Because hardwoods like oak and hickory have a higher energy content than softwoods, they release more heat as they burn. Softwoods are more inefficient — although they produce a hot fire, they burn up very quickly. Ultra kiln dried hardwoods burn hot and slow and without creating much smoke, which makes them the most efficient type of firewood.
Whether it’s hardwood or softwood, the best firewood is ultra kiln dried. Many backyard fire-makers settle for pieces of seasoned wood, but they often aren’t aware of its disadvantages. With most seasoned wood, it’s impossible to remove enough moisture, so fires are difficult and frustrating to light. You have to carefully start a fire with twigs and matches or a fire-starter block before laying down small pieces of kindling. If you add firewood too quickly, you snuff out the vulnerable flame and have to start the process over.
Mold thrives in damp woodpiles, and pests such as spiders, ants and termites can easily infest stacks of firewood. When you bring poorly seasoned wood into your home, you risk bringing fungus and insects in with it.
Wood that hasn’t dried enough will produce damaging smoke full of creosote, the chemicals that cause chimney fires. Also, the smoke of seasoned wood smells terrible, and the scent seeps into fabric — the odor of smoke sticks to your favorite clothes and won’t go away, even after several washes. Often, seasoned wood has to dry in the elements for over a year before it can produce decently clean smoke.
In contrast, kiln dried wood provides a fire that is both convenient and eco-friendly. With kiln dried wood, you eliminate the frustrating and time-consuming fire-starting process. Professionally dried firewood lights quickly with minimal effort — all you need is a single match. Kiln dried wood emits less smoke as it burns, which protects both the environment and your chimney. Without clouds of odorous smoke, your fire pit is safe for your favorite fall flannels.
Producing environmentally damaging smoke and difficult to light, seasoned firewood often does more harm than good. Invest in ultra kiln dried firewood for practical and responsible fires.
What Is the Best Wood for Burning?
Now that we’ve discussed the difference in seasoned and kiln dried firewood, it’s time to dive into the different species of hardwoods and what types are best for your fires.
Different species work best in different settings. Below, we’ve grouped our top three types of wood for indoor and outdoor fires.
Best Firewoods for Indoor Wood Burning
For indoor fireplaces and wood stoves, try these species of hardwoods for warm and efficient home fires.
- Cherry Firewood
Dried cherry wood produces a delightful aroma that will quickly fill a home. While cherry wood does not burn as long or as hot as other hardwoods, its cheerful glow and aromatic nature make it a good pick for many modern indoor settings — if the atmosphere of your fire is more important than the heat, cherry wood is a perfect choice.
- Ash Firewood
Ash has a steady burn and produces high amounts of heat, which makes it a popular choice for indoor fires. Additionally, ash is known for splitting easily, which makes it attractive for homeowners who want to cut and dry their own wood.
- Hickory Firewood
Easy to light, hickory wood produces hot and long-lasting fires. Perfect for hearths and wood stoves, hickory burns cleanly without giving off any harmful emissions. Because of its high heat output, try using hickory firewood in your fireplace to get the most warmth out of your fire. Not to mention it will give off a great aroma and a classic firewood crackling sound which is why hickory firewood is one of our favorites.
Best Firewoods for Outdoor Wood Burning
If you prefer your fires outside by a fire pit or chiminea, try these hardwoods for a charming, festive evening.
- Oak Firewood
With over 600 different varieties, it’s easy to find a type of oak to suit your needs. Although it doesn’t burn as long as hickory, oak produces bright and steady flames that will light up your backyard for hours.
- Beech Firewood
Similar to ash, beech wood burns hot and clean. Beech firewood doesn’t produce a lot of sparks, which makes it perfect for outdoor fire pits.
- Hickory Firewood
The same qualities that make hickory excellent for indoor fires make it well-suited for outdoor fire pits. With a long burn time, pleasant aroma and high heat output, hickory firewood creates a cheerful fire that will effortlessly draw guests to your backyard. Hickory firewood will also give you that nice crackling background noise to compliment the overall experience for your guests.
