Pellets | The best of 2021

As you know, the pellet is a fuel obtained from wood designed to make the pellet stove produce heat, of which we have reported the best models a few weeks ago. Although excellent, a pellet stove would not be able to operate at full capacity by itself, since the fuel plays an important role in heating the house. If of poor quality, the latter will produce minimal heat, as well as create a lot of ash, effectively preventing the stove from operating optimally.

As it is easy to guess, a good pellet will make the difference both in small, medium and large environments, and that is why you should only buy high quality packages, also to avoid creating possible malfunctions to the stove, caused by humidity and relative deterioration. . In this regard, we often tend to buy the cheapest packages but, as mentioned, this could negatively affect the maintenance of the stove, as well as the real calorific value, which is why we will dedicate this article to those that are the best pellets available on the market, and then discover in the second part how to recognize a good product from a poor one.

The best pellets of 2021

Pellet Salzburg

Pellet Salzburg
I pellet Salzburg will be able to make your pellet stove produce the maximum calorific value, thanks to the ENPlus A1 certification, the best in terms of fuel for this type of appliance. This certification, in fact, guarantees an ash residue of less than 0.7% and a calorific value of at least 4.6 kWh per kilogram. In this case, we are faced with pellets capable of producing 4.9 kWh/Kg and a residue of ash from 0,3%. A product that will not disappoint you, to the point that you could even use it as a cat litter, as it absorbs the smell without leaving a trace.

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Bonfire Pellet Conifer

Bonfire Pellet Conifer
In this case, we are faced with pellets whose wood comes from coniferous trees, such as fir, larch or stone pine. Just like the previous solution, we are talking about certified pellets ENPlus A1, with a calorific value equal to or greater than 4.6 kWh per kilogram and with a ash residue less than 0.7%. The manufacturer also declares the humidity delivered by the pellets and this is below 10%, which is really great. The package is 15kg so it has a better quality / price ratio than the Salzburg solution.

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Pellet Schultz

Schultz
If you are looking for an excellent pellet with an even better quality / price ratio, it is Schultz it will surely suit you. In fact, the 15kg pack is always offered for only € 4.99. As with every article reported by us, it boasts the certification ENPlus A1, which makes it perfect for ensuring that the pellet stove emits maximum calorific value, as well as an almost non-existent ash residue. This pellet is made from the highest quality spruce wood and comes exclusively from forests that are considered sustainable.

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Timbory pellets

Timbory pellets
If you want to buy a large quantity of pellets in one go, then you should consider the Timbory packs, which are offered by the seller in bags of 10, 20, 40 and 70, each of 15kg. Also in this case, we are talking about high quality pellets, with certification ENPlus A1 and a high calorific value. The wood of this product comes from the forests of the Czech Republic, but not from any forests, but from those controlled and regenerated periodically. In short, a 100% natural and well-made pellet, perfect for making your stove work well.

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MHL Softwood pellets

MHL Softwood pellets
Among the best pellets for your stove we also point out the MHL solution, which offers its certified conifer wood EnPlus A1. In this case, the manufacturer declares a calorific value even higher than 5 kWh per kilogram, which means that the pallet stove will work at full capacity. Like almost all packages of this material, this is also offered in a 15kg bag and the price is not bad at all if we consider the quality of the product.

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How to choose the pellet

As anticipated in the initial stages, buying a good pellet means not only allowing the stove to work at full capacity and increasing the calorific value, but also reducing its maintenance, and this is why it is essential to know how to recognize a good pellet from a poor one. In this regard, we at Tom’s Hardware will try to show you the right path to follow and we anticipate that getting an excellent pellet will be a breeze, since the quality depends almost exclusively on the certification of the latter.

Certification

As mentioned above, certification is the first and perhaps only factor that determines whether a specific pellet is of high, mediocre or poor quality. If you intend to buy the best, you will have to check that the pellet has the certification EnPlus A1, the most renowned both in Europe and in the rest of the world. This certification, therefore, will give you proof that you are dealing with a high quality pellet, able to release the highest calorific value and, at the same time, create a negligible amount of ash.

