Best Wood Pellets Product Reviews and Buying Guideline in 2017
Wood pellets have been widely used over the recent few years for many applications ranging from heating, cooking, and even to generate industrial energy. This research is aimed to help readers in making a better decision over purchasing wood pellet products depending on different needs and preferences.
What problem people faces while buying wood pellets?
Wood pellets came in a various range of quality and species material. Sometimes, the technical jargons used in a wood pellet product can be highly confusing, making choosing your wood pellets a daunting task.
What does it mean when it’s 100% hardwood? What fillers should I avoid? Is hardwood or softwood better? Those are the common questions people asked when deciding to buy a wood pellet product. This guide will attempt to help you understand the differences between the products, and make a better purchase decision.
Hardwood VS Softwood: FAQ
There is a never ending debate of hardwood vs softwood pellets, and indeed, not all wood pellets are created equal. What is the main difference between both? First and foremost thing to remember is that hardwood pellets are generally heavier than their softwood counterparts. Meaning, you will get more pellets in a pound of softwood pellets compared to hardwood ones.
Why would this fact be a big deal? Because then, a pound of softwood pellets can generate more heat compared to a pound of hardwood pellets of the same quality. In general, softwood pellets will produce 10-20% more BTU (heat measurement unit) per pound compared to hardwood ones.
The density of the wood materials will also affect the waste production in the form of ash. Thus, a softwood pellet will generate less, lighter ash than the hardwood counterpart. However, hardwood pellets will produce a ‘cleaner,’ more consistent burns and will generally produce a better aroma, useful for cooking applications. In return, hardwood pellets produce denser ash as waste.
Which one will suit my needs better?
Some retailers, manufacturers, or even fellow users often claim that softwood is better for certain applications, while hardwood is better for the others. Some might also say that hardwood is more ‘premium’ than softwood. To end the debate once and for all, we will say that there’s no strict guidelines and rules to determine hardwood or softwood is better.
Rather, the manufacturing process, the ‘purity’ of the material used (100% bark and no by-products), and thus the end quality of the pellet, will determine its efficiency and performance more than the wood species used.
Which one is better for room heating applications? Is Hardwood better for cooking BBQ?
However, as a generalization, softwood pellets are better used for home reheating applications, due to more heat generation for efficiency purpose. Hardwood pellets, however, are better for cooking applications with more consistency and more pleasant aroma.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Pellets
- Consistent and clean burns
- Will produce stronger flavor and aroma
- More widely available, especially those of premium quality
- Less heat generation per pounds
- Denser residual ash produced
Pros and Cons of Softwood Pellets
- Higher heat production per pounds, better for home heating applications.
- Less residual ash
- Can also be used for other applications besides heating and cooking, such as animal bedding applications.
- Burns a bit more inconsistent, hard to control heat
- Won’t enhance flavor as strongly as its hardwood counterpart
- Softwood pellet products are a bit harder to find in the market
How to Determine a Pellet Quality?
With that idea in mind, what will really matter in choosing your wood pellets is how clean the wood materials are, how ‘pure,’ and the moisture content of the materials.
The easiest way to determine a pellet quality is by smelling it. A good pellet with pure wood materials (100% bark preferred), will have a fresh, pleasant wood smell. If you notice any strange odor, commonly those of paper and cardboard, avoid purchasing the pellets.
- CookinPellets 40M Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets
- CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets
- Smokehouse Products 5-Pound Bag All Natural Appl
- Traeger PEL313 Apple Barbecue Pellets, 20-Pound
- MoJack Myron Mixon Hickory Wood Grilling/Smoking/BBQ Cooking Pellets
- Lumber Jack 100 Percent Apple BBQ Grilling Pellets 40 LB Bag
- AMERICAN WOOD FIBERS BEDDING PELLETS PinePellet Bedding, 40 lbs
- Bear Paw Products Premium Oak-Pecan-Apple Blend Smoker Pellets 1.5 Lbs
- Pit Boss BBQ Wood Pellets, 40 lb Competition Blend
- 1 X BBQ’rs Delight Jack Daniels Wood Pellets 1lb Bag
CookinPellets 40M Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets
CookinPellets.com is a major online retailer specialized for hardwood pellets. As the name of the company suggests, they only sell pellets for cooking applications. CookinPellets.com maintained their reputation as one of the best of the industry, having best selling products in major retailers for 2 straight years.
