Manufacturers of pellets produce a standard or premium grade of fuel. There is an accredited program that is designed to help homeowners identify consistently reliable pellets from producers. A quality mark has been established by the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI) Standards Program. Pellet manufacturers that choose to participate in this program are subject to regular, unbiased third party inspecting and lab testing of their product by PFI. So, look for this PFI Graded Fuel quality mark from producers to ensure a high quality pellet. This, in turn, will lead to optimal stove performance. In fact, many stove manufacturers today require PFI Graded Fuel for their warranty to be valid. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if there are specific requirements for your model.
In terms of the type of wood that is used to make pellets, that’s not critical. Once the wood is compressed into pellets and the moisture has been reduced, different species of wood, have very similar BTU’s/pound. Look for moisture content between 4 – 8%. Always look for a pellet with low ash content. You do not want a pellet that has considerable binders, additives or bark added. This typically increases the amount of ash the fuel generates. Remember, look for the PFI Quality Mark.