What Wood Burns The Hottest

What Wood Burns The Hottest?


Surely anyone who has a wood burning fireplace or a wood burning stove is looking for the best firewood to burn. You want wood that will give you a stronger, hotter and more efficient fire.

And of course, the hotter and stronger firewood burns, the more value you get for your money.

Here are the best types of firewood that will burn the hottest; check these out from your local firewood supplier.

The hottest fire from these efficient firewood species

With the rising cost of firewood, no doubt you need the firewood that will burn the hottest. If you use firewood all year round to light your fireplace and as fuel for your wood burning stove, you need the best value firewood in the yard.

Prefer hardwoods than softwoods for a hotter and cleaner fire

There is no doubt about it, hardwoods burn hotter than softwoods. This is because of how hardwoods are made. These are denser, compact, making it longer to ignite. But once hardwoods do light, they can emit hotter burning temperatures than any other type of wood. Hardwoods will burn more cleanly, therefore, this will create less creosote compared to softwoods.

Here’s a list of some of the hardwoods found in the eastern United States that burn the hottest. The unit for the temperature emitted by firewood is BTU per cord.

HardwoodBTU Per Cord
Osage orange 32.9 BTUs
Shagbark hickory27.7 BTUs
Eastern hornbeam27.1 BTUs
Black birch26.8 BTUs
Black locust26.8 BTUs
Blue beech26.8 BTUs
Ironwood26.8 BTUs
Bitternut hickory26.5 BTUs
Honey locust26.5 BTUs
Apple25.8 BTUs
Mulberry25.7 BTUs
Beech24 BTUs
Northern red oak24 BTUs
Sugar maple24 BTUs
White oak24 BTUs
White ash23.6 BTUs
Yellow birch21.8 BTUs
Red elm21.6 BTUs
Hackberry20.8 BTUs
Kentucky coffee tree20.8 BTUs
Gray birch20.3 BTUs
Paper birch20.3 BTUs
White birch20.2 BTUs
Black walnut20 BTUs
Cherry20 BTUs
Green ash19.9 BTUs
Black cherry19.5 BTUs
American elm19.5 BTUs
White elm19.5 BTUs
Sycamore19.1 BTUs
Black ash18.7 BTUs
Red maple18.1 BTUs

Softwoods still make great fires!

Although hardwoods should be your first choice, it does not mean that softwoods will not burn. In fact, softwoods can also be good as fuel. Just take a look at the BTUs of the following softwoods; some can even burn hotter than some hardwood species.

SoftwoodBTUs Per Cord
Rocky Mountain juniper21.6 BTUs
Tamarack20.8 BTUs
Jack pine17.1 BTUs
Norway pine17.1 BTUs
Pitch pine17.1 BTUs
Hemlock15.9 BTUs
Black spruce15.9 BTUs
Eastern white pine14.3 BTUs
Balsam fir14.3 BTUs
Eastern white cedar12.2 BTUs

Stack your firewood in the most efficient manner

Burning hardwoods or softwoods, it won’t matter if you don’t know how to stack your firewood. No this is not stacking firewood to store them, but stacking a mix of soft and hardwood while your fire is burning.

Experts in firewood and wood agree that having a mix of hardwoods and softwoods on a woodpile can help control the burn. Hardwoods can take longer to catch fire but will burn longer, however; softwoods will ignite fast and burn quickly. Because of these quality softwoods are ideal for getting the fires going. Once you have a nice fire going, you can now add hardwood logs to keep the fire burning hotter and longer.


Choose you firewood wisely. If you want a hotter fire, consider a tree species that burn hotter and longer. A good mix of softwoods and hardwoods to burn is a good idea. Quick burning softwood can start stoking the fire and as you have a nice, roaring fire, add the longer lasting, hotter hardwood.

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