Best Firewood to Burn -10 Best Firewood to Burn

We have different preferences when choosing firewood to burn indoors for heat.

Also, firewoods have varying heat output, type of smell, amount of smoke, and ease of lighting.

So what are some of the best firewood to burn indoors? 

We have covered it all at length in this article. 

The 10 Best Firewood to Burn: From the Best to the Worst

Type of FirewoodHardwood or SoftwoodHeat Production (Million BTUs/Cord)Smoke ProducedOverall Firewood Quality
Osage OrangeHardwood32HighHigh
HickoryHardwood 28Minimal High
OakHardwood 28Minimal High 
Beech Hardwood 27.5Minimal High
Black Locust Hardwood 27Minimal High
Ash Hardwood 24Minimal Moderate
Birch Hardwood 21Moderate Moderate 
Pine Softwood 17High Low
Popular Hardwood 14High Low 
Cedar Softwood 12Moderate Low

4 Best Hardwood Firewood

Osage Orange

A White deer wanders through osage orange trees. 

A White deer wanders through osage orange trees. 

Osage orange wood is arguably the best firewood of all wood species. The wood is a dense hardwood, burning hotter than all other firewood types.

But, Osage Orange has high sap content, hence pops when burning. 

But, it produces more smoke than other high-quality firewood. Osage Orange is a better option for burning outdoors than heating your home in winter. 


Vibrant yellow leaves of the bitternut hickory tree in Autumn.

Vibrant yellow leaves of the bitternut hickory tree in Autumn.

Hickory firewood is probably the best burning choice in North America. The wood produces one of the most pleasant-smelling smokes, making it an ideal option for smoking meat. Also, Hickory produces high-quality cooking coals and burns longer than most firewood types. 

Hickory produces about 28 million BTUs per cord, setting it at the best ranks in the best firewood to burn list.  


A mighty oak tree. 

A mighty oak tree. 

Oak is famous for its high heat production, low smoke output, and fast seasoning time qualities. The wood is high-density, allowing it to burn slowly to form quality cooking coals.

Apart from burning oak firewood for indoor heating in your wood stove, the wood is highly versatile. You can also use it in making furniture, timber, flooring, and many others.  


Spring beech forest in the fog.

Beech firewood is undoubtedly one of the best for indoor heat production. The wood has a high BTU, produces low volumes of smoke, and excellent coals that can burn overnight. 

3 Best Softwood Firewood


A pine forest. 

A pine forest. 

Pine is a softwood and a great choice for outdoor burning and kindling due to its high resin content. Unfortunately, pine firewood is not ideal for burning indoors due to high smoke production, lack of coals, and high creosote build-up qualities.  


Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedars of Lebanon. 

Cedar is a softwood known for its low heat production, sparks, and moderate smoke generation. 

Ideally, there are better choices than cedar for burning indoors. However, you can use cedar wood for kindling. Cedar trees have cultural significance in most parts of North America.

Overall, cedar softwood is not good for use as firewood.  


Pots with young juniper plants in a greenhouse.

Juniper is a fair choice for indoor burning as it produces moderate to high heat and smoke generation.

The wood is halfway between hardwood and softwood but produces low-quality cooking coals. 

What Type of Firewood Burns Longest?

Beautiful Springtime Dogwood Trees With Pink Blossoms.

Beautiful Springtime Dogwood Trees With Pink Blossoms.

The longest-burning firewood includes the following:

  • Osage Orange
  • Apple 
  • Hickory
  • Dogwood
  • Black Locust

What determines firewood quality?

A basket with wood logs next to a stove. 

A basket with wood logs next to a stove. 

When choosing firewood for indoor burning, the following are some determinants of the wood burning quality. 

  1. The density of the wood is an essential factor as it tells how much energy the wood holds. Consequently, one cord of hardwood firewood contains more energy than a cord of softwood. 
  2. Seasoning your firewood allows you to get the most energy. Primarily, seasoned wood has less than 20% moisture content. 
  3. Greenwood has lower BTUs due to the amount of heat energy necessary for evading the moisture in the firewood. Hence, avoid burning green firewood if you want maximum heat from it. 

What Type of Wood Burns Hottest?

A Black Locust plantation. 

A Black Locust plantation. 

If you’re looking for the hottest burning wood, go for Osage Orange. Its firewood has the highest BTU (32.9 million) of all the firewood trees that grow in the US.

Other renowned woods with exceptional heat output after Osage Orange are as follows ( from the hottest): 

  • Black Locust
  • Hickory
  • Oak. 
  • Pecan 
  • Mesquite
  • Beech
  • Olive 
  • Apple


In a nutshell, hardwood firewood is the best choice for burning indoors. High-density wood has more energy in it.

Ensure you season your firewood before throwing them into your fireplace for maximum heat energy and quality cooking coals. For more, contact us at any time.