What Do Pellet Stoves Burn?

If you're trying to make an effort to heat your home in an environmental and cost-efficient way, pellet stoves seem to be the way. Though, when you're using a new type of stove, there's a bit of a learning curve. You'll have to learn what materials you can burn in them. With pellet stoves, the price of pellets might be proving to be too costly. So, what other alternatives can we burn? 

There are a few fuel options available for pellet stoves. You can use corn as a pellet stove fuel. Other than that, you can also burn cherry pits, hulled wheat, grass pellets, and waste paper pellets on your pellet stove. Proceed with caution when you're burning corn on a pellet stove. If you're planning to use corn, you'll need a 50-50 mixture of corn and pellets to ensure it burns efficiently. 

There are still more details to cover. While corn can be an option to consider, is it as good as using wood pellets? What happens if we use 100% corn instead of a 50-50 mix? These are some of the concerns that we'll cover further in the article. If you'd like to learn this and more, keep reading ahead.

burning wood chip pellets a renewable source, What Do Pellet Stoves Burn?

What Kind of Corn Do You Use in a Pellet Stove?

Shelled corn works the best as a pellet stove fuel because it burns cleanly. Another excellent reason for using shelled corn as a pellet stove fuel is that it produces around 8,000 BTU/lb heat which is somewhat equal to the wood pellets efficiency rating.

Do Corn or Wood Pellets Burn Hotter?

Corn does burn hotter than wood pellets. It makes corn a desirable wood pellet substitute because you get more heat per volume versus some other materials.

Can You Mix Pellet and Corn?

During emergencies such as a shortage of wood pellets, many people wonder if they can mix wood pellets with corn. Well, the simple answer is yes, you can do that.

However, if you combine both of these fuels because you read that mixing pellets and corn produces more heat, you should not. Because in reality, mixing wood pellets and corn does not offer better heat efficiency, nor does it make the pellets burn for longer.

Still, it's the preferred way to burn corn in a pellet stove. The reason is that corn will contain sugar that turns into sticky ash. Others commonly refer to it as clinkers. They will build up because a pellet stove doesn't have a spiked augur to agitate it. 

All-in-all, it can result in serious damages to the interior of your stove. A 50-50 mix ensures you don't build up too much of this sticky ash. Regardless, you'll want to clean out the clinkers to prevent this situation from happening. 

Will Deer Corn Burn?

Technically, you can burn any grade of corn. But, higher quality, clean, and dry corn will give you the best results. As some suggest, feed corn like the deer variation is usually high grade. So, it's possible to burn deer corn. Still, it's best to seek advice from the manufacturer to avoid burning something the stove can't. 

How Much Does Shelled Corn Cost, and Is It Cheaper Than Pellets?

Shelled corn works as a cleaner fuel for pellets but is it as cheap as wood pellets? For comparison, currently, 56 lbs or a bushel of shelled corn costs $5.6825.

On the other hand, the price of wood pellets depends on the quality and type of the wood pellets themselves. On average, a bag of 40 lbs wood pellet costs around $4 to $9.

In conclusion, shelled corn is cheaper than wood pellets.

Can You Burn Corn in Every Pellet Stove?

burning wood chip pellets a renewable source

You'll have to consult the manufacturer on what you can do with your pellet stove. Some will allow you to burn a 50-50 mix of corn and pellets. Other stove manufacturers won't allow it because pellet stoves are not designed to burn corn. 

How Much Does a Pellet Stove Burn in a Day?

The number of pellets a stove burns in a day depends on many factors, such as the size of the furnace, hourly usage, etc. However, on average, a pellet stove burns around 1.67 lbs pellet per hour. Using this value to calculate the per-day usage, we can estimate that a pellet stove burns around 40lbs of pellets per day.

How Long Will a 40-lb Bag of Pellets Burn?

As stated earlier, a pellet stove burns 1.67 lbs pellets per hour. So, according to that number, it would take 24 hours or a day to burn a 40 lbs bag of pellets.

Do Pellet Stoves Burn Hotter Than Wood Stoves?

Wood stove heating with in foreground wood pellets - economical heating system concept

No, pellet stoves do not burn hotter than wood stoves. Yes, a specific pellet stove might have a higher heat output than a particular wood stove model. But, overall, wood stoves tend to produce more heat than pellet stoves.

