When it comes to wood-burning stoves, all woods are not equal. The type of wood you choose to burn can have a big impact on your experience.
The aesthetics, scent and sound of your stove can all be affected by the wood you use. But perhaps most importantly, the efficiency of your wood-burning stove will vary dramatically depending on your choice of fuel.
Ideally, you want to use a slow-burning wood. This will provide an even supply of heat over a sustained period. Holly, for instance, is a fast burning wood. Although it gives off good heat, it is more efficient to use something that burns slowly.
As a rule of thumb, hardwoods are slower burners than softwoods. Their bigger mass means the same sized log will take longer to burn than if it was a softwood, such as spruce and pine. That results in less time spent reloading your stove and far greater fuel efficiency.
Pine is also a bad choice as a fuel due to its high resin content. Woods containing a lot of resin can cause sticky residue to build up in your stove and flue.
So, which wood should you use in a wood burner?
Here are our top 10 wood fuels.
Ash is widely considered to be just about the ultimate wood fuel. It gives off good heat and burns steadily. It performs well when freshly cut in comparison to other woods, but is even better once seasoned.
Another widely sought after fuel, oak burns slowly and generates long-lasting heat. It should be seasoned for two years before being burned.
Burns similarly to ash, but not quite as efficiently. It has a high moisture content, so it needs to be well seasoned before use.
A fairly unimpressive burn visually, but it does give off a good amount of heat.
Hawthorn burns slowly and gives off great heat. If you’re collecting your own, you need to watch out for those nasty thorns.
Blackthorn is very much like hawthorn.
A good all-rounder, maple burns slowly with decent heat and a great flame.
A nice, slow burner.
As well as burning slowly and without spitting, apple gives off a nice scent.
Very similar to apple.
Whichever wood you choose to burn, remember to allow it to season first. This reduces the moisture content in the wood, so you get a more efficient burn and less creosote build-up in your flue.