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Firewood 101: Discover The Best Wisconsin Firewood to Burn for Maximum Heat and Efficiency

Posted on 
May 25, 2023
Best Burn Firewood

Ever wondered why some fires burn brighter, hotter, and longer than others? The secret lies in choosing the right Wisconsin firewood for your specific needs. This comprehensive guide of wood burning tips will help you discover the best firewood to burn, based on their characteristics, ideal uses, and proper preparation to maximize heat, efficiency, and create a cozy atmosphere.

Short Summary

  • Understand Wisconsin firewood types and characteristics for optimal performance.
  • Choose the right wood based on your needs. Oak is best for heating homes, while a hardwoods assortment are ideal for campfires.
  • Always use kiln dried wood with minimal moisture and ensure regular chimney maintenance to maximize safety and efficiency when burning.

Understanding Firewood Types

What are the best firewoods?

Firewood can be broadly categorized into two types: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, and ash, are sourced from deciduous trees, while softwoods come from evergreen trees like pines, firs, and spruces. Though hardwoods are denser and generally burn longer than softwoods, each type of wood boasts its own unique advantages.

The quality of firewood is significantly influenced by its density and water content. Burning wood with high moisture content results in decreased brightness and duration of the fire, as the fire has to expend additional energy to burn off excess water.

Wisconsin Hardwood Characteristics

Hardwoods like oak, birch, and maple are known for providing the best burning results, as they burn hotter and produce less smoke. Generally speaking, any hardwood species are among the list of best firewood to burn.

Nevertheless, hardwoods such as oak, hickory, and ash are frequently used due to their superior burning properties. It's essential to note that burning hardwoods can also burn hotter than some indoor wood stoves are rated for. A quality wood stove is also essential in the process of burning.

Most all wood burning tips will involve using specific Wisconsin hardwoods that maintain high heat values.

Wisconsin Softwood Characteristics

In comparison to hardwoods, softwood firewood (pine, cedar, willow) is more cost-effective but burns at a faster rate. Softwoods like pine and cedar tend to produce finer ash than hardwoods, making them more challenging to clean up.

Moreover, softwood firewood is known to cause creosote buildup in chimneys, posing a potential fire hazard. However, certain softwoods may be more susceptible to ignition than hardwoods, making them an excellent choice for starting a fire, but a poor choice to maintain a fireplace with.

Choosing the Right Wood for Your Needs

The best types of wood come in all shapes and colors!

Different types of wood perform better than others for various applications, such as heating your home, cooking, campfires, and fireplaces. Understanding the characteristics of each wood type is crucial to guarantee a simple-to-light fire that burns hotter and longer.

In the following sections, we delve into the best firewood options for specific needs and how to ensure optimal performance.

Heating Your Home

A wood stove burning wood with heat values in a controlled environment

Oak is widely regarded as the best wood for heating homes, as it generates the highest intensity of flames, equivalent to 200-250 gallons of fuel oil. Its long-lasting burn makes it an ideal choice for wood stoves, where maintaining a steady temperature is crucial.

Oak firewood produces approximately 29 million BTUs, making it the most efficient option for heating your home. To ensure the best results, it's vital to choose oak firewood with a moisture content of less than 20%.

Cooking with Firewood

Cooking with firewood

When it comes to cooking with firewood, not all hardwoods are ideal. Fruit woods like cherry and apple, as well as hickory and mesquite, are highly recommended for their sweet, tangy taste they impart to your dishes. For optimal cooking, firewood should be split to a length of 6 or 8 inches and have a low moisture content.

Kiln dried firewood and maintaining a steady temperature while cooking is essential for achieving perfect results. Kiln dried wood burns consistent & burns hotter, producing the best firewood to burn.

Campfires and Outdoor Use

A campfire burning wood

We all love camping throughout Wisconsin! Now, for campfires and other fun outdoor uses, kiln-dried oak or hickory are the most suitable options due to their propensity to burn easily, generate minimal smoke, and yield the hottest flames. Wisconsin Hickory and oak hardwood are favored for campfires as they generate considerable heat and produce minimal smoke, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience.

By choosing the right firewood for your campfire, you can create a memorable and cozy atmosphere for your outdoor adventures.

Proper Firewood Preparation

An image showing a stack of Wisconsin kiln dried oak logs, which is considered the best firewood to burn.

Burning insufficiently dried wood can lead to less heat production and increased smoke emission, while properly dried wood with less than 20% moisture content is ideal for efficient burning.

Proper firewood preparation is essential to ensure the best burning experience, whether it's for heating your home, cooking, or enjoying a campfire. Make sure to measure firewood on a solid surface, out of the rain, where it can still receive airflow.

Kiln-Drying Benefits

A kiln drying firewood

Wisconsin Kiln-dried firewood offers several benefits over seasoned firewood. The kiln-drying process not only eliminates insects and mold, but also reduces moisture content to less than 20%, making it easier to ignite a flame, while maintaining a clean burn. We are considering kiln dried firewood among the best firewoods.

Wisconsin Kiln-dried firewood is also more efficient to ignite due to the reduced resistance from water. By choosing kiln-dried firewood, you can enjoy a hotter, longer-lasting fire with minimal smoke and creosote production. Kiln dried wood produces much higher BTU's per one cord.

Watch out for Wisconsin companies claiming to offer kiln dried firewood, check through their online reviews to find out what previous customers are saying, before you create your purchase.

