The best type of firewood to burn in your fire pit is a seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood like Oak. This will provide you with a nice high heat, long burn and produce less smoke than softwoods and some other types of wood you’ll find around the yard.
For best results, use kiln-dried hardwood, which contains less moisture than most seasoned woods. However, it can cost up to 30% more than seasoned wood as it goes through a heating process, which is reflected in the price.
If you’re on a budget, you can buy seasoned wood or freshly cut hardwood to use in your fire pit. However, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to properly season the fresh-cut wood, so if you’re in a rush, one of the other options are your best choice.
Best types of wood to burn
There’s only one contender regarding the type of wood to use in your fire pit, and that’s most types of Hardwood. But the hardwood will have to be dried properly to ensure that its moisture content has diminished enough before you plonk it on your fire pit and light it up.
Hardwoods – best for burn times and less smoke
Even though you can burn softwoods like pine in fire pits, softwoods aren’t as dense as hardwood. This means you’ll need a whole load more softwood logs to burn than hardwood logs.
Best types of hardwoods to burn:
Their dense nature means they will burn efficiently when correctly seasoned or dried, and most also smell great when burnt.
You can shave off a few bits to use as kindling as they are easy to light and, with a well-built fire, with plenty of airflow, will provide hours of outdoor heating and light on a few generous-sized logs.
Related: How to reduce fire pit smoke
Seasoned Wood – good for less smoke
Seasoned wood makes for great firewood. However, as it is naturally air-dried, it can take months and even years to dry out enough to be burnt efficiently in a fire pit.
Thankfully you don’t have to season freshly cut (often called green wood) yourself. You can buy seasoned wood from your local home depot or garden centre, which is perfectly fine to use on your fire pit.
However, for best results, you might think about buying extra and storing some already seasoned wood in a log store. This means you have it on hand the next time you want to light up your fire pit, but if stored correctly, the stored wood will have an even further reduced moisture content, helping it burn better and producing less smoke.
Kiln Dried Wood – best for heat and burn time
If you’re after the best burn and highest heat from your firewood, you will want to pick kiln-dried wood. Compared to seasoned wood and fresh-cut wood, it has the lowest moisture content of the three, up to 20% less in some cases.
The heating process the wood is put through not only dries out the wood quicker, it also burns off any chemicals and kills any pesky critters that might be living in the wood.
It is the most expensive type of firewood you can buy, but a good kiln-dried hardwood will last longer than other types.
Best types of wood to avoid burning in a fire pit
We wouldn’t recommend you use a few different types of wood in a fire pit, as they could cause lots of smoke and chemicals and don’t give off much heat.
Freshly cut wood (Green Wood)
Freshly cut wood comes with a high moisture content, so if you’ve just cut down a tree in your backyard and are thinking of using it in your fire pit, you’ll be a little disappointed.
Depending on the type of tree you’ve cut down, you’ll have to wait anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to properly season the fresh-cut wood. After this time, the wood will start to look cracked and will be much lighter in weight than when you first put it out to season.
The best way to season wood is to use some kind of log store. This can be inside if you wish, but typically an outside log store can work well and will sufficiently protect your wood from the elements throughout the year.
Related: How to store fire wood outside
If you’re thinking of throwing the leftover palette from a recent delivery or are clearing your yard, then unfortunately, you’ll want to think again.
Even though pallets can be made from hardwood like Oak, they often also contain other chemicals impregnated into them to protect them against rot and bug infestations.
Burning pallet wood could cause these contaminants to be released into the air, which can cause adverse effects if breathed in for any amount of time.
Much like pallet wood, any type of painted wood is not good to burn in your fire pit.
The fumes that the paint gives off can be toxic and cause adverse harm and risks to your health. It will also smell pretty bad and is especially not good if you’re looking to use your fire pit as a grill.
Typically the best type of wood for a fire pit is hardwood like Oak that’s been properly dried.
If you can afford to, you might want to go for kiln-dried wood for the best results, and if you’re not on a time scale or fancy seasoning your wood yourself, buying or building a log store is a great addition to any garden.
At the end of the day, pick the wood you can afford to buy, but in the long run, seasoning your own wood might be a long-term investment that can pay off in the future.