couple sitting by the fire

When it comes to burning wood in your fireplace, not all woods are created equal. Each species of wood has its own smell, density, and moisture retention level that directly impacts on how clean, slow, and well they burn. Here we look at the best and worst kinds of wood to burn in your fireplace. 

Wood Burning 101 

The key factors that contribute to how wood burns and firewood quality are density and moisture retention. Wood with high density and moisture retention are the worst types of wood to burn. They don’t burn as long and also don’t produce enough heat. Therefore the best wood for burning should be dry and hard.   

The Best Kinds of Wood to Burn 

Let’s start with the best woods to burn in a fireplace rated from good to very good: 

Good Burn 

  • Rhododendron: As long as you make sure you season your rhododendron wood; you can get a very respectable burn. If your clearing out your garden and have dead wood, let it sit in a dry place before using it. 
  • Maple: If you want a long-lasting, hot flame, maple is a perfect choice. 
  • Oak: Oak is high density so is only a good burner when given time to season-long enough. 
  • Pear: Treat pear the same as oak and you’ll enjoy the flame. 
  • Plum: This is a fairly slow burner and also puts out a nice warmth. 
  • Apple: If you want less smoke and spitting, with a long-lasting flame, you’ll get a nice glow and quiet smokeless yet fragrant burn from apple. 
  • Blackthorn: If you can find it, this is the best choice for smaller indoor fires in close quarters as it doesn’t produce too much heat. 
  • Hazel: This is perfect if you want intense heat, but you’ll find you have to feed it more often as it is a fast burner. 
  • Hornbeam: Good heat and a long-lasting flame. 
  • Lilac: Keep smaller branches you trim or that fall from your lilac trees for kindling.  
  • Cedar: This is a fragrant slow burner, but it tends to produce a lot of spitting and leaves sap deposits in your fireplace. 
  • Cherry: As long as the wood is in season, you’ll get a long fragrant burn. Otherwise it’s sappy and smokey.   

Very Good 

  • Ash: This is hands down the best kind of wood to burn in a fireplace. When wondering what word burns the longest, the answer is ash. When asking which wood burns the hottest the answer is still ash, even if the wood isn’t completely dry. 
  • Beech: As one of the best fire logs for fireplaces and also topping the best firewood for heat, this is second to ash only because it needs to be seasoned. 
  • Hawthorn: Very much like beech. 
  • Rowan: Exceptional heat and a slow-burning fire. 
  • Thorn: The best of all worlds with long-lasting hot flames and little smoking or spitting. 
  • Yew: If you need heat, this is the hottest and longest-lasting choice. 

Make your outdoor living space extra cozy with premium firewood from Ultimate Home Comfort. To learn more about firewood and outdoor firepits, give our team a call today. 

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The Worst Types of Wood to Burn 

Now on to the woods to avoid. The following all tend to either spit, burn too fast, cause too much smoke, or offer low heat: 

  • Spruce 
  • Sycamore 
  • Walnut 
  • Alder 
  • Willow 
  • Birch 
  • Chestnut 
  • Douglas Fir 
  • Elder 
  • Elm 
  • Laburnum 
  • Larch 
  • Laurel 
  • Poplar 

One last word on wood. If you want to add an appealing scent to your fire, you can consider adding some pine, cedar, cherry, apple, or birch kindling to your fire. 

To learn more about what is the best and the worst kind of wood to burn in a fireplace, contact the experts at Ultimate Home Comfort today.