For comparison, generally, most pellet stoves have a rating of around 50,000 BTU. Meanwhile, wood stoves have an efficiency rating of over 100,000 BTU.

Can You Burn Wood in a Pellet Stove in an Emergency?

You can use wood pellets on a wood stove. However, the opposite is not possible. You can not burn wood on a pellet stove. A pellet stove can only burn handmade pellets or unique fuel composite. Even in case of emergency, avoid burning wood or wood scraps in a pellet stove.

Do Cherry Pits Burn Hotter Than Wood Pellets?

Cherry pits are considered an excellent alternative for wood pellets. However, the question remains the same, do cherry pits burn hotter than wood pellets? The answer is yes.

Pound per pound, the cherry pits offer a higher BTU output than wood pellets. Most wood pellets have an 8000 BTU/lb rating. On the other hand, dried cherry pits offer a 9500 BTU/lb heat output.

What’s the Difference Between a Pellet Stove and a Corn Stove?

To an untrained eye, a pellet stove and a corn stove might look the same. But both of these different types of stoves have some differences. The main factor separating a pellet stove from a corn stove is the type of fuel both stoves use. 

For instance, most corn stoves can efficiently burn wood pellets, corn, or a mixture of the two. However, we cannot say the same about pellet stoves. Yes, a majority of pellet stoves do burn corn, but this varies from brand to brand.

Another reason that makes corn stoves superior to pellet stoves is the ash content. Corn stoves produce way less ash than a pellet stove. However, this is due to the fuel and not the furnace itself. In other words, wood pellets are prone to produce more ashes. So, if you burn corn on a pellet stove, you will notice a reduction in ash production.

Spiked Agitator

What makes corn stoves more capable of burning other types of material is the spiked agitator component. This part is the reason why pellet stoves can't burn corn efficiently. In a corn stove, a spiked agitator is in charge of crushing and spreading out the clinkers that corn will produce. 

Does Corn Burn Faster Than Wood Pellets?

As some suggest, wood pellets burn faster than corn. As wood pellets have only 6% moisture content, they are drier than corn (which has 12% moisture content) and have a faster burning rate. Though, corn will burn longer than pellets. 

Difference Between Wood Pellets and Corn

Wood burning pellets, close-up of several wood burning pellets with a stack of wood burning pellets in the background.


Wood pellets are made of compressed wood and are one of the most used fuels in home heating. This type of wood pellet is environmentally friendly and holds the appearance of rabbit food.

On the other hand, corn is shelled and made of compressed seeds of corn. Corn offers a significant amount of heat, but it is also renewable and abundant in nature. This abundance means the price of corn is also low.


Wood pellets are used as fuel for pellet stoves. The wood pellets are fed in the wood pellet stove's hopper. A corkscrew or auger shared device controls the number of wood pellets placed in the burning chamber at any given time. And the amount of wood pellet determines the heat output.

A corn stove is a similar device and works similarly. The only difference is that it uses corn pellets instead of wood pellets for producing heat.


The availability of corn pellets and wood pellets is one of the most significant factors when buying a heating stove. Corn pellets are more abundant in the midwest. Meanwhile, wood pellets are more readily available in the northwest and northeast United States.

Generally, a home of around 2000-square feet uses 2 to 3 tons of corn pellets per season. So, if you live in an area where corn pellets or wood pellets are not available, buying the fuel can be expensive. Even though corn pellets are cheap, the added shipping cost can make the purchase more expensive.

Final Takeaway

burning wood chip pellets a renewable source, What Do Pellet Stoves Burn?

Looking for cheaper substitutes can be a worthwhile cause. As we've found out, you can burn corn on a pellet stove. However, perform daily inspections of your stove for clunkers to avoid any serious damages in the future. We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, are you thinking about alternative ways to increase the temperature in your home? Are you wondering how efficient an electric fireplace can be? If you'd like to learn more Does An Electric Fireplace Give Off Heat?

Are you also wondering how well radiant heating performs? You can learn more by checking out our post Does Radiant Heat Warm The Air? Until next time!

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