What wood should you burn on your stove?

There are significant benefits from knowing what wood to burn on your wood burning stove. However, only a relatively small number of people who own a stove can confidently differentiate between the different types of wood, which are ideal for burning.

Burning the wrong wood at best will create a poor flame, and little heat. At worst it could increase the risk of a chimney fire in a home.

Below is a list of various woods, and their suitability for burning.

The Best Wood:

Beech – Beech burns very well. Although does not burn well when green due to it’s high moisture content when live.


Beech trees

Hawthorn – Hawthorn has a slow burn rate, and an impressive heat output.

Thorn – This wood tends to produce very little smoke, which makes it perfect when burning in areas where excessive smoke could be an issue.

Rowan – Great heat output, and burns slowly like Hawthorn. Rowan is also know as Mountain Ash, and has a very good heat output.

Ash – Ash is one of the best woods for burning with a steady flame and very good heat output. This wood can also be burnt when green too. The reason for this is that ash, when live has a low moisture content. Although you can burn it green it’s far better to burn when dry (seasoned).

Yew – Yew produces an intense heat and also has a pleasant smell. Although this type of wood can be poisonous.

Good Wood: 

Oak – Makes a good firewood, it burns very slowly and the flame is small. It tends to burn best when it has been seasoned for a long time.

Cedar – This wood spits and crackles when burning due to the natural oils contained within the wood. The flame is small and does tend to last a long while. The heat output is strong as is a popular wood for kindling.

Cherry – This wood does need to be fully seasoned before burning. It produces a good heat, but like cedar it can spit when being burnt.

Apple – Apple burns slowly and produces a nice scent too. It also has a small flame and does not tend to spit, unlike other woods.

Birch – This wood can be burns when green as it has a low moisture content. But as with all other wood, it does tend to burn best when it fully seasoned.

Lilac – Ideal for kindling as it burns well and has small branches. It produces a nice smell and nice, clear flame.

Horse Chestnut – This wood spits a great deal, so although it’s ideal on a wood burning stove, its not suited to an open fire.

Robinia – This wood can produce a black smoke, it does burn slowly and with a good heat output.

Hazel – Hazel burns very quickly. It does not split unlike other woods such as cherry.

Pine – Produces an impressive flame and good heat. However, the sap can cause deposits to form in the flue in a chimney, which can increase the risk of a chimney fire, so use with caution.

Hornbeam – This burns in a similar way to beech, which is similar to ash – both are very good woods to use for a fire.

Maple – Maple has a god heat output. There are a number of versions of this wood available, although most know sugar or hard maple.

Adequate Wood:

Sweet Chestnut – It spits lots and so not ideal on an open fire, although ok for a stove. It is only moderately dense and so you need to burn a lot more than other woods to produce the same heat and flame duration.

Laurel – Produces a good flame, but it only has, at best a reasonable output making it not ideal if you require plenty of heat output from your fire.

Elm – This needs to be dried for around 2 years. It can be slow to get going but can produce a decent flame.

Sycamore – It has a very high moisture content when live and so needs to be very well seasoned. It has a moderate heat output.

Larch – Sap from this wood can collect in the flue of a chimney, which can increase the risk of a chimney fire. However, it produces a decent flame and is quite easy to get going.

Poor Wood:

These woods are not recommended for firewood, and should be avoided.

Alder – Alder produces a poor heat, and does not last long either.

Chestnut – Produces a small flame with a poor heat output.

Eucalyptus – It is a fast burning wood, and can cause serious issues with sap deposits in the chimney, which can cause a chimney fire.

Holly – Has a good flame but a poor heat output. It can burn green too.

Laburnum – This is a very smoky wood with a poor flame.

Spruce – Spruce does not last long and produces a poor flame.

This list has been produced by Charlton & Jenrick who manufacture a wide range of wood burning stoves.  

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