets. They are difficult to burn and produce less heat in comparison to the wood pellets. Because of their bigger size, their use is limited to large or medium devices or stoves only.
Wood pellets are small cylindrical structures. They are manufactured through the process of compressing sawdust or other wood remains. They are produced through the practice of pelleting. Whereas, briquettes are made by the process of briquetting. Wood pellets produce more heat than briquettes. Pellets are simple to burn and burn faster. Another difference between these two is that the size of the wood pellets is smaller. The smaller size makes it easier to store pellets. Because of their smaller size, they can be used in tiny stoves as well.
Difference between wood chips and wood pellets
Wood chips are small pieces of wood that are cut out unevenly. It is another common source of fuel used in cooking. They burn faster than wood pellets. Due to their fast burning, more wood chips are required while cooking. They are relatively cheaper than wood pellets but require a large number of chips than them. Wood chips can be used in any kind of smoker or grill. No specific grill is required for them. When burned, wood chips produce more ash residue and cause a mess. They also produce higher smoke, which is not good for the environment. Wood chips provide a sharp and bitter smoky taste to the food. Because of their demand, they are readily available in the market.
Wood pellets are available in small pieces of even shapes. They are made of compressed biomass or wood. They burn slower than the wood chips. Unlike wood chips, wood pellets call for specific stoves or grills. They can be used only in pellet grills or pellet smoker for cooking. They are better than wood chips in terms of ash residue as they produce fewer ash residues. Wood pellets are environment-friendly and sustainable. They provide a tender, smoky flavor to the food. Often, people prefer this soft flavor of the smoke over the strong flavor generated by wood chips.
Difference between charcoal and wood pellets
Wood pellets and charcoal both are used for cooking. They both provide their respective tastes to the food.
Charcoal is a fossil fuel and this makes them rare. Because of their conventional nature, they are expensive. Charcoal is easy to burn as compared to the wood pellets. It provides a quick and sears flavor to the food. Grilling using charcoal causes a lot of damage to the environment. It emits carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in the environment. Releasing these harmful gases causes harm to the environment. That is why people usually prefer wood pellets over charcoal.
Wood pellets are a non-conventional source of energy. They are composed of compressed sawdust. Their composition makes them a renewable source. Since they are made of wood remains, they are cheaper. Wood pellets provide a soft smoky flavor to the food. Grilling with wood pellets does not cause much harm to the environment. They are comparatively good for the environment.
Difference between charcoal grills and pellet grills
There are various things to look for while comparing charcoal grill and pellet grills. The charcoal grill needs monitoring continuously. Charcoal grills are not automatic. You need to constantly babysit the food in it. A charcoal grill is just like a traditional grill. You can cook a variety of food on these grills. But cooking on these grills is not an easy job to do. You also have to control the temperature in these grills manually. Charcoal grills have comparatively few features. Because of the fewer features, they are cheaper. People with less budget can easily afford these grills.
Pellet grills, on the other hand, are like an advancement of these traditional grills. There is no need to babysit your pellet grills. It comes with a digital controller. Temperature, cooking timer, smoke timer, on and off option, etc. is controlled with the controller with ease. You can easily cook anything on these grills without supervising it constantly. Pellet grills also come with a LED system. They have got a lot of other features over charcoal grills. Due to these features, pellet smokers are expensive than charcoal smokers.
The availability of wood pellets is high in the market because of the rapid rise in demand. We can get a wide range of pellets online. You can easily find the desired wood pellets amongst the whole variety online. Some of the top wood pellets online are listed below:
These wood pellets provide a light, fruity smoke flavor to the food that you will cook in your pellet stoves. You can quickly cook your chicken, seafood, fruits, and vegetables with these wood pellets.
Oklahoma joe’s applewood pellets are made of 100% natural hardwood.
These pellets are blended with oak. It provides a soft smoke flavor with the blend of a fruity taste to your food.
This wood pellet’s bag is 20 pounds.
These pellets give low ash content while burning. Ash content means the amount of ash remains in proportion to the number of pellets burned.
Applewood pellets are easy to burn, and they burn clean.
The packaging of these pellets keeps them dry and fresh. The packet makes the pellets ready to use.
You can mix these pellets with other flavored pellets to get your customized taste.
These Cameron’s smoking wood pellets burn fast and provide smoke quickly. They are used in all types of pellet smokers and stoves. These pellets are uniform and are of equal size. It is a set of 4 pints of different flavored smoking pellets.
This is a set of 4 pints of different wood pellets.
The four different flavors are applewood pellets, hickory wood pellets, cherry wood pellets, and mesquite wood pellets.
These are all-natural and pure wood pellets.
They are known to be the best wood pellets for smoking and grilling.
They are good for cooking meat, seafood, chicken, and vegetables.
These wood pellets produce smoke quickly. They leave less ash content after burning.
The product weighs around 3.12 pounds each.
These different pints of pellets provide different flavors with the tender smoky flavor.
You get these 4 different flavors in a limited budget.
This packet of Traeger Grills alder hardwood pellets is another best wood pellet from this brand. They are made of 100% natural hardwood.
These pellets also serve multiple purposes. They are used to bake, grill, roast, braise, smoke, and barbeque.
The packet measures 20 pounds.
These wood pellets provide the delicate smoky flavor of Alder.
They are made of 100% natural hardwood.
No binding agents or fillers are used to manufacture these pellets.
They are commonly used to smoke briskets. These pellets are the best wood pellets for smoking briskets.
