Pellet Stoves Vs Propane Heaters – Which Is Right For You?

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Choosing between pellet stoves and propane heaters for your home heating needs is a decision that impacts not only your comfort but also your wallet and environmental footprint. You’re likely seeking a heating solution that balances efficiency, cost, and ease of use.

On one hand, pellet stoves offer a sustainable heating option with lower running costs, but they require regular maintenance and refueling. On the other hand, propane heaters present a lower upfront cost and less maintenance but come with higher operational costs.

As someone who has navigated the complexities of home heating solutions, I understand the nuances of making such a choice. This guide is crafted to help you weigh the pros and cons of each heating type, drawing on my experience and research in the field.

Whether you’re looking for the cozy warmth of a pellet stove or the convenience of a propane heater, I’m here to share insights that resonate with your specific needs and interests, ensuring you make an informed decision that feels right for your home.

pellet stove vs propane

Pellet Stoves Vs Propane – Head to Head

Pellet stoves come in two styles:

  • Free standing – stands in the open
  • Insert – fits into a wall

Pellet stoves are installed in one location and that’s where they stay. They are space heaters and are designed to heat the room they are in – although they do well in heating whole houses if you choose the right unit.

Propane heaters come in four styles:

  • Wall mount – mounts on a wall
  • Outdoor heater – designed to heat outdoor areas
  • Central heater – heats the whole house
  • Semi-portable units

Propane heaters can be a little more flexible as there are portable and outdoor models available. They can also be installed as a central heating unit so it can heat an entire house effectively.

Heating Performance

Heating performance between the two heater types really depends on the style of the propane heater.

Pellet stoves will generally pump out more heat and heat a larger area than a wall mount propane heater. But of course, a pellet stove cannot compete with a central unit that heats an entire house.

As a very broad statement – both heater types are similar when it comes to space heating.

Both propane heaters and pellet stoves have similar efficiencies as well – they both waste very little of the fuel in the burning process.

Installation Costs

Installation costs for heaters are one of the hardest things for me to estimate. The costs can vary so much depending on your location, style of house, type of existing heater and so much more.

I have used some very broad averages in the table below – so be sure to do your due diligence and ask your local experts for a firm price.

pellet stove vs propane installation costs

So as you can see, propane heaters are quite a bit cheaper when you look at overall costs. This is due to the price of the actual heater being much cheaper, while labor costs to install a propane heater are actually higher than that of a pellet stove.

Heating Costs

Now take a look at the graphic below – talk about a winner by a long shot! 

pellet stove vs propane heating cost

No, there is not a mistake here. Propane fuel will cost you 62% more than pellet fuel to get the same amount of heat output.

Pretty extreme hey?

Read More: The most efficient heating systems


Pellet stoves are complex machines and as such, require quite a bit more maintenance than a propane heater.

pellet stove propane stove maintenance

However it is important to remember that a heater using gas has the potential to be more dangerous than a pellet burning stove – so it is important to be extra diligent in your maintenance tasks on a propane heater.

Other Considerations

A few other things to consider before deciding which heater type is best for you:

  1. Pellet stoves require electricity to operate, but battery backup options are available
  2. Propane heaters may be indoor-safe or outdoor only. Outdoor-only heaters produce dangerous carbon monoxide being released into the indoor environment which is very dangerous and even deadly 
  3. Pellet stoves require constant refueling. This may or may not be suitable for your situation. Bags of pellets are large and quite heavy, so take this into consideration. You will also need somewhere to store a considerable amount of pellet fuel if you use your heater often
wood pellet storage
Wood fuel pellets in storage

Pellet Stove vs Propane – The Verdict

It is always a tough gig, giving a recommendation. Both heater types have their benefits and downfalls.

Propane heaters are cheap and require little maintenance, but are expensive to run.

Pellet stoves cost more to install and require constant refueling, but are very cost effective heaters.

But for this comparison, I think that pellet stoves come out on top. While they do cost a little more to get up and going, in the long run, they will save you money and the radiant heat they provide is comforting on those cold winter days.

Our Recommendations

Best Choice
Pleasant Hearth PH50CABPS

Recommended Pellet Stove

Pleasant Hearth PH50CABPS

  • 50000 BTU
  • EPA certified with emissions at 0.69 g/hr
  • Heating Coverage Area of 2200 square feet
  • Air wash system that automatically maintains the cleanliness of the glass window
Best Choice
mr heater

Recommended Propane Wall Heater

Mr. Heater

  • 30,000 BTU
  • CSA Certified with Automatic low oxygen shut-off system
  • Heat spaces up to 750 square feet
  • Blue flame burner for even convection heat
Best Choice
Dyna Glo RA18LPDG

Recommended Propane Portable Heater

Dyna Glo RA18LPDG

  • 6,000 – 18,000 BTU
  • Heats up to 600 sq. ft.
  • CSA certified with Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and tip-over protection

No products found.

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Photo of author
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in home ownership, lawn care, and gardening, Aaron is a seasoned expert in areas like lawn care, DIY, HVAC, and pest control.

7 thoughts on “Pellet Stoves Vs Propane Heaters – Which Is Right For You?”

  1. Avatar photo

    This was helpful. Have a pellet stove and have loved it but recently got divorced and looking at long term, the heavy bags and need to clean a pellet stove quite a bit makes it less appealing now. You mention that both burn the fuel they use very efficiently – does that translate into them both being acceptable in terms of not contributing to global warming, etc?


    • Aaron Green

      Well, they burn cleaner than other wood-burning type stoves – so in that way, yes. But they are still putting pollutants into the air…. so you need to weigh it up.

    • Avatar photo

      Propane stoves burn fossil fuel while pellet stoves use wood, so they are net zero. Carbon is removed from the atmosphere at the beginning of the cycle, so more friendly than propane as far as climate is concerned

  2. Avatar photo

    Good information , propane is more $$ to run than a pellet stove, I’ve had a wood stove, works great but the cost of firewood is going up and loading a pellet stove is easier.

  3. Avatar photo

    I have a propane fireplace. It has a blower motor and takes a while to heat the room. Our propane consumption is huge! Looking into a pellet replacement for the fireplace that gives a pleasing flame type view while delivering heat. Also, wondering if I have to replace the existing chimney ductwork for the pellet fireplace. Good article but I still have questions to be answered. Thanks!

    • Aaron Green

      Thanks Ken. Unfortunately that isnt something that can be answered without having a a look. I would talk to someone nearby who supplies and installs pellet stoves and ask them if they can take a quick look.

  4. Avatar photo

    Thank you, very helpful!

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