What the heck’s a skid? Curious pellet terms defined.

We know there are lots of terms and phrases in the pellet world that you don’t hear anywhere else. Here’s a basic glossary of some of the terms we’re most commonly asked to explain:

Ash content – the waste product left from burning wood pellets. One of the major indicators of wood pellet quality, ash is measured as a percentage of weight. The lower the ash content, the less cleaning and maintenance you’ll likely have to perform on your stove. Premium hardwood pellets have less than 1.0% ash, and premium softwood pellets typically have less than 0.5% ash.

Biomass – organic matter that can be converted to fuel. Wood pellets are a biomass heat source.

BTU – British Thermal Unit. BTU is the measure of heat output for a fuel, and one of the key indicators of wood pellet quality. The higher the BTU rating, the more heat you will feel. You should expect to find a BTU rating of 7900-8200 in premium wood pellets.

Pallet jack (A.K.A. Hand truck) – a hand-operated machine that lifts heavy pallets, allowing our delivery drivers to pull skids of fuel over flat, hard surfaces (such as a garage floor). Because of their maneuverability and small size, pallet jacks give you greater flexibility than forklifts to place pallets exactly where you need them.

Skid (A.K.A. Pallet) – a wooden platform upon which wood pellet bags are stacked and wrapped. Wood pellets skids are packaged in different weights, and can have anywhere from 50 bags (1.0 ton) to 75 bags (1.5 tons) per skid.

Wood bricks (A.K.A. Biomass bricks) –dried and condensed sawdust and wood chips, formed into a block shape that burns as a highly efficient cordwood alternative. (We like to explain wood bricks as big pellets that can be burned in a wood stove or fireplace.)

Wood pellet – highly efficient heating fuel composed of dried and compressed sawdust. Wood pellets are burned in a wood pellet stove, fireplace insert, boiler, or furnace.

* * * * *

We probably forgot something… Let us know below if there’s a term you have a question about, and we’ll do our best to answer you. 

5 responses to this post.

  1. […] – and have tremendous incentive to cut costs. But here’s the rub. Cheaper bags and skids, lower quality raw materials, and reduced quality control standards are just some of the ways mills […]


  2. […] – and have tremendous incentive to cut costs.  But here’s the rub. Cheaper bags and skids, lower quality raw materials, and reduced quality control standards are just some of the ways mills […]


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  4. Hi William! We get this question a lot. And the truth is: it depends.

    Some people are really passionate about hardwood pellets; some say only softwoods produce the kind of heat they want. The pelletizing process unifies a lot of variables you’d find in different kinds of wood, so high quality wood pellets – across the board – should have a uniform density, low moisture content, and consistent quality. In general, softwood pellets tend to have a lower ash content and a higher BTU (heat output) – but the quality of a pellet really does depend on the quality of the raw material and the manufacturing process.

    So, we always say that it’s a good idea to try different products, especially if you’ve just installed a new stove. You want to find which fuel works best in your stove.

    I hope this helps – and remember, we’re a phone call away at 1-800-PELLETS if you want to chat further.


  5. Posted by William F Bratcher on July 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Softwood / Mixed / Hardwood ? What is best


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