These pellets facilitate easy burning and provide higher heat. With higher heat, more smoke is produced.
Lesser ash content is released while burning these Traeger wood pellets.
Wood pellets are one thing that can quickly make or break the quality of the food cooked in the pellet grills. You need to choose the wood pellets carefully. If you do not have a good quality of wood pellets then your food can taste really bad. Bad quality of pellets used to cook your food is not good for your health either. Many companies manufacture pellet woods. Most of them are cheaper and readily accessible. But cheap prices and easy availability does not always ensure the good quality of the pellets. You need to assure the good quality of these wood pellets before buying them.
Many manufactures produce good quality of wood pellets for various uses. They are mostly used for cooking. But some of them are also used to heat your homes. There are various best wood pellets for home heating that are available in the market as well. Now you know all about the best quality wood pellets. You have also learned about the different characters of these wood pellets. And the factors that you need to examine to make sure that you are buying good quality wood pellets. You can now comfortably buy the best wood pellets for your home and enjoy their smoky flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best pellets to use in a pellet grill?
Typical wood pellets to use in a pellet grill have to cross several barriers. They should have low moisture content and air content. These pellets should also have high heat output to generate extra heat and smoke. There are several wood pellets available in the market that fulfill all these criteria. You can simply get your desired wood pellets from the available broad range of pellets. Some of them are mentioned below:
CookinPellets Hickory Smoking Pellets
Traeger Grills Signature Blend Pellets
Cameron’s Smoking Wood BBQ Pellets
RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets
2.What are the best wood pellets for heating?
Wood pellets are used for multiple purposes. They are commonly used in cooking and warming homes. There are a lot of Best wood pellets available online. Some of them are listed below:
Lacerte Wood Pellets
Okanagan Douglas Fir Pellets
Vermont Wood Pellet
Are some Best wood pellets better than others?
Yes, some wood pellets are better than others in numerous ways. The composition of some pellets is distinct from another. This makes a huge difference in their quality. There are two types of wood pellets: hardwood and softwood. Hardwood pellets are considered better than softwood pellets. Some pellets also have less heat output and more ash and moisture content. These pellets are not the perfect pellets. The pellets that have less moisture content and ash content with high heat output are better and the preferred ones. While buying the wood pellets you need to choose them carefully because different wood pellets vary in terms of quality.
Can you leave pellets in the hopper?
No, you should not leave the pellets in the hopper. Clearing the hopper and storing the pellets in airtight boxes after every use is essential. Leaving the pellets inside the hopper can cause damage to the pellets. Once the pellets are in the hopper, there are chances that they will get in contact with moisture. Moisture ruins the wood pellets. Pellets can spoil because of getting in contact with the outside atmosphere. It will only cause trouble in burning them, resulting in wastage of these pellets. That is why it is important to empty the hopper of the stove after every use. You should keep the opened pellets in an airtight container away from any kind of moisture. An airtight container will prevent the wood pellets from rotting or absorbing more moisture.
Are hardwood pellets better than softwood?
Hardwood pellets and softwood pellets both are better in their ways. Softwood pellets of good quality have a higher output and produce less ash residue while burning. But hardwood pellets are often preferred over softwood pellets. It is because hardwood pellets cause less air pollution. They are better and healthier for cooking. High-density hardwood pellets burn for longer than softwood pellets. These are some of the reasons why people favor hardwood pellets over softwood pellets. You can examine your necessities and figure out which pellet do you want.
How long does a 15kg bag of wood pellet last?
The time for which the pellets lasts depends upon their usage. It also depends on the weather. Assume that you are using a bag of 15 kg pellets to heat an average home. Then the bag can last for around 4-5 days. When not using these pellets, you should keep them in a place away from any kind of moisture. Moisture can ruin your wood pellets, and then they will not burn.
While using for cooking, a bag of 15kg wood pellets can last for up to 25-30 hours. It can constantly burn and provide a large amount of smoke for 25-30 hours easily.
Are wood pellets toxic?
Yes, wood pellets are unhealthy for us. But they are relatively less unhealthy. Any kind of fuel is unhealthy for us. Be it charcoal or wood pellets. But wood pellets are less toxic when in comparison with the charcoal. Wood pellets emit carbon monoxide. This carbon monoxide gets trapped in our food. It can become unhealthy for us. Using these pellets in large amounts can become toxic for you and your health. This does not mean that you cannot use the wood pellets ever again. You can use these wood pellets occasionally. Always take precautions while using wood pellets.
Can you burn sawdust in a pellet stove?
No, you cannot burn sawdust in a pellet stove. Pellet stoves are strictly designed for wood pellets. You can only use wood pellets in pellet stoves. You cannot even use wood chips instead of wood pellets in these stoves. If you would do so, all you will get is a mess. Pellet stoves can only work with wood pellets. Using any other fuel can also cause serious damage to your pellet stove. You should not put sawdust or anything else in your stove. Always put wood pellets in the pellet stoves. Pellet stoves are specifically designed for wood pellets, and that is why they are called so.
Can you burn wood pellets in a corn stove?
Yes, you can burn wood pellets in a corn stove. Corn stoves allow you to burn wood pellets, corn, or a mixture of both of them. Several corn stoves in the market let you burn wood pellets in them. This is the biggest difference between pellet stoves and corn stoves. You can easily burn wood pellets in a corn stove. But you cannot use corn in a pellet stove. Pellet stoves are specifically designed to use wood pellets only.