You want to buy wood pellets. But how do you know which pellets are of good quality?
That is what I wondered when I wanted to buy pellets for the first time for our brand new pellet stove. Once you start searching, you will see terms such as DINplus, ENplus, other certificates and labels. But to be honest I couldn’t get it
right. Even test purchases could not give me much clarity.
This article is an attempt to prevent similar panic moments in others. Once you have read this, you should know exactly what you are looking for, and why.
The best pellet smoker you can have at the moment is ENplus A1, and all pellets you buy should actually have that label. Forget DINplus, it is no more than a marketing term at the moment, with few real quality guarantees.
What? Did you expect more? Don’t you hate having to read an entire article to find out the answer at the end? 🙂
But if you want to know more what determines the quality of pellets, or what it actually matters, or what other labels you may come across, then certainly read on. At the end we even talk about how you can manually test the quality of pellets.
Why quality and not just price
The price of your bag of pellets will always be enormously important, nobody likes to spend more money than necessary. But before you quickly find the cheapest supplier, consider what your pellet stove has cost. And what a hassle it is to have a repairman come by if something goes wrong.
At least as important as the price of your pellets is the lifetime of your pellet stove. And that is precisely why you should pay attention to the quality of the wood pellets that you purchase.
Issues such as the amount of ash that remains after incineration, or the amount of moisture in the pellets, or what residues are released during incineration, have a strong impact on your stove.
Quality labels can also refer to the origin of the wood. For example, if you think it is important that the wood is extracted locally and the pellets are produced locally, you can make conscious choices here. Just like whether the wood can come from full trees, or only from wood waste. Maybe not equally important for everyone, but for many (myself included) it is.
A few things that are viewed to determine quality:
- temperature during the entire life cycle: according to ENPlus, the pellets may not be transported or stored in a place that is warmer than 40 degrees
- robustness: when manipulating and carrying bags of pellets, a few pellets will always crumble apart and produce extra dust, this should not happen too much
- density: the weight of a certain volume of wood pellets must be above a certain value. If not, it means that the wood in the pellets is not pressed together enough, which in turn will provide dust and sawdust faster
- presence of additional substances: there may only be a very limited amount of zinc, nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, etc.
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