- Hardwoods are generally the best: they burn longer and hotter than softwoods
- The best type of hardwoods for long and hot burn times are ash, maple, oak, birch, and for the most part all fruit trees
- Seasoned wood with less than 20% moisture content is easier to light and burns more efficiently than green (wet) wood
- Firewood should be split into small pieces for faster drying
- Avoid using treated or painted wood, as it can release harmful toxins when burned
- Choose firewood with a low moisture content to avoid producing smoke
When I first bought my New England home, I wasn’t sure what type of firewood to use in the fireplace. I had always used pine wood in my previous home, but I was told that oak or maple was a better choice for my new home. I did some research online and read that hardwoods like oak and maple have a higher heat value than pine, so I decided to give them a try.
I went to the local hardware store and bought a few logs of each type of wood. I stacked them in the back yard and let them sit for a few weeks to dry out. Once they were dry, I tried burning them in the fireplace. The oak logs produced more heat than the pine logs, and they also burned longer. The maple logs were even better, generating even more heat than the oak logs and burning for an even longer time.
I have been using hardwoods in my fireplace ever since, and I have been very happy with the results. The fires are hotter and burn for longer, which means that I can get more use out of them. I would definitely recommend using hardwoods for your fireplace, especially if you live in a cold climate like I do.
Choosing the right firewood is important if you want to get the most heat from your fireplace. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best firewood for your needs.
Hardwoods are the best type of wood to use for firewood. They are denser and burn longer than softwoods. Some of the best hardwoods for firewood include oak, maple, hickory, and beech.
- So, what’s the best firewood?
- Hardwoods vs Softwoods
- Why does it matter what type of wood I burn?
- Selection criteria
- What To Know About Heat Value
- Which Firewood Burns the Longest? Hardwoods.
- Which Firewood Burns the Hottest?
- Which Firewood Burns Cleanest?
- If you’re looking for firewood for cooking
- For a great smelling fire
- Wood you should avoid
- Firewood Safety Tips
- Check out our firewood guides
- Is Ash Good for Firewood? Hmm…
- Is Alder Good Firewood? It can be…
- Is Sweetgum Good Firewood? Nah, but…
- Is Madrone Good Firewood? Oh, yeah!
- Is Boxelder Good Firewood? It depends…
- Is Cherry a Good Firewood? Oh, yeah…
- Is Willow Good For Firewood? Nah…
- How Hot does Mesquite Burn? [Stats]
- Is Black Locust Good Firewood? Yes, but…
- Is Hickory Good Firewood? Oh, yeah!
- Is Elm Good Firewood? Kind of…
- Is Pine Good Firewood? Yes and no…
- Is Magnolia Good For Firewood? Don’t do it!
- Is Cottonwood Good Firewood? Nah…not really
- Is Beech Good For Firewood? Yes, but…
- Is Walnut A Good Firewood? Yes, but…
- Is Eucalyptus Good for Firewood? Sort of…
- Is Sassafras Good for Firewood? Nah…not really
- Is Osage Orange Good Firewood? Maybe…
- Is Mesquite Good Firewood? Yes, but…
- Is Silver Maple A Good Firewood? Yes, but…
- Is Hemlock Good Firewood? Yes, but…
- How Hot Does Wood Burn: Stats & Visual Guide
- How Small to Split Firewood [Visual Guide]
- How To Sell Firewood For Fun & Profit [Considerations]
- 4+ DIY Wood Kiln Plans: How To Dry Your Firewood At Home
- Does Firewood Go Bad? Yes & No: Here’s The Deal
- What Is A Cord, Face Cord And Rick Of Firewood? [Differences]
- What Is Seasoned Firewood? Benefits + How To Season It Yourself
- Why Firewood Pops And Crackles: And How To Get More Or Less Of It
- Summing Up
So, what’s the best firewood?
Hardwoods vs Softwoods
When it comes to hardwoods vs softwoods, hardwoods are the better choice for firewood. They are denser and burn longer than softwoods. Some of the best hardwoods for firewood include oak, maple, hickory, and beech. Softwoods, on the other hand, are not as dense and burn more quickly. While they may be easier to find and cheaper, they are not the best choice for firewood.
Why does it matter what type of wood I burn?
The type of wood you burn in your fireplace can affect how much heat it produces. Hardwoods are denser and will produce more heat than softwoods. Softwoods, like pine, burn quickly and are not as efficient at producing heat.
