Can You Burn Corn on a Pellet Stove?

stalks of corn

When you go to the grocery store, and you see that pellets are on sale, some old stock that needs to be let go, you may think that you have enough. However, three days into a blizzard and you might find yourself running out of pellets, with the local supermarket had run out long ago. There is only one other thing that you can buy in the same quantity, dried corn, but would this work in your pellet stove?

Yes, you can burn corn in most pellet stoves. The stove will not burn as efficiently and will need to be cleaned much more often. Several pellet stoves have been built with this in mind and can burn corn a bit better than conventional pellet stoves. However, corn should never be a long-term solution and can become costly to continue using. 

Understanding why corn can be used as a pellet, what makes them cause more waste, and what the types of pellet stoves are will greatly increase the efficiency of your pellet burning journey. Many challenges owning a pellet stove brings with most people getting their preferred types of pellets after a season of using the stove. 

What makes corn pellets in the pellet stove different?

Corn will burn at slightly lower temperatures than normal pellets and can have some moisture still trapped inside. This means that the heating element inside the pellet stove will need to be used slightly more than normal. With pellet stoves that can burn corn designed to ensure that the entire piece of corn burns up before discarding the corn, this is why normal pellet stoves may not be able to handle excessive corn as a source for burning. 

One of the things to remember about corn is that it is not at all normal or optimal to burn in pellet stoves. Pellets are super dry, compressed wood that burns easily even at lower temperatures, while corn does not have this in similar, with most pieces of corn burning in different ways and temperatures than pellets would. 

A further problem with corn is that it does not burn nearly as clean as pellets would, with a lot of ash and soot being produced as the corn is being burnt up. Many people have learned that even with a full biomass-capable pellet, stove corn is just a way to burn something while you do not have pellets to currently burn. 

Why are certain pellet stoves not able to burn corn?

Biomass pellet stoves burn with more constant input from the electric element while feeding in the pellets or corn at an earlier stage of the flame. This ensures that if the pellets are made from biomass instead that they will naturally light up using the fire from the currently burning pellets. Normal pellet stoves work with a slower system, using the air pressure from the fan, and can use smoldering pellets to reignite the fire. 

Normal pellet stoves may be able to handle biomass for a short while but will eventually become too backed up or have vents filled with too much waste to continue safely operating. This is a big reason that you may see normal pellet stoves have to be removed after using biomass. Further, the auger in a normal pellet stove can become clogged by the biomass you are choosing to burn. 

It is a combination of things that makes a normal pellet stove unable to burn biomass without severe negative effects. Some situations may push you to use biomass instead of pellets in your stove, and it can run for a few days, and no damage will be done if you clean the stove afterward. However, biomass pellets are not and should not be the long-term solution to how you keep the heat in your pellet stove going. 

What is a biomass pellet stove?

A biomass pellet stove is a stove that has been specifically engineered and adjusted to allow for the burning of more dirty, or just organic, pellet alternatives. The only type that has proven cost-effective in the United States for doing this has been corn, which can be bought at the same or lower price than normal pellets. This is why you will usually see that a biomass pellet stove has more space for ash than a normal pellet stove.

Further, biomass pellet stoves have a few parts that are built to be stronger or just larger. The electrical element that keeps the fire going can be kept lit for a lot longer than a normal pellet stove, with the auger of a biomass pellet stove shaped differently to allow corn and other biomass to be processed and burned.

It should be noted that biomass pellets are not what will be used in biomass pellet stoves, as biomass pellets have been fully processed and can be used in any pellet stove. Biomass pellet stoves are those that have been adapted to allow for other materials to be used as-is when you cannot find pellets or the pellets that you have can no longer burn properly. 

What kinds of pellets are burned in biomass pellet stoves?

Several types of pellets are used around the world, and biomass pellet stoves are unique in that they can burn a few other substances that normal pellet stoves cannot. It is vital to know this before purchasing the pellet stove that will become a fixture in your home for the foreseeable future.

Many pellet stove owners prefer to have something versatile instead of just something functional. Having a pellet stove that can burn almost anything when the need arises means that you can skip the fight for the last bag of pellets. Further, you may even be capable of using pellets that would normally be used for other uses, such as for horses or animals. 

  • Normal Pellets: A biomass pellet stove can easily and comfortably burn normal pellets of any kind; this is because the pellet stove has already been built to handle pellets that are not burning properly. This is why you can usually see biomass pellet stoves that are burning larger or different pellets than the pellets you would use for a normal pellets stove. 
  • Corn: Corn is the most popular alternative to normal pellets when you run out of supplies. This is because corn can be seen as the natural pellets of the world. They are already compressed and can be burnt once the fire has been going. Biomass pellet stoves are specifically built to handle corn being burnt. 
  • Compressed Biomatter: This is what is considered to be normal for biomass pellets, which is how you can burn biomass in most pellet stoves. It should be noted that even if these pellets are the right size and can burn at the right temperatures, they will still cause more soot to be created as they are being burnt. 

Why are people using biomass pellet stoves?

Normal pellets have become more expensive as the race to find waste from woodworking and other productions around the world are being bought up. As companies move to get more and more materials for pellets, the cost of pellets becomes too expensive. This is where biomass pellets come into play, as creating these pellets can be extremely cost-effective, and you can procure material from almost anywhere. 

Biomass pellets usually cost a lot less to buy, as they are still in the infancy of being discovered by pellet stove owners from around the world. Many people are still unsure of using biomass pellets and, as such, will prefer to always buy normal pellets. Many times, these biomass pellets are perfectly fine to burn in most pellet stoves, with only minimal maintenance requirements.

It should be noted that biomass pellets can grow fungi and other things slightly faster than normal pellets and cannot be used to replace normal pellets in other functions. Currently, the only safe place to use biomass pellets is with pellet stoves. 


Pellet stoves are not always capable of burning as hot as the pellets require, and many times pellet stoves need to be adjusted or changed to burn them. Corn can easily be used if you have the right pellet stove. However, it will only cause damage if you are using a normal pellet stove. Like all things in life, it is about using the right product with the right tool. 

Just be sure that the corn you are using in your biomass pellet stove has been dried out. No one likes the sound of sizzling corn when they should hear the gentle pop of hot flames!

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