Heat Values and Burning Qualities of Common Wood Species

Species Density
(lbs per cubic ft)
Weight Per Cord
(lbs)
BTU's Per Cord
(millions)
Recoverable BTU's per Cord (Millions) Units needed to produce 1 Million BTU's
Hickory 50.9 4327 27.7 19.39 0.052
East. Hophornbeam 50.2 4267 27.3 19.11 0.052
Apple 48.7 4100 26.5 18.55 0.054
White Oak 47.2 4012 25.7 17.99 0.056
Sugar Maple 44.2 3757 24 16.8 0.060
Red Oak 44.2 3757 24 16.8 0.060
Beech 44.2 3757 24 16.8 0.060
Yellow Birch 43.4 3689 23.6 16.52 0.061
White Ash 43.4 3689 23.6 16.52 0.061
Hackberry 38.2 3247 20.8 14.56 0.069
Tamarack 38.2 3247 20.8 14.56 0.069
Paper Birch 37.4 3179 20.3 14.21 0.070
Cherry 36.7 3121 20 14 0.071
Elm 35.9 3052 19.5 13.65 0.073
Black Ash 35.2 2992 19.1 13.37 0.075
Red Maple 34.4 2924 18.7 13.09 0.076
Boxelder 32.9 2797 17.9 12.53 0.080
Jack Pine 31.4 2669 17.1 11.97 0.084
Norway Pine 31.4 2669 17.1 11.97 0.084
Hemlock 29.2 2482 15.9 11.13 0.090
Black Spruce 29.2 2482 15.9 11.13 0.090
Ponderosa Pine 28 2380 15.2 10.64 0.094
Aspen 27 2290 14.7 10.29 0.097
White Pine 26.3 2236 14.3 10.01 0.100
Balsam Fir 26.3 2236 14.3 10.01 0.100
Cottonwood 24.8 2108 13.5 9.45 0.106
Basswood 24.8 2108 13.5 9.45 0.106


Species Ease Of Starting Coaling Qualities Sparks Fragrance Heating Class
(1 is best)
Apple Poor Excellent Few Excellent 2
Ash Fair Good Few Slight 2
Beech Poor Good Few Slight 1
Birch White Good Good Moderate Slight 2
Cherry Poor Excellent Few Excellent 2
Cedar Excellent Poor Many Good 3
Elm Fair Good Very Few Fair 2
Hemlock Good Low Many Good 3
Hickory Fair Excellent Moderate Slight 1
Locusts Black Poor Excellent Very Few Slight 1
Maple Sugar Poor Excellent Few Good 1
Oak Red Poor Excellent Few Fair 1
Pine Excellent Poor Moderate Good 3

Different types of wood have different heating values. You should expect to pay more for a cord of mixed wood containing a lot of seasoned hickory, for example, than an equivalent measure with mostly aspen or hemlock. Generally speaking, you'll get much more heat from hardwood than from softer, lighter wood.

Most firewood you purchase will be green and have a fair amount of water in it. It takes at least six months of air drying for wood to be considered seasoned and ready for burning.

When selecting wood, also take into consideration ease of splitting, ease of ignition and burning, how much smoke it produces and its "coaling" qualities. "Coaling" refers to the ability of a species of wood to form a long- lasting bed of hot coals when burned. Coaling qualities improve with higher density.


Source: Hearth.com

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