Looking for a better deal on your insurance? Get a quote
Become a registered trader - Join us

The Best Woods to Burn: A-Z

The Best Woods to Burn: A-Z

Open fires not only warm a house up beautifully, they look great and feel super cosy, too. If you are unsure what the difference is between burning apple or ash, check out our A-Z of popular woods to burn.


Apple wood is lovely to burn without spitting or producing sparks; you get the added bonus of a lovely, distinct smell. The wood needs to be seasoned well to get the best burn.


Ash wood gives a great flame and burns well. One of the advantages of ash is that it burns well without much seasoning; you can even get away with burning it green (unseasoned). Another advantage of ash is that it burns well on its own; you don’t need to mix it with a softer wood to get a good fire going. For this reason, ash is a popular wood and often thought of as the best one for people with wood burners and open fires.


Beech wood has a high water content so, like oak, it needs to be seasoned well – in an ideal world, beech should be seasoned for three years before it reaches its best. Beech is great for all types of fire and, unlike oak, it doesn’t need to be mixed with other wood to get a good fire.


Birch wood gets a great burn and produces a good amount of heat. However, it does burn pretty quickly, so it is a good idea to mix it with other woods that burn more slowly, such as oak. If you are lucky enough to have access to birch, you can peel the bark off to make excellent firelighters. It will also burn reasonably well unseasoned, but this is not advisable as you could get a build-up of sap in your flue.


Cedar wood gives off a good amount of heat and smells nice, but it doesn’t produce much of a flame. Although it is best burnt when seasoned, if you cut it up into smaller logs, it burns relatively well unseasoned.


Cherry wood needs to be properly seasoned but once it is ready to burn, it burns well and smells great, too. Like birch, the bark of cherry wood makes great firelighters.


As a slow growing tree, oak wood is very dense. This means that it will take longer to season; more than two years, in fact. However, it also means that it oak burns slow and long. For this reason, it is a good (but expensive) choice, and worth mixing with a softer wood to get the best results.


Pine burns well and lights easily, but can spit and produce soot. The best use of pine is to season it and split it to make kindling before adding a harder wood.


Sycamore burns really well and gives off a reasonable amount of heat. However, it has to be seasoned. Because of its medium density, though, sycamore only takes about a year to season.

Before you get your fire lit, make sure that you put safety first. Your chimney should be swept at least once a year; if it hasn’t been done yet, check out our directory of trusted local chimney sweeps. For more guidance, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Was this useful?

See more articles