Best Burning Wood – Perfect for the Wood Stove

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What is the best wood to burn on a wood stove? This article covers the characteristics of different wood types and includes some personal recommendations of the best wood for burning in a wood stove or fireplace.

Originally as a city girl, I had a lot to learn. Lucky for me, I married a very skilled country boy who is knowledgeable in many things about rural life.

With a little bit of extra effort, we have a frugal source of heat to last us through the winters on our rural Nebraska prairie.

wood pile stacked

Best Wood to Burn in a Wood Stove

This list of best wood is what has worked well for us on our small homestead. Some of this can depend on availability for your area too.

Finding the right type of wood for your wood stove depends on where you live. I know there are many other great options available in other areas too.

Please feel free to comment below and let us know your favorites!

Wood to Avoid Burning in a Wood Stove

Before I get into the list of the best wood to burn in a wood stove, I’d like to share a few of the worst woods to burn or what to avoid using.

Soft wood

Softwoods such as evergreens, pines, and firs, for example, can create a soot buildup in the chimney which would make it unsafe to burn as they can lead to chimney fires.

They also don’t provide much heat and often will give off too much smoke.

Green Wood

This is wood that hasn’t had time to dry out or properly season. Fresh cut wood needs time to dry out before it can be burned.

It is usually impossible to light and does not stay lit very well making for a frustrating experience.

Treated Wood

Wood scraps from a project that you have laying around isn’t a great idea for indoor burning in a wood stove, especially if its been treated with any sort of chemicals.

Once it starts to burn, toxic fumes fill the air, which is definitely not a good idea for anyone to inhale.

chicken standing on a wood pile

Best Wood to Burn in a Wood Stove

This is a list compiled by my husband. These are his favorite local woods to source when he’s out cutting wood for our homestead.

Hardwoods like ash, oak, birch, and most fruit trees are excellent choices.


This is our number one choice of fire wood. It burns pretty well and provides great heat. My lumberjack (I mean, husband) says it splits very well, even when green.


Oak is great for providing a good steady burning flames.


Maple wood burns really hot, perfect for those super cold days. I really like to have a variety of woods like maple with ash to give us a hot and steady burning fire.

Chinese Elm

This is another wood that burns really hot and can almost become too hot. I like to mix it with some other random pieces and use on those really cold mornings to warm up the house for the day.


Great fast start burning wood. It does burn out quickly, but we love to use it to get a fire started fast. It can be difficult to split when its green and a little soft.

cut wood stacked on the side of the house, outside.

Storing firewood

Store your cut and split wood and kindling in stacks where it can get plenty of air circulation. Be sure to cover the top half to avoid getting wet or where wood rot can ruin your good firewood.

A Few Random Tips

The best firewoods are easiest to split when they have been dried or seasoned.

A hydraulic splitter is worth every penny, according to my husband. If you rely on using wood for heat, this will make the job a little bit easier!

Moving, splitting, and carrying wood is one of the best workouts out there! I just don’t recommend it when 8-9 months pregnant.

What about you? What are your favorite type of firewood for burning in a wood stove?

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  1. Birch makes a good hot fire, lots of glowing Embers! Alter does just as well, I found out burning back bits gets a ripping fire going in a wood stove too almost too hot of a fire!!!

  2. Pine has a bad rap. As long as it;s seasoned, preferably more than one year, and the bark is off it, it burns hot and fast. I usually split my dry pine into thin kindling. But, inn some parts of the world where hardwoods aren’t available pine is used very effectively. Oak is my favorite.

    1. Pine is fine as long as it’s well dried and you don’t choke the fire down with the damper. Let it burn and the fire will push the smoke and byproducts through the chimney. If you restrict the draw that’s where you run into trouble. The lower temperature allows for the creosote to start building inside the flue. Another wood that has a really bad reputation is sycamore. Given time to dry (a LONG time), it burns great. My stove likes elm and maple best.

  3. Does anyone know about burning Almond wood? There is a lot available near me but I don’t know anything about it. We usually just burn oak.

    1. I personally don’t have any experience with burning almond wood. I asked around a little bit and it doesn’t seem to be a common thing for most folks. Hopefully someone can chime in on this for you. If you find success with it, let us know. 🙂

  4. Black locust – bout the same as Osage orange and lasts many times longer than treated wood for earth contact – watch out for thorns! Ash can be burned that year when cut down green early in spring/summer. To use wood efficiently use only what you need to keep the fire going, catalytic combustor working – no need to fill the burn chamber except when going to bed.

  5. We burn ash,cherry,maple and some oak. I have a regency fireplace insert. Works great. Very little smoke. Locust burns good also.

  6. I like oak and hickory I have and outdoor wood boiler and with mine the green wood burns better, but like you said NEVER burn green wood in a indoor stove you will have a chimney fire. No matter what type of wood you use always make sure you check and clean your chimney.

  7. I’ve been burning wood for twenty years and try to get ash when ever possible. The local golf course culls trees every year and they let me cut how ever much I want when the ground is frozen