What is the Best Firewood to Burn? 2024 – Complete Guide

Are you in search of the best wood in terms of sustainability? Wood is a viable energy source that many people use in their homes. All the types of wood burn differently and produce different types of smoke. Some of these burn at high temperatures, while others spark and pop.

Rotten firewood that does not burn properly can create many problems such as lung diseases as a build-up gathers on the chimney, which has harmful effects later on.

As various species of woods are present, finding the best one that meets all the requirements is a complicated task.

Before buying the best firewood to burn chart, many factors need to be considered. Having enough knowledge regarding firewood is very much necessary.

The article below has all the information that one needs to know before purchasing. Now let’s go through the article and start burning!


Best Firewood To Burn Chart

Type of Firewood  Hardwood or Softwood Wood Density (lbs/ft3) Heat Production (million BTUs/cord) Smoke Produced
Hickory Hardwood 37-58 28 Minimal
Oak Hardwood 37-56 28 Minimal
Pecan Hardwood 45 28 Moderate
Mesquite Hardwood 40 28 Moderate
Beech Hardwood 37 27.5 Minimal
Black Locust Hardwood 48 27 Minimal
Apple Hardwood 41-52 27 Minimal
Yew Hardwood 45 27 Minimal
Mulberry Hardwood 47 26 Moderate
Ash Hardwood 40-53 24 Minimal
Larch Softwood 31-35 22 Minimal
Juniper Softwood 35 22 Moderate
Black Walnut Hardwood 32 22 Minimal
Birch Hardwood 42 21 Moderate
Douglas Fir Softwood 33 21 High
Cherry Hardwood 43-56 20 Minimal
Maple Hardwood 39-47 20 Minimal
Sycamore Hardwood 50 20 Moderate
Elm Soft Hardwood 35 20 Moderate
Chestnut Hardwood 46 18 Moderate
Aspen Soft Hardwood 21 18 Low
Alder Hardwood 25 17.5 Low
Pine Softwood 22-31 17 High
Cottonwood Soft Hardwood 46 16 Moderate
Spruce Softwood 28 15 Moderate
Poplar Hardwood 22-31 14 Moderate
Cedar Softwood 23 12 Moderate

Ordinary or inexperienced people do not have any knowledge of firewood. All the woods look the same, and they cannot differentiate between them.

Before you plan on buying the firewood for a friend’s night or a family dinner, two very critical points should be considered. Moisture and density are the two main factors affecting wood burning.


The moisture level is necessary when you plan to buy the wood for burning purposes. The wood’s perfect moisture content should be below 20 percent, which will then heat the house.

To achieve this ideal level, it is recommended to cut the wood and season it for almost 7 to 8 months. The moisture meter is one of the tools used to measure the level of moisture in any wood.


Density is another important factor that plays an essential role in burning wood. The energy possessed by the wood and the amount of heat produced depends upon the density.

Wood with high density burns for a longer time and creates more heat, keeping the place warm. Moreover, they leave coal beds behind, which are very useful as they make the fire comfortable with time.

Firewood That Burns Longer

When we hunt for the best firewood to burn, we get to know that two main types of woods are present. The hardwood and the softwood are the two types, and they come from different trees.

The hardwood that we use for burning purposes comes from the trees that face a decline in the winters. Examples of hardwood trees are oaks, hickory, and ash.

The softwood trees are evergreen; they bloom the entire year and include pines, spruces, and firs. The hardwood trees take along to nourish and grow, so they have thick wood.

This will take a longer time to burn than the softwood as they fizzle out quickly. A fireplace can be set by using a combination of these woods. We can use the softwood initially, and then hardwood can keep it going.

Firewood That Burns The Hottest

Hardwoods are dense, and as a result, they are hotter when burned. Many types of hardwoods such as oak, ash, birch, and hickory have the highest heat, while walnut and elm produce much lower heat.

But all of these different hardwoods have a high heat value when we compare them to the softwoods such as the pines and cedar.

The amount of heat can be measured by BTU or the British Thermal Unit, which is considered the unit of measurement of heat. This unit of measurement gives the mounting heat a single match produces when burned.

