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Pellets are categorized by their heating value, moisture and ash content, and dimensions. They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking.
Softwood pellets actually rate at about 10-15% higher in BTU (more heat) than hardwood pellets. This is because softwood contains resins that have a higher heat value than hardwood fibre. Softwood pellets generally have a lower percentage of ash (by weight) than hardwood pellets.
Pellets don't burn as fast as wood chips and give you a deeper smoke flavour. They also burn at much higher temperatures than wood chips and can be used to cook more kinds of meat. Wood chips do not require as much processing. They are composed of small pieces of irregularly shaped wood about an inch or two in diameter.