The certification EnPlus it is divided into 3 categories; A1, A2 and B. As you will have understood, the highest quality is obtained with the products declared A1, but in many cases you can also rely on A2 solutions, above all for a matter of savings. Class B, on the other hand, should be excluded because it is designed for non-domestic use, with a very high ash residue that could ruin some components of the pellet stove earlier than expected. Below we leave you the main characteristics of the 3 classes of EnPlus A1 pellets:

  • A1: ash residue less than 0.7%
  • A2: ash residue less than 1.5%
  • B: ash residue less than 3.5%

Humidity

Although this is a factor related to certification, it is good to check the humidity declared by the manufacturer. If the pellet is wet, in fact, its calorific value will not be the best, as part of the latter will concentrate on evaporating the humidity and this will also negatively impact the combustion chamber, which will tend to get dirty with more. Basically, a good pellet shouldn’t have a humidity higher than 12%, but rather less than 8%.

Calorific value

As you may have noticed, in the previous paragraphs we have often mentioned the calorific value because this is what allows the stove to heat the environment. If this is low, the stove will not be able to work as it should, or rather, it will not reach the performance for which it was designed, making the heating of the house slower or ineffective. Having said that, we could say that the calorific value also goes hand in hand with the certification of the pellets, as with the EnPlus A1 is guaranteed to have a calorific value of at least 4,7 kWh/Kg. In this regard, however, it must be said that the values ​​higher than the one reported could be untrue, given that producers tend to measure it in the anhydrous state, how much more logical it would be to check it taking into account the water content.

Wood

As you know, pellets are not all the same but are made of various types of wood. Among these we point out thefir, beech, ash and poplar but there are many others. Usually, the first two are the best, although it is worth pointing out that a small role can also be played by the pellet stove, which may behave better with one specific wood rather than another. If we go into details, it turns out that beech tends to have a higher yield and heat more, but produces higher amounts of ash. Fir, on the other hand, is the opposite, as it produces less ash residues but also a lower calorific value. It is therefore up to you to find the right compromise, which could be found in the so-called soft and hard woods. Below is a list of the best known:

Hard:

  • Beech tree
  • Ash tree
  • Oak
  • Birch
  • Steel
  • Robinia
  • Castagno

Sweets:

  • White fir
  • Larch
  • Spruce
  • Alder
  • Poplar
  • Maritime pine

How much you save with pellets

If we compare pellets to other heating systems, this is the winner, at least from a purely economic point of view. The savings come from the fact that the materials are not very dense and with low transport costs. On average, a 15kg package tends to last a couple of days and it has been calculated that with a pellet stove you save up to 70% compared to GAS, up to 40% compared to diesel and 20% compared to methane. Furthermore, you could save even more if you buy pellets in the summer. In fact, between May and July, the price of pellets tends to be lower than in the winter months, due to questions relating to supply and demand.

How to recognize the quality of the pellet by eye

Although the certification described above is the main factor to take into consideration, there are several “tricks” that you can put into practice to understand if the pellet you have purchased is of high or poor quality. An easy way is to see if there is a sawdust. If present in large quantities and in the form of dust, it means that the quality of the pellets is poor, to the point that it becomes very likely to run into malfunctions. On the other hand, if the wood is totally intact and full it means that the product is very good. Another way to check the quality is to dip a handful of pellets into a glass of water. In this case, you will be faced with a good pellet if the latter sinks and the water does not become cloudy.

How are the pellets created?

Pellets are made from a variety of organic materials, such as wood chips, bark, sawdust, and other by-products of wood grinding. Even soft woods, i.e. those not suitable for construction, can be used to create the pellet. However, manufacturers often use waste wood or by-products from other manufacturing processes to produce the pellets, such as corn stalks, straw and similar agricultural materials. Whatever the material, it is ground by a hammer mill and pressed to ensure that the size, shape and density are uniform. During this process, the temperature of the product rises. Once cooled, the humidity is reduced to around 4-8% and the product hardens. The low moisture content allows for longer combustion and constant heat, with minimal particulate emissions.


Source: Tom's Hardware by www.tomshw.it.

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