Our Recommended Firewood Based On Your Needs
Beyond indoor and outdoor use, the function of your fire will determine which type of firewood is the best fit. Whether you need a fire for atmosphere, warmth or cooking, there is a perfect firewood for your needs. Here are some of our recommendations for the best types of wood for your different fires.
If you’re building a warm weather fire, try firewoods that don’t give off as much heat. Cherry is a slow burner that gives off a delightful aroma. With a low heat output, cottonwood is another good choice for hot season fires.
- Indoor Fireplaces Most modern indoor fireplaces aren’t responsible for heating your home in the winter. They provide a warm, cozy atmosphere and set a charming backdrop to cold autumn and winter evenings.For indoor fireplaces, you can choose wood for its aesthetics and aroma. Oak firewood gives bright flames and provides an even, steady fire that lasts for hours. Hickory produces a charming scent and a crackling fire, setting a warm tone for your evening. Cherry can create a pleasantly sweet aroma to create a cozy atmosphere.Hawthorn is a wonderful wood for indoor fireplaces, but it is less abundant than oak or hickory and is more difficult to find. But if you have the opportunity, a fire made of hawthorn wood will burn hot and slow, perfect for cold winter evenings. Prolong your burning of this type of wood by pairing it with some oak. Oak will compliment this type of wood while allowing hawthorn to be the star of the fire.
- Outdoor Fire Pits To create a crackling centerpiece for cold-weather parties, choose hot-burning hardwoods that will last through the night. In cold weather, prioritize fires that have a high heat output. Hickory and oak produce a lot of heat, burn for a long time and work well when burned individually or mixed together. Uncut rounds which is wood prior to being split will give the longest burn for an outdoor fire.If you’re building a warm weather fire, try firewoods that don’t give off as much heat. Cherry is a slow burner that gives off a delightful aroma. With a low heat output, cottonwood is another good choice for hot season fires.
- Grilling and Smoking When you’re building a cooking fire, the scent and smoke of the firewood becomes crucial. The right firewood could be the difference between a delicious and disgusting grill night. Some woods give food a smoky and subtle flavor, while others could make your dinner taste bitter.For a subtle flavor that won’t overpower your food, try cherry and oak firewood. Considered a worthy substitute for hard-to-find applewood, cherry firewood gives food a fruity tone. For a soft, nutty flavor, choose pecan wood for your grill. Pecan is a member of the hickory family, so it lights easily and burns hot and long — it’s a favorite choice for both smoking and grilling. Because of its strong flavor, hickory firewood should be reserved for cooking certain meats like bacon and is recommended for more experienced grillers and smokers. Beginners can mix hickory with oak to get a hint of the classic hickory flavor. Ultimately, the best firewood for your grill comes down to personal taste and your experience as an outdoor cook.
If you can, avoid maple and poplar wood for both indoor and outdoor fires — they are inferior to denser woods such as oak and hickory, and they burn quickly.
Tips for Buying the Best Firewood
Once you’ve decided what type of wood you need, the next step is finding good firewood. Below, we’ve listed our top five tips for choosing the best firewood this season.
- Look for Clean, Dry Wood When you’re searching for good firewood, check to make sure that the wood is clean. Examine the wood for signs of pest damage, including sawdust, holes and tunnels. Look for symptoms of rot such as white, spongy wood.Firewood covered in sand or mud won’t burn efficiently, and check pieces for cloudy white mold — moldy firewood could release harmful spores into the air as it burns. For the same reason, avoid wood that is painted, stained or pressure-treated. If wood has been chemically treated, when burned it could send carcinogens and toxic fumes into the air around the fire.Green firewood is wood that’s been cut within six months and not kiln dried. Still filled with sap and moisture, green wood is difficult to burn and produces a lot of foul-smelling smoke. Ask your provider when the wood was cut to make certain it isn’t green. If you’re still not sure, try peeling back some of the bark — if the bark is sticky or hard to pull off, the wood hasn’t dried enough.
