Types of Firewood Explained

Different trees make wood of different quality. While there is no straightforward answer to the best type of wood for firewood, there is probably an answer depending on what you’re doing. If you’re starting a fire, trying to make the hottest fire, or looking for a wood that is easy to split on your own. Let us walk you through some of the best burning woods, the BTU value of the wood, and other useful information to make your choice. 

1. Oak Firewood 

BTUs: 26.4 for white oak, 24.8 for red oak 

Oak firewood is prized for the large amount of heat that it generates. If you are looking for wood to actually heat up a home or whatever area you’re burning your fire in, then oak is an excellent choice. It will create very few sparks and pops. Oak should be seasoned for at least one year, and ideally longer, to get the most heat. 

2. Birch Firewood 

BTUs: 20.8 

While birch is not a hot-burning wood, it has many characteristics that make it a quality residential firewood. When you’re not relying on your fire for heat, you’ll appreciate that birch lights up quickly, and burns brightly, so you can see the people around you. It will burn quickly too, so it is best for short fires.   

3. Maple Firewood 

BTUs: 23.9 

If you can’t get your hands on oak, then hard maple is one of the best types of wood for a fireplace. It generates a significant amount of heat and is very efficient. However, maple can be difficult to split on your own, we suggest purchasing from us so all of the hard work is done. When you do purchase from anywhere, be warned, there are soft maple varieties that will produce even less heat than birch. You likely want hard maple. Soft maple is better for woodworking! 

Looking to purchase firewood for the chilly winter months approaching? Contact our team today. 

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4. Pine Firewood

BTUs: 22 for southern yellow 

Pine is one of those woods that you typically want to avoid when you’re at a fire. Pine may be easy to grow and cut down, but it doesn’t provide much heat. It is also full of sap, which makes it burn messy and smoky. You should typically not use pine as your main firewood. 

5. Black Locust Firewood 

BTUs: 27.9 for black locust 

26.7 for honeylocust 

You can’t compile a list of the best firewoods for burning without discussing black locust and honeylocust. If you can get your hands on these woods you’ll be rewarded with some of the best heat outputs, low smoke, low sparks, and excellent coals. 

6. Cherry Firewood 

BTUs: 20.4 for black cherry 

Now, as you can see, cherry wood does not generate a lot of heat. However, it is an amazing wood for cooking over, or for when you care more about the ambiance of the fire than the heat it produces. Cherry wood creates a sweet scent when it burns and can infuse food with a smoky-sweet flavour. Plus, cherry wood is easy to split and will leave behind plenty of coals for your cooking purposes. 

We have just what you’re looking for – purchase your best firewood from Van Beek’s.