Is Spruce Good Firewood? – Why Spruce Firewood is Unsuitable for Winter Use

Spruce is one of the trees of the pine family with similar characteristics to other softwoods in the category. But is spruce good firewood? 

Given its family, the tree is not as excellent firewood as hardwoods like eucalyptus and oak. Below, we’ll highlight its key qualities as firewood. 

What Is Spruce Firewood?

Spruce Branches

Spruce is an evergreen tree characterized by cones and needle leaves like other pine family trees. It’s popular in the paper industry thanks to its tangle-like fibers. The softwood also grows relatively fast, and its wood features a pale color, similar to Douglas Fir

However, Spruce Firewood is not great; it burns quickly and pops. We’ll look at the burn qualities of the tree below. 

Burn Qualities of Spruce Firewood

Spruce Firewood

Spruce Firewood

Check out this tree’s burn qualities breakdown to see if spruce makes good firewood. 

Heat Output

Spruce has a Low Heat Yield. 

Spruce has a Low Heat Yield. 

Spruce doesn’t make good firewood as its cord yield between 14 to 17 million BTUs depending on the tree species. This low heat yield makes it unsuitable for winter stacking unless you have it in vast volumes. 

Besides, It burns fast, meaning it barely forms sufficient coals to sustain a fire for an extensive duration. 

Lastly, despite the low heat output, it catches fire easily when fully dry. Hence spruce firewood makes an excellent kindling material. 

Smoke Yield

A spruce tree. 

A spruce tree. 

Resinous trees such as spruce produce a lot of smoke, making them unsuitable for indoor use. The smoke yield is high, especially if you haven’t dried the firewood properly. 

Nonetheless, if it’s the only option, you must install a glass screen to keep away the smoke. Also, ensure your house is well-ventilated to prevent smoke buildup. 

Burning Odor

Spruces don't have a sweet odor. 

Spruces don’t have a sweet odor. 

It lacks a strong smell and thus is not ideal for smoking meat. Hence, concerning smell, the firewood will not be much of a nuisance in the house. Nonetheless, it pops, so it would be best to use it as kindling rather than the main firewood. 

Seasoning Time

Firewood Stack

Firewood Stack

Spruce is low-density firewood; thus, you can season it within six months. But this duration isn’t sufficient enough to remove all the resin. Hence, ideally, you require a year for spruce firewood complete seasoning. 

Also, you can hasten its drying period by harvesting it in the winter season. The sap content at this time is relatively low, meaning the firewood will dry fast. 

Creosote Buildup 

Man putting firewood in the fireplace. 

Man putting firewood in the fireplace

Like smoke, the creosote output of Spruce firewood primarily depends on if it is properly dried. But generally has little creosote content, especially if you dry it to a moisture level below 20% before use. 

All in all, clean your chimney with a brush regularly to prevent the accumulation of burnt particles. 

Ease of Splitting

Chopping firewood. 

Chopping firewood. 

You take quite some time to split a spruce firewood log primarily because of the tree’s spindly branches. Also, it chips easily during splitting, primarily because it is a softwood tree. Hence, it would be best if you always donned safety glasses while splitting the firewood. 

How easy is it to limb spruce branches? Like splitting, limbing spruce is also challenging primarily because its branches are closely packed. They also don’t make good firewood as they are way too thin. 

Different Types of Spruce Firewood

Spruces in Winter. 

Spruces in Winter. 

There are numerous species of this conifer-type tree in the Northern US, where it’s native. Let’s look at the common ones below. 

Engelmann Spruce



It’s prevalent in rocky areas and is one of the most suitable trees for making guitars. The tree’s cons are relatively thinner than other species and can grow to a height of up to 100 feet. 

The Engelmann has the lowest heat output of all spruce trees, with its cord giving just 14 million BTUs. 

Red Spruce

A Christmas tree. 

A Christmas tree. 

It has a red bark, but others refer to it as yellow spruce primarily because of the color of its sawn wood. The most common use of the species is as a Christmas tree primarily because it grows tall and straight up to 130 feet. 

Native to West Virginia, the tree has a heat output of 17 million BTUs/cord, making it a better firewood species than the Engelmann spruce. 

White Spruce

White Spruce

White Spruce

This species does best in cold weather areas and is thus common in Alaska. Also available in chilly Canadian zones, the tree has a foul smell making it unsuitable for indoor burning. Nonetheless, it has a significantly high BTU/cord for a spruce tree at 17 million. 

The tree’s maximum height is 60 feet. 

Black Spruce

It’s also common in cold Alaska environments and Canadian boreal forests. But unlike other spruce species, this tree takes quite a long to attain maturity. Nonetheless, it still has a remarkable heat output for a softwood at 17 million BTUs per cord. 

Its maximum height at full maturity is 50 feet. 

Colorado Blue Spruce

Blue Spruce. 

Blue Spruce. 

Its best suited to the dry states of Utah and Colorado as its a drought-resistant species. The tree’s leaves feature a shade of blue, making it suitable for aesthetic use. A cord of its firewood gives 17 million BTUs. 

Sitka Spruce

Spruce Leaves

Spruce Leaves

The species is the most popular spruce tree for its fast-growing property and extensive use in the timber industry. It can grow up to 100 feet, meaning only the Red Spruce can grow taller than this species. 

You can easily identify it by its scaly bark. Lastly, its heat output is 17 million BTUs/cord. 

Comparison to Other Woods

Firewood Tree SpeciesHeat Production (BTUs per Cord)Splitting DifficultyCoals QualityOverall Firewood Quality
Engelmann Spruce14ModeratePoorPoor
White Pine15.9EasyPoorPoor
Green Ash20 Easy GoodExemplary
Maple25EasyExcellent Excellent


Is spruce an indoor or outdoor wood?

Spruce is best suited to outdoor use, given that it pops while burning. But you can still use it indoors, although you’ll have to install a firescreen to keep sparks and smoke at bay. 

How much does spruce firewood cost to buy?

Spruce makes low-quality firewood; hence it is less popular for cooking in the US. However, it is prevalent in Canada, whereby a cord of its firewood sells for as little as $300. 

How to identify a spruce tree?

You can identify spruce primarily from how its cones are located. They mainly extend from the branches downwards. The spruce needles also have a unique stiff texture. 


Spruce doesn’t make top-quality firewood as it burns quickly and forms limited coals. But you can use it as a kindling material. For more on Spruce firewood, contact us anytime