If you live outside of Tasmania then there’s a very good chance you have never heard of a pellet heater. So why aren’t pellet heaters popular in Australia despite the technology behind them was created in the early 1980s? Pellet heaters put out great heat, are easy to use, cheap to install and are much less work than a wood heater. Despite this pellet heaters just aren’t popular or even heard of in many states in Australia. I think the reason pellet heaters aren’t popular in Australia has to do with the Australian climate, lack of retailer involvement, limited information being available, high cost of wood pellets and cheaper alternative heaters.
So why aren’t pellet heaters popular in Australia or at least not popular outside of Tasmania? I think pellet heaters in Australia aren’t popular due to:
- Warmish climate
- Limited retailers
- Poor marketing
- Wood pellet prices
- Alternative heaters
The Australian Climate
Compared to many other countries around the world, Australia isn’t a terribly cold place. Yes, it snows but only in limited areas and definitely not all the time. Australia is warm or at least warm for many months of the year and the winters rarely get into the negative temperatures for any length of time. I live in rural Queensland growing up and there were definitely mornings where the grass was covered in frost and garden hose was frozen, so it got below zero but it quickly warmed up once the morning sun cam up. On those cold mornings we just threw on a jumper, long pants and some socks.
If the place you live doesn’t get terribly cold for extended periods of time, then you definitely aren’t going to bother finding out what’s the best heating for winter or spend a lot of money on an elaborate heating system if a normal electric heater or heat pump does the trick. On super cold mornings we used a radiant heater, as it was only on for an hour at most then put away. Don’t get me wrong, Australia does get cold but it’s nothing like parts of Europe or the USA. So there are many places where people just don’t need super warm heating like a pellet heater to heat their house.
Lack of Retailers
Even if you have heard of pellet heaters, if you live outside of Tasmania good luck finding a retailer to buy a pellet heater from. Even if you do find one they may not actually have any in stock. With no heaters in stock or only a very limited range, then you may be told that that there’s a several week wait. Why buy or look at a pellet heater if there’s great difficulty in getting one or actually seeing one running? This is one of the reasons why pellet heaters aren’t popular in Australia. If you go to buy a pellet heater in Tasmania, there’s plenty of retailers that sell them. But there are also many retailers who don’t.
It’s kind of a catch 22. There isn’t much demand for pellet heaters, so retailers don’t bother stocking them or only stock limited brands and models. In turn, when people visit heating retailers they may not even be aware pellet heaters are an option and the retailer may not bother telling them because they think the customer probably won’t be interested. In turn, the customer buys a wood heater or heat pump and the cycle continues as retailers use this to justify not selling pellet heaters because the demand isn’t there.
There’s very little information available on pellet heaters in Australia. It’s why I started this website to try and promote pellet heaters because many people have not heard of them or do not understand what how pellet heaters work. I can’t recall seeing any advertisements on television or online in Australia about pellet heaters and using them as a heating option. If you do happen to come across some advertising material I bet it is limited and lacking at best. Again, retailers and other industry players don’t bother putting much out there about pellet heaters because there isn’t much demand. But in turn by doing this they are ensuring demand will not increase due to a lack of information.
This lack of information not only stops people from know what a pellet heater is also some people have heard of pellet heaters but don’t know how pellet heaters work. An example of this is a co-worker I was speaking to. She had recently moved to Tasmania and I asked what she used for heating. She said a wood heater, which I wasn’t surprised to hear, and I told her I use a pellet heater. Her response was she didn’t like to burn “fake wood”. Now, I don’t blame her for saying that, despite it being totally wrong, because there’s such a lack of information out there about pellet heaters that people easily get things wrong.
Wood Pellet Prices
If you live outside of Tasmania and buy wood pellets you’ll be in for a shock. Up until about a year or so ago (2021) prices for pellets in most places were $20 to $30 a bag. If you buy pellets in Tasmania you’ll pay around $8.50 to $12 a bag. That’s a good price and it’s affordable to run a pellet heater at those prices. However, if you are paying $20+ a bag, even if you use the many features a pellet heater has to save you money, it’s still going to cost you a lot of money to heat your house in winter. There’s no way most households could pay those prices to heat their home.
