Find the Best Firewood for You

Find the best firewood types for your needs with our handy firewood BTU comparison chart.

By GRIT staff

Stack of firewood

Photo by Fotolia/Tsyb Oleh

Firewood BTUs

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, measure the heat of combustion. Even among the same species, different chunks of firewood are going to burn hotter than others, depending on how dry they are and the conditions under which they grew. These numbers are intended as a rough comparison. They are measured in millions of BTUs per cord, which is a stack of firewood 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long.

Moisture content is more important than tree species when planning for wood heat. Wood that has dried properly will almost always burn hotter than wood that still has moisture in it, because much of the heat energy is used to evaporate the remaining water. Try to stack your firewood about a year in advance so that it has time to completely dry. You’ll get more heat out of your investment if you do. Half a year is often adequate, but in our experience, it can take a while to build up a supply, so plan to be ready a year in advance if you can. Even small logs will dry (and burn) better if split and given time to dry. Covering your stacked firewood isn’t necessary, but it will help, as well.

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