The best type of fire wood 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 a kiln-dried hardwood as this 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 really one contender when it comes to 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 it’s 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 that you’ll need a whole load more softwood logs to burn than you will hardwood logs.
Best types of hardwoods to burn:
Their dense nature means that they will burn efficiently when properly seasoned or dried, and most also smell great when burnt too.
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 fire wood. However, as it is naturally air dried it can take months and even years to dry out enough to be burnt efficiently on 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 center which is perfectly fine to use on your fire pit.
However, for best results you might want to think about buying extra and storing some already seasoned wood yourself in a log store. This not only means you have it on hand, the next time you want to light up your fire pit, but if stored correctly will mean the stored wood will have an even further reduced moisture content, helping it burn better producing less smoke.
Kiln Dried Wood – best for heat and burn time
If you’re after the best burn, and highest heat from your fire wood then you’re going to 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 fire wood 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
There are a few different types of wood that we wouldn’t recommend you use in a fire pit, as they could cause lots of smoke, chemicals to be released and don’t give off much heat.
Freshly cut wood (Green Wood)
Freshly cut wood, comes with a high moisture content, which means 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 between 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 left over 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 can contain other chemicals that have been impregnated into them to protect them against rot and bug infestations.
Burning pallet wood could cause these contaminates to be released into the air, which can cause adverse affects 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 a 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.