A good pellet is very important to the efficiency, savings, less maintenance and longevity that your pellet stove should provide. Pellets are made of compressed sawdust that is dried out and bind into these long rods that are then cut into little rods that can range anywhere from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half. Softwood pellets actually provide the highest caloric value meaning they will produce the most heat. A pellet stove is able to burn soft wood efficiently unlike a traditional wood stove because it operates in a vacuum sealed control enviornment. With that being said in the Northeast we have been brought up with burning hardwood and that is what we have an abundance of. So you will not see many softwood pellet here like you will out west. When you are choosing a pellet you want to make sure that there is a testing chart on that bag, there are many manufacturers that will not test there pellets and there is no way to determine if you are buying a good product or not. It is like buying gasoline. There are different grades. Your car many run on regular, but over time if you used premium your car will run longer with out service. If you are burning pellets of lower quality you will have more ash buildup which leads to more frequent maintance, auger jams and less heat output these problems usually lead to service calls. So in the long run it might be wiser to spend a little more up front for a quality pellet. When looking for a pellet you want something that is low in ash and high in btu's.