Best Firewood to Burn for Heat
Best Firewood to Burn for Heat

Best Firewood to Burn for Heat

Best firewood to burn for heat

What is the best firewood to burn for heat? Winter is coming, so if you don’t have seasoned firewood ready, finding the best you can for those cold months is important.

What is the best wood to burn at home

Choosing your firewood to burn at home for heat should start with how hot it will burn. Then, it can depend on your personal preferences.

Most people prefer woods that are easy to light, have low smoke and a pleasant smell. (You can see a list of best firewood types here.)

There are a number of choices (obviously), but many of our customers want to use their fireplace to supplement the heat in their homes. That’s when knowing the best types of firewood for heat comes into play.

Choosing the best firewood to burn chart

We often are asked what type of wood burns the hottest. And, if you didn’t know, some woods burn hotter than others. The following information will help you learn more about how much heat different types of wood produce.

Firewood BTU ratings

The term “firewood BTU” means the amount of energy a fuel source (firewood, in this case) has. The higher the BTU, the more heat it will produce. So, it stands to reason, you want to choose woods with a higher BTU.

“BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, which is the amount of energy required to heat one pound of water by one degree fahrenheit.”

Best firewood chart

Below, you’ll find the best firewood chart that shows the BTU’s for popular hardwoods and softwoods. It can help you choose the best firewood to burn for heat.

It includes information about wood species, pounds per cord dry and BTU per cord.


Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
Osage Orange 32.9 4728
Shagbark Hickory 27.7 4327
Eastern Hornbeam 27.1 4016
Black Birch 26.8 3890
Black Locust 26.8 3890
Blue Beech 26.8 3890
Ironwood 26.8 3890
Bitternut Hickory 26.5 3832
Honey Locust 26.5 4100
Apple 25.8 3712
Mulberry 25.7 4012
Beech 24 3757
Northern Red Oak 24 3757
Sugar Maple 24 3757
White Oak 24 3757
White Ash 23.6 3689
Yellow Birch 21.8 3150
Red Elm 21.6 3112
Hackberry 20.8 3247
Kentucky Coffeetree 20.8 3247
Gray Birch 20.3 3179
Paper Birch 20.3 3179
White Birch 20.2 3192
Black Walnut 20 3120
Cherry 20 3120
Green Ash 19.9 2880
Black Cherry 19.5 2880
American Elm 19.5 3052
White Elm 19.5 3052
Sycamore 19.1 2992
Black Ash 18.7 2924
Red Maple (Soft Maple) 18.1 2900
Boxelder 17.9 2797
Catalpa 15.9 2482
Aspen 14.7 2295
Butternut 14.5 2100
Willow 14.3 2236
Cottonwood 13.5 2108
American Basswood 13.5 2108


Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
Rocky Mountain Juniper 21.6 3112
Tamarack 20.8 3247
Jack Pine 17.1 2669
Norway Pine 17.1 2669
Pitch Pine 17.1 2669
Hemlock 15.9 2482
Black Spruce 15.9 2482
Eastern White Pine 14.3 2236
Balsam Fir 14.3 2236
Eastern White Cedar 12.2 1913

Additional info about the best firewood to burn for heat

The density of the wood affects how much energy is in the wood. Therefore, a cord of hardwood has more energy than one of softwood.

To get the most energy out of your firewood the wood should be seasoned. Seasoned firewood is typically understood to mean having a 20% moisture content.

BTU’s decrease when the wood is green. This is due to the amount of energy required to evaporate the moisture in the wood. So, don’t burn green wood if you want heat.

A cord of wood is 128 cubic feet. Generally, that equates to a 4ft. x 4ft. x 8ft. stack. Due to air space between pieces, amongst other factors, the actual amount of solid wood will be less