If you’re in the process of ordering a batch of wood for your home fire, you might be wondering whether hardwood or softwood is best. Given the number of fuel products available for your fire, it’s important to consider the differences between hardwood and softwood, as we explain in detail below.
Does the type of wood you use in a fire matter?
Some people assume that because it’s going to be burned, the type of wood used in a fireplace doesn’t really matter. However, failing to understand the differences between the types of wood you opt for will not only limit the efficiency of your fire but can also prove costly. In most instances, the types of wood you can buy for a fire are classified as softwood or hardwood. The primary difference between them is the density of the wood, so we explain which type is best for your home fire below.
It’s common for hardwoods like birch, ash, and oak to be used as firewood, while other hardwoods – mahogany and maple – are most often used to make furniture. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees and grow slowly, which means the wood is dense. As a result of this, hardwood produces more heat and burns for longer when compared to softwood. Homefire’s kiln-dried firewood is made from birch, which has been dried to a moisture level of 20% or lower, making it perfect for pizza ovens, open fires, and wood-burning stoves.
Softwood is taken from a group of trees known as gymnosperm. In the UK, the most prevalent softwood trees are conifers. What makes softwoods unique is that they’re less dense than hardwoods, and they grow much faster in the natural world. Softwood is still widely used for many products today, including the production of paper. Softwoods – fir, pine, cedar, and spruce – are sometimes used in fires, but they are predominantly for aesthetic purposes, as they don’t burn at particularly high heat.
So, which is better?
If you’re looking for the firewood that burns for the longest, then hardwood is undoubtedly a better option than softwood. As mentioned, this is due to its density, and it produces a better flame for your home fire. You can use hardwood in practically any fire at your home, be it in your fireplace, garden fire pit, or in a special wood-burning stove. Just make sure you invest in hardwood that has been dried to ensure you can enjoy its best features.