Home heating has progressed since the days of fireplaces with their ten percent efficiency. The Franklin stove was a major step forward from the fireplace in home heating. An equally large step forward is the pellet stove.
There are several major advantages to using a pellet stove for home heating. Pellets are bought by the bag or ton. Firewood is bought by the cord. When you buy a ton of pellets, you get 2,000 pounds of pellets. With a cord of firewood, you may get 128 cubic feet of wood, but you could get 1,000 pounds of fir or 3,000 pounds of oak. The firewood could be well seasoned and burn well or it could be green and produce more steam than heat.
Another advantage of the pellet stove is the storage of the wood. A ton of pellets occupies roughly a four foot by four foot square area stacked about four feet high. Since the pellets are in plastic bags, there is no mess. In addition, each 40 pound bag is easily handled by most people. With firewood, there is the mess of loose bark and other debris from the wood along with the need to contain the wood in a four foot deep by four foot tall by eight foot long area. Then, if you stack to wood against the house, there is the potential for bugs to take up residence in the woodpile and them trying to get inside your home.
Pellet stoves typically have three electric motors in them. One is for the auger which feeds the pellets into the burn pot. The second motor is for the fan which blows air through the burn pot. The third is for active heat circulation like the blower in your home furnace.
Electric motors do require electricity, so if your region of the country is prone to power failures, good planning would dictate the presence of an alternative power source such as a battery backup or auxiliary generator. The battery backup would only operate the stove, but a generator could also keep the refrigerator and freezer going.
All in all, the advantages of the pellet stove far outweigh any minor disadvantages. The pellets are readily available, they are a recycled wood product, they are neat and convenient. Best of all, you really get what you pay for when you buy the pellets.