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The Best Types of Wood to Burn in Fire Pits

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The best kind of wood for burning will vary according to the purpose of the fire. For instance, some types of wood are best for cooking while others are better at keeping the home warm through a fireplace. When choosing the best kind of firewood, you have to consider the characteristics of the wood itself.

Seasoned VS Wet Wood

When selecting firewood, it’s best to go for seasoned wood rather than wet wood. Seasoned wood had been left to dry for an extended period of time to encourage easier combustion. Wet wood tend to be difficult to burn and when it does, it burns with less heat. Seasoned firewood, on the other hand, burns faster and the heat is more intense.

Hardwood VS Softwood

The most important element that makes a wood ideal for burning is its composition. Hardwood’s composition is dense while softwood is the opposite. Because hardwood’s composition is dense, it’s better for heat and for cooking. However, igniting hardwood is harder because of the packed composition.

Softwood, on the other hand, ignites much faster. It performs well as a starter wood to extend the life of the fire. But it does give less heat and it burns so much faster due to their resinous composition.

The best types of hardwoods for heating or cooking are ash, red oak, white oak, birch, hickory, pecan, dogwood, and almond. Apple, hard maple, and almond are great options too. Generally, hardwood as firewood will burn at high heat with no heavy smoke.

Though not ideal for heat or cooking, softwood that will work to extend the life of your fire includes spruce, fir, and southern yellow pine. You can also use eastern red cedar or cypress to keep the fire going.

Best Types of Firewood for Different Purposes


Alder may not burn as hot as other types of firewood because it gives off less heat and burns too fast. But it could yield charcoal that imparts a delicate flavor and sweetness to food. It’s perfect for smoking fish, poultry, and game.


Almond makes for an excellent firewood because the wood is very dense, allowing it to maintain high heat for an extended period. Almond also makes charcoal that imparts an appealing flavor to food so it does double duty as charcoal for cooking.


Apple wood is by far the best choice for cooking. It burns steadily without giving off too much flame and it has a mild, smoky flavor that offers delicate fruitiness to roasted meats. It’s decent firewood too. But apple is very rare as a firewood because the appearance of the wood itself is very attractive. This type of wood is used in furniture and decor.


Ash is also excellent firewood because it will burn well despite being a wet wood. Ash also does double duty as firewood for cooking. It’s best for fish and poultry.


Cherry is better as firewood for heat because it yields a low flame similar to apple. As firewood in cooking, it imparts very mild flavor that goes well with pork and beef.

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