Choosing the right wood to make pellets: a complete guide

The market for wood pellets, also called pellets, has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Indeed, they represent an ecological and economical alternative to traditional fossil fuels. To obtain quality pellets, it is essential to choose the right type of wood. In this article, we will review the criteria to consider when selecting the ideal wood for pellet presses.

The different types of wood that can be used for pellet presses

First of all, it should be clarified that not all types of wood are suitable for making pellets. The two main categories of wood that we distinguish are softwoods and hardwoods. Each of these types of wood has its own characteristics which will influence the quality of the pellets produced.


Softwoods are generally considered to be the best choice for wood pellet production. Commonly used conifer species include:

  • The pine
  • Spruce
  • Fir
  • Douglas fir

These species have several advantages for the manufacture of pellets. First of all, they are very common and easy to obtain. In addition, their high lignin content makes it possible to obtain quality pellets, with good compactness and a low ash content.


Hardwoods can also be used for pellet production, although to a lesser extent. Among the commonly used hardwood species, we can cite:

  • The Oak
  • Beech
  • The work
  • The poplar

However, it is important to note that pellets obtained from these species will generally be of lower quality than those made from softwoods. In fact, their low lignin content makes them less compact and their ash content higher.

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Wood selection criteria for pellet presses

Beyond the choice between softwood and hardwood, several other factors must be taken into account when selecting wood for pellet presses. Here are the main criteria to consider:

The purity of wood

It is essential to choose wood free of impurities, such as bark, leaves, needles or even chemical treatment residues. These impurities can in fact have a negative impact on the quality of the pellets produced, in particular by increasing their ash content. It is therefore advisable to favor shavings and sawdust from the first processing of wood, which are generally purer.

Humidity level

The humidity level of the wood is a determining factor for the quality of the pellets obtained. In fact, wood that is too humid can cause problems with the compactness and agglomeration of the pellets. It is therefore recommended to choose wood with a humidity level between 8 and 12%. For this, it may be necessary to dry the wood before putting it into the pellet press.

Particle size

The size of the wood particles also affects the quality of the pellets produced. Ideally, the shavings and sawdust should be of uniform size, between 1 and 5 millimeters. This ensures good compactness of the granules and facilitates their manufacture. A particle size that is too high can in fact cause blockage problems in the pellet press.

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The advantages of using quality pellet presses

To guarantee the production of optimal quality wood pellets, it is essential to have a high-performance and suitable pellet press. Here are some of the advantages offered by these machines:

  • High efficiency: Modern pellet presses make it possible to efficiently and quickly transform large quantities of wood into pellets, to meet the growing needs of the market.
  • Consistent quality: This equipment guarantees uniform quality of the pellets produced, in particular by controlling their density and moisture content.
  • Ease of use: Pellet presses are generally designed to be simple to operate and maintain, reducing production costs and maximizing profitability.

In short, choosing the right type of wood to feed pellet presses is crucial to obtaining quality pellets. It is therefore advisable to favor softwood species, while ensuring that the criteria relating to the purity, humidity and grain size of the wood are respected. Finally, having a high-performance and suitable pellet press is an additional guarantee of success in the production of wood pellets.

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