CookinPellets’ Perfect Mix is a mixture of 4 best-quality hardwoods available: Hickory, Cherry, Hard Maple, and Apple woods. They guarantee that no Oak or Alder materials, which is lesser quality hardwoods are included in the final mix.The product has been a best seller in Amazon and other various platforms for over two years, clearly a testimonial of its quality.Here are some pros and cons we found regarding the product:
- 100% hardwood with top-quality wood materials.
- Great aroma, can enhance flavor of cooking.
- Great consistency in burns and stable during all kinds of temperatures.
- High-quality manufacturing process with 100% pressed woods, very low moisture content
- Trusted manufacturer with best selling products on reputable retailers
- Being a hardwood pellet, produces denser residual ash as its waste
On Amazon, the product receives a highly favorable rating with a 4.5-star average over 657 customer reviews. Only 5% of customers gave 1 and 2 stars rating, but mostly due to opened package or incompatibility with certain smoker products.
CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets
The second product came from the same manufacturer, CookinPellets.com, so you can expect the same quality. The difference of this product over the CookinPellets’ Perfect Mix is the fact that it’s manufactured with 100% Hickory woods as its material.
Hickory is sometimes preferred for cooking and barbecue because of its strong release of unique flavors. Being a 100% hickory, this product will enhance your flavor with the expected quality from CookinPellets.com.
Some notable PROS & CONS
- 100% selected hickory material, fully pressed and not glued together
- Low moisture content
- Unique aroma, as expected from a hickory pellet
- Trusted manufacturer with best selling products on reputable retailers
- Consistent burns
- High-quality manufacturing process and raw material selection
- As with any hardwood pellets, produces denser ash
During our research, the product received a highly favorable rating , with a 4.5-star average over 287 reviews. Only 8% of users gave 1 or 2-star reviews, mostly because of its incompatibility with some grills and smokers.
Users noted its incompatibility with Traeger smokers, making it unable to reach high temperatures.
Smokehouse Products 5-Pound Bag All Natural Apple Flavored Wood Pellets
Smokehouse has been a well-known smoker products manufacturer since the 1960s. Being a manufacturer with cooking products specialty, its wood pellets products are intended for cooking and especially smoking applications.
The Smokehouse Products All Natural Apple Flavored Wood Pellets is a hardwood pellet made 100% from alder woods. Its main characteristic, as the name suggests, is producing apple-flavored smoke to enhance cooking aroma and flavor. The apple flavor has a sweet and mild aroma suitable for grilling and smoking meat such as poultry, beaf, and pork as well as many other kinds.
- 100% alder wood material, selected from Pacific Northwest area
- No chemical, oils, and other by-products
- Hard-pressed with tight compactness for longer burns
- Trusted manufacturer with smoke and grill specialty, the product is well tailored for cooking applications
- Alder woods can produce dense ash as waste materials
During our surveys, this product gathered a highly favorable rating of 4.6-star average over 98 reviews.Only 6% of users gave 1 and 2-star ratings, mostly over flavor preference.
Traeger PEL313 Apple Barbecue Pellets, 20-Pound
Traeger is a well-known manufacturer of grill and smoker kits, sauces, spices and is exceptionally famous for its hardwood pellet products. Its hardwood pellet products have many flavors ranging from hickory to maple, and the Apple Barbecue Pellets is one of its best sellers.
Last long for longer cooking needs, great apple-flavored smoke, and high-quality hardwood ensuring consistent and clean burns with high efficiency.
Some notable Pros & Cons
- 100% hardwood materials
- No chemical and oil additives
- Great apple-flavored smoke
- Traeger smoker and grill kits are some of the most widely used, this product has great compatibility, being of the same manufacturer
- Can have oak or alder filler, which is a lower-quality hardwood
- Being a hardwood pellet, produces dense ash as its waste product
The Traeger Apple Barbecue Pellets gained highly favorable ratings during our research, with 4.6-stars average over 97 reviews. Most customers that gave bad reviews (5% of total reviews) are complaining about incompatibility with several grills and smokers, flavor preference, and broken packaging during delivery.
