White Oak Firewood- 6 Reasons White Oak Firewood is better than Red Oak.

White Oak firewood ranks among the best firewood trees. Its counterpart, the red oak, also gives quality firewood but not as good as the white oak. So what makes white oak firewood outstanding? Let us find out. 

What is White Oak Firewood?

A gigantic Oak tree.

A gigantic Oak tree.

A cord of white oak firewood will yield a BTU of 29.1 million, ranking the tree among the best. However, it takes quite some time to fully mature (slowest growing among all oaks). In addition, it has the densest grains of all the oak varieties. 

Let us explore each of these features in more detail below. 

Burn Qualities of White Oak Firewood

Heat Production

Oak firewood has a high BTU.

White Oak with a 29.1 million BTU per cord of its firewood. It produces a heat output equivalent to 7,283 kW of electricity. It is a relatively high heat output compared to other firewood hardwoods. In addition, the White Oak tree features a dense structure. Therefore, it burns for a long time compared to less dense firewood like pine. 

Moreover, the coal production for White Oak firewood is top-notch. These coals burn hot yet slowly, ensuring you reap the most from the firewood. Besides, Oak coals yield little ash, thus ideal for an indoor firepit. 

Smoke Production

White Oak Smoked.

White Oak Smoked.

Are you looking for firewood with minimal smoke, ideal for woodstoves or indoor fireplaces? Look no further than White Oak firewood. If you dry it effectively, it will emit very little smoke. 

Another thing that makes it ideal for indoor fires is that it produces very few sparks when burning. 

Seasoning Time

Stacking wood for seasoning.

Stacking wood for seasoning.

You must season your firewood (any firewood) to a  moisture level below 20%. Otherwise, it will yield a lot of smoke. For White Oak firewood, a seasoning time of a year to two years is ideal. 

But, it may require longer to season, especially if you live in the northern areas. 

What makes White Oak firewood remarkable is that it barely collects moisture from the surrounding. Hence, an oak trunk that stays out for some time will still dry fast than most other trees. 

Burning Smell

Don’t use White Oak firewood to smoke food.

Never burn freshly felled white oak for firewood, as it produces a lot of smoke and a bad smell. But, once you’ve dried it thoroughly, White Oak burns with a delightful aroma. Some think of the scent as resembling that of vanilla. 

However, do not use white oak firewood when smoking meat. Firewood has an aftertaste similar to vinegar, so it’s not suitable for smoking foods.

Creosote Buildup

White Oak is low in creosote.

White Oak is low in creosote.

White Oak has a relatively low sap content compared to softwoods like pine firewood. Thus, it also has low moisture content and will yield very little creosote while burning as long as you season it thoroughly. 


White Oak has medium splitting difficulty. 

White Oak has medium splitting difficulty. 

White Oak features a stringy structure and cannot easily split via an axe. However, you’ll find it easier to split White Oak while still green, preferably immediately after felling. 

Also, White Oak will split more easily under freezing conditions than during dry weather. But the most effective way to split White Oak is via a hydraulic splitter, especially if it’s immensely knotty.

Different Types of White Oak Firewood

You’ll find more than 400 oak varieties in different parts of the world. However, the trees grow predominantly in the northern hemisphere, and you’ll find them across Asia and the Americas. 

How to Identify Oak?

Oak Acorns.

  1. Oak has distinctly spiral leaves with predominant rounded lobes. However, in others, the lobes are pointed. 
  2. Also, Oak is renowned for producing acorns during fall. Thus, you’ll find the acorns near the trees’ base area. 
  3. Thirdly, oak features sprawling branches together with acorns, making the tree attractive to wildlife. Thus, you’re likely to find crows, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, quails, and others near an oak tree. 
  4. Moreover, you’ll recognize oak from its gray and scaly bark that further features extensive vertical furrows. 

Now, check out the main Oak varieties you’ll most likely come across in North America. 

Black Oak

You’ll find the black oak variety in Eastern US, specifically in poor soil conditions. Also notable is the black bark that gives it the name Black Oak. Lastly, the tree can grow to a height of between 50 to 110 feet. 

Northern Red Oak

A huge oak tree. 

A huge oak tree. 

It’s one of the fastest-growing oak varieties, native to Michigan, Maine, and Mississippi. On average, it measures 70 feet in height though it can grow up to 150 feet. 

Chestnut Oak

The variety does well in dry soils though you can still find it in rocky areas. Also, the tree can grow up to 145 feet in height. You’ll find it in Louisiana, Maine, Ontario, and Georgia. 

Bur Oak

A massive Oak tree

The oak variety is renowned for its drought-resistant qualities, and you’re likely to find it in Saskatchewan, Canada. The tree also performs well in Texas and Montana. Compared to other varieties, the Bur Oak looks like a shrub. 

However, the tree can grow up to 80 feet under good conditions. 

Cherry bark Oak

Its most prominent feature is the shiny dark leaves, and the tree can grow up to 100 feet in height. You’ll find the cherry bark oak in Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Maryland. 

Live Oak

It is an evergreen Oak variety that does best in the Southern parts of the US. Also, the tree blossoms on sandy soils, and you’ll often find Spanish moss. 

The Live oak is renowned for its extensive lifetime of more than 100 years. Also, it is a massive tree with a width of 60–100′ and a length of between 40 to 80 feet. 

Other common Oak Varieties include the following: 

White Oak Firewood vs. Red Oak Firewood: Which Is Better?

A swamp white oak.

Overall, White oak makes better firewood than Red Oak. Here’s why: 

  1. First, White Oak is denser and thus has a higher heat output than Red Oak. Also, this means that Red Oak burns faster than White Oak. Therefore, the former makes lower-quality coals. 
  2. In addition, we consider White Oak a non-poros wood. Hence, it doesn’t absorb much water compared to the Red Oak. White Oak will, therefore, dry (season) faster than Red Oak. 
  3. Again, with impressive ease of drying, White Oak produces less smoke and burns cleaner than Red Oak. 
  4. Moreover, the White Oak wood grains are more straight than Red Oak’s. Hence, the former split easier than Red Oak. 
  5. Finally, in terms of firewood efficiency and overall costs, White Oak firewood performs better than Red Oak. 

Comparison to Other Woods

Firewood TreeHeat Output (BTUs)Splitting DifficultyCoals QualityOverall Firewood Quality
Black Locust27.9Difficult Exemplary Exemplary
Green Ash 20.0EasyGoodExemplary
White Oak29.9MediumExemplaryExemplary


White Oak ranks among the best firewood trees, has a medium splitting difficulty, and has an excellent heat output. That’s all for now but contact us anytime for more.