Whether you are looking to cosy up your home during chilly winters or seeking the perfect firewood for efficient home heating, this comprehensive guide will be of help. We explore the top hardwood species, and their burning qualities, and provide valuable insights to help you make informed choices. Get ready with Cozilogs to discover the best types of wood and firewood options to keep your hearth warm and inviting all season long!

Table of UK hardwood firewood best to worst for burning and heating

The following table features twenty hardwood species, which are used as wood for burning in the UK, which are sorted in firewood best to worst order. Naturally, this is highly subjective but should give readers an idea of the qualities of different types of wood.

# Tree Wood for Burning Characteristics Heating Use
1 Oak Burns well, best wood quality, high heat output, long-lasting Good
2 Ash Burns evenly, high energy content, easy to split Good
3 Beech Burns with a steady flame, produces good coals Good
4 Birch Burns hot, a faster burning wood, provides quick heat Good
5 Sycamore Burns with a steady flame, moderate heat generation Limited
6 Cherry Burns well, pleasant aroma, moderate heat output Limited
7 Walnut Burns with a steady flame, good for small spaces Good
8 Maple Burns evenly, average heat output, good for cooking Limited
9 Elm Burns well, long-lasting, good for larger spaces Good
10 Yew Burns hot, ideal for a long-lasting and slow burning fire Limited
11 Hornbeam Burns with a steady flame, good for cooking Good
12 Willow Burns well, fast burn rate, good for kindling Limited
13 Poplar Burns evenly, low heat output, best for starting fires Limited
14 Plane Burns steadily, medium heat output, good for indoors Limited
15 Rowan Burns with a steady flame, good for outdoor fires Limited
16 Hawthorn Burns well, high energy content, good for cooking Limited
17 Lime Burns steadily, low quality firewood, very little heat Limited
18 Sweet Chestnut Burns slowly and hot, long-lasting fires, low quality firewood Limited
19 Alder Burns evenly, lower heat output, best for smoking Limited
20 Hazel Burns well, moderate heat output, good for cooking Limited

The table above only features UK species, the list of firewood best to worst would change if other international species were included.

Neatly stacked ash and oak firewood logs

Neatly stacked ash and oak firewood logs

What are the best trees to grow firewood in the UK and why?

These hardwood trees are well-suited for firewood growth in the UK due to their heat output, burning qualities, and ease of cultivation. This is in a slightly different order to the list of twenty above.

The five best hardwood trees to grow firewood in the UK are:

  • Oak - is one of the top choices for growing firewood due to its high heat output, slower burning wood qualities, fewer sparks, and versatility. It produces long-lasting fires that provide ample warmth for home heating
  • Ash - is another excellent firewood choice and one of the best types of firewood. It has a balanced heat output and is easy to split, making it ideal for wood stoves and fireplaces. Its clean-burning properties make it a popular option for heating purposes and as a wood for burning
  • Beech - is a reliable and versatile hardwood for firewood. It offers consistent heat output and burns cleanly, making it suitable for various heating appliances
  • Maple - is a fast-growing tree, making it a top-quality option for firewood. It has good heat output and seasoning time, allowing for quick use
  • Birch - is a popular choice for firewood because of its quick seasoning time and ease of ignition. It produces bright flames and a pleasant smell, making it enjoyable for home heating and indoor fires
A birch tree with birch logs alongside

A birch tree with birch logs alongside

What are the best 10 firewood species in the UK?

The "best firewood species" types of wood list include ten hardwood trees with good heat output, slow burning qualities, and types of firewood well-suited for home heating purposes. These are in ranking order:

  • 1st – Oak
  • 2nd – Ash
  • 3rd – Beech
  • 4th – Maple
  • 5th – Birch
  • 6th – Hornbeam
  • 7th – Yew
  • 8th – Sweet chestnut
  • 9th – Elm
  • 10th – Cherry

What are considered 10 good firewood species?

On the other hand, the "good firewood species" list comprises ten hardwood trees that are still suitable for firewood but may have slightly different burning qualities or are not as widely preferred as the top choices.

Again, these good firewood species are in ranking order:

  • 1st – Sycamore
  • 2nd – Willow
  • 3rd – Poplar
  • 4th – Plane
  • 5th – Rowan
  • 6th – Hawthorn
  • 7th – Lime
  • 8th – Alder
  • 9th – Walnut
  • 10th - Hazel
Choose logs with low moisture content for efficient burning

Choose logs with low moisture content for efficient burning

Best trees for firewood - 12 essential criteria

When you want to burn wood selecting the best trees for firewood is challenging. Listed below are essential factors to consider, which ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

View our list of best firewood essentials below:

  1. Density - opt for dense hardwoods to ensure longer burning times and sustained heat
  2. Easy ignition - pick firewood that ignites easily to avoid struggles with starting your fire
  3. Heat output - select trees with ideally high or at least good heat output to keep your home warm during cold months
  4. Low ash production - select trees that produce less ash to minimise maintenance and cleaning efforts
  5. Low moisture content - choose firewood with low moisture content for efficient burning and reduced smoke production
  6. Low sparking - opt for firewood with low sparking to reduce the risk of sparks flying out of the fireplace
  7. Minimal resin - avoid resinous trees to prevent excessive creosote buildup in your chimney. Excessive resin is a major cause of chimney fires
  8. Minimal smoke – very good firewood has minimal smoke production for a cleaner and healthier indoor environment
  9. Readily available - choose trees that are readily available in your area for easier access and affordability
  10. Seasoning time - consider firewood that requires shorter seasoning time for quicker use (or buy readymade seasoned wood)
  11. Suitable size - ensure the firewood is cut to a suitable size that fits your fireplace or wood stove
  12. Sustainable growth - consider trees that can be grown sustainably to support eco-friendly practices

Woods to avoid

We recommend avoiding burning wood of the following types:

      • Green wood – this is a poor firewood, as when burned green firewood has more smoke and burns inefficiently. All firewood must be seasoned, either by air or kiln drying
      • Pressure treated wood – if used in an open fire, this low quality firewood contains harmful chemicals and must not be used for smoking meats and cooking food. Similarly, do not burn wood that has been painted, or coated with wood preservatives, etc.,
      • Softwoods – generally make for poor firewood as hardwoods are a more efficient fuel source and often create tar deposits

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, exploring the best hardwoods for firewood in the UK offers valuable insights for efficient home heating. Oak, ash, beech, maple, and birch rank as the top choices due to their high heat output, slow burning properties, and versatility. For those looking to grow their own firewood, oak and ash are excellent options for their long-lasting fires and clean burning wood qualities.

When selecting firewood, considering essential criteria such as density, heat output, and low moisture content ensures optimal performance and a cosy, inviting home throughout the winter. With Cozilogs as your guide, you can now make informed choices and discover the perfect firewood for your home heating needs.

Speak to Cozilogs about “What is the best type of firewood”

Firewood which works for one homeowner, will not for another. We are often asked, “What is the best type of firewood?” The answer of what is good firewood is highly subjective and depends on many criteria. For example, are you searching for slower burning wood, a pleasant smell, which wood burns longer, good heat output, minimal smoke, fewer sparks, and other factors.

Call us at 01905 954 736 to discuss your requirements and we can make recommendations from our selection of kiln dried premium quality hardwood logs. You can also email us using our contact form for an early reply.