Pelletburners hero default

Pellet burners pros and cons

Pellet burners have some real advantages – if you can source pellets at a reasonable price.

Join us now for instant access

Join more than 100,000 members today and you’ll get:

  • Independent info
  • Thousands of test results and research you can trust
  • Everything in one easy place
  • Expert support a phone call away if things go wrong


Compared to sources such as firewood, there are a limited number of wood pellet suppliers in New Zealand. Check there is a manufacturer near you before investing in a wood pellet burner. If you have access to cheap firewood it’s probably best to go with a log burner.

Advantages

  • They're easier to use than a conventional woodburner.
  • No need to chop or store firewood.
  • Most models light electrically – no need for matches or firelighters.
  • Some models can be thermostatically controlled or switched on or off using a timer.
  • They usually have a smaller diameter flue than woodburners, which may make installation easier. The flue can also be taken out horizontally through an external wall.
  • They burn very cleanly, so are less of a community health hazard.
  • The pellets are made from sawmill waste – an abundant renewable resource. So burning them is carbon-neutral.
  • Pellets can be ordered by phone or online.

Not so good

  • They're expensive. The price of buying and installing is similar to that for a heat pump or a gas fireplace (but more expensive than for a conventional woodburner). Prices start at around $3000 (plus about $450-$600 for a single-story flue). Then there are installation costs (allow another $600-$900).
  • Only pellets can be burned – so you can't take advantage of any free firewood.
  • Electricity is required for them to work, so they're no use during a power cut. A 12-volt battery and inverter or a small generator could be used as a back-up, but that adds to the cost.
  • They're more complex than a woodburner, with electrical and electronic components that can fail.
  • They can be noisy because they have fans and a hopper-feed motor. Some models can have the flue fan mounted outside the house to reduce noise.
  • Some energy is lost in manufacturing and transporting the pellets.
  • Pellet costs are high in some areas. There are a limited number of suppliers so check there is one near you before investing in a pellet burner.

The future of pellets

In the past few years pellet burners have enjoyed a reasonable uptake, but the market remains small compared to other heating options. The limited number of wood pellet suppliers (often only one per town or city) means that if a pellet manufacturer in your area goes bust, pellets could become prohibitively expensive. We recommend you ensure there is a well-established pellet supplier near you before investing in a pellet burner.

15aug ravelli monica default

More on pellet burners

Find out how pellet burners work, what to consider if you're thinking of buying one, and compare models in our database.

Find out more

17aug powerswitch promo default

Could you be saving on power?

Consumer Powerswitch lets you check if you could save money on electricity and gas. Just enter your details into the calculator to find the cheapest energy deals.

Compare power prices

×

Password reset.

Thanks for requesting to reset your password. We've sent you an email with instructions on what you need to do. If you haven't received the email within the next five minutes please call us on 0800 266 786.

Thanks

We just need to verify that this email address belongs to you. Please check your inbox. There should be a message from us where you can verify and activate your account.