Firewood Buying Guide (2024)

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  • Dried Firewood vs. Fresh Wood
  • Hardwoods vs. Softwoods
  • Buying Firewood by Cords, Bundles and Other Measurements
  • Buying Packaged Logs for Firewood
  • Buying Firewood for a Campfire
  • Buying Kindling Sticks and Accessories for Starting Fires

Dried Firewood vs. Fresh Wood

Firewood Buying Guide (1)

While you could gather fallen wood from your yard or cut trees (if you have permission from the owner of the trees), wood that has been allowed to dry thoroughly burns faster, produces less smoke and puts out more heat than wood that is fresh, green or wet.

Ideally, wood should be seasoned, or dried, for six to nine months to lower its moisture content. It’s often sold as kiln-dried, which means it has been dried in a kiln, a type of oven.

Seasoned wood should feel dry to the touch and may have loose bark and splits or cracks in ends. It should feel lightweight for its size.

If you buy a bundle of wood wrapped in plastic, make sure it’s already dry or unwrapit when you get home. If it still feels wet, stack it on a firewood rack in a sheltered spot off the ground and let it continue to dry. However, don’t lean or stack firewood against your house or any other structure to avoid possible infestation from pests that might be in the wood.

Hardwoods vs. Softwoods

Firewood Buying Guide (2)

Hardwoods like oaks, beech, hickory and ash are among the best woods to use as firewood. They last a long time, although they may be harder to ignite than softwoods.

If you’re cooking foods over a fire, try using maple, cherry or other fruitwoods to add flavor.Be safe, and never cook food over painted, pressure-treated, ground-treated, stained or manufactured woods that may give off toxic gases. Never burn those kinds of woods indoors for any reason.

Softwoods and semi-hardwoods, such as poplar, spruce and pine, are good choices for fire pits or other well-ventilated, outdoor areas. Softwoods are usually more budget-friendly than hardwoods, but they don't last as long. However, they are easier to ignite.

Avoid using woods that contain a lot of resin, such as spruce or pine, in fireplaces, wood stoves and other indoor areas. When burned, these woods create creosote that can build up in chimneys and cause a fire hazard.

Where you live may determine the kinds of woods you find for sale.

Buying Firewood by Cords, Bundles and Other Measurements

Firewood Buying Guide (3)

Measure the opening in your fireplace, fire pit or wood stove before you buy pre-cut firewood to be sure the logs will fit. The standard length for a piece of firewood is 16 inches.

Firewood is usually sold by the pallet, cord, face-cord or bundle.

A full cord is a stack of firewood that measures 8 feet long by 4 feet deep and 4 feet high, or 128 cubic feet. If you buy a full cord of firewood, you'll need to cut the logs again to make them fit into most standard fireplaces, wood stoves or fire pits.

A face cord, sometimes called a rick, is 64 cubic feet and typically measures 8 feet long by 4 feet high. Because the logs in a face cord are 16 inches long, a face cord is 1/3 of a full cord.

Most firewood bundles are .75 cubic feet. Bundles are usually sold wrapped in plastic or net bags, so they're easy to handle, and some campgrounds sell them to visitors. Bundles are often at the higher end of the firewood price range because they are convenient to carry and use and don't require further cutting.

The Home Depot sells firewood in bundles, as individual logs, as cases of logs and by the pallet. If you buy a large amount of firewood, you may be able to have it delivered or haul it yourself. If you need a rental truck, contact your local Home Depot store to ask if rentals are available.

Be aware that regulations for measuring cords, face cords and other amounts of firewood can vary from state to state, so make sure you understand exactly how much wood you are getting when you buy.Be wary of buying firewood from anyone other than a reputable dealer who will give you a receipt.

Buying Packaged Logs for Firewood

Firewood Buying Guide (4)

Some firewood logs are packaged for sale by the log or as a case of logs. They may be made out of real wood charcoal, recycled wood and agricultural fibers, recycled and waxed cardboard or other materials. Some burn cleaner than real firewood and may produce smaller amounts of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and creosote. Some manufactured logs also generate more heat than a comparable amount of real wood. Read the label on your product for details.

Always check the manufacturer’s label or packaging on logs of firewood before you cook over them, to be sure it’s safe to do so.

If you enjoy the smell of a fire, look for fire logs designed to smell like balsam fir or other natural fragrances.

Buying Firewood for a Campfire

Firewood Buying Guide (5)

Don’t forget to buy bundles of firewood before you go camping, in case they're not sold where you're going. It’s best to buy locally-sourced wood to help limit the spread of any diseases or pests that may be present.

Consider using softwoods for short-lived outdoor fires, but be aware that they may produce more smoke and sparks than hardwoods.

