Best Wood For Log Burners
Here at Centreline Fires, our certified suppliers and installers of wood-burning stoves have over 30 years of experience. Not only can we help you choose the best wood burning stove for your household, but we can also help you choose the best wood to burn in your log burner. With so many varieties of wood to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the best type of wood for your log burner. We hope to clearly explain your options and why they’re suitable for you.
So, what is the best wood for log burners?
Generally speaking, whichever wood you choose to burn, it should be good quality and most importantly, dry. The wood should be dry to the touch but if you’re still not sure whether it’s completely dried out or not, you can use a moisture meter. These moisture meters will provide accurate readings – you’re looking for preferably less than 20% moisture. If the wooden log is cracked, this is usually another good sign that it’s dried out. Not only is burning wet wood bad for air quality, but they’re also much harder to light and will increase the risk of fire in your home as they create deposits which stick to the flue.
It’s also important to make sure your log burning wood is fully seasoned. This means that the wood should make a distinctive ‘clack’ sound as opposed to a dull thud when you knock two logs together. Other signs of well-seasoned logs include the bark peeling away and splitting on the outside, it should also feel much lighter than an unseasoned log. The ideal time for the wood to season outdoors is between 18-24 months when it should then be stored off the ground with plenty of coverage and space for air movement.
Now that we know to check for dry, seasoned wood, the next question is which type of wood should we burn in our log burners?
Hardwoods or softwoods?
The difference between hardwoods and softwoods is defined by their reproduction rather than how they look in their end state. Softwood comes from a conifer which normally stays evergreen, this type of wood is known for its strength and versatility and is commonly used in furniture or flooring production. Taken from Pine, Fir, or Spruce, softwood is less expensive than hardwood and much lighter in weight, however, it has poor fire resistance.
Hardwood comes from deciduous trees such as Mahogany, Oak, or Teak, which lose their leaves each year, these trees also tend to be slower growing resulting in a denser wood. Hardwood has a closer grain than softwood and is usually much darker in colour; hardwood also has good fire resistance which makes it the best option to burn if your fire stove.
When burning hardwood instead of softwood, you’ll get a much higher heat output because the logs are so much heavier; this also means you won’t have to fill the stove up as much as you would with softwood.
Best types of wood for log burners
Oak is a great hardwood to choose for your log burner as its density means you will get a slow burn, particularly good for keeping the fire going at night.
Ash is another great option for your log burner as this wood produces good heat with a steady flame and low levels of smoke. Unlike Oak, you shouldn’t need to burn Ash with other types of wood as it’s so successful on its own; many people believe Ash to be the best wood for your log burner.
Beech is great for burning in the wood stove, particularly when it’s been seasoned for at least three years (Beech generally takes longer to the season than other types of wood). You have to be careful that beech is completely dried out before burning as it has such a high water content. This type of wood is also fine to burn on its own, it doesn’t need to be within a mix of wood species for best results.
Elm is very good firewood which burns slowly so will work best when burned with a faster-burning wood. Its high water content means that it takes a while to season, but once established it has a good heat output.
Birch is a very good choice of wood for a log burner as it gives off good heat. You can burn Birch when it’s unseasoned, but this does cause a slight risk of the sap building up deposits in the flue so it’s best to remove the bark first. As Birch burns pretty quickly, it’s more effective when used within a mixture of other woods which burn slower.
Cherry wood gives off a lovely smell and a good heat output when used in a log burner. Ensuring the logs are well-seasoned is important, you could also peel off the bark to use as alternative firelighters.
Sycamore is the final wood type that we would suggest for a log burner. It burns very well when it’s seasoned which only takes around a year and produces a moderate heat output.
Enjoying your log burner
Once you’ve got the best wood for your log burner, it’s handy to have some tips on how to get a roaring fire every time. Remember, your wood must be dry and seasoned and have a supply of kindling close by in case you need it. Start your fire with a good foundation of scrunched up newspaper so that the airflow is good before adding your kindling. It usually works best to stack them vertically, leaving space in between before finally adding your logs ensuring that you’re creating a bed of embers. Get your matches and light the paper, try not to disturb the fire as it ignites – enjoy!