When you’re shopping for wood pellets in Maine, there are many brands to choose from. The one brand that seems like it’s available everywhere is Maine Woods pellets. You might not always recognize them when you see them. The company that manufactures them uses different bags with different names and illustrations on them depending on the intended retail outlet. For instance, the same Maine Woods pellets are available at Walmart and independent retailers right across the street, but the Walmart pellets have a logo that features a wood pellets stove instead of a log cabin. Both bags contain the same pellets.
Maine Woods pellets are made in Athens, Maine from locally-sourced materials. The company will sell their wood pellets directly to the consumer, as long as they purchase a full ton. Retailers are required to purchase from 22 to 26 tons of bagged pellets at a time to qualify for wholesale pricing. Maine Woods pellets can also be purchased in bulk instead of bagged. Let’s take a look at how Maine Woods pellets stack up against the competition:
Maine Woods Pellets: The Wood Pellet Facts
Hardwood or Softwood?
There are substantial differences between hardwood and softwood pellets, but neither is necessarily better than the other. You can find very high quality brands of both types. Homeowners find that particular brands perform better in their pellet stoves or boilers, or particular types no matter what brand they use. For the most part, it’s the quality of the wood feedstock that determines the quality and the price of the pellets you buy.
Maine Woods Pellets are a blend of 65 percent hardwood and 35 percent softwood. That ratio delivers good performance at a reasonable price.
Maine Woods pellets aren’t outstanding in any category, but they’re a solid performer. They perform better than average at heat output. The company’s website features testing results from a laboratory at the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, which testifies that the pellets can produce a respectable 8256 BTUs per pound. The test samples also performed well at accuracy of weight, amount of fines, and the uniformity of the pellet size.
Maine Woods Pellets are rated as a premium product by the Pellet Fuels Institute. That simply tells the consumer that the product produces less than 1 percent ash by volume. One percent might not sound like much, but that would add up to 20 pounds of ash from every ton. Manufacturers strive to get their products well below the 1 percent mark. In their laboratory analysis, Maine Woods Pellets produce 0.43 percent ash. That cuts 12 pounds of ash per ton compared to the lowest rated premium pellet. In our experience, these pellets produce slightly less than that.
Prices for Maine Woods Pellets vary a lot by distributor. You’ll find the lowest prices at big box stores like Walmart. Maine Woods can compete on price with almost any discount brand of pellets, even though they outperform their competition in almost every key category.
As you’ll find with other brands like Pennington wood pellets, it can be difficult to find pricing for full tons on big box store websites. If you’re planning on purchasing a ton or more of pellets from a big retailer, it’s worth your while to visit the store and ask to see how they’re stored, and how much they cost when bought in bulk. Many big box retailers do a poor job in keeping the pellet bags dry and free of tears.
Final Word on Maine Woods Pellets
Many mid-sized pellet retailers in New England feature Maine Woods Pellets as the lowest-priced pellet they carry. You can often find them for sale for less than $250 per ton, and many retailers offer free delivery as well. Maine Woods can’t compete on heat produced or low ash content with brands like Okanagan, but they cost about 25 percent less.
If you’re in the market for a reliable wood pellet that won’t strain your heating budget or fill up your hopper with fines and your stove with ash, Maine Woods Pellets are a great choice.
Let’s Hear From You
If you have used Maine Woods Pellets in your pellet stove, furnace, or boiler, we’d love to hear your opinion of their performance in our comments!