The Best Wood for a Fireplace

Bonfire Wood

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Even the coldest winter nights are a little cozier when a wood-burning fireplace has been lit;  but not all firewood is created equal. Some wood is easier to split and light, while other types of wood are best known for their hot, long-lasting flames. Still other types of wood — like apple wood and birch — generate fragrant smoke that adds ambiance to holiday parties and dinner parties. With so many options to choose from, our guide to the best wood for fireplaces can help you find the perfect species of wood to burn in your home.

Product FAQ

1. What Is Seasoned Wood?

The best wood for fireplaces has been seasoned. Seasoned wood is wood that has dried over an extended period after being chopped. Because the moisture content in dry seasoned wood is low, the wood burns evenly and efficiently. Different types of wood naturally have different levels of moisture, so the amount of time it can take for wood to season varies. It’s not unusual for some wood to require a year or two of seasoning. Green wood refers to wood that has been freshly cut and still maintains a high amount of moisture.

2. What Are Fruitwoods?

As their name implies, fruitwoods come from trees that bear fruit, like apple, cherry, and pear trees. Fruitwoods tend to generate high temperatures with low flames. They also frequently generate fragrant smoke that can enhance the ambiance in a room.

How We Reviewed the Best Wood for Fireplaces

We took a range of factors into consideration when evaluating the best wood for fireplaces. We looked at the ability of each wood to burn cleanly and at a high temperature for an extended period of time. We also considered how easy each type of wood is to work with; including its ease in splitting.

Overall Price Range of the Best Wood for Fireplaces

The best wood for fireplaces ranges in price depending on the type of wood being sold; but, on average, it sells for between $100 and $200 a cord.

What We Reviewed

  • American Beech Wood
  • Apple Wood
  • Red OakI
  • Ironwood Lumber
  • Hickory Firewood
  • Sugar Maple
  • White Ash
  • White Oak
  • Yellow Birch
  • American Elm

American Beech

American Beech

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Features

American Beech is a dense hardwood that burns hot and clean without throwing off a lot of sparks. American Beech can easily be identified by its smooth, silver bark, which doesn’t flake off. The lack of flaking makes it clean and easy to store this wood in your home, firewood pile, or yard. Beech trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and produce beechnuts. Beech wood is often used to make furniture, pallets, and railroad ties. The wood is also used when smoking meats.

 

Price $

Wood Quality

American beech is an attractive wood that is frequently used in furniture making. It also makes an excellent choice for firewood.

Performance

Beech trees have a smooth silver bark that doesn’t flake off, making it cleaner and easier to store in your home or yard than other woods. Splitting beech wood can usually be done with only moderate effort.

Burn Quality

Beech can be difficult to light; but once lit, this dense hardwood burns hot without generating a lot of sparks. It’s a great choice for firewood.

Where to Buy

Apple Wood

Apple Wood

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Features

Apple wood, and wood from other fruit trees, generates a fragrant scent as it burns, making it a great choice to burn during a dinner party, a holiday gathering, or other special events. Apple wood is also considered a hardwood, meaning it generates low flames and high temperatures. Apple wood is less abundant than some other woods, making it higher in price, but it is still considered among the best wood for fireplaces.

Price $

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Wood Quality

Apple wood is usually obtained from commercial orchards. Because of its fragrance, it’s a popular wood to burn while entertaining. Chefs also like apple wood for the fragrant smoky flavor it infuses foods with.

Performance

Although it is more limited in supply, apple wood can be used in a variety of ways, from heating a room to grilling and cooking.

Burn Quality

Like other hardwoods, Apple wood can be difficult to light. But once it gets going, apple wood will generate higher temperatures and low flames.

Where to Buy

Ironwood Lumber

Ironwood Lumber

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Features

Ironwood lumber is a blanket term that includes several different types of dense firewood. Blue Beech, American Hophornbeam, and Musclewood are among the specific types of wood that fall into this category. Ironwood is dense, heavy wood that burns clean and hot, making it ideal as firewood. Ironwood is sometimes burned in combination with firewood like Maple or Oak to prevent the temperature of the fire from reaching unsafe levels.

Price $

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Wood Quality

Ironwood is very dense and is noticeably heavier than other hardwoods. These characteristics make Ironwood a terrific firewood because it burns clean and hot. Ironwood fires tend to burn for a long period of time.

Performance

One of the unique characteristics of Ironwood is its extreme density, which can make it more difficult to split and can cause wear and tear on your chainsaw.

Burn Quality

Ironwood is dense and burns extremely hot. Fires built exclusively out of Ironwood should be monitored to make sure they don’t overheat.

Where to Buy

Red Oak

Red Oak wood

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Features

Oak is one of the more popular types of firewood because is burns with a low flame and generates a hot, steady fire. Red Oak is one of several species of Oak, and it burns much like Cherry and Walnut. Although Red Oak is not as hard as White Oak, it still performs well as firewood. Red Oak is moderate to fast-growing, and its wood is often used to produce furniture, cabinets, and railroad ties. It is a strong and durable wood.