Now I understand some people do. They enjoy having a pellet heater and are happy to pay the high prices for pellets but I think most of them would use their heaters sparingly, maybe on a cold morning for an hour or so or if it snowed. Either way they aren’t using it as their main source of heat. The good news is that pellet prices in mainland Australia are coming down, thanks to a wood pellet mill in Tasmania, so prices for pellets outside of Tasmania aren’t as bad as they were before. However, these pellets are not available everywhere and many people would still be paying $25+ a bag for pellets to heat their home. It’s too expensive.
Cheaper Alternative Heaters
If you do live in a cold place in Australia, like a rural area, then you’ll most likely have access to much cheaper heating options than a pellet heater, especially if you are paying $20+ a bag for pellets. If you are only using your heater for an hour at most and only once a year, then you wouldn’t bother spending thousands on a pellet heater and would probably just go with an electric heater like we did when growing up. Even an electric heater would be at worst the same price to run and the heater would only cost under $100 or so.
For most places in Australia, if you are looking for a good heating system then a heat pump is absolutely cheaper and firewood would probably be cheaper even in cities. Even though I think pellet heaters are the best heating in Tasmania during winter, many people here still use wood heaters because they have never heard of pellet heaters and have their own firewood. However, in most places around Australia wood pellets are just too expensive and people have other cheaper heating options.
Finally, outside of Tasmania most retailers in Australia sell European pellet heaters. European pellet heaters are typically very expensive, at least when compared to other types of heaters and Chinese made pellet heaters. A good example of this is a Piazzetta pellet heater might have 6kw of heat output. That heater would cost at least $6,000 installed. If you bought a brand name heat pump you’d pay at most $4,000 all up installed. That’s a difference of $2,000. Now, the heat pump heat is completely different and not as good quality but for some people they don’t care and they see a difference of $2,000, which is a lot. We’re lucky in Tasmania because we have affordable pellet heaters.
Summary of Why Pellet Heaters Aren’t Popular in Australia
I still think the best choice in pellet heaters vs wood heaters vs heat pumps is a pellet heater but outside of Tasmania the reality is most other heaters are cheaper to run. Things are slowly changing, however, and pellet prices are coming down. Piazzetta pellet heaters are growing in availability as more and more retailers stock them or at least can get them in if a customer wants one. I think in about 10 to 15 years we will see pellet heaters being a lot more popular than they are today. However, it will be a long hard slog to get there.
If you find this website and any of the posts on it helpful, please share with your friends and leave bookmarks to it on other sites. I love pellet heaters and you can read more about Tassie pellet heaters owners website if you want. I know they aren’t for everyone but I at least want to make sure people know what they are, how they work and what the benefits are so they can make an informed decision. It would mean a lot to me if you can help share this website with others. Until next time, happy heating!
Why aren’t pellet heaters popular in Australia?
The popularity of pellet heaters in Australia is affected by factors such as the warm Australian climate, limited availability of retailers, lack of adequate marketing and information, the high cost of wood pellets, and the availability of cheaper alternative heaters.
How does the Australian climate impact the popularity of pellet heaters?
Compared to other countries, Australia generally has a warmer climate with milder winters, reducing the need for intensive heating systems such as pellet heaters.
Why does the lack of retailers contribute to the unpopularity of pellet heaters in Australia?
The absence of easily accessible retailers that sell pellet heaters, particularly outside of Tasmania, limits the availability and visibility of these heaters, reducing their popularity.
How does limited information affect the popularity of pellet heaters?
There is a lack of adequate information and understanding about pellet heaters and their workings, which contributes to their low popularity as people are less likely to buy something they don’t understand.
Why do the high prices of wood pellets deter people from using pellet heaters?
Wood pellets, which are essential for running pellet heaters, are often expensive in Australia (except for Tasmania), making pellet heaters costly to operate.
Why are alternative heaters more popular?
Alternative heating options such as electric heaters or heat pumps are often cheaper to buy and operate, making them more popular choices for heating homes in Australia.
Are there any signs that the popularity of pellet heaters may increase in the future?
The falling prices of wood pellets and increased availability of heaters like the Piazzetta pellet heaters indicate that the popularity of pellet heaters may increase in the future.