Whether it’s the pleasant sound of logs burning in a fireplace or the delicious smell from a bonfire in your backyard, firewood brings warmth and atmosphere to our lives.

But with all of the wood species available, which should you use in your campfire? What is the best firewood for a fire pit? Find out here!


  • Softwoods are cheaper but don’t burn as hot.
  • Hardwoods burn hot but are heavier to deal with.
  • Be sure to source your firewood in a way that is safe for those ecosystems.

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good firewood for a fire pit

Types of Firewood

When it comes to choosing the best firewood, there are two main categories: hardwoods and softwoods.

Both types of wood can be burned in a fire pit, but which is right for you?

Pros– Quick ignition– Slow-burning for long-lasting heat
– Easy to handle due to light weight– Produces more embers and coals for steady heat
– Pleasant aroma when burned– Higher energy content per cord
Cons– Shorter burn time– Slower to ignite
– Lower energy content per cord– Heavier and harder to handle
– May require more frequent loading– Can be more expensive


Hardwoods, as the name suggests, are known for their density and durability. They burn longer and produce more intense heat compared to softwoods.

Characteristics and Benefits of Hardwoods

Hardwoods have several qualities that make them a popular choice for firewood.

Their density allows them to burn slowly, making them ideal for long-lasting heat in colder climates or during overnight burns.

Hardwoods also tend to produce more embers and coals, which contribute to a steadier heat output.

These have a higher energy content per cord compared to softwoods.

Popular Hardwood Species for Firewood

Among various hardwood species used as firewood, Oak is favorite.

Oak has a high density and is slow-burning, offering a long-lasting heat that keeps you warm even during frosty winter nights.

Another go-to option is Maple.

This versatile hardwood is known for its easy splitting, making it convenient for those who prefer splitting their own logs.

Maple also burns well and produces good coals, giving you a consistent source of heat.

Finally, Hickory has an excellent heat output and is considered a top choice for those who appreciate a cozy fire.

Hickory also adds an aromatic touch to your campfire, and the smoke adds a great flavor to anything you grill over your fire pit when burning this wood.

Type of HardwoodCharacteristics
Oak– High density
– Slow-burning for long-lasting heat
– Ideal for frosty winter nights
Maple– Easy splitting for DIY log splitters
– Produces good coals for consistent heat
Hickory– Excellent heat output
– Adds a delightful flavor when smoking/grilling


Softwoods, on the other hand, ignite quickly and are easier to handle due to their lighter weight. Let’s explore the characteristics and benefits of each type.

Characteristics and Benefits of Softwoods

Softwoods may not have the same longevity or high energy content as hardwoods, but they bring their own set of advantages to the table.

One key benefit is how easily you can start your fire—softwood catches fire quickly, making it perfect for getting your fire pit or campfire rolling in no time.

Popular Softwood Species for Firewood

When it comes to softwoods, Pine inevitably comes to mind due to its quick-burning nature and ease of ignition.

Pine logs catch fire quickly, making them essential for starting your fire or adding kindling throughout the burn.

Fir is another popular softwood species that finds its place in many woodpiles.

It provides good heat output while maintaining relatively low moisture content when properly seasoned.

This makes Fir a great option and one of the best woods to burn in a fire pit.

Type of SoftwoodCharacteristics
Pine– Quick-burning and easy to ignite
– Ideal for starting fires and adding kindling
– Pleasant aroma adds to the fireplace experience
Fir– Good heat output
– Low moisture content when properly seasoned
– Efficient for keeping your home warm with less smoke

Learn more fire pit tips here.

Environmental Considerations for Firewood

When it comes to sourcing firewood, it’s crucial to consider the environmental impact of our choices.

Sustainable sourcing of firewood

Sustainable sourcing is key in ensuring we minimize deforestation and maintain healthy ecosystems.

Understanding local regulations and restrictions is the first step. Different regions have specific guidelines on tree cutting, protecting wildlife habitats, or preserving certain tree species.

By familiarizing ourselves with these regulations, we can ensure that our firewood comes from sustainable sources. Opting for certified sustainable sources is another significant aspect of responsible firewood usage.

Look for reputable certifications such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). These certifications guarantee that the firewood you purchase has been responsibly harvested and replanted, ensuring the replenishment of forests for future generations.

Safe Firewood for Ecosystems

Moving firewood from one area to another to burn has spread disease and introduces evasive species into forests.

Make sure you also check regulations where you plan to burn regarding if you have to use local firewood or if you can bring it in.

Alternatives to traditional firewood

While traditional firewood has its charm and rustic appeal, there are alternative heating options worth considering.

One popular alternative is wood pellets.

Pellets are compressed sawdust made from waste materials like wood shavings or agricultural residues.

These pellets burn efficiently (very hot) and produce less smoke and ash compared to traditional firewood.

Also, with pellets you don’t run the risk of carrying disease or evasive species into an area.

Other articles you may be interested in:
How do I put out a campfire?
How do I dispose of wood ash?

Cat is a nature lover who wants to help you make the most of your family and friend time in the great outdoors by offering helpful tips about fire pits, backyard activities, and camping. Learn more about Cat here.