Price $

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Wood Quality

Oak is one of the densest and highest-energy woods, making it a good choice for firewood. Red Oak is comparable to Cherry or Walnut as it burns.

Performance

Because of its density, Oak can take a year or two to fully dry; so it’s important to make sure the wood is completely seasoned before you burn it.

Burn Quality

Although Red Oak is not as hard as white oak, it is still a dense firewood that results in hot, long-lasting fires.

Where to Buy

Hickory Firewood

hickory firewood

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Features

Hickory is another hard, dense wood that is excellent as firewood. Although it can sometimes be difficult to light, once the fire is going, Hickory will burn for a long time and stay hot. There are at least 4 different species of Hickory. The density of this wood can sometimes make it difficult to split.

Price $

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Wood Quality

There are at least 4 different species of Hickory. This wood is often used in tool handles because of its strength. Hickory is also popular with chefs, who sometimes use it when barbecuing to enhance the smoky flavor in foods.

Performance

Hickory is so dense that it can sometimes be difficult to split. The wood performs best in fires if it has been allowed to dry and season for at least a year.

Burn Quality

Although it can sometimes be difficult to light, Hickory burns slowly and at high temperatures for an extended period of time once the fire is going.

Where to Buy

Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple Tree

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Features

Sugar Maple is a readily available source of wood that also provides good heat. There are a number of different species of Maple, and Sugar Maple is among the best wood for fireplaces. This is a hard wood that is hot and slow-burning. It’s density means it can sometimes be difficult to split.

Price $

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Wood Quality

There are at least 6 different species of Maple. Although it makes great firewood, the Sugar Maple is best known for its sugar production, which plays a role in producing maple syrup.

Performance

Sugar Maple is so dense that it can sometimes be difficult to split.

Burn Quality

Sugar Maple is a hard wood that burns slowly and provides excellent heat.????

Where to Buy

White Ash

White ash wood

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Features

White Ash doesn’t burn as hot as some other wood, but it is easy to split. It’s low moisture content malso eans that it drys quickly, making it a user-friendly option. White Ash can also be burned in combination with other hardwoods, like Hickory, Oak, and Maple.?

Price $

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Wood Quality

There are 16 different species of Ash; but White Ash in particular is considered one of the best wood for fireplaces.

Performance

Sugar Maple is so dense that it can sometimes be difficult to split.

Burn Quality

Sugar Maple is a hard wood that burns slowly and provides excellent heat.????

Where to Buy

White Oak

white oak tree

Image via ?flickr?

Features

Oak is considered to be among the best wood for fireplaces because of its density and its ability to burn hot for long periods of time. There are a number of different species of Oak, but White Oak in particular is especially strong and fine grained. White Oak is considered by many to be a premium firewood; much like Beech or Maple.

Price $

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Wood Quality

White Oak is grown most commonly in the eastern United States and Canada. White Oak trees often reach a height of 65 to 85 feet, making them shorter than Red Oaks.

Performance

White Oak is a strong, fine-grained wood.

Burn Quality

White Oak is a strong, hard wood that burns hot for a long period of time; making it an ideal choice for firewood.

Where to Buy

Yellow Birch

Yellow Birch wood

Image via flickr

Features

Oak is considered to be among the best wood for fireplaces because of its density and its ability to burn hot for long periods of time. There are a number of different species of Oak, but White Oak in particular is especially strong and fine grained. White Oak is considered by many to be a premium firewood; much like Beech or Maple.

Price $

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Wood Quality

Birch trees tend to be small to medium-sized trees with shallow root systems. Because the wood is hard and dense, Birch is also commonly used to make furniture.

Performance

Yellow Birch has many advantages as firewood; but it can be hard to split, and its dries slowly.

Burn Quality

The density of Yellow Birch makes it great for firewood. The wood burns slowly for an extended period of time. Birch also tends to be aesthetically beautiful with its silvery bark and its tendency to generate blue flames.

Where to Buy

American Elm

American Elm wood

Image via flickr

Features

American Elm is a strong and heavy wood that produces a respectable amount of heat. The only downside to elm is that it is difficult to split, and almost always requires the use of a wood splitter. Elm also requires at least a year or two to fully dry and become seasoned.

Price $

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Wood Quality

There are close to 40 different species of Elm. They are all valued for their interlocking grain. Over the years Elm has been used to construct everything from wagon wheels to chair seats.

Performance

It’s best to wait and burn wood after it has had a chance to fully dry, and that is particularly true with Elm. It takes at least a year or two for Elm to dry and season. Elm is also particularly difficult to split and almost always requires the use of a wood splitter.

Burn Quality

Elm is a heavy wood that produces decent heat.

Where to Buy

The Verdict

The best wood for fireplaces is American Beech. We liked American Beech first and foremost because it’s a dense hardwood that burns hot for an extended period of time, making it a productive and efficient choice when it comes to firewood. Other characteristics also set American Beech apart and make it a user-friendly option. Compared to some other hardwoods, American Beech is only moderately difficult to chop. We also liked this tree’s smooth bark, which doesn’t flake off and allows this wood to be stored with less mess.

Hot Home Air Team
 

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