Understanding the differences between hardwood vs softwood pellets will help you determine which type is best for your home or business and how it can be used most efficiently.
Both softwood and hardwood pellets are made from small pieces of trees that cannot be used as lumber or firewood. They can also be repurposed as biofuel instead by grinding the wood into small pieces so that it burns easily and efficiently with less ash than a whole log would produce.
Though hardwood and softwood pellets both are used for heating purposes, they have different properties and uses. And based on these properties, you can find the better one among them.
Hardwood vs Softwood pellets.
Softwood pellets are often made from pine, fir, spruce, or hemlock trees. They are a great option if you need a low-temperature fuel source, and they have a very low ash content. This makes clean-up easy, and you won’t need to replace your filter as often—if at all. Softwood pellets have a lower heat value than hardwood pellets.
This means they burn more slowly and are best for low-temperature systems that need to be controlled, low-level heat. However, they have a higher density than hardwood pellets, which means they can be used more efficiently in a low-temperature system.
Hardwood pellets are often made from oak, walnut, or hickory trees. They are denser than softwood pellets, which means they can be used efficiently in a high-temperature system.
If you need to produce a large amount of heat quickly or have a high-temperature system, then hardwood pellets are the right choice for you. They are also cost-efficient, so you can save money on fuel and maintenance.
Quality affecting factors.
The cost of softwood pellets is much less than hardwood pellets. As hardwood pellets are superior in quality, they are more expensive than softwood pellets.
The hardwood pellets have a lower BTU output which means softwood pellets burn hotter than hardwood. This is because softwood pellets burn faster than hardwood pellets.
Speed of burning.
Depending upon the type of wood used, both hardwood pellets and softwood pellets burn differently. Harwood pellets burn slowly and are hotter than softwood pellets.
In both types of pellets, the more they are closer to 0% of moisture or humidity, the better they burn.
The hardwood pellets burn slowly and produce denser ash as compared to softwood pellets. On the other hand, softwood pellets burn faster and produce lighter ashes.
Along with hardwood and softwood pellets, another term commonly used is low-ash wood pellet. Let’s take a look that what it is used for.
Which one to choose?
Pellet fuels are a more sustainable and efficient way to heat your home or business. They can be used in low-temperature and high-temperature systems and can be made from softwood or hardwood trees, depending on your needs. Both hardwood and softwood pellets have the same densities, but the difference lies between them in the BTU value. softwood has more British Thermal Unit (BTU) output.
To choose the better pellets among hardwood and softwood pellets, you have to consider the following factors
Your fuel budget will highly affect your choice. Since hardwood pellets are more costly than softwood pellets. If you have less to spend, you must go for softwood pellets.
Type of stove.
Generally, most of the stoves work on both softwood and hardwood pellets. Therefore, you must check the efficiency of your stove and its adaptability to work on the type of pellet before it.
What are Low-ash wood pellets?
The ash content of wood pellets can vary based on the type of tree used to create them. Some types of wood have higher ash content than others, which means they emit more ash and have a shorter lifespan. Softwood and hardwood pellets can be intermixed in the same firebox, but if you burn low ash pellets, you won’t have to clean out your equipment as often.
Low-ash wood pellets have a longer lifespan and produce less ash than other types. They are an excellent choice if you want to reduce your clean-up frequency and extend the life of your fuel source. Low-ash wood pellets are best for low-temperature systems that don’t need a lot of heat.
Can you mix hardwood and softwood pellets?
The short answer is yes, but it depends on the pellet type. Softwood and hardwood pellets can be intermixed in the same firebox, but the difference lies in their heating properties and overall efficiency. Softwood pellets are better suited for low-temperature systems that only need to produce a small amount of heat.
Their lower heat value means they burn more slowly, which is good for systems that need to be controlled, with low-level heat. Because softwood pellets are less dense than hardwood pellets, they can be used more efficiently in a low-temperature system due to their quicker burn time.