Soft wood & hard wood

Mainly using Softwood & Hard Wood using in Pellets

The softwood vs. hardwood question is a great place to start when choosing wood pellets.

Making the right choice here, can go a long way in setting you up for effective heating, affordable prices, and minimal stove maintenance.

However, there are additional factors that influence pellet quality.

1. Softwood pellets burn hotter Softwood pellets produce more heat, meaning they have a higher Gross Calorific Value (GCV) output. This is counter-intuitive for anyone who is used to burning standard (non-pellet) wood, since hardwood always burns hotter in standard cord-wood form.

There’s a couple reasons for this total turnaround, when it comes to pellets. First, in natural wood, the primary reason that hardwood burns hotter, is that it can be found in a higher density.

Since pellets are produced using industrial compression, the density of hardwood and softwood pellets becomes nearly the same.

That levels the playing field, and then there are two qualities of softwood, that elevate it above hardwood when it comes to pellet heat production.

Softwood tends to have a lower moisture content than hardwood. As you can imagine, the less water contained in something, the better it will burn.

But for our purposes, it’s more important to note that hardened resin is quite flammable. In fact, hardened tree resin has been used historically as incense, and some people still burn tree resin as incense to this day.

2. Softwood pellets burn cleaner

Largely due to the differences in resin and moisture levels, softwood pellets also tend to produce less ash than hardwood pellets.

There are a number of benefits to a cleaner burn.

The cleaner the burn, the more efficient the wood. Think of it this way, the less ash produced, the higher the percentage of wood that is burned (and producing heat).

Plus, stove maintenance is an important consideration. A lower ash content, means a cleaner stove and chimney, and less cleaning required.

Last but not least, a cleaner burn produces less emissions, and is more environmentally friendly.

3. Softwood pellets have a stronger bind

We mentioned the tree resin above. One of the benefits of having more tree resin, is a stronger bind of the wood pellets.

Resin is sticky, and helps the compressed wood material stick together during production.

So when they are manufactured, softwood pellets hold together a little better than hardwood pellets.

As a result, softwood pellets are less likely to crumble and flake.

4. Hardwood pellets are cheaper

Pretty straight forward.

If you’re buying pellets, you can save money by buying hardwood pellets.

This is one reason it’s important to understand the differences between types of pellets. If you find an incredible price on pellets, most of the time they will be hardwood-based.

Hardwood pellets are a great option for people in mild climates, or for supplemental heat in Spring or Fall.

Though hardwood pellets don’t burn as hot, they are still an effective heat source.

If you want to optimize your approach, then experiment with a balance of both softwood and hardwood pellets. You can alternate based on season, temperature, etc.

5. Hardwood pellets may have more availability

One of the great things about wood pellets (for the sustainability-minded), is that they are often produced using by-products.

For example, pellets are made from leftover wood scraps from construction projects.

As with any product or commodity on the market, supply and demand fluctuate over time.

Characteristic is depend on geographic location, but hardwood is more accessible.