- Buy From a Reputable Local Dealer or USDA Approved When you are searching for firewood, look for local, reputable dealers to find the best wood available. If you are buying from a business, read reviews and comments to see what other customers have to say about the company.Also, take care to buy firewood that’s sourced from your region or wood that has been USDA approved — if you purchase seasoned or green firewood, you risk bringing invasive species or diseases into your area. Noxious pests such as the goldspotted oak borer, Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer can decimate local forests, and they easily spread across regions through firewood. You won’t have to worry about this when you purchase USDA approved kiln dried firewood as it has been properly treated and is ready to burn.
- Visit the Showroom or Storage Area If possible, visit the storage area or showroom of a business to get an idea of how they store and manage their wood. This gives you an opportunity to personally examine the firewood, as well as note the storage conditions. Does the seller haphazardly pile their fireplace pieces on the ground, or do they neatly stack in a dry, sheltered place?Avoid randomly piled wood whenever possible — piles tend to contain moisture and are difficult to accurately count and measure. Ask the seller how much wood is in an order or what size rack will this order of wood fill? These questions will give you a better understanding of how much wood you are receiving.
- Select Wood That Is the Right Length When looking for good firewood, make sure the pieces are the right size — you don’t want to have to re-split your firewood. For fireplaces, wood stoves or fire pits, look for pieces that are at least three inches shorter than the length of the firebox. Even if a piece of wood is just a little too big, it can make managing the fire difficult to impossible.For larger outdoor fire pits, you can get away with burning larger pieces of wood. Try purchasing a range of sizes for an efficient fire, but make sure that they don’t vary more than two inches in length. A good company will provide pieces of a consistent length — inconsistent sizing is often a sign of poor-quality wood or an inexperienced seller.
- Choose Kiln Dried Firewood Over Seasoned or Green Firewood For the best results, start looking for kiln dried firewood instead of seasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood has been aged on its own so it is unclear how long it has aged, how much moisture is in it and how much longer you will need to store it until burning. Seasoned wood also has the risks of bringing live pests with it. Kiln dried firewood gives you the best product. Whenever you buy USDA kiln dried firewood, the wood is ready to burn at the moment you purchase it. There is no waiting for the wood to dry out and no risk of pests coming with an order. Premium kiln dried firewood will create a superior fire.
How Much Does Premium Firewood Cost?
When many people hear about premium firewood, they instantly assume it’s out of their price range. But high-end, artisan firewood can be an affordable and time-saving option for your fires — the cost largely depends on the type of the wood.
For most types of wood, the abundance of the tree determines its cost. Because it is rarer than other species of trees, cherry is generally more expensive than oak. Similarly, oak is typically cheaper than other types of wood due to its wide availability.
Another factor to consider is the state of the wood. Kiln dried wood requires an extensive conditioning process, but the results are thoroughly dried wood that ignites quickly and burns cleanly. Traditional aging processes can’t match the quality and precision of kiln dried firewood — it’s simply the best firewood available.
The amount of firewood you need will also affect the cost. Are you only an occasional fire-starter, or do you prefer to have a blaze roaring in your hearth every night of the season? No matter how much wood you are using, high-quality, premium firewood will be well worth the investment.
Best Firewood in Atlanta
This season, you deserve an unparalleled firewood experience.
At Cutting Edge Firewood, we provide premium, artisan firewood with unmatched customer service. Our ultra kiln dried wood is conditioned for 48 hours, which is 12 times the USDA requirement. This means our wood gives a cleaner burn with less smoke, extending the life of your chimney and favorite fall clothes. Our wood is guaranteed to be fungus- and pest-free, and it is always ready to be burned the day you purchase. Say goodbye to frustrating fire starters — our firewood can be lit with a single match.
We provide a complimentary delivery and stacking service — experts will deliver wood to your home and stack it to your exact specifications at no additional cost. Our wide range of wood types and sizes provide different flavors and experiences, so it’s easy to find the firewood that best suits your needs. At Cutting Edge Firewood, we care about the details, both in the quality of our wood and the level of our service.
For a redefined firewood experience, contact us today to place an order or schedule a tour of our showroom. Our team of experts is available to answer all of your questions, so you can know you are getting the best quality firewood available.