With winter comes the age-old debate of how best to heat your home. While some people swear by the rustic charm of a wood-burning stove, others have opted for the convenience and cleanliness of pellet stoves. But when it comes to comparing these two heating options, the biggest question that arises is whether a ton of pellets is equal to a cord of wood. In this article, we delve into the details of these two fuel sources to help you make the right choice for your home heating needs.

1. Understanding the Differences between Pellets and Wood Cord

For those who are new to heating with biomass fuel, is essential. In this section, we’ll provide a brief overview of each fuel type to give you a better understanding of what they are, how they’re produced, and how they differ.


Pellets are made from compressed sawdust, shavings, and other wood waste materials. They’re created by using high pressure to compress the wood fibers, which causes the lignin in the wood to soften and form a natural binder that holds the pellets together.

One of the advantages of using pellets as a fuel source is that they burn more cleanly than wood cord. They produce minimal ash and emit low amounts of pollutants, making them an ideal choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact. Additionally, pellets are uniform in size and shape, making them easy to store and handle.

Wood Cord

Wood cord, on the other hand, refers to a measurement of firewood. A cord is a stack of wood that measures four feet wide by four feet high by eight feet long (128 cubic feet in total). The wood can be cut to different lengths, but the total volume must equal a cord.

One of the disadvantages of wood cord is that it can be difficult to control the temperature of a fire when using it. Depending on the type of wood being burned, it may produce more smoke and ash than pellets, and there’s a risk of creosote buildup in the chimney if it’s not cleaned regularly.

In conclusion, pellets and wood cord are two different biomass fuel sources that have unique characteristics and benefits. Understanding the differences between them can help you make an informed decision about which type of fuel is best suited for your heating needs.

2. How Does a Cord of Wood Compare to a Ton of Pellets?

When comparing a ton of pellets to a cord of wood, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. A cord of wood is a stack of cut and split firewood that measures 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet). Meanwhile, a ton of pellets is a measurement of weight, with one ton equaling 2,000 pounds.

As for heating capacity, a cord of wood typically contains around 20 million BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy, which is equivalent to the energy output of around 200 gallons of heating oil. On the other hand, a ton of pellets generally provides around 16 million BTUs, which is similar to the energy output of around 160 gallons of heating oil.

While a cord of wood may have a higher energy output than a ton of pellets, using pellets does come with some advantages. For one, pellets are typically more efficient than firewood, which means they produce less ash and waste. Additionally, pellets are more uniform in size, shape, and moisture content, which can make them easier to handle and store.

However, it’s worth noting that using pellets as your primary heating source also requires a pellet stove or furnace. These can be expensive to purchase initially, but can save you money in the long run by reducing your reliance on traditional heating methods.

In short, while a cord of wood and a ton of pellets may not be completely interchangeable, they both have their own benefits and drawbacks. When deciding which to use for your heating needs, consider factors like cost, efficiency, and convenience to determine the best choice for you.

3. The Pros and Cons of Using Pellets Over Wood Cord

Understanding the Differences

Many homeowners are considering using pellets instead of wood cord to heat their homes. While both options have their advantages and disadvantages, understanding these can help you make an informed decision.

Pros of Using Pellets

  1. Pellets are easier to store and handle than wood cord. They come in bags or can be bought in bulk and store easily in a shed or garage without the need for additional space or protection.
  2. Pellets have a higher efficiency than wood cord. They have a lower moisture content, which means they produce more heat and less ash.
  3. Pellets have a consistent quality compared to wood cord, which can vary in moisture and heat output, depending on the type of wood and how it is stored.
  4. Pellets are a more environmentally-friendly choice than wood cord. They emit less pollution and have a lower impact on the environment.

Cons of Using Pellets

  1. Pellets are more expensive than wood cord in terms of price per unit. They are also more expensive to purchase in bulk.
  2. Pellets require a specific type of stove or furnace that can burn pellets, which can be costly to install if you do not already have one.
  3. Pellets require electricity to run, which can be a disadvantage during power outages.
  4. Pellets need to be stored properly to prevent moisture buildup, which can cause them to deteriorate over time.

When deciding between pellets and wood cord, it’s important to consider your personal needs, budget, environmental concerns, and the availability of resources in your area. Conducting research on both options and calculating the costs can help you make the right decision for your heating needs.

4. Calculating the Cost of Heating Your Home with Pellets and Wood Cord

Is a Ton of Pellets Equal to a Cord of Wood?

Heating your home with either pellets or wood cord can be a cost-effective option, but which one is more affordable? The cost of heating your home will depend on several factors, such as fuel prices, heating system efficiency, and the size of your home.

To calculate the cost of heating your home with pellets, you first need to determine the amount of pellets required. A ton of pellets is equivalent to about 1.5 cords of wood. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical household will use 4-5 tons of pellets per heating season. If a ton of pellets costs $250, then the cost of heating your home with pellets would range from $1,000 to $1,250 per season.

For wood cord, the cost will depend on the type and quality of wood used. According to the National Firewood Association, a cord of hardwood can cost anywhere from $150 to $500, depending on the region and market conditions. For a typical household, a cord of wood would last about two months. If a cord costs $250, then the total cost for heating a home for a typical heating season would be around $1,500.

While the initial cost of pellets may be higher than wood cord, they have a higher combustion efficiency and produce less ash and smoke. This means that they are more environmentally friendly and require less maintenance. Ultimately, the choice between pellets and wood cord will depend on your individual preference, budget, and heating needs.