When choosing firewood, you should look for wood that is:
- Look for density and dryness: Hardwoods are the best type of wood to use for firewood because they are denser and burn longer than softwoods. The moisture content of the wood is also important – you want firewood that is as dry as possible. Wet wood will sizzle and smoke rather than burn cleanly.
- Hardwood: Hardwoods are denser than softwoods and will burn for a longer period of time. They also produce more heat than softwoods.
Seasoned: Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and allowed to dry for at least six months. Seasoned wood is easier to ignition and burns more efficiently than unseasoned wood.
- Split: Splitting your wood into smaller pieces will help it to dry out faster and will also make it easier to stack and store.
- Clean: Avoid using wood that has been treated with chemicals or painted, as these can release harmful toxins into the air when burned.
Now that you know what to look for in good firewood, you can get started stockpiling wood for the winter months ahead. Just remember to store your wood in a dry, well-ventilated area to help it stay seasoned and ready to burn.
What To Know About Heat Value
The heat value of firewood is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the BTUs, the more heat the wood will generate. Oak, maple, and hickory are some of the most heat-producing woods, while pine and cedar are less efficient.
When choosing firewood, be sure to consider the BTUs as well as the other factors mentioned above. Hardwoods with a high BTU rating will create more heat than softwoods, and seasoned wood will generate more heat than green wood. Splitting your wood into smaller pieces will also help it to dry out faster and produce more heat.
Which Firewood Burns the Longest? Hardwoods.
Hardwoods burn the longest compared to softwoods. This is because hardwoods are denser than softwoods. The density of the wood means that it will take longer for the heat to reach the center of the log, and this results in a longer burning time.
Which Firewood Burns the Hottest?
Again, hardwoods burn hotter than softwoods, for the same reason. The density of the wood means that it will take longer for the heat to reach the center of the log, and this results in a hotter fire.
Look for hardwoods like ash, birch, oak, and hickory. Elm and walnut are also hardwoods, but don’t burn as hot as the first ones we mentioned. All of them are better than softwoods like cedar and pine.
Which Firewood Burns Cleanest?
Look for moisture levels below 20%. So, you’re looking for seasoned wood. The lower the moisture content, the cleaner the wood will burn.
If you’re looking for firewood for cooking
Look for kiln-dried firewood with less than a 20% moisture content so the smoke is ‘clean’.
We recommend deliciously flavored hardwoods like cherry, oak, hickory, or sugar maple.
For a great smelling fire
It needs to be dry- moist wood produces an unpleasant smell. It might contain fungus and mold which smells awful when burned. If you choose well-seasoned wood, it shouldn’t produce too much smoke either.
We recommend cedar, mesquite, or fruitwoods like apple or plum. They all have a lovely smell that will make your home smell great.
Wood you should avoid
While hardwoods are the best type of wood to use for firewood, there are some types that you should avoid. Softwoods like cedar and pine, as they do not burn as hot as hardwoods and they produce more smoke. Additionally, avoid using wood that has been treated with chemicals or painted, as these can release harmful toxins into the air when burned.
Firewood Safety Tips
- When stacking your firewood, be sure to leave plenty of space between the pieces for air circulation. This will help the wood to dry out and stay seasoned.
- If you are using a fireplace, always use a screen to prevent sparks from flying out and causing a fire.
- Never leave a fire burning unattended, and make sure to put out all embers before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Be sure to keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of an emergency.
- Following these tips will help you to choose the best firewood for your needs and ensure that your fires are safe and enjoyable.
- Write a long story about how when I first bought my New England home I wasn’t sure what firewood to use but eventually figured it out
Check out our firewood guides
When it comes to choosing the best firewood, there are a few factors to consider. The first is the heat value, or British Thermal Units (BTUs), of the wood. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and hickory have a higher BTU rating than softwoods like cedar and pine, so they will generate more heat. Seasoned wood will also produce more heat than green wood.
Another thing to consider is the density of the wood. Hardwoods are denser than softwoods, so they will take longer for the heat to reach the center of the log and burn longer. Softwoods like cedar and pine produce more smoke than hardwoods.
It’s also important to choose wood that burns cleanly. Wood with a moisture content below 20% will produce less smoke and less harmful toxins when burned.
Finally, be sure to follow some basic safety precautions when using firewood. Make sure to stack the wood in a dry, well-ventilated area, use a screen in your fireplace, and put out all embers before going to bed or leaving the house.