What is the Difference between Wood Pellets and Corn Pellets?


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Electric, gas and oil are the traditional methods to heat the house, while they are very expensive. Now the alternative sources such as wood and corn pellets are emerging. These alternative sources of fuel are both environmental friendly and renewable. In the battle of fuel sources, each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages.

      The word corn or maize suggests different visions. Food is the first use that comes to mind, while it is an important source for heating as well. Corn pellets are one of the most efficient, cost-effective and popular ways to heat a house. These small, light grayish brown pellets resemble rabbit food after the corn is processed. Wood pellets are most commonly made from sawdust and wood chips, which are waste materials from trees used to make furniture, lumber and other products. Both the wood pellets and corn pellets can be used as fuel to heat the house. However, there exists several differences between them.

1. Feature

Wood pellets are small pellets that are made of compressed wood. This wood by-product is pressurized and palletized for sale. Wood pellets are environmentally-friendly.

Corn pellets, on the other hand, are shelled and compressed corn seed. Corn pellet is a renewable and abundant resource that can be burned to produce significant heat.

2. Availability

      The availability of both corn pellets and wood pellets depends on the location. Wood pellets are made of sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, waste paper and other organic materials. These wood pellets are most readily available in the northeast and northwest of United States.

      Corn pellets, obviously, are most readily available in areas where corn is grown, primarily in Midwest. Therefore, corn pellets are inexpensive and easy to obtain in Midwest. But in areas where corn would have to be brought in, such as New England states, the cost may be much higher. And of course, price depends mainly on the crop that year and will be likely vary from year to year. When choosing between corn and wood pellets, their availability in your area of the country should be considered.

3. Function

      Wood pellets are burned in pellet stoves. The wood pellets are placed in the hopper of the wood stove. An auger, or corkscrew shaped device, controls the amount of wood pellets that being placed into the burning chamber. This determines the amount of heat produced.

Corn pellets can be burned in a corn stove or a multi-fuel stove. A corn stove works in the same way except that corn pellets are used to produce the heat. Multi-fuel stoves have the ability to burn corn pellets as well as wood pellets.

4. Storage

      Wood pellets must be transported and stored in dry condition. They are usually sold in plastic bags. It is not wise to leave the bags exposed outdoor, or even in an indoor damp environment. Water and dampness will affect the performance of wood pellets, so dry garage, shed, basement or storage room is preferred.

      The storage of corn pellets, as opposed to wood pellets, can be problematic. Storing the corn pellets can be a hassle unless you have a spare garage, a silo or another large area. The corn pellets may attract insects, rats and other rodents if they are stored in an open area for a long period of time. So they should be stored in an airtight plastic or metal container to prevent these problems.

The Benefits of Wood Pellets and Corn Pellets

The top benefit of burning corn or wood pellets is that they are renewable sources. Their economic benefits make each a popular heating source. Burning either source in a pellet stove requires no chimney.

Low cost is one of the biggest benefits of using corn pellets, depending on where you live. Corn pellets are clean burning, making them eco-friendly. One additional plus is that corn pellets will give off a sweet, delectable aroma from the smoke billowing outside home. Wood pellets have their own positive traits. Wood is much more widely available as raw material. And wood pellets are even better than corn pellets as a fuel source due to the almost entire combustion, leaving behind only a small amount of ash.


      Although we get the same amount of heat from corn pellets as from wood pellets and the cost may be less, corn pellets do have some drawbacks. There is more ash left after burning. Besides, the stove for corn pellets requires more maintenance because of clinkers, which are formed when the sugars in corn are burned and cooled, producing a substance that is very hard and will not burn up. Some special stoves are designed to automatically clear the clinkers, while others must be cleared regularly by hands.

Wood pellets and corn Pellets are natural and renewable energy sources that provide an efficient, reliable and affordable way to heat your home. When choosing between corn pellets and wood pellets, the above comparisons should be taken into consideration.

Customer comments

  1. By John Diggins on

    Great article