Winter is on the way and you’re preparing for a cold season ahead. Stacking your firewood storage rack can be a challenge when you are not quite sure of the exact firewood to use. Especially when you want to burn on an indoor firewood heater. But first, a question for you. Do you know the difference between hardwood and softwood?

The Difference Between Hardwood and Softwood

Both hardwood and softwood can be good for burning but you’ll find that hardwood will burn for longer. The reason for this is that the density of the hardwood is twice that of softwood making it burn that much slower. You’ll also find they give out a hotter heat temperature which is much more beneficial for larger rooms.

Typical common hardwoods are given a heat rating per cord in BTU (British Thermal Unit). Here are the BTU’s per cord for many of these common hardwood types. Don’t discount burning softwood’s though, there are some that give out a very high BTU such as Tamarack or various types of pine like Pitch pine or Norway pine.

Keep All Your Firewood Dry

There is a very good reason for drying out your firewood before burning it, you can smoke out your house. I’ve learn’t this by experience in my younger days, so take this advice. It can take anywhere from 3-9 months for the internal of some woods to dry out. When trees are first cut, the inner tubes that deliver water from the roots of the tree to the branches are still water-laden. They will not burn well and can give off pollutants and smoke.

The ideal scenario is to gather your wood in early Spring and let it dry out until the following winter. This will give it a good 6-8 months, allowing enough time for the internals to completely dry out. You can then add it to any indoor fire or outdoor fire pit.

Which Are the Best Hardwoods

Ash – White or Black Ash are perfect for using in your firewood heater. It will burn for long periods and gives a steady heat.

Oak – There’s several types of Oak that you can use for your fire heater including Northern red oak and White Oak. It’s advised that seasoning the Oak will benefit the length of time it will burn.

Maple – Sugar Maple or Red Maple are two of the more popular varieties that will burn well in your fire heater.


Other great hardwoods to be used on your fire are Apple, Cherry, types of birch, beech and hickory.

The Best Softwoods to Use

Pine – Probably the most common of the softwoods and is very lightweight. It’s an easy wood to bet a fire started with but you’ll want to add hardwood once the fire takes hold.

Fir – Along with Pine and Cedar, the three best types of wood to get the fire started. Whether you’re going for the indoor fire or outdoor fire pit, using these woods will give you an awesome start.

Stack a Variety for Best Results

the best wood for wood burning fireplaceYour firewood storage rack should be stocked with not only a load of hardwood, but as we’ve mentioned, softwoods also have their advantages. As these softwoods light much quicker, they are the perfect ignition for your next indoor or outdoor fire. Once your fire has taken hold, your hardwood will take over as the main long-term burners. This hardwood will give you more heat and a longer burn.

Here’s my indoor log heater, and someone who loves it more than most!

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