What are the best wood types for burning? UK

by Elvis Jai Closs on July 17, 2021

What are the best wood types for burning? What types of wood should I burn in my Sidekick Stove

Knowing what wood types burn well is essential to creating a stable fire that throws out loads of heat. Below is a comprehensive list of all the main types of wood you can burn, and which ones which you should avoid.

The Best Wood Types:

• Ash(Scientific Name – FraxinusAsh is widely considered one of the best wood types for burning. Ash creates a steady flame that has good heat output. Unlike other wood types, because of its lower moisture content, ash can be burnt when green. But like all woods, it is best burnt when dry. All of the different Ash types share the same burning qualities, these include - White Ash, American White Ash, European Ash, Blue Ash, etc. View the image here.


• Beech(Scientific Name – FagusLike Ash, Beech burns very well. Although, does not burn well when green due to its high moisture content. View image here.


• Hawthorn(Scientific Name – Crataegus) This wood type burns at a slow rate, and has good heat output. View image here.


• Thorn – (Scientific Name – Acacia Nilotica)This wood type produces very little smoke. It also burns slowly and produces good levels of heat. View image here.


• Yew – (Scientific Name – Taxus Baccata) Yew produces lots of heat. Burning Yew also produces a pleasant scent, which makes it stand out a little more over other wood types. Yew is poisonous though, so please don't eat it, not that you would! View image here.


Good Wood Types

• Apple – (Scientific Name – Malus Domestica) Apple has a small flame and tends to not spark or spit. The flame burns slowly and produces a good level of heat with a good scent too. View image here.

• Birch – (Scientific Name – Betula) Birch is similar to Ash in that it can be burnt when green. It produces a good heat output and a strong flame. Yellow Birch and Black Birch (also known as Mountain Mahogany, Sweet Birch and Cherry Birch) produce the best firewood. There are a number of varieties of birch and their burning qualities do vary. View image here.

• Cedar – (Scientific Name – Cedrus) Cedar firewood is quite distinctive as it can spit and crackle when burning. Although the flame from cedar is small, it lasts long and produces a good level of heat. Cedar is a very popular wood for kindling. It is porous and contains natural oils which make it more flammable than other woods. This is also why it can crackle and spit when burning. View image here.

• Horse Chestnut – (Scientific Name – Aesculus Hippocastanum) This wood is ideal for burning in wood stoves but not open fires as it does intensely. View image here.

• Hazel – (Scientific Name – Corylus) This is a fast-burning wood, which works best when fully seasoned. It does not split unlike other woods such as cherry. View image here.

• Cherry – (Scientific Name – Prunus Avium) Cherry needs to be well seasoned but does burn well and produces good heat. It is easy to split too, which is ideal if you are having to process your own firewood. Cherry can spark a little more than most other firewoods, which may cause issues when using on an open fire. View image here.

• Hornbeam – (Scientific Name – Carpinus Betulus) This burns in a similar way to beech - both are excellent firewoods. View image here.

• Lilac – (Scientific Name – Syringa) This is ideal for kindling as it has lots of smaller branches and burns really well. It is a hollow wood that produces a clear flame and a nice smell. View image here.

• Maple – (Scientific Name – Acer) Produces a good flame and heat output. There are many variations of maple wood, although most known are Sugar or Hard Maple. View image here.

• Oak – (Scientific Name – Quercus) Is probably the best know wood in the UK for a range of reasons. It is a popular wood for furniture but also it makes great firewood. It burns very slowly and makes a small flame, and burns best when seasoned. View image here.

• Pine – (Scientific Name – Pinus) The resin 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. It does however produce a good flame. View image here.

• Robinia – (Scientific Name – Robinia Pseudoacacia) This produces lots of black smoke. It does have a slow burn with good heat output. In the US it is often known as Black Locust. View image here.

Adequate (but not especially good) Wood:

• Elm – (Scientific Name – Ulmus) Elm has high moisture content and should be dried for around 2 years – similar to oak in this respect, although nowhere near as good as oak as firewood. Elm can be slow to get going but can provide a decent flame. View image here.

• Larch – (Scientific Name – Larix) Similar to Elm, it needs to be well seasoned. Beware of sap though as this can collect in the flue of a chimney and increase the risk of a chimney fire. View image here.

• Laurel – (Scientific Name – Laurus Nobilis) This needs to be well seasoned and produces a good flame. However, it only has a reasonable heat output, so it is not the best option. View image here.

• Sycamore – (Scientific Name – Platanus Occidentalis) Sycamore is decent firewood and produces a good flame, but only have a moderate heat output. It needs to be seasoned and has a very high moisture content when live. View image here.

• Sweet Chestnut – (Scientific Name – Castanea Sativa) Only should be used with a stove as it has a tendency to spit lots, which can be unsafe on an open fire. Sweet Chestnut is only moderately dense, so will not produce the same level of heat output like Oak. You might need to burn up to twice as much which is not ideal if you are hand-sourcing and processing your own wood. Although, this wood is particularly easy to process and prepare. View image here.

Poor Wood Types

This list of wood types does not burn well. These include Alder, Firs, Chestnut, Holly, Spruce, and Laburnum.

Good luck! If you have any fire lighting questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

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