Fuel Wood Burning Properties

The fuel wood burning properties of different wood types are given in the following table. The Density column gives an indication of how hard a wood is to split. In general the higher the density, the harder a wood is to split. It is generally recommended to split wood when green as the split logs will season more quickly.

Common NameHardwood/ SoftwoodCommentsDensity
Kg/m3
AlderHProduces poor heat output and burns quickly.400 – 700
AppleHA very good wood that burns slow and steady when dry, it has small flame size, and does not produce sparking or spitting. It produces a disappointing flame.650 – 850
AshHOne of best woods for burning. It produces a steady flame and good heat output.710
BeechHBurns very much like ash, due to its high water content it can take much longer to season the other types.700 – 900
BirchHProduces good heat output but it does burn quickly. Bright flames and a pleasing smell. The sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.670
BlackthornHHas a slow burn, with good heat output.
CedarSIs a good burning wood that produces a consistent and long heat output. It burns with a small flame, but does tend to crackle and spit.380 – 580
CherryHA slow burning wood that produces a good heat output. Cherry needs to be seasoned well.630
ChestnutHA poor burning wood that produces a small flame and little heat.560
Douglas FirSNot a very good firewood, produces little flame or heat.530
ElderHA poor burning wood that produces a small flame and poor heat output. The sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.420 – 490
ElmHBurns well but slowly so it generally needs a faster burning log to support burning. It should be dried for two years for best results.550 – 600
HawthornHBurns well with with little smoke and good heat output. Can be difficult to split.
HazelHIs a good but fast burning wood but still produces a good heat.
HollyHIs a fast burning wood that produces good flame but little heat output. Holly will burn green, but best dried for a minimum of a year.750
HornbeamHGood firewood. Burns well700
Horse ChestnutHA low quality firewood, spits a lot.510
LaburnumHA very smokey wood with a poor burn. Do not use can be poisonous.
LarchSProduces a reasonable heat output, but it needs to be well seasoned. The sap can cause deposits to form in the flue with prolonged use.550
LaurelHBurns with a good flame but only reasonable heat output.
MapleHIs a good burning wood that produces a good flame and heat output.600 – 750
OakHOne of best woods for burning. Because of its density, oak produces a small flame and very slow burn, requires time to season well.740
PearHBurns steady with reasonable heat output. It produces a disappointing flame. Similar to apple wood.
PineSBurns fast with a good flame, but the resin sap can cause deposits to form in the flue and can increase the risk of a chimney fire.510
PlumHA good burning wood that produces good heat output.650 – 800
PoplarSNot a good fuel wood. Slow burning with black choking smoke even when seasoned.450
RowanHIs a good burning wood that has a slow burn with good heat output.
SpruceSProduces a poor heat output and it does not last very long, ideal for starting fires.400 – 700
SycamoreHProduces a good flame, but with only moderate heat output.400 – 600
WalnutHIs a moderate to good burning wood.650 – 700
WillowHA poor fire wood that does not burn very well even when seasoned.400 – 600
YewHA good burning wood as it has a slow burn, and produces a very good heat output.670

1 thought on “Fuel Wood Burning Properties

  1. Good day. Just read your fire wood burning chart. You say Douglas Fir is not very good wood. I live in the NW US where DF is plentiful . I like it best because it leaves little ash. I’ve burned whole cords of DF without cleaning my stove.

    In comparison I’ve burn maple, whis is good heat out put, but I load up my stove in less than a week.

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