Can You Burn Horse Bedding in a Pellet Stove?

different kinds of pellets in a hand

When you are buying your pellets online or in large quantities, you might find that there are other types of pellets in the world. A popular one for first-time stove owners to try is the bedding used with horses. These are pellets that help to keep horses clean and dry during the year. These pellets are usually cheaper as well.

Yes, you can use horse bedding in a pellet stove, but the efficiency of the stove and the overall cost of buying horse bedding pellets is not worth it. Horse bedding pellets have been processed in different ways, with other chemicals used to clean the pellets, and will not burn at the required temperatures to keep the stove going. A lot of horse bedding is significantly more expensive than normal pellets as well, owing to the stringent regulations applied to them.

There are pellet stoves like biomass pellet stoves that can easily burn at the right temperatures to burn horse bedding pellets. However, understanding the full complexity of why this would not work is important. A vast majority of people are tempted to buy horse bedding when they go on special, leading to their pellet stoves not burning nearly as effectively as they should. 

Why are people not using horse bedding pellets more often?

While horse bedding pellets can burn at the same efficiency as normal pellets, the cost of horse bedding pellets is significantly more. Further, some horse bedding pellets have been treated with chemicals to help kill mites and other bugs that might appear with horses. Combined with the stringent regulations regarding horse pellets, the overall cost and usability for pellets stoves are low.

It has been noted that when horse pellets go on sale, they can compare or even compete with pricing for normal pellets, and when you see this, it might be worth taking a chance. However, the pellets used for horses may not be as dry as those sold for pellet stoves. It is always better to rather test a few pounds before buying a ton or more. 

In the long run, for your pellet stove, it should always be noted that using pellets made for pellet stoves will be the best. While horse pellets are perfectly capable of being used in most pellet stoves, the overall cost and maintenance that would be required to continue using the pellets with your stove would heavily outweigh the benefits that you may have.

What are the differences between the pellets?

Before you do purchase the pellets, you are planning on using. You will need to know exactly what the differences are, as many people assume that all pellets you can buy are the same. The truth is that there are several processes that normal stove pellets go through and several more processes that horse pellets go through that need to be considered. 

In most US states, the complexity is even more, thanks to regulations and taxes, while in other countries, the laws regarding pellets for horses make them entirely unwanted for pellet stoves. Generally, the only time horse pellets are used for pellet stoves is when there is a really good bargain on buying them, or someone has run out of normal pellets to use for their stove. 

  • Cost: Because of the regulations and laws regarding the bedding that can be used for any horse, the overall costs of horse pellets are a lot more than those of normal pellets. These extra processes of cleaning and using safer glues dramatically increase the prices of horse pellets. This is why you should only ever consider using horse pellets if you have no other source of pellets. 
  • Quantity: Horse pellets are sold by the ton, and pellet stove pellets are sold by the bag. It may seem odd, but most places have lower limits of how many horse pellets they may sell at any one time. This means that before you can even test the pellet quality in your pellet stove, you may buy enough to last you the entire winter. 
  • Taxes: Because pellets for pellets stoves have been registered for that use, there is a specific tax that does not apply to them. It can vary from state to state, but most horse bedding pellets have an added tax that you automatically pay when you purchase any quantity of the pellets. While the listed price of the pellets may be less than those of the normal price, once Vat and all other taxes have been applied, it can easily be double what you expected to pay.
  • Burn Rate: Horse bedding pellets do not burn as aggressively or fast as normal pellets for stoves would. Not only is this to help if something goes wrong, but the glue is also used in cases of this. For your pellet stove, this means that it will have to work a lot harder to effectively burn the pellets and produce heat, which leads to more pellets being used. 
  • Quality: Pellets for pellet stoves are extremely dry and may be of a higher quality than the pellets used in horse bedding pellets. This is because pellets for stoves are dried for a while before being packaged and shipped off, while horse bedding pellets have no such qualms. You need to ensure that the pellets you are using are dry, even if you have been assured that the pellets are of the highest quality. 

Where can you get horse bedding pellets?

You can usually buy horse bedding pellets from the same location that you are getting the pellets for your pellet stove. This is why a lot of people can see when these pellets go on special, as they are stored in the same locations. Further, you may be more likely to find online stores that sell horse bedding pellets and deliver them all to you. 

While this may seem easier, you should always remember that while horse bedding pellets are just as easy to get, you may never see them in supermarkets that are not specialists. It is for this reason that you will regularly come into a clash with horse owners when you are trying to get pellets. As more and more people are using pellets for heating, the race to find pellets has started.

This is why most places that sell horse bedding pellets will refuse to sell pellets to you if you do not own any horses at all. A large variety of people around the world have made clear restrictions on what they will sell and to who they will sell them, usually putting people with horses ahead of those that are using pellets to heat their homes. 

What are the challenges in using horse bedding pellets?

The biggest challenge you will face while using horse bedding pellets is that of the waste being created while doing so. Horse bedding pellets are not designed to burn as easily as normal pellets. Therefore they will create a lot more ash while also producing smoke. A flaw that many people make when using horse bedding pellets is assuming that the pellets will produce the same amount of waste as their previous pellets.

This usually leads to people have a large amount of new smoke spewing out of their vents while the ashtrays inside the pellets stoves start to overflow. Horse bedding pellets that are of higher quality may not work at all as there are additives that can be used to stop them from burning, ensuring the safety of the animals if there is ever an errant spark inside stables.

Horse bedding pellets are there to help keep moisture levels low and assist in cleaning up the stables the horses are kept in. This is why you will always see people not burning these waste pellets, as their moisture content is high, filled with urine and feces. Used horse bedding pellets are good for compost heaps only, and you will regret trying to reuse them in any other way. 


Horse bedding pellets are extremely similar to normal pellets that you may be familiar with. However, as the pellets are more expensive, can be larger, and much more complex, it should be noted that they can be used in an emergency. Many pellet stove owners are in the position where they have large quantities of both kinds of pellets either way. 

Getting a warm home and clean stables may very well be the thing that makes or breaks your family when the temperatures start dropping low!

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