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Choosing Wood For Your Wood Burning Stove

You’re the proud owner of a brand new wood-burning stove, you’re ready to fire it up, but there’s one problem; you don’t know which wood is best to use. This is one of the most common problems faced by new wood-burning stove owners, and choosing the right wood will make the world of difference.

But that doesn’t mean that it has to be a challenge. Typically, hardwood is better for using in a wood burner. If the wood is heavy, you will get a much longer burn time.

In this guide, we will be looking at various types of wood that are suitable for your wood-burning stove and discovering where you can source these.

One of the most important factors to consider when looking at the importance of the type of wood is that some woods could give off harmful gases. This could be detrimental to your health and is one of the main reasons that we would always advocate taking the time to learn about wood types.

Furthermore, some woods will give off much more smoke than others, and even when the smoke is not harmful, it can quickly fill a room and be very unpleasant. Not only this, but the smoke can leave behind a nasty smell which can be very difficult to get rid of.

You might also consider that using the wrong type of wood can mean that your wood-burning stove gets dirtier more quickly. The glass door may become blackened and the inside of the stove may develop a residue that can be difficult to clean. There will also be a faster build-up of creosote in the flue which may require professional cleaning.

A lot of people invest in a wood-fire stove because of the aesthetic appeal. Watching the flames crackle away can be very soothing and comforting. However, if those flames are not visible, this appeal is quickly lost. Some types of wood will not produce as many flames so if you like the visual appeal, you need to make sure you are choosing the right wood.

Finally, using the incorrect type of wood will drastically reduce the burning time. In the depths of winter when you’re trying to warm up, the last thing you want is a fire that goes out quickly.

What Types Of Wood Should You Choose

Now that we understand the importance of choosing the right wood, we can explore which is the best type of wood for a wood-burning stove.

In short, hardwoods are much better than softwoods. This is because hardwoods are heavier and this gives them a much greater burning time.

You should always use logs that have been seasoned. If you don’t, there is a good chance that you will be faced with some of the problems we discussed in the previous section of this article.

It is also important to avoid wood that has a high resin content. This type of wood can result in the flue becoming clogged with a sticky residue.

Below, you will find some information on the most common types of wood that are very effective for a wood-burning stove.


Ash is one of the most widely used woods and it has a lot of great qualities. Ash gives a very generous burn time as well as a good amount of heat. The flames that are produced are very visually appealing and this, coupled with how easy ash is to come across, makes it the most popular woods in the UK.


Beech burns very well and gives a nice amount of heat. However, it also has quite a high moisture content and this means that it typically takes much longer to season.


If you are looking for a wood that will kick out a good amount of heat, then cedar is one of the best choices. It also has a very pleasant aroma and burns slowly for a longer-lasting fire.


Oak is another of the most popular and effective woods for burning. It takes a longer time to season but gives a long burn time and a good level of heat. Even when it is burned down to embers, a lot of residual heat remains. Furthermore, oak produces very attractive flames.


If you can get your hands on some yew, you will be rewarded with incredible heat. What’s more, this type of wood has a very long burning time so it is great if you don’t want to have to keep putting wood into the fire.

What Types Of Wood Should You Avoid?

There are many kinds of wood that are excellent for burning, but at the same time, there are those that should be avoided at all costs.

  • Poplar does not have a very good burn time even if it has been seasoned well.
  • Laburnum is a tree that is often found growing in back gardens around the country. It can be tempting to use trees from your garden to chop into firewood. However, this wood is toxic and should never be used in your wood burner.
  • Spruce is great for getting a fire going but it will burn quickly and won’t provide you with much heat.

Willow will not be sufficient since it cannot produce enough heat and doesn’t have a long burn time.

Where To Find A Supplier

It is entirely possible to order wood online and this is great if you are unable to get out and about. There are products being listed on sites like eBay and Amazon which will be quickly delivered to your home.

There are also many timber merchants selling wood online. However, you can also perform a quick Google search for wood suppliers in your area that supply various types of wood.

The cost of your wood will largely depend on where you purchase it. When speaking to your supplier, you will need to find out how much the wood costs per m³, how much they charge for delivery and the type of wood they supply. You might also want to check whether the delivery will be put into storage for you or dropped off for you to store.

That being said, it is possible to collect wood yourself and season it at home – more on that later!

Delivery Versus Collection

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What Is Seasoned Wood And How Can You Tell If Wood Is Seasoned?

Seasoned wood simply refers to wood that has been left to dry out over a period of time. As a rule, wood should contain less than 20% moisture for it to burn effectively.

Hardwood can take up to two years to season, particularly heavier woods such as oak. However, a softwood can take as little as six months. But as we have learned, these are great for burning in a wood-fired stove.

If the wood has not been seasoned, it will perform poorly and will display many of the qualities we discussed earlier such as a short burn time, smoking and potentially harmful fumes.

Kiln Dried Versus Seasoned

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Choosing the right wood for your wood-burning stove is essential if you want the best experience. Hardwoods will produce a nice flame and plenty of heat as well as having a greater burning time. Furthermore, they give a much cleaner burn.

You should always use wood that is seasoned or you may face problems such as smoke and an unpleasant odour.

Sourcing your wood is easy and it is possible to have it delivered to your door making the entire process utterly convenient.

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