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Whether you're preparing for the winter or you're just going on a camping trip, it's a good idea to know which firewood to burns best.
There are many types of firewood out there, however, only the best will keep you warm when you need it the most. Choosing the best firewood will also depend on your location since different geographic areas are home to different types of trees, which are of course the source for timber.
Usually, when searching for the best firewood you really mean the best suitable firewood for your particular needs. Therefore, have a look at this list of the various types firewood for both indoors and outdoors.
The beauty of firewood is that there are many different types, and you don't necessarily need to stick to only one of them. That also helps to preserve the same type of firewood from overuse, which is a bonus for the environmentally friendly minded.
The most common firewood species are:
- Black Locust
The most common oak firewood are the white and red oak trees. Oak is very strong, yet it has a density that allows it to produce a very high heat.
Hickory is very similar to oak. It also includes pecan trees which have almost the same density as oak. Therefore, they're a very popular choice for burning.
Black locust is a great firewood that not many people know about due to limited availability. It's often used for fence posts because of its strength and density. And, since it's durable and strong, it burns hot and long.
Ash, specifically white ash, is a very popular choice for firewood. It’s light and less dense than some other popular choices, so it’s extremely easy to split with an axe or maul.
Sugar maple is considered to be one of the best firewood options because of how easy it is to light and how well it burns. It usually only takes a very small flame from kindling to get a good fire going, and it makes very little smoke.
Firewood for Indoors
Getting and keeping a fire going in a fireplace is a bit different than an outdoor fire. The best wood choices are those that burn at a high temperature and do so for a long time.
That means your best options would be hardwoods because they have a higher density.
However, you can still use softwood for indoor fires if necessary. Just keep in mind that they burn quickly meaning you will need more wood than if you chose a hardwood.
Cherry makes for a great firewood if you can get your hands on it. It's a very dense wood.
One major drawback though is that it needs to be seasoned for at least 6 months before using. Once it's seasoned and ready for use, it won't only burn slow, but it will also have a nice aroma.
Hawthorn meets both most important criteria when it comes to indoor firewood. It burns nice and slowly and get very hot. If you are harvesting yourself though be aware of the thorns, as they will make your life miserable if you’re not careful.
Maple is one of the best indoor firewood options. Due to its density it burns longer than many other firewood options, and most of the time hotter as well.
Oak is very common, but like cherry it need to be seasoned at least 6 months before use.
Black locust is a perfect firewood that burns really well and puts out a lot of warmth.
Firewood for Outdoors
When you're looking for the best firewood for outdoor use, you can opt for either seasoned or unseasoned firewood. If you’re camping or thru-hiking, then your only realistic option would be unseasoned wood.
Unlike the what you might want to use in a fireplace, choosing a wood that lights easily and burns quickly is a solid idea. That’s why softwoods tend to be great for camp fires.
Birch is a softwood that is great as an outdoor firewood because of how easily it ignites even and an immature green wood. However, keep in mind that it burns very quickly and easily so you’ll need a decent quantity to get you through a cold night.
Pine is suitable for a camp fire, but like other softwoods, it burns quickly. Pine is a great option for getting a camp fire going and then switching to a hardwood to maintain the fire.
And, if you decide to cook any food over it, you will love the scent.
As a hardwood, walnut is great for both outdoors and indoors. Due to its density, it will burn all night long. But, it’s known for have a very minor smoke output too.
If you haven’t yet figured out, the major difference between what is suitable for a fireplace and what works well in a camp fire is the density of the wood. Hardwoods make excellent indoor firewood due to their ability to burn slowly at high temperatures. Softwoods word great outdoors because they light easily and usually don’t need to be as dried out as a hardwood.