Used in many homes, firewood is a sustainable and cost-effective way to heat your property or outdoor space.

Whether you’re looking for suitable wood to burn in your stove or use in your fire pit on chilly summer evenings, it’s important to choose the right type of firewood. Not all types of firewood burn in the same way, so it’s important to understand the differences if you want the best possible results.

Here’s our guide to everything that you need to know about firewood.

What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Firewood falls into two main categories – softwood and hardwood.

The main difference between hardwood and softwood is their reproduction and physical structure. For example, hardwoods are a lot denser than softwoods, meaning that they produce more heat and burn for longer.

On the other hand, softwoods are less dense, meaning they ignite faster and produce more smoke, making them more suited to outdoor fires.

Why choose hardwood?

Perfect for creating indoor fires in log burners and woodburning stoves, there are lots of different types of hardwood, including oak, birch and ash. Hardwood is especially useful for those looking to fuel a stove or heat a house.

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular types of hardwood:

Ash

Ash is particularly good for wood burning, as its properties allow it to burn on its own and produce an intense heat output, with a steady flame.

Oak

Oak is one of the most common types of hardwood used in homes, due to the fact that it is capable of burning for long periods of time and can be used efficiently with a different types of logs.

Birch

Available in black, yellow and white, birch can burn for a long period of time and can also be used as a natural fire starter.

Why choose softwood?

If you’re looking for firewood for an outdoor fire, softwood is a much better option than hardwood – it ignites far more quickly, meaning its ideal for campfires and kindling.

Softwood also seasons more rapidly than hardwood. There are lots of different types of softwood to choose from, including pine, cedar and larch.

Here’s a closer look at their properties. 

Larch

Low maintenance larch is the hardest of the softwood family and requires intense heat to burn effectively.

Pine

Easy to light and burn, pine produces an impressive flame and is great to use as a fire starter. It’s important to note that pine should only ever be used in outdoor environments due to the fact that it burns incredibly fast.

Cedar

Finally, cedar produces a distinct crackling sound with a small flame. One of the main advantages of this type of softwood is that it can be burned unseasoned. It also gives off a lovely wood burning smell.

To find out more about the best type of firewood to use with your Charnwood wood burning stove, please get in touch, we’re always on hand to offer help and support.