Choosing The Right Firewood: An Essential Guide

You might be among the people who still heat their homes with wood. Increasing numbers of individuals use this method to combat winter’s chill. It’s both economical and eco-friendly. However, not all types of wood are equivalent. It’s crucial to choose high-quality wood for optimal results. But how can you determine if the firewood you purchased for this winter will perform well? Is it dry enough, and will the tree species provide good heating? Discover all the answers to your questions here!

Recognizing Good Firewood

Understand that 1 kg of wood provides 5 kWh of energy. The wood should be dry, meaning its moisture content is less than 20%. To drop below 20% moisture, the wood usually needs to dry for a period of 15 to 24 months, depending on the drying location and the thickness of the logs.

The best time to cut trees is during autumn and winter when trees send sap down towards their roots.

To choose the right firewood, considering the different available species, remember that the calorific value can vary greatly among species for the same volume of wood. So, your choice plays a significant role depending on what you want to heat.

Pexels / Pixabay

Different Types of Wood Species

The three primary tree species are hardwoods, soft hardwoods, and finally, softwoods.


Hardwoods are dense and grow slowly. They provide a lot of heat and burn for a long time, but they are tough to split, and their drying period is usually long. Chestnut, hornbeam, oak, beech, ash, elm, walnut, black locust, and fruit trees are part of this tree species.

Soft Hardwoods

The second species, soft hardwoods, are less dense. They have a medium heating power and a fast combustion rate. This species can be used to start a fire. They dry relatively quickly compared to the first species but usually don’t preserve as well. This species consists of alder, birch, plane tree, willow, or poplar.

jackmac34 / Pixabay


Finally, the last species, softwoods, are not very dense. These light and soft woods heat quite well but burn quickly. However, they produce embers that can burst into sparks, and the resin in the wood tends to dirty the fireplace. The trees found in this species include spruce, fir, pine, and larch.

To summarize, reliable firewood is dry, dense, and hard. Additionally, consider buying it before the end of the heating period to finish the drying process at your home, which might also help you find the wood at a slightly cheaper price.