How Long Does a Bag of Wood Pellets Last - Things to Know

 How Long Does a Bag of Wood Pellets Last

Image credit to: Traeger Grills

Picture this: it's a beautiful summer day, and you've got your pellet grill fired up, ready to cook up a storm. You've got everything you need: meat, vegetables, spices, your favorite wooden cutting board, and a fresh bag of pellets. But, how long does a bag of wood pellets last on your smoker, pellet grill, or your storage? 

The answer is, it depends! There are several factors that affect how long a bag of pellets will last, such as the quality of the pellets, how you store them, and your heat setting. A 40 lb bag of pellets last anywhere from 10 to 20 hours, depending on these variables. Top-of-the-line pellet grills, like Traeger, are known for their efficient use of pellets, meaning you can get more cooking time per bag. 

So, make sure you store your pellets properly, adjust your heat settings, and get ready to enjoy delicious meals for hours on end!

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Wood Pellets

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Wood Pellets

Now let's talk about the different factors that can affect how long your bag of wood pellets lasts.

Quality of wood pellets

The quality of the pellets is one of the most significant factors affecting how long they last. High-quality pellets with minimal ash content burn more efficiently, leaving less waste, and last longer per hour. Lower quality pellets tend to burn faster, leaving more ash and requiring more frequent refills.

Storage conditions

Proper storage conditions are crucial in extending the lifespan of your pellets. Wood pellets should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture to prevent mold and rotting. If the pellets get damp or wet, they will not burn as efficiently and will lose their heating power.

Humidity levels

Humidity levels can also affect the lifespan of your pellets. When pellets are exposed to high humidity levels, they absorb moisture from the air, which can impact their burning efficiency. Dry air conditions help prevent excess moisture in the pellets, which keeps them burning efficiently.

Size of the bag

The size of the bag you purchase can impact how long your pellets last. Generally, larger bags offer better value for money, providing more pellets at a lower cost per pound. This can lead to longer burn times per bag, which reduces the need for frequent refills.

Frequency of use

The frequency of use affects how long your pellets last per hour. Pellet grills that are used more frequently will require more frequent refills, reducing the overall lifespan of the pellets. On the other hand, infrequent use can prolong the lifespan of your pellets.

Estimating the Lifespan of a Bag of Wood Pellets

Now that we have discussed the factors affecting the lifespan of a bag of wood pellets let's dive into how to estimate their lifespan.

Average Burn Rate of Wood Pellets

The average burn rate of wood pellets depends on the quality of the pellets, the size of the bag, and the frequency of use. A 40 lb bag of high-quality pellets can last up to 20 hours, while a lower quality bag may only last 10 hours. However, these are just estimates, and there are other factors to consider.

Calculation of the Burn Rate

To calculate the burn rate of your pellets, you'll need to determine the number of pellets used per hour. One pound of wood pellets will produce around 8000 BTUs per hour. If you know the BTU rating of your smoker, you can calculate the number of pounds of pellets you need per hour. For example, a smoker rated at 25,000 BTUs will require approximately 3.1 pounds of pellets per hour.

Examples of Calculations

Let's say you have a Traeger pellet grill with a maximum heat setting of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You fill up your hopper with a 20 lb bag of pellets, and you plan to smoke a brisket for 8 hours. Traeger grills are known for their efficient use of pellets, with an average burn rate of 1-3 lbs per hour. If we take the average of 2 lbs per hour, we can estimate that the 20 lb bag will last approximately 10 hours. This is just an estimate, and your actual burn rate may vary depending on the quality of your pellets and your specific heat settings.

Tips for Extending the Lifespan of a Bag of Wood Pellets

Proper Storage Techniques

The proper storage of your wood pellets is crucial to extending their lifespan. Pellets should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from moisture, and in airtight containers. Avoid storing them in basements or garages that are prone to humidity, as this can cause the pellets to absorb moisture, which can reduce their heating power and efficiency.

Use of Airtight Containers

When storing your pellets, use airtight containers to prevent exposure to air and moisture. Exposure to air can cause the pellets to deteriorate and reduce their overall lifespan. Airtight containers will help to maintain the quality of the pellets and prevent them from becoming contaminated with moisture, dirt, or debris.

Placement of the Pellets

When loading your stove or fireplace, place the pellets in a way that maximizes their efficiency. Avoid overloading the stove or fireplace, as this can cause uneven burning and reduce the lifespan of the pellets. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for loading the pellets and the recommended heat settings.

Proper Maintenance of the Heating System

Proper maintenance of your heating system is crucial to extending the lifespan of your pellets. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the system and checking for leaks or malfunctions, will help to ensure that the system is running efficiently and that the pellets are burning properly. A well-maintained system will use fewer pellets and extend the lifespan of the pellets you do use.


In conclusion, wood pellets burn efficiently and are a great source of heat (heating pellets) for your home or for cooking (if you are using flavored/bbq pellets), but their lifespan can be affected by several factors, including quality, storage conditions, humidity levels, bag size, and frequency of use. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can help extend the lifespan of your pellets and get the most out of each bag. 

Proper storage techniques, use of airtight containers, correct placement of pellets, cleaning of your stove or fireplace, and proper maintenance of your heating system can all contribute to a longer lifespan for your pellets.

By taking these steps, you can enjoy the benefits of burning pellets while reducing waste and saving money in the long run. Hope this blog your question about how long do pellets last or how long do wood pellets last.