8 Longest Burning Wood Types for a Cozy Night

Long Burning Firewood For Heat

It’s true that coaxing green wood to burn will undoubtedly feel the longest and would take ages to burn to ash. However, this ranges from ineffective to a health risk to illegal. So, let’s examine some great woods for comfortably getting you through a cold night instead.

The longest burning wood types are:

  1. Ash: A Great All-Rounder, Even In A Pinch
  2. Hickory: The Wood To Beat
  3. Oak: A Hard Contender
  4. Osage Orange: A Rarer Blazer
  5. Black Locust: A Good Purchase When Split
  6. Apple: This One’s For The Noses
  7. Beech: The Worst Of The Best
  8. Blue Gum: The Globulus Favorite

1. Ash: A Great All-Rounder, Even In A Pinch

Ashwood is considered by many to be the best firewood all-round. It’s among the longer-lasting firewood as it is a dense hardwood. Density is critical, as you get much more longevity per unit volume.

The unique benefit of ash is its low moisture content. This wood can be burnt almost immediately after harvesting. However, you will probably get better results by leaving it up to six months to dry out further (to “season”), reducing its smokiness from low to minimal.

Ash has several additional advantages:

  • It’s easy to split for a hardwood
  • It burns well, but not too intensely at 20-24 million BTUs/cord
  • It has a neutral odor, making it great for cooking
  • Produces few sparks, but good coals
  • Ash is quite prevalent in the USA, although the invasive Emerald ash borer hasn’t helped
  • It’s not overly costly compared to some hardwoods, at about $400-$450 a cord

Fun fact: most American baseball bats are made from Ash or Hickory wood due to their strength, density, and flexibility.

2. Hickory: The Wood To Beat

Hickory is among your best choices for firewood, although it can be more costly. Hickory is well known to burn nice and slow, with a good log lasting up to four hours, leaving good coals that will remain warm for a long time afterward.

It burns hot at 28.5 million BTU per cord. For those unfamiliar:

  • A cord of wood is the equivalent of 128 cubic feet
  • A BTU (British thermal unit) is the energy needed to heat a pound of water from 39 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s roughly the energy emitted by a burning match.

Other good qualities include:

  • Extra dense, at about 50 lbs/ft3
  • Low smoke and odor
  • Typically needs only a year of seasoning

However, while prices vary, you may find hickory to cost anywhere from $400 to as much as $800 per cord, giving the alternatives a considerable lead in price-to-performance.

Tip: To really maximize the burn time, stack the wood “upside down.” Place your thickest logs at the base, smaller fuel above, with tinder and kindling at the top. This way, the fire will steadily burn through the entire stack with minimal need for maintenance.

3. Oak: A Hard Contender

Oak is a very popular firewood for good reasons. It’s common throughout the USA and is a close contender to hickory. The seasoning period of 2-3 years is the main catch, while also being a bit harder to split.

Red, Bur, and Gambel are all suitable oak varieties, but White Oak is often ideal given the:

  • High BTU/cord of 29.1 million
  • About 47 lbs./ft3 when dry
  • Burns nearly as long as hickory, producing lasting coals
  • It has a popular odor while being low on smoke and sparks

This wood can be tough to ignite due to its density and moisture content, even after seasoning for years. Look at this guide to get oak burning regardless of your future predicaments.

4. Osage Orange: A Rarer Blazer

Osage orange is denser and burns hotter on average than most other options.

Osage orange is used as firewood least. However, where it’s available, it’s often competitively priced.

Getting more heat from your campfire can be excellent and worthwhile. On the other hand, be careful, as this wood is known to warp the stoves of owners who used too much in one go. So make sure you understand how hot your campfire may become.

Osage orange has an average density of 54 lbs/ft3 and burns at about 33 million BTU per cord. With such a high mass and energy density, you can expect it to keep you warm over a winter night with a long burn and excellent coals. Just mind the sparks.

Tip: restricting the airflow somewhat to an established fire can help it last longer. Just be sure to avoid smothering it.

5. Black Locust: A Good Purchase When Split

Black locust makes good firewood and is sometimes regarded neck-in-neck with hickory. However, burning black locust wood will emit a fair amount of sparks due to its sap, can be more precarious to handle with large thorns, and is challenging to split.

Nonetheless, it has otherwise comparable specifications:

  • Burns 29+ million BTU/cord with a density of 48 lbs./ft3 – more heat per mass than hickory
  • Despite its density, it grows fast, to the point of being considered invasive at times
  • Forests of black locust can be found around Appalachian regions, so keep an eye out
  • It’s not pungent and emits a low amount of smoke
  • It takes about 1-2 years to season

6. Apple: This One’s For The Noses

Applewood is yet another comparable hardwood and smells fantastic. It is considered among Cherry and Pecan in this regard.

Pros of applewood:

  • Good density and burns at 27 million BTU per cord
  • Low smoke and sparks
  • Noteworthy fragrance


  • Seasoning takes up to two years
  • Splitting is doable but not easy
  • Unless you live near an orchard, it’s a rarer find

Tip: Applewood needs years of seasoning. Check for the following before use or purchase:

  • Peeling bark
  • Faded coloration
  • Sharp click/clunk sound when hit together

7. Beech: The Worst Of The Best

Beech will last. It’s a good option overall but has some significant downsides compared to the other hardwoods mentioned here.

Advantages of beech:

  • It’s known to burn intensely, outputting a respectable 27.5 million BTU/cord
  • It produces excellent coals without many sparks or much smoke

Disadvantages of beech:

  • It’s not as dense as many other hardwoods and won’t burn at long
  • It often takes 2 years to season due to its high water content
  • It’s the most difficult to split in this list
  • It tends to be tough to ignite

However, after seasoning, beech reaches an exceptionally low moisture content. This allows it to burn efficiently and get you or your food warming up quickly.

8. Blue Gum: The Globulus Favorite

Blue gum is an international favorite among many camping and barbeque fans, fittingly classified as Eucalyptus globulus. Of course, it is usually considered invasive outside of southern Australia. All the better to go chopping some down, right?

Blue gum can be found on America’s West coast but is best known in:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • South-Western Europe, primarily Spain and Portugal
  • Southern regions of Africa, especially South Africa

While not easy to split, blue gum is dense and sports a list-topping 34.5 million BTU per cord. It’s almost smokeless after seasoning for 1-2 years, hardly sparks, and has a will-liked smell that some describe as minty. Some report that it’s less ideal for cooking, but friends and family have had no such qualms.

Glossary: Campfire

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