MoJack Myron Mixon Hickory Wood Grilling/Smoking/BBQ Cooking Pellets
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MoJack is actually a hardware manufacturer. Based on Wichita, MoJack has been a well-known manufacturer of lawn mowers, hand trucks, and many other hardware. Recently they partnered up with the celebrity chef Myron Mixon to develop a wood pellet grill, deemed the Pitmaster Q3, which is highly successful in the market.
Along with the grill kit, they launched the Myron Mixon Hickory Wood Cooking Pellets, an all natural hardwood cooking pellets. As mentioned, Hickory is well-known for its flavor to enhance any smoke, grill, and barbecue cooking's.
Some notable pros & cons of the products are:
- Strong Smoke flavors school
- 100% hardwood
- Great for hot-temperature smoking and grilling
- Endorsement from the celebrity chef Myron Mixon, assuring proper research for cooking applications
- Have oak fillers, not 100% hickory
- Being a hardwood pellet,will produce a large amount of ash
The MoJack Myron Mixon Hickory Wood Cooking Pellets gained highly favorable reviews with a 4.6-stars average over 74 reviews. Only 5% of the reviews are negative (1 to 2 stars), mostly highlighting its oak-filler material and how it’s not working well during a colder temperature cooking.
Lumber Jack 100 Percent Apple BBQ Grilling Pellets 40 LB Bag
BBQ Lumberjack has been one of the top names in the cooking pellets industry ever since its invention in 2005. Specialized on wood pellets as its core product, the amount of research and dedication they put on their products are unquestionable.
Lumberjack is famous for their high-quality wood material. They always use 100% wood materials with no fillers, and it’s no different with their 100% Apple BBQ Grilling Pellets.
The product consists of 100% apple tree material, bringing utmost quality of consistent burns, authentic apple flavor, and efficiency.
Here are some notable features we found in the product:
- 100% apple tree wood, which is rare in the business
- Authentic apple flavor for your cooking applications
- High-quality of both wood selection and manufacturing process
- Great burn consistency during both high and low temperatures
- As with any hardwood pellets, produces high residual ash
The LumberJack 100 Percent Apple BBQ Grilling Pellets gained a highly favorable user reviews during our research, with a 4.8-stars average out of 5-stars over 72 reviews. Most praised the high-quality material selection of the LumberJack brand and its consistency during any cooking applications.
American Wood Fibers Bedding Pellets PinePellet Bedding, 40 lbs
American Wood Fibers is the U.S.’s largest supplier of wood flour and wood by-products, with vast wood pellet products ranging from home heating use, bioenergy, and pet products.
Unlike previous products we’ve discussed, the American Wood Fibers PinePellet Bedding is not intended for cooking applications, but rather for pet bedding use.
Wood pellets have been widely used as beddings for animals because of their high absorption rate to absorb liquid and odor, and this product is among one of the best available in the market.
Here are some notable qualities of this product:
- Pinewood material with a high absorption rate
- Easy to cleanup.Cheaper than most conventional animal beddings
- High-quality manufacturing and compression
- American Wood Fibers is one of the most trusted names in the wood products industry
- Not 100% pine
Customers during our research gave a mostly positive review for the American Wood Fibers PinePellet Bedding, with an average of 4.6 out of 5-stars over 24 reviews.
Bear Paw Products Premium Oak-Pecan-Apple Blend Smoker Pellets 1.5 Lbs
Bear Paw is a famous player in the BBQ industry for its ‘Bear Paw’ product, a paw-like tool to shred chicken, pull pork, and many other uses. Invented in 1993, they have since expanded to other smoke and grill products, including the wood pellets.
Their wood pellet product has gained recognition in recent years, and the Premium Oak-Pecan-Apple Blend Smoker Pellets is one of the best sellers in the market.
Manufactured with a combination of oak, pecan, and apple wood materials, the pellets produce a strong apple aroma, desired for a lot of grilling and smoking applications.
Some of the notable pros & cons of this product are:
- 100% hardwood material, combination of oak, pecan, and apple with no chemicals and oils
- Resealable, small packaging, easier storage.
- Can be used with electric, gas, charcoal, and smoker grills
- One of the best apple-flavored wood pellets in the industry
- High-quality manufacturing process expected fro Bear Paw as a trusted manufacturer
- Being a hardwood pellet, will produce dense residual ash
The Bear Paw Premium Oak-Pecan-Apple Blend Smoker Pellets gained a mostly favorable review for a 4.7 out of 5stars average over 35 user reviews. Customers highlighted its strong apple flavor and controlled burns as its positive qualities.
