Whether you are using firewood to heat your home, or for a campfire, the type of wood you burn will make a difference. The type of wood that will be the best to burn will depend on what you will be using it for.
All types of wood will burn, except for wet wood. The most important factor in burning wood is to make sure your wood is dry. Wet wood will eventually burn, but only after the fire has dried it by evaporating the moisture out of it. This makes wet wood hard to light because the evaporating water cools the wood. Dry wood is much easier to light, produces more heat, and less smoke and creosote. It’s also lighter in weight and easier to handle.
As long as your firewood is dry, it’s hard to go wrong. With any dry wood you can light it and it will burn and put off heat. But different types of wood have different burning characteristics and some are better suited for some burning needs than others.
The main difference in wood is the density. Dense wood will usually burn longer and put out more heat. This is because dense wood is less porous and has more actual solid wood with less air space inside. You can tell if wood is more dense by it’s dry weight. The heavier the wood the more dense it is and the more heat it will produce.
Hardwoods tend to be more dense than softwoods, but not all of them. There are some low density hardwoods and they burn more similar to softwood. Softwood is easier to light and usually burns with bigger and more intense flames. But there is less total heat in softwoods and they burn faster.
Dense hardwoods are popular for wood stoves because they radiate steady heat over a long time. They produce a nice bed of coals that may still be hot long after the flames have died. Less dense softwoods are great for starting fires and getting quick heat. They are also good for fires where you want nice flames like a campfire or an open fireplace for the atmosphere it provides.
All wood is good wood to burn as long as it’s dry. Both hardwood and softwood have their advantages and disadvantages. For me, I think it’s best to have some of both.
Learn more about burning firewood logs.