Tips for Safe and Efficient Wood Burning

A person maintaining a chimney

To ensure a safe and efficient wood burning experience. It's crucial to maintain your chimney and combine different wood types for a hotter and longer-lasting fire. Regular chimney maintenance prevents creosote buildup and ensures proper ventilation.

Blending various wood types can boost the fire's performance and create a more enjoyable experience.

Combining Wood Types

Burning fruit woods in a wood stove

Blending various wood types can generate a more intense and longer-burning fire, as well as reduce the amount of smoke emitted. We advise to combine a lighter hardwood such as cherry to catch an easy light, with a hardwood such as oak that produces more heat and burns longer.

However, avoid combining softwoods with hardwoods, as the softwoods will burn at a faster rate and produce more smoke. By mixing the right wood types, you can create a hotter and longer-lasting fire for a more enjoyable, economical experience.

Aromatic Firewood Options

A person burning hickory wood

Dry and kiln-dried firewood options, such as hickory and cherry, are popular choices for their pleasing scents when burned. These aromatic firewood options can enhance the ambiance of your indoor or outdoor fires, providing a cozy and inviting atmosphere for you and your guests during your events.

The scent of burning hickory or cherry wood can create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere for your guests. Whether you are having a gathering indoors or outdoors, the aroma of these firewood options can help create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Fruit Woods

Wisconsin Cherry Firewood - That's some good firewood!

Fruit woods, such as cherry and apple, derives from various fruit trees and are known for their sweet, tangy aroma when burned. These woods are ideal for smoking meats and imparting a delicate fruity sweetness to dishes.

Although fruit woods may burn more quickly than hardwoods like oak and hickory. They generate an attractive aroma and boost the taste of food, making them a popular choice for cooking and aromatic fires.


Wisconsin Hickory Firewood - That's some good firewood!

Wisconsin Hickory is a high-quality hardwood that is renowned for its hot and slow burning properties, producing long-lasting coals. You can also use it for smoking meats on the grill, imparting a distinct smoky flavor, and its sweet aroma makes it a good choice for indoor and outdoor wood burning.

With its subtle smell and minimal smoke production, hickory is a great option for creating cozy fires that fill your space with a pleasant aroma. Hickory can cost more money, but can you put a price on the best types of wood to burn?

Firewood to Avoid

You should avoid certain wood products and items for health and safety reasons, as they can produce hazardous fumes indoors and pose additional risks to your stove.

In this section, we'll discuss the types of firewood that you should steer clear of to ensure a safe and efficient wood burning experience.

Hazardous Wood Products

You shouldn't be burning pressure-treated wood, painted wood, and plywood due to the chemicals they contain. The combustion of these hazardous wood products can result in the release of toxic chemicals, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and polycyclic organic matter (POMs) into the air, which can be detrimental to human health.

As a responsible homeowner, it's crucial to avoid using these hazardous wood products to ensure a safe and healthy environment.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, and other organisms that have the potential to cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. You should avoid burning invasive species like the Chinese tallow tree and Russian olive. They can spread quickly and displace native plants.

To prevent the spread of these pests, it is essential to use only local firewood. By doing so, you can help protect your local ecosystem and prevent the introduction of potentially harmful invasive species.


In conclusion, choosing the right firewood for your specific needs is essential for creating a cozy atmosphere, maximizing heat and efficiency, and ensuring a safe and healthy environment. From understanding the differences between hardwood and softwood, selecting the best wood for heating, cooking, and campfires, to proper firewood preparation and avoiding hazardous wood products. This comprehensive guide has provided you with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about your firewood choices.

Remember, not all woods are created equal. By carefully selecting the best firewood for your needs, you can enjoy the warmth, ambiance, and aroma of a perfect fire, while minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring the safety of your home and loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cleanest burning wood for a fire?

When it comes to firewood, hardwoods are generally you can consider it to be the cleanest burning wood and we highly recommend it for fire safety. Popular options of hardwoods include white oak, ash, birch, red oak, hard maple, beech, hickory, pecan and walnut.

These types of wood burn the cleanest and produce very little smoke or unhealthy particulate matter when burned in proper conditions.

What firewood you shouldn't use in a fireplace?

It's important to avoid burning treated, painted, or sealed wood, as well as green/wet wood in your fireplace. Burning these materials can cause the release of cancer-causing chemicals, which may be dangerous to your health and home.

It is best to burn only kiln dried hardwoods for optimal safety and efficiency.

Which firewood lasts longest?

Wisconsin Oak is the best choice for firewood that lasts longest. Wisconsin Oak is a dense hardwood, meaning it is packed with energy, which results in more heat and a longer burn time than softer woods like pine or cedar.

Additionally, oak doesn't produce much creosote, helping to keep chimneys clean and free of buildup.

What is the hottest burning wood?

Wisconsin Hardwoods such as maple, oak, ash, birch, and most fruit trees provide the best and hottest burning firewood. These woods have the least pitch and sap and are generally cleaner to handle, making them more efficient and providing a longer and hotter burn.

Kiln dried firewood also increases the heat values of all wood types.

Best Burn Firewood
Best Burn Firewood offers firewood delivery year round. We have firewood for sale near you. We would love to be your new firewood supplier.

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May 25, 2023
Firewood 101: Discover The Best Wisconsin Firewood to Burn for Maximum Heat and Efficiency
By author Best Burn Firewood

Ever wondered why some fires burn brighter, hotter, and longer than others? The secret lies in choosing the right Wisconsin firewood for your specific needs. This comprehensive guide of wood burning tips will help you discover the best firewood to burn, based on their characteristics, ideal uses, and proper preparation to maximize heat, efficiency, and […]

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