Wood vs Pellets: Which is Better for Your Pizza Oven?Cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven is an experience like no other. The high heat and unique flavor that comes from cooking with wood or wood pellets cannot be duplicated using other types of heat sources. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of using either wood or pellets to fuel your pizza oven.
Fuel efficiency of wood vs pelletsOne of the biggest differences between wood and pellets is their fuel efficiency. Pellets, especially softwood pellets, are highly efficient. They are compact, uniform, and have a lower moisture content than wood. Softwood pellets, in particular, have a greater energy output which means they burn hotter and quicker than hardwood pellets or wood. On the other hand, wood can be less efficient as it requires more space to store and is harder to measure in terms of energy content. It may also contain moisture or other impurities that can lower its efficiency. However, some experts argue that wood is more efficient in the long run as it is more readily available and can be found for free. It’s also easier to produce on a small scale for personal use.
Energy output of softwood pelletsWood pellets, especially softwood pellets, have a higher energy output than wood. Softwoods like Spruce, Pine, and Fir, have a lower density than hardwoods, but they are easier to ignite and can burn hotter and faster. This makes them ideal for use in pizza ovens as they can heat up the oven quickly and maintain a high temperature for a long period of time.
Here are some additional points on the energy output of softwood pellets:
- They have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating per pound than hardwood pellets or wood
- They produce less ash and smoke compared to hardwood pellets or wood
- They can be slightly more expensive than hardwood pellets or wood
Burning time of wood vs pelletsThe burning time of wood or pellets depends largely on the type of wood or pellets used, the size of the fire, and the rate of combustion. In general, pellets have a consistent size and shape, which makes them burn more evenly and predictably compared to wood.
Compatibility with different stove/oven typesBoth wood and pellets can be used as fuel in a variety of different types of pizza ovens. Wood is typically used in traditional wood-fired ovens, while pellets can be used in both pellet ovens and specifically designed wood pellet pizza ovens. It’s important to note that if you’re using a wood-fired oven, it’s essential to use seasoned hardwoods like oak or hickory, which burn hotter and longer compared to softwoods. Pellets, on the other hand, are best used in specifically designed pellet ovens as they require a hopper to feed the fire and maintain temperature.
Suggested fuel source for Ooni ovensIf you’re using an Ooni pizza oven, we suggest using wood pellets as your fuel source. Ooni ovens are specifically designed to run on wood pellets, which helps maintain consistent temperature and cooks pizza evenly and quickly. Softwood pellets like Spruce or Pine are ideal for use in Ooni ovens as they provide a high energy output and burn quickly.
Environmental impact of wood and pellets as fuelThe environmental impact of using wood or pellets as fuel is an important consideration. Both fuel sources have pros and cons in this regard.
Here are some additional points on the environmental impact of wood and pellets as fuel:
- Using local wood sources can help reduce transportation emissions
- Improper storage and handling of pellets can result in degradation and loss of quality
- Properly seasoned wood can burn more cleanly and efficiently