Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (2024)

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When deciding what firewood types to use you should consider one thing, not all firewood is the same!

Each tree species has various traits that could make you want to use it or avoid it.

Depending on where you live you could have several great trees to choose from or maybe just a few.

While there's not much you can do about the trees growing in your area, you can choose to spend your time cutting up quality wood that willeffectively heat your home instead of wasting time on an inferior species.

Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (1)

If you live in the northeast chances are you have a lot of great hardwoods like oak, ash, beech or maple to choose from.

These are all a favorite firewood choice of mine and have suited me well for years.

Those living in the western portion of the United States usually won't have access to these choices listed above but you'll have other great options like lodgepole pine and douglass fir.

If you don't plan on cutting your own firewood, another option is purchasing it from a local supplier.

Good quality seasoned hardwood will cost more than a green, less desirable species.

However, buying green firewood could save you money.

The only downfall with buying green firewood is the time needed to season the wood.

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You can't expect to buy green firewood at a reduced price and burn it immediately.

Green firewood that has a high moisture content simply won't burn very well.

It smokes and sizzles inside your wood stove or fireplace potentially causing creosote to build up inside your chimney.

As a general rule, hardwood will burn longer but it takes longer for the wood toseasonor dry out.

Red oak takes about 2 years for it to fully season while other hardwoods take around a year.

A softwood will season much faster but will not burn as long.

For example, a hardwood like maple will work nice for heating your home overnight because it will burn hot and last a while, leaving behind a nice bed of coals the next morning to restart your fire.

A softwood like pine works really well for campfires because it burns and lights easily.

Softwood also works great for kindling because it splits really easy, or you can mix some softwood in with your hardwood for a more balanced fire.

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Knowing how to identify the tree you cut or burn is very important.

When choosing what type of wood to burn you may want to consider these basic things:

  • Is this a hardwood or a softwood?
  • Will this tree split easily?
  • How much heat will it produce?
  • What am I using the wood for?

Some Common Firewood Types

While there are many different firewood types, some of the most common and popular types are listed here.

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Click on a firewood to learn more about the tree and see the pros and cons of each species.

Alder Firewood

Ash Firewood

Basswood Firewood

Beech Firewood

Birch Firewood

Black Locust Firewood

Blue Gum Firewood

Boxelder Firewood

Bradford Pear Firewood

Cedar Firewood

Cherry Firewood

Chestnut Firewood

Cottonwood Firewood

Dogwood Firewood

Douglas FirFirewood

Elm Firewood

Eucalyptus Firewood

Hawthorn Firewood

Hemlock Firewood

Hickory Firewood

Ironwood Firewood

Larch Firewood

Madrone Firewood

Magnolia Firewood

Mahogany Firewood

Maple Firewood

Oak Firewood

Osage Orange Firewood

Pine Firewood

Poplar Firewood

Sassafras Firewood

Spruce Firewood

Sweet Gum Firewood

Sycamore Firewood

Walnut Firewood

Willow Firewood

Yew Firewood

BTU or British Thermal Unit is the amount of energy required to heat one pound of liquid water by one degree fahrenheit.

We now use BTUs to describe common things such as the heat generated by a furnace.

It may also describe how much energy a fuel has, such as wood.

The following link describes the firewood BTUs generated from popular firewood types.

Getting The Most Heat Out Of Your Firewood - Firewood Types

As mentioned earlier, no matter which firewood type you use, the wood needs to be dry before you burn it.

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to keep a fire going with wet wood.

So, in order to make sure you're prepared for the upcoming winter you'll need to plan ahead.

It's a good practice to cut your firewood one year, stack it, cover it and burn it the next year.

This allows plenty of time for the wind and sun to dry out the wood creating a pleasant and safe burning experience.

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Stack your firewood in rows that are elevated off the ground.

Stacking the wood on pallets works great but you can also use 2x4's or other scrap wood.

By elevating the firewood off the ground it accomplishes a couple things.

First, it allows the wind to circulate around your entire firewood stack allowing it to dry out faster.

Second, it prevents the wood from soaking up ground moisture and also prevents insects and other animals from making your firewood their new home.

Also, when stacking the wood you can make the row any length, just don't stack it more than 4 feet tall or it will probably fall over.

It's very frustrating to walk out to your firewood stack after a windy day only to find all your hard work has tipped over.

Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (6)

Stacking your firewood inside a firewood shed that has an elevated floor, slatted sides and a roof to repel rain and snow is ideal, but if you don't have access to a firewood shed you can use a tarp to cover your wood.

When using a tarp or other firewood cover, only cover the top 1/3 of the firewood stack.

If you cover the entire stack with the tarp you're preventing the wind and sun from penetrating the wood and allowing it to dry.

Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (7)

Plus, if you completely cover the firewood with a tarp the moisture won't have anywhere to escape and there's a good possibility the wood will grow mold.

The photo above shows firewood that has been stacked and properly tarped by only covering the top portion of the firewood stack.

It effectively keeps the rain and snow off your firewood while still allowing the sun and wind to keep your firewood dry.

Firewood Types - Overall

While we all won't live in an area that produces the top BTU firewood choice, that doesn't limit your options for burning a high quality firewood.

By mixing in lesser grade firewood with longer burning choices, you can achieve a great fire to heat your home throughout the winter.

Just make sure the wood is seasoned and you can reduce or even eliminate your energy bills buy burning firewood as your main source of heat.

Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (8)

About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videosto help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.

Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? (2024)


Firewood Types - What Is the Best Firewood? ›

Seasoned hardwoods make the best firewood. Hardwoods like oak, cherry and maple are denser than softwoods like pine or cedar. Due to their density, they burn longer and produce more heat or BTUs.

What type of firewood is best? ›

  • Ash: This is hands down the best kind of wood to burn in a fireplace. ...
  • Beech: As one of the best fire logs for fireplaces and also topping the best firewood for heat, this is second to ash only because it needs to be seasoned.
  • Hawthorn: Very much like beech.
  • Rowan: Exceptional heat and a slow-burning fire.
Oct 12, 2021

Which firewood burns the longest? ›

Seasoned hardwoods make the best firewood. Hardwoods like oak, cherry and maple are denser than softwoods like pine or cedar. Due to their density, they burn longer and produce more heat or BTUs.

What wood to avoid burning in a fireplace? ›

Plywood, chipboard, or craft and construction wood: Any leftover wood from a DIY or home improvement store shouldn't be burned. They're often treated with toxic chemicals or held together by adhesives that are hazardous when burned.

What is the most used firewood? ›

Some of the most common types of firewood include hardwoods like hickory, apple, maple, oak, walnut and cherry. All six of these hardwoods burn hot and stay lit for a long period of time. Of course, this makes them ideal for use in campfires, fire pits, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

What wood is worst for firewood? ›

Typed of Wood That Don't Burn Well in Your Fireplace

Alder: This wood is just a lot of work for no results. Alder burns quickly and doesn't produce much heat. Chestnut: Produces a lot of smoke and a weak flame. Gum: Prone to producing sparks, which can become a fire hazard.

What logs give off most heat? ›

Unlike most heat logs on the market, Hotties have a low moisture content of less than 5%. This means they can generate up to three times the heat of conventional wooden logs, with no spitting, sparking or crumbling.

What are the three types of firewood? ›

There are 3 different types of firewood – green, seasoned, or kiln dried – and which type you use makes all the difference with the quality of your fire.

What is the slowest burning firewood? ›

Hardwood burns the slowest, produces the most intense fires, and produces hot coals that remain hot long after a fire has gone out. When hardwoods are burned in good conditions for a fire, they produce very little smoke or unhealthy particulate matter.

What wood smells the best when burning? ›

Some of the best slow-burning and fragrant wood for your fireplace include:
  • Apple.
  • Beech.
  • Black Locust.
  • Blackthorn.
  • Bitternut Hickory.
  • Cherry.
  • Hawthorn.
  • Hophornbeam.

What is the best firewood to burn overnight? ›

Most types of hardwood, for instance Ash (generally regarded as the best), Birch, Beech, Oak and Elm can be used. However, avoid burning woods with a high resin content. As a rule of thumb, the heavier the wood, then the greater the heat output and the longer burn time – the time between refills.

What firewood is healthiest? ›

The best kind of wood to burn is one of the hardwoods, such as oak, hard maple, and birch because they release more heat and produce fewer creosote deposits.

Is oak or ash better firewood? ›

Ash has long been considered the king of firewood due to its reliability and versatility in any appliance.

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