Buying Kindling Sticks and Accessories for Starting Fires

Firewood Buying Guide (6)

Kindling sticks, sometimes called tinder sticks or fatwood sticks, contain a lot of resin and can help you start a fire quickly. Some are all-natural pine. Simply place two or three sticks on top of some dry firewood and light them. They’re a fast, clean way to ignite a fire in a fireplace, wood stove, fire pit or campfire ring.

Long-handled matches, certain lighters and other accessories are also helpful for starting a fire. Be safe, and follow the manufacturer's instructions about whether an accessory can be used on an indoor versus an outdoor fire.

Burning a fire is usually a time where you gather with friends and family to enjoy each others company. Whether you're burning wood in your fireplace or at a campsite, be safe when burning firewood. Keep a fire extinguisher for wood fires on hand and know how to use it.You can also use The Home Depot Mobile App to see our wide selection of firewood and accessories.

Firewood Buying Guide (2024)


How do I figure out how much firewood I need? ›

Experts typically recommend 2-3 cords of wood per every 1,000 square feet for homes in frigid climates like ours. You'll probably be okay using less wood if you have hot-burning hardwood like hickory or oak and have a highly efficient wood-burning appliance.

How can you tell if firewood is seasoned enough? ›

To identify well-seasoned wood, check the ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, they are dry. Dry seasoned wood is lighter in weight than wet wood and makes a hollow sound when hitting two pieces together. If there is any green colour visible or bark is hard to peel, the log is not yet dry.

How many cords of wood to heat a 3,000 sq ft house? ›

For colder climates, such as the Northeast and Midwestern states, using wood as a primary heat source, we recommend having 2-3 cords per 1,000 square feet of heating space. As for warmer climates, such as Mid-Atlantic and Southern states, 1-2 cords per 1,000 square feet of heating space should suffice.

How many cords of wood per month? ›

If you're using a wood-burning stove for cooking, you'll only need a few logs per day, so a face cord of wood every three to four months should be plenty. You'll need more if you're using a wood-burning stove for heat. We recommend a full cord of wood to be stocked up for three to four months.

How do I figure out how much wood I need? ›

You can measure board feet by multiplying length x width x thickness in inches, and then dividing by 144. If ordering a large amount by board feet, just multiply the total board feet needed by the price per board foot for the total cost.

Is a cord of wood 4x4x4? ›

A standard, full cord of wood is a volume of 128 cubic feet, measured as a pile 8 feet long, 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Why is my wood turning black but not burning? ›

To start a fire you must start with small pieces and gradually add larger logs as the coals grow larger. Any larger pieces of wood will not burn if you do not do this. They'll char and turn black. Anything that does light up will go out as quickly as it came on.

Should you split logs before seasoning? ›

Faster Seasoning: Splitting logs increases their surface area, which accelerates the drying or seasoning process by exposing more wood to the air. This is particularly important in the UK's damp climate, where reducing moisture content is crucial.

Why are my logs Smouldering but not burning? ›

The problem: If your fire is smoldering soon after starting there's a chance the wood isn't lighting properly – and could be emitting a lot of smoke. The most likely reason is the appliance isn't warm enough to light a fire and optimum wood burning temperatures haven't yet been fulfilled.

How much firewood to last a winter? ›

In most homes, a single cord of firewood should be more than enough to keep you warm all winter long. A full cord is defined as a neatly arranged stack of logs that's 8 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 4 feet deep. Assuming the firewood has been properly seasoned, a single cord can weigh up to 2 tons.

How long will 4 cords of wood last? ›

Generally speaking, if you burn wood twice daily, a cord should last about six to 12 weeks, with hardwood lasting longer than softwood. Buying wood by the cord is ideal for homeowners who use a woodstove or fireplace as their primary heat source in the winter.

Is wood a cheap way to heat a house? ›

First, firewood costs more than the value of the delivered heat. Seasoned oak firewood must cost less than 20 dollars per cord (a cord is a stack 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long) to provide heat from a fireplace at a cost comparable to a heat pump.

How much should you charge for a cord of wood? ›

Normal range: $150 - $500. A cord of wood costs $300 on average, and prices often range from $150 to $500 depending on the season, wood type, and where it's from. A cord of stacked logs totals 128 cubic feet. This large volume is commonly used in homes where a fireplace or stove burns wood as the primary heat source.

Does rain affect seasoned firewood? ›

Any rainfall that falls on your wood replaces the sap as the water evaporates, causing your firewood to burn faster and become less efficient. Make sure you leave the ends of the stack uncovered, however, to allow maximum air to circulate and moisture to escape.

How many pickup truck loads is a cord of wood? ›

Full Cord = Two full-size pick-up truck loads (8' box), whether the wood is stacked carefully so it is about level with the truck box sides, or is thrown into the truck box with the pile being mounded.

How much firewood fits in a 6.5 foot bed? ›

Some wood dealers try to sell firewood from a pick-up truck. Consumers should be on their guard, because a pick-up cannot hold a cord