Hardwood vs. Softwood: Which Is Best for Firewood? (User’s Guide)

Firewood is a great way to save on energy costs, but it can be difficult to know which type of wood will give you the highest return. This article takes an in-depth look at hardwood vs softwood firewoods and reviews their pros and cons so that you are empowered with the knowledge needed to make the best choice for your home or business!

Many people choose to use firewood for their heating needs. This type of fuel is not only cost-effective, but it also produces very little smoke and doesn’t leave behind any ashes after burning. However, not all types of wood are created equal. If you want your home to be warm this winter without breaking the bank, then you need to know about the different varieties of firewood available so that you can make an informed decision about what type is best for your situation.firewood

What is Hardwood?

Hardwood is wood that comes from deciduous trees. These are trees that lose their leaves in the fall every year, only to grow back again come springtime. This includes both conifers and broadleaf species of tree. Examples include oak, maple, ash, birch, walnut—just about any type of tree you can think of.

There are a few different types of hardwood out there, and therefore a little bit more to consider when choosing the right kind for your needs. The type you go with will depend on what exactly it is that you’re using the wood for—whether burning in a fireplace or cooking over an open fire pit at your backyard get-togethers.

What is Softwood?

Softwoods are trees that never lose their leaves, and therefore do not grow back in the springtime. This includes conifers like pines or spruce—but also deciduous species of tree which shed their leaves too (think cedar or cypress). These are often referred to as evergreens, because they are trees that remain green all year round—unlike hardwoods.

Softwood is ideal for burning in open fire pits or campfires outside of your home. It’s also great if you want to use it inside of an indoor fireplace (certain types, like cedar and cypress, are preferred for this).

Softwood is not the best choice if you’re looking to burn it in a fireplace. It burns too quickly and emits more of an odor than hardwoods do—which can be unpleasant when indoors. However, there are some softwood varieties that work well as firelogs (eucalyptus is a popular choice for this).

When To Use Hardwood Firewood vs. Softwood Firewood

There are several factors to consider when choosing between hardwood and softwood firewood. Hardwoods burn hotter than most softwoods, but they also take longer to get started. Soft woods like poplar or cedar tend to be easier for beginners because the types of wood that make up these species is easy.

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Hardwoods tend to be more dense. For example, fruit wood is generally easier to use as firewood because it burns slower and tends to have a higher BTU rating than other types of hardwood. If you want a high-heat source for your fireplace or stove but only have the option of soft woods like cedar or hemlock, you can split the wood to reduce its overall size. Splitting softwoods will help them burn hotter and faster than if they were left in large chunks.

Hardwood vs. Softwood Firewood – Which Type Is Right For You?

When faced with a choice between hard or soft woods for firewood, it’s important to consider the type of stove or fireplace you own. Newer wood stoves and fireplaces are designed for hardwood whereas older models may prefer soft woods like cedar, pine, hemlock etc.

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There are several factors to consider when choosing between hardwood and softwood firewood. Hardwoods burn hotter than most softwoods, but they also take longer to get started. Soft woods like poplar or cedar tend to be easier for beginners because the types of wood that make up these species is easy.

Hardwoods tend to be more dense. For example, fruit wood is generally easier to use as firewood because it burns slower and tends to have a higher BTU rating than other types of hardwood. If you want a high-heat source for your fireplace or stove but only have the option of soft woods like cedar or hemlock, you can split the wood to reduce its overall size. Splitting softwoods will help them burn hotter and faster than if they were left in large chunks.

When faced with a choice between hard or soft woods for firewood, it’s important to consider the type of stove or fireplace you own. Newer wood stoves and fireplaces are designed for hardwood whereas older models may prefer soft woods like cedar, pine, hemlock etc.firewood

