Are you ready to snuggle up to a warm fire with a blanket, sweatshirt, and hot cup of coffee? If you are, then you’ll be happy to see the days fly right off of the calendar. With each passing day, we get a little closer to winter.
But if you are planning on snuggling up to a fire, then you better have your materials ready. You’ll need to make sure that your wood stove is cleaned out, and also make sure that you have plenty of wood for burning.
Yet, you may be asking yourself, what is the best firewood? In reality, the answer is going to be different for everyone. Your answer will depend on which area you live in and the weather you experience. It will also include how warm you actually want to keep your home.
Well, I’ve got all of the info you need to make these decisions and stock your wood sheds. Here are the different types of firewood (and a few other necessary facts) just for you:
Facts about Best Firewood Choices
Hardwood vs. Softwood
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the term ‘hardwood.’ We usually use it in reference to floors. But do you really know the difference?
Well, hardwood is a more dense wood and can be more expensive too, if you are purchasing your firewood.
Yet, it burns hotter and longer than softwood.
However, softwood is usually easy to get a fire started. Though, it isn’t the best for heating your home for long periods of time as it burns up pretty quickly in comparison to hardwood.
Seasoned vs. Unseasoned
When you are burning firewood, seasoned wood should be your first choice. It is the kind of wood that has been left out in the weather after cutting for a long time. It will be gray or dusty in appearance from the outside.
Yet, it will be white and dry on the inside. This is what you want to burn because there aren’t huge amounts of residue that come from the wood and cause chimney blockages. These blockages can cause fires inside of your chimney.
However, if you choose unseasoned wood, this is the wood that is freshly cut and is often referred to as greenwood. It may be easier to come by, but you need to just stay on top of keeping your chimney clean if using it.
But it could be a great choice for wood if you are burning wood outside of your home in something like a firepit or water stove.
Types of Firewood
If you like to cook outdoors or over an open fire in your fireplace, then you might be interested in this type of wood. It is a variety that burns slower which means it will require less wood to keep a fire going.
But it also puts off a nice smell which is great when cooking a meal over an open fire. Some of that tasty fragrance will be soaked up by your food. That sounds delicious!
Are you looking for a type of firewood that will help you keep a steady burning fire? If you are someone that depends strictly upon wood heat, then you would be interested in this type of wood.
So this wood will definitely keep a steady rolling fire going in your fireplace or wood stove. However, it needs to be noted that this firewood works best if it is seasoned.
Birchwood is a softwood. This means that it will ignite faster and can be burned pretty easily as greenwood.
However, you need to keep in mind that it can cause a blockage in your chimney, and it will also burn up quickly which means you’ll need to attend your fire more regularly and need more firewood to keep your home heated.
One of my biggest pet peeves about burning wood inside of our home is when it smokes. Sometimes the wood gets wet and it causes this to happen.
But there are also certain wood types that just smoke more. Blackthorn is not that type of wood. In fact, it is known for burning well and smoking less.
If you have cherry wood, then you are doing great. This type of wood does need to be seasoned really well for its optimal performance.
But once you get past the seasoning process, you’ll be happy to know that it not only burns slow, but it also puts off a great aroma.
What do most people look for in a firewood? Well, most people are looking for a wood type that will put off a warm heat.
But they also want wood that will burn slower so they have to tend to the fire less often. This wood is known for both of those criteria.
Maple trees are a very familiar tree throughout most of the United States. It may be more difficult to locate in different areas of the world, though.
But if you are in an area where maple is available, then you’ll be happy to know that it is a hardwood which means it is dense and durable. This equates to burning longer and often hotter.
Oak trees are another very common tree in a lot of areas. Though this tree may be readily available to a lot of people, it still needs some care when being burned.
So you’ll need to make sure that it is really well seasoned before burning. Otherwise, it won’t burn as slow and steady as most prefer.
I love pine wood as a fire starter. I don’t burn it regularly in my wood stove because of the residue it often puts off.
But if you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, then you’ll love pine because it is easy to get a fire going with it, and it also puts off a great scent when burning.
When I think of the sycamore tree, I think of the old song we sang in Sunday school about Zacchaeus. I didn’t really think about it as a great firewood.
But Sycamore actually is, if it is seasoned well. It puts off a nice amount of warm heat that works well for warming your home over winter.
Walnut is one of those types of wood that are great all the way around. Walnut is a hardwood which means it is dense and durable. This equates to the wood burning longer without needing more added to the fire.
But this wood is also known for burning really well in a woodstove. It is also known for putting off very little smoke.
This type of wood is another great option for firewood. It is known for putting off a great amount of heat.
But it is also known for burning for longer periods of time and for putting off a great fragrance while burning, too.
13. Black Locust
This tree is one that isn’t available all over. From my research, it is mainly available in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States and toward Missouri as well.
However, if you are able to find it, Black Locust is great firewood because it is durable and dense which means it will burn longer.
14. American Beech
This is a type of wood that would be categorized as putting off a high amount of heat. One cord of it equates to about 200 to 250 gallons of fuel, according to my research.
So if you live in an area where it gets really cold, then you might need a type of wood that is known for producing high heat.
Ironwood is another type of firewood that is known for producing high heat. It can save you a lot in fuel costs if you use wood heat to supplement other heat sources.
However, you might want to be sure that your winter will actually call for a high heat producing type of firewood. Otherwise, it could actually burn too hot and make your home uncomfortable. I’m speaking from experience.
16. Shagbark Hickory
This is another wood type known for producing high amounts of heat. It is great for people that live in northern climates who have to battle really cold winters.
So if you need a lot of heat because of the temperatures in your area, then you might really want to consider burning this type.
17. American Elm
Let’s say you live somewhere where the winters are cold, but they aren’t absolutely frigid. You might need to burn wood for heat.
But you don’t need as hot of a heat as someone who is in Alaska. This would be a happy medium heat to keep warm but not roast.
This is another medium heat wood. I think of my parents who live in the middle of the United States. They get colder winters than I do, to where they use their fireplace regularly.
But they don’t live in constant snow and ice all winter long. This type of wood might be a good fit for their needs and your needs too if you live in similar circumstances over the winter.
This is a low heat wood. I try to burn wood similar to this in my area. I live in the southern part of the United States.
So this means that I have a wood stove that I use during the winter, but I don’t need it to burn super hot all of the time. This wood would be a good fit for my situation.
Cottonwood is a type of firewood that is known for producing a low heat. If you live where there are mild winters, then this could be a good fit for you.
Also, in case you are interested in how it compares with fuels, one cord of this wood equates to 100-150 gallons of fuel.
21. Sitka Spruce
Are you looking for a lower temperature warmth? If so, then you need to pay attention to this type of wood.
So if you have this type of wood available in your area, then you might enjoy it to help you stay warm through a milder winter.
22. Western Red Cedar
Finally, western red cedar is our final firewood type that is known for producing a lower heat when burned.
So again, if you live where you still have winter where you actually need heat, but it is mild, then you might be interested in this type of firewood.
Now you have over 20 different types of firewood to choose from. No matter where you live, you should be able to find firewood that will work well for your specific needs.
But I’d like to hear from you. What type of winters do you have? Do you burn wood? If so, what is your favorite type of firewood? Why?
We love hearing from you so please leave us your thoughts in the space provided below.