5. Which One is Better: A Ton of Pellets or a Cord of Wood?

Many homeowners who are looking for an alternative to traditional firewood often find themselves wondering which option is best for their needs. Both pellets and wood cords have their advantages and disadvantages, with factors such as price, convenience, and environmental impact all playing a role in the decision-making process.

1. Price Comparison

When it comes to price, pellets and wood cords both have their own unique advantages. While cords of wood tend to be cheaper in the long run, pellets are often easier to budget for since they can be purchased in predetermined amounts. Additionally, pellet prices have remained fairly stable over the years, while wood prices tend to fluctuate due to supply and demand.

2. Convenience Comparison

For homeowners who are looking for a convenient heating option, pellets tend to have the upper hand. They are easy to store, require minimal prep work, and can be loaded directly into stoves and furnaces without having to chop or split logs. Cords of wood, on the other hand, require more storage space, more prep work, and can be more challenging to load and maintain.

3. Environmental Comparison

For environmentally conscious homeowners, both pellets and cords of wood have their own set of pros and cons. While wood is considered a renewable resource, it requires significant amounts of carbon emissions during production and transportation. Pellets, on the other hand, are made from recycled materials such as sawdust and wood shavings, which makes them less environmentally harmful.

Ultimately, the decision to choose a ton of pellets over a cord of wood will depend on a homeowner’s individual needs and priorities. By carefully considering factors such as price, convenience, and environmental impact, homeowners can make an informed decision that will provide them with reliable and efficient heating for years to come.

6. How to Determine the Right Choice for Your Heating Needs

Determining the right choice for your heating needs can be a daunting task particularly if you are not familiar with the differences between pellets and cord of wood. However, choosing the right heating option will save you money in the long-run, reduce environmental impact, and enhance heating efficiency.

If you are looking for a hassle-free option that requires less maintenance, pellets are definitely the choice for you. These compressed pellets are made of sawdust, shavings, and other wood by-products that are compressed into small, cylindrical shapes that can be easily transported and stored. Unlike wood, pellets produce less ash, emit fewer toxic gasses, and burn more efficiently.

On the other hand, if you prefer a traditional heating option and have access to wood, cordwood is a better option. Unlike pellets that are manufactured, cordwood comes from the natural hardwood logs that have been stacked in a row of 8-feet long, 4-feet wide, and 4-feet high. Cordwood is an environmentally friendly option as it is a renewable source of energy.

To determine the right choice for your heating needs, consider factors such as availability, cost, environmental impact, and heating efficiency. If you live in a rural area with easy accessibility to wood, cordwood may be a good option for you. However, if you live in an urban area with limited storage space or prefer a convenient option that requires less work, pellets may be the way to go.

7. Improving Your Heating Efficiency with Pellets and Wood Cord

When it comes to heating your home, it’s important to not only choose the right fuel source but also to use it in the most efficient way possible. Here are some tips for :

1. Proper Storage

Storing your pellets and wood cord properly can make a big difference in their efficiency. Keep your pellets in a dry, cool place to prevent them from absorbing moisture, which can lower their heat output. Wood cord should also be stored in a dry area, preferably off the ground and away from any potential water damage.

2. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your heating equipment can help to improve its efficiency and lifespan. Pellet stoves and wood-burning stoves should be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can include cleaning the venting system, replacing gaskets, and ensuring that all parts are working properly.

3. Adjusting Temperature Settings

Adjusting the temperature settings of your heating equipment can also help to improve its efficiency. Pellet stoves are designed to be burned at a constant temperature, so avoid turning them on and off frequently. Wood-burning stoves can be adjusted by adding or removing wood as necessary to maintain a consistent heat output.

Using pellets or wood cord as a fuel source for heating your home has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether you choose to use pellets or wood cord depends on your personal preference, budget, and heating needs. By following these tips for improving your heating efficiency, you can make the most out of whichever option you choose.

People Also Ask

How many pellets are in a ton?

A ton of pellets usually contains about 50 full bags of pellets, with each bag weighing about 40 pounds. This means there are approximately 2000 pounds or 1 ton of pellets in one delivery.

How much does a cord of wood weigh?

A cord of wood is an amount that is traditionally measured as a stack of logs that is 4 feet high, 4 feet deep, and 8 feet long. The amount of weight can vary based on the type of wood, but a cord of oak, for example, weighs approximately 5,000 pounds.

Is there a difference in heat output between pellets and wood?

Pellets are generally considered to produce more heat than wood, pound for pound. This is because pellets are more dense than wood, and they are made from highly compressed sawdust and other wood wastes.

Can you compare the cost of pellets to the cost of wood?

The cost of using pellets versus wood can vary depending on many factors, such as the region you live in, the type of wood or pellets you are using, and the availability of these resources. However, generally speaking, pellets are often more expensive than wood on a per-ton basis, but they are more efficient to use so you may burn less fuel overall.

Can you burn pellets and wood together?

It is possible to burn pellets and wood together, but it is generally not recommended. This is because pellets and wood are designed to burn differently and at different temperatures, so combining them could create problems with combustion or damage to your stove or fireplace.


In conclusion, a ton of pellets is not equal to a cord of wood. The weight and volume of each resource are different, and utilizing pellets versus wood for heat require different things to consider. Pellets are more efficient and may produce more heat than wood, while wood is generally less expensive and more accessible. Consider which option makes more sense for your needs, budget, and resources before deciding on which one is the best option for you.