Pit Boss BBQ Wood Pellets, 40 lb Competition Blend
Pit Boss BBQ, as one of the most recognized grill equipment and supplies brand in the U.S.A, developed the 55405 Competition Blend Pellets with great success
Pit Boss Wood Pellet
Pit Boss BBQ Wood Pellets, 40 lb
Pit Boss BBQ Wood Pellets, 40 lb is one of the most experienced manufacturers in the BBQ industry
The hardwood pellet utilized a 50% maple, 25% hickory, and 25% cherry blend to create a unique flavor of savory, tart, and sweet combination.
Only using North American woods, their raw material is also superior and is manufactured with a high-quality compression process to increase density and lower the included moisture.
Some notable pros and cons we found in the product are:PROS
- Unique blend of 50% maple, 25% hickory, and 25% cherry producing unique flavor and aroma.
- High-quality material and manufacturing process.
- One of the cheapest among its competition.
- Louisiana grills is one of the most experienced manufacturers in the BBQ industry; the product is well-researched for cooking applications.
- Produce dense residual ash.
- Each pellet is a bit smaller in size.
- Hotter, faster burn, ideal for higher-temperature cooking needs
The product gained a mostly favorable review, with a 4.3 out of 5 average over 38 customer reviews. Customers that gave bad reviews (12% gave 1 or 2 stars) highlighted the fast burns as its negative quality. However, the product will be highly suitable for higher temperature cooking needs such as barbecue.
1 X BBQ’rs Delight Jack Daniels Wood Pellets 1lb Bag
Coming from the famous whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s that needs no introduction. The main characteristic of this product is how it came with Jack Daniel’s signature flavor and aroma.
Jack Daniel’s whiskey has been widely used for some grilling recipes, and using this wood pellet product can achieve the same results.
Some notable quaities we found on the product:
- Jack Daniel’s Tenessee Whiskey flavor and aroma, unique to this product.
- Resealable bag, can use up to 10 times per bag
- Limited applications with its flavor
- High residual ash
In Amazon, most customers that purchased the product gave a highly positive review, with a 4.4 out of 5-stars average over 36 reviews. They highlighted the strong Jack Daniel’s signature aroma as its main positive quality.
Ultimate Buying Guideline
After we’ve learned about all the best products available in the market, we would be able to understand the different qualities, unique characteristics, and how they may apply to your needs.
To make a better purchase decision, here are a few more things you might want to consider:
Depending on whether you are running a smokehouse or only using it for recreational BBQ use, your budget allowance might be different. Remember that you’re buying by weight, so divide up the price of the product with the weight content of the package to understand your cost-per-pound for each product.
Some products are great with a certain grill kits, and some products with other brands. Although this will need a bit of trial and error, you can do a little bit of research through user reviews, forums ,and many other platforms.As a general rule of thumb, though, if your wood pellet manufacturer also has a grill or smoker kit product, it will go well with each other.
3. Residual Ash
Every wood pellet will produce residual ash as its waste, so you must be prepared with some form of disposal methods.
For cooking applications, the flavor will be a strong factor in determining your purchase needs. Make sure to research your recipe and flavor needs before deciding to purchase your pellets. Pellets can greatly enhance the flavor of your cooking, but can also ruin it if the application is inappropriate.
Based on our findings and research, here are some of our final recommendations
1. Best Cost-Per-Pound Cooking Pellets
Cost will be a determining factor for most of us, and the best in this category are:
Winner: CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets
Runner-Up: CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets.
2. Best Quality
Although this will be a debatable one, the winner of this category is:
Winner: Lumber Jack 100 Percent Apple BBQ Grilling Pellets 40 LB BagBest overall quality with 100% apple wood material, no filler and additives found
Runner-Up: Runner-Up: CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets and 40PM Perfect Mix Smoking PelletsBoth products from CookinPellets.com came with great quality, especially for its price.
3. Best overall Pellets
Winner: CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix Smoking Pellets
Great price, great quality, and most user reviews during our research indicated overall satisfaction with all aspects. A minor issue will be its incompatibility with certain grill or smoker kits, especially with lower quality kits. Overall a very great product.
PRICEGreat price, great quality, and most user reviews during our research indicated overall satisfaction with all aspects.