More Firewood Tips

  • Make sure the wood is dry. Don’t burn green or wet firewood; it won’t give off heat, and it will raise your risk of a chimney fire.
  • Stack your seasoned (dry) wood in a well-ventilated area like an open garage rather than inside your house where warmth and moisture can cause issues.
  • If you have a fireplace, don’t install an artificial log or any other imitation firewood product because it could emit poisonous monoxide gas and actually increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Always buy firewood from a reputable source and avoid cutting down your own trees. It’s best to leave that task to the professionals, who can not only get it done faster but also harvest wood more efficiently than someone with an axe and chain saw could.
  • Read any warnings or directions on your stove before using it for burning firewood.
  • Store your firewood at least 30 feet away from any structures and anything else flammable, such as dry grass or leaves.
  • Don’t stack your wood too high and make sure it’s secure (and not leaning) to avoid collapse when you’re tending the flames inside the fireplace. Keep in mind that your wood pile should be sturdy enough to support a person’s weight.
  • Keep in mind that firewood will burn faster and hotter if you create a “log cabin” by crisscrossing the logs instead of stacking them all up neatly against each other. You can also leave small spaces between larger pieces for even greater airflow – this helps to increase the rate of burning and reduces smoke.
  • Make sure the wood is dry. Don’t burn green or wet firewood; it won’t give off heat, and it will raise your risk of a chimney fire.
  • Stack your seasoned (dry) wood in a well-ventilated area like an open garage rather than inside your house where warmth and moisture can cause issues.
  • If you have a fireplace, don’t install an artificial log or any other imitation firewood product because it could emit poisonous monoxide gas and actually increase your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
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Environmental Protection

One of the biggest differences between hardwood and softwood is how environmentally friendly they are. According to a study done by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, hardwoods have a carbon footprint that is up to 70% lower than that of softwoods. In addition, this research found that ash has one of the smallest carbon footprints out there with a rating of just under three.

How Much Does wood Cost?

As far as cost is concerned, hardwood isn’t always more expensive than softwoods. Depending on where you live and what kind of wood you choose to buy, it can actually be cheaper! For example, if you are in an area that has a lot of soft ash trees, the cost will be much lower than in a place where hardwoods are more common. These areas typically have denser populations and thus drive up the price for wood that is harvested from them. In addition to this, there can be discrepancies between local markets that influence whether or not you get a good deal on your firewood.

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Safety Tips for Hardwood vs. Softwood Firewood

  • Handle the firewood with care, this will help you avoid any injuries or damage to your property.
  • Do not split wood over concrete surfaces as it may cause noise and dust pollution which can be hazardous for people living in close quarters like apartments or condos.
  • Before splitting hardwoods make sure they are completely dry, this will ensure they burn properly.
  • Keep all pets and children away from the hardwood firewood while splitting or stacking it to avoid any accidents or injuries.
  • To avoid any injuries or accidents, do not wear gloves when using a splitter on hardwoods.
  • Do not use hardwood for fireplaces as it may produce too much smoke and cause respiratory issues. Also the flames tend to be very high which can burn your house down if you are not careful.
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FAQs

What is the best firewood type?

There isn’t a best wood. It usually depends on preference and what you will be using the firewood for. For example, if you want to have longer lasting fires, pine or poplar are good options for this purpose. If you want smaller pieces of wood for better burning, oak is the way to go.

Is hardwood better than softwood?

It really depends on what you’re looking for in your firewood purchase. For example, if you want longer lasting fires that burn hotter and faster, then pine or poplar are good options. If smaller pieces of wood are better for you, then oak is a good choice.

Do I have to split the firewood before bringing it home?

It depends on how much work you want to do! If splitting isn’t too hard for you and your equipment, this step can be done at the seller’s location so you don’t have to do it at home. If splitting is too hard or time consuming, you can ask your seller about having them split the wood for you before purchase!

What are the best types of equipment to use when splitting firewood?

As long as you have an axe or hatchet, any type of wood can be split. However, if you’re looking for speed and ease of work, a log splitter is definitely your answer!

How much does one load of firewood weigh?

When buying or selling, one load of wood is about a cord (128 cubic feet). However, some sellers may say facecord which means the wood will be stacked up to four feet high and eight inches deep. If it is not facecorded than you can assume that you are only getting a half cord of wood.

What is the best firewood length?

If you’re looking for longer lasting fires, it would be good to get logs that are 16 inches long and up. If size isn’t important than anything can work!

Conclusion

In this article, you have learned about the difference between hardwood and softwood. You now know that there is no set rule as to which one is better for firewood. Every type of wood has its own unique qualities and characteristics so it depends on what kind of fire you want: a long-lasting slow burn or an intense fast burn.