Wood Pellet Storage: 4 Practical Options Explained

By Dylan Clay
Last Updated 
July 26, 2022

As someone who has owned pellet grills for almost 10 years, something that tends to come up a lot is the storage of your wood pellets.

More often than not, the best way to store wood pellets is in the original plastic packaging they come in. The bag should be rolled closed and kept away from areas prone to temperature/moisture changes.

How to Store Your Wood Pellets

To preface: Unlike a lot of the other articles you'll find on this topic, I actually have first hand experience using pellet grills, and have burned through 1000s of pounds of pellets.

Almost every article on this topic will try to monetize your visit to their website by promoting products to store your pellets in. It's honestly to the point where they use scare tactics to entice you into buying either their product or someone else's product.

In my opinion, most if not all of it is overpriced gimmicky garbage.

1. In the Original Plastic Packaging

The best option - and the one I use the most - is in the original plastic packaging that the wood pellets come in.

empty pellet bag

The bag should be rolled closed and kept in an area that's less prone to temperature and moisture changes.

A number of articles and pellet grill manufacturers will advise against this due to the potential for moisture ingress. However, I completely disagree.

I've lived in New Hampshire my entire life and if you're unfamiliar with New England weather, it's apt to change at the drop of a hat; Meaning, it could be 30F one day and 70F the next.

In my opinion, the above are extreme conditions that are prone to temperature and moisture swing. Yet, I've still never had problems storing my pellets in the original packaging in my barn or in my garage.

These grill manufacturers also act like the shelves in a warehouse or big box store are somehow different from the interior of your home - both are temperature controlled environments.

If anything, if you're super concerned with moisture, store the bag in your house in a cool dry place.

2. Using a Bag Clip

bag clips

There are products engineered specifically for plastic wood pellet bags, however, in my opinion, they're a gimmick at best.

I could never and I mean never get myself to spend $30+ on a bag clip.

Rather, if I've ever had concerns about the bag not staying closed when I roll it up, I'd simply grab a potato chip bag clip (or two) and clip the end of the bag shut.

A 10-20 pack of these you can find at a Grocery Store or even a discount store for maybe $0.50 per clip or $5-10 (or less).

In my opinion, there is literally zero difference between a potato chip bag clip and bag clips engineered for a plastic bag of pellets.

3. Stored in a Plastic Bucket

wood pellet storage

This is another area where the grilling industry has created products that don't need to be created.

Typically, they'll start with a plastic bucket and then include things like a wire mesh filter that's used to separate the pellets from the pellet dust; They might also include a plastic scooper to scoop the pellets with.

pellets in bucket

In my opinion, this is completely unnecessary and again just another way to sell an overpriced plastic bucket.

Rather, I've owned and used plastic Home Depot Homer buckets for years.

  • A Home Depot Homer bucket costs $5.
  • The Lid costs $2
  • Optional: A plastic scoop costs $2 - personally I've always just dumped the pellets from the bucket as it can only weigh 20 lbs at most (the size of the bag); I also don't believe in clearing the hopper after each cook.

Our total is $9.

These overpriced pellet buckets can run you anywhere from $20 - 40 for a bucket, a mesh filter, and a scoop.

I get companies need to make money but not at my expense for a glorified bucket.

4. In the Pellet Grill's Hopper

wood pellets

Something to keep in mind is that the hopper capacity of most pellet grills these days is 20 lbs; A typical bag of pellets weighs 20 lbs.

It wasn't until recent years where pellet grill manufacturers started to include pellet chutes on their hoppers. Meaning, it wasn't even possible to remove the pellets from the hopper 5-10 years ago.

I'll let you read between the lines here but suffice to say, the hopper can function as storage for the pellets.

Typically, I buy 20 lb bags of pellets and simply dump the bag into the hopper. If I have any left in the bag, I roll it closed and store them in my garage.

Factors to Keep in Mind When Storing Pellets

Apart from the above ways to store your pellets, there are also a few factors to keep in mind.

Namely, moisture.

Note: Your environment will have the biggest impact on the storage life of your wood pellets. Most folks who own pellet grills don't buy in bulk. Even still, a bag of pellets can last 6 months at 10% humidity and 1-3 months when the humidity is greater than 10%.

Moisture is the Enemy of Wood Pellets

Wood used for smoking is seasoned and will typically fall within the moisture ranges of ~10-20%.

Wood is hygroscopic, meaning, when it's exposed to air it will gain or lose moisture until it's balanced with the humidity and temperature of the air.

For this reason, people who sell pellets, wood chips, chunks, etc. suggest storing your wood in a cool, dry place or in a container where air can circulate.

Excessive amounts of moisture can lead to rotting and/or mold. It can also cause the pellets to turn to mush. When this material dries, it can solidify and act like a cement and completely clog your auger.

wet pellets
These are Traeger pellets that I submerged in water for 30 minutes

Meaning, they're no longer usable.

For this reason, I'd suggest storing the pellet grill itself with the lid closed, under a roof/shelter, with a climate resistant cover.

Keep the Pellets Off the Ground

Keeping the plastic bags off the ground is a must - it's the same story for charcoal too.

Moisture can wick through concrete, cement, and dirt because these surfaces are porous. This is the same reason basements are typically damp and require a dehumidifier.

If you can, at a minimum, store the bags on a pallet, shelf, or even on a cardboard slip sheet.

Keep Away From Heat Sources

Biomass like wood pellets are obviously flammable products. Wood pellets should be kept away from open fires or near heat sources like your pellet grill, wood boiler, stove, furnace, a heater, etc.

Final Thoughts

My goal with this article isn't to craft conspiracy theories into the way in which the pellet grill industry works.

However, I think there is a difference between making money and taking advantage of people.

In my opinion, storing your pellets in the hopper or within the original packing completely suffices for basic wood pellet storage. If you're after a more long term solution, a $5 bucket and $2 lid are more than adequate.

Dylan Clay
I've grilled and smoked meat for roughly half my life. While i'm not a professional Pitmaster, I've worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands on guide to teach them BBQ. It's my hope that Barbecue FAQ can be that helping hand.

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