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25 of the Best Hardwoods & Softwoods to Burn in Your Fireplace This Winter

wappinger ny burning pine in fireplaceWinter is here to stay. The temperature has dropped and we are already getting a taste of the heavy snowfall meteorologists have predicted for this year. It’s the perfect time to make sure your woodpile is fully stocked with the best firewood.

The type of wood that you burn makes a difference. Some woods are more aromatic than others. Some woods burn hotter and longer than others. If you want to build hot, long burning fires, be sure to stack up the right types of wood.

Hardwoods vs Softwoods

There are two types of wood: hardwood and softwood. The difference between these two types is their density. Hardwoods are denser than softwoods. You can feel the difference in their density when you pick them up. Softwoods are significantly lighter than hardwoods. While it might not be as easy to carry an armload of hardwood inside, you won’t regret the extra effort.

The extra density of hardwood makes it burn longer and hotter which means less trips out to the woodpile. Since it burns hotter than softwood, it also produces less creosote.

Creosote is a combustion byproduct, like smoke, that builds up in the chimney. It is extremely flammable. Burning hardwoods that produce less of it decrease the risk of a chimney or house fire during the burning season.

There are many different types of hardwoods. Here are 20 of the most popular hardwoods in the U.S.


1. American Beech

2. American Elm

3. Apple

4. Ash

5. Aspen

6. Birch

7. Black Locust

8. Blackthorn

9. Cherry

10. Cottonwood

11. Hawthorn

12. Hickory

13. Ironwood

14. Maple

15. Pecan

16. Oak

17. Silver Poplar

18. Sycamore

19. Walnut

20. Willow

If you enjoy burning woods that have an aromatic scent, choose hardwoods like apple, cherry, hickory, maple, pecan, poplar and walnut.

One benefit of softwoods is that they are easier to ignite than hardwoods. It can be helpful to get a fire started with a few pieces of kindling or logs of softwood. On warmer winter days, you may prefer to build a fire of softwoods for a milder heat.

The most popular softwoods to burn are:


1. Pine

2. Tamarack

3. Spruce

4. Cedar

5. Yew

Seasoned vs. Green (Unseasoned) Firewood

Along with choosing the right type of wood, make sure that the wood you burn is seasoned.

get your fireplace started this winter in new paltz nySeasoned wood is firewood that has dried out for at least six months. Greenwood is firewood that isn’t dry enough to burn well. When you burn greenwood, it produces thick dark smoke and large deposits of creosote. It also dampens the flames and gives off less heat. Seasoned wood produces more heat along with less smoke and creosote

The reason greenwood doesn’t burn well is because freshly cut wood has a high moisture content. It takes a significant amount of time for that moisture to evaporate enough for it to burn well.

You can tell the difference between seasoned and greenwood by looking at it. On the outside, seasoned wood looks dusty or grey in comparison. On the inside, it looks white and dry. It also sounds different. If you hit two logs together, seasoned wood will make a loud cracking sound. If it makes a dull thud instead the wood is too green.

Stay warm this winter in Hudson Valley with the best types of seasoned firewood! If you have any trouble with your fireplace or chimney, give us a call! Keeping homes safe from house fires and carbon monoxide is our mission.

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