According to this perspective, the oak wood, when burned, has 29 million BTUs. Similarly, the hickory, apple, and walnut have 28, 27, and 22 million BTUs respectively.

Firewood That Burns The Cleanest

Most of the woods provide sufficient heat if it produces a lot of smoke. The wood that we use for burning purposes should be efficient and produce minimum smoke not to irritate and cause discomfort.

To reduce the smoke levels, it is essential to use dry wood and has moisture levels of less than 20 percent. If the moisture level increases, the wood will produce too much smoke and will not last for a long time.

Seasoning the wood for six to eight months in a well-ventilated place is the solution for this. This lowers the moisture level in the wood and produces as much less smoke and clean burning.

If you cannot wait for months and need the wood ready to burn, use the kiln-dried firewood. It is ready to burn when cut and provides the cleanest burns. You can light these up in a matter of a few hours.

Firewood That Smells The Best

Firewood That Smells The Best

When burning firewood, it is very much important that it smells good. If using high-quality wood that sinks, nobody will like it.

The dryness of the wood is one of the critical factors that lead to this gross smell. If they are used before the seasoning time and not dried well, they will stink high chances.

Similarly, if the wood that has been cut and stored gets molds or fungus, when it burns, eventually a bad smell will be produced.

Many kinds of wood exist and some of them have a lovely aroma when they are burned. These woods include cherry, hickory, oak, pine, and cedar.

The cedar and pine woods have a delightful smell that feels very nice, while the cherry and hickory have a fruity and savory scent respectively.

Firewood Burning Tips

These are a few tips that will help you burn the wood and take full advantage of the heat that it produces.


When lighting up the wood inside the house, it is very much necessary that some air flows in.

If the home is closed, one window should be opened so that the oxygen can help in firing the woods and produce heat. The airflow helps in easy burning and allows ventilation as well.

Burn Logs Together

Burn Logs Together

Whenever you plan to burn the wood logs, make sure you burn 4 to 5 logs together, so they last for a long time. If you take a single log, it will finish quickly, and then you have to light up another.

Using the logs together can extend the burning time and produce more heat as it spreads.

Appropriate Wood Type

Before selecting any wood, whether hardwood or softwood, it is necessary to know the amount of heat you need.

For example, as hardwood is dense and can produce more heat, it will be ideal for burning in extreme winters.

Similarly, the softwoods are fragile, give limited amounts of heat and finish quickly, so these are best to use in moderate weather.

Split the Wood

It is essential to split the wood into small pieces of 5 to 7 inches to burn it quickly. Using vast pieces of wood can be challenging to manage, and they do not even burn properly.

This also helps in clean-burning and minimizes smoke production.

Read also: Best Smokers for Beginners


What is the Best Firewood to Burn FAQ

1. What is the best firewood to burn?

Hardwood is considered the best firewood to burn as they give more heat and stay for a long time. Maples, oaks, birch, and many fruit trees are included in this category. These also burn the cleanest and keep the surroundings hotter.

2. What’s the worst wood to burn?

Alder is considered the worst wood to burn as it produces low amounts of heat and finishes in no time. It is soft, easy to light but tend to burn quicker.

3. What is the hottest burning wood?

Osage orange is considered the hottest burning wood acquired from a tall tree of 60 feet. The wood of this tree is not easy to split and is highly dense; as a result, it is considered the hottest to burn.

4. Can you burn bamboo for firewood?

Yes, bamboo can be used as firewood to burn and is considered the easiest to split. If you need wood for burning purposes, this woody bamboo can serve you for this purpose.

5. What is the fastest-growing tree for firewood?

The willow tree is considered the fastest growing tree globally and is pretty inexpensive. People can use these for burning purposes.


The best firewood to burn depends upon the purpose of burning. A wide variety of woods are available, which can produce different amounts of heat.

These can be used according to the weather conditions. The only two essential factors to consider before buying firewood are density and moisture level. As long as these two are ideal, you can use any wood for burning purposes.