Winter is finally coming around, which means there will be more holiday baking, Christmas gift shopping, and cozy gatherings by the fireplace. But do you know what kind of firewood is best for your fireplace?
When choosing firewood, you need to know what you want from it. Do you want a slow-burning wood, aroma, steady fire, or even a unique wood that is hard to find? Here are some brief definitions of terms that you need to to know before picking your firewood (we also use these terms down below for our top 10):
People often use the term hardwood or softwood to describe different types of wood (i.e. oak is hardwood, birch is softwood). With regards to firewood burning, hardwoods burn slower than softwoods. It will also take a little bit more time to ignite hardwood compared to softwood. Scientifically speaking, hardwood comes from angiosperm trees and are broad-leaved while softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, which usually have needles and cones.
Greenwood is wood that has been freshly cut and has not been seasoned/dried yet. Seasoned wood is wood that has been dried by evaporation of the internal moisture. So when you hear wood that can also burn green, it means that it can burn when it still has moisture in it. But remember, wood always burns better when seasoned.
Keep these four terms in mind as you go through our list and if you want to learn more firewood terminology, we will have a more in depth blog coming up soon to teach you the basics!
Now without further adieu, here is our top 10 firewoods to burn this winter:
This is crowned as our top firewood choice to burn this winter because it produces a slow-burning and hot fire. However, you need to make sure that it is seasoned well! It is recommended that you season oak for at least one year, preferably two. Once ignited, oak will burn with an intense and sustained fire.
Hickory is another dense firewood choice that is similar to oak, but keep in mind that it is a bit tougher and will be harder to hand split. Unlike oak, hickory has a lower moisture content and will season faster. It also happens to give off a sweet odor when it burns.
This tree is going to be a little bit tougher to get your hands on… It’s mainly available in the Appalachian Mountains and a handful of states. However, if you are able to find it, this will burn for a long time due to its durability and density. Fun fact: it’s also great material for fence posts.
If you enjoy cooking outdoors or over an open fire in your fireplace, try burning Apple. This firewood will burn slow and require less wood to keep it going. It also puts off a nice, tasty fragrance that will be soaked up by your food. Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Ash is one of the best woods for a steady fire and good heat. Just remember that even though burns when green, it will burn much better when it is seasoned.
This softwood both smells great and has good heat, but unlike the previous firewood choices, this will ignite and burn quickly. You will have to attend your fire more regularly and need a lot of birch handy to keep your fire going. Birch will also burn unseasoned, but be careful because it can cause gum deposits in chimneys over time. Don’t use the greenwood too often.
If you have cherry wood readily available, then you are off to a great start. Just like apple, cherrywood will reward you with a wonderful aroma and a nice slow burn if seasoned well.
When people look for firewood, they are looking for a wood type that will put off a cozy, warm heat that will burn slow so that they do not need to tend to the fire often. Hawthorn perfectly fits those criteria, so if you are one of those people, this firewood choice is perfect for you.
Hard maple is a popular choice. It’s both incredibly easy to find and readily available in both the United States and Canada. It’s extremely dense and heavy, allowing it to slowly burn just like other hardwoods such as oak and hickory. If you are ever in doubt of choosing firewood, choose maple.
Last but not least, we have this softwood as our 10th choice for firewood to burn this winter. This softwood is a fantastic choice for the holiday season, because of its festive smell and it’s perfect for kindling and outdoor fires. But try not to burn large amounts of pine in your fireplace, because it has a high sap concentration.
We hope this list helps and makes your fireplace gatherings a little bit cozier and let us know what are your favorite firewoods!