Of course, if you’re going to have a bonfire, you’re going to need some firewood. While buying firewood isn’t exactly rocket science, it does require some knowledge. This is particularly true if you’re trying to start fires that are of high quality.
But before you just start buying firewood willie-nillie, make sure that you’re educated on what you’re getting out of the wood you’re using.
While there are all different type of wood species, there are, in general, two different types of wood: hardwood and softwood. When used as firewood, each of these different types of woods has its benefits and drawbacks. But what are they?
It’s the ultimate battle: hardwood firewood vs softwood firewood. Let’s compare!
Hardwood Firewood vs Softwood Firewood
Hardwoods include everything from oak, to ash, to cherry, and many other types of wood. North America is filled with hardwoods of all types.
- Long Burn Time
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using hardwood firewood is that it burns over a much longer period of time than does softwood firewood. Because of this, you can burn a lot less of it, and save tons of money on firewood in the long run.
- Very Little Smoke
If you’re hoping to burn firewood indoors, hardwood firewood is the only reasonable option. This is because hardwood produces very little smoke when burnt. Softwood, on the other hand, can be extremely smoky, and can even get smoky enough to start setting off detectors.
- Produces Tons of Heat
Because hardwood is so dense, it can retain tons of heat. As more and more heat becomes retained by the wood, the temperatures of the wood rise and rise. This allows you to heat up an entire room with the use of just one or two logs at a time. Using less logs will result spending less money.
- Long Seasoning Process
The one true downside to hardwood firewood is that it takes quite a while to season. Seasoning is the process in which wood dehydrates and readies itself to be burnt in a fireplace. The average seasoning time for hardwood is around 1 to 2 years.
Softwoods include pine, cedar, and spruce, to name just a few. Like hardwoods, they can be found in large quantities all throughout North America.
- Relatively Short Seasoning Process
Where softwood has hardwood beat in our hardwood firewood vs softwood firewood comparison is in seasoning time. Whereas hardwood takes around a year or two to season, softwood typically only takes 6 to 12 months.
- Easy to Light
Another small, but typical benefit of softwood firewood is that it’s fairly easy to light. But, while it’s easy to light, it doesn’t tend to stay lit for a prolonged period of time. Just be aware of what you’re getting into when you’re buying it.
- Limited Burn Time
As was noted above, while softwood is fairly easy to light, it doesn’t stay lit for long. Softwood is much less dense than hardwood, meaning that fire tends to go through it like a flame through paper.
- Fairly Smoky
Compared to hardwood, firewood is exponentially more smoky. If you’re burning it outside, this won’t necessarily be a problem. But if you’re burning it in an indoor fireplace, your house is going to be filled up with smoke in a fairly rapid period of time.
Looking for Hardwood Firewood in or around Chicago?
If you’ve got a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you’re going to need a consistent flow of high-quality firewood. Interested in reaping the benefits of hardwood firewood in Chicago or its surrounding areas? We’ve got you covered.
Here at Smitty’s Tree and Arbor Service, we season and supply some of the highest-quality oak firewood this world has to offer. We can deliver it right to your fire pit, fireplace, or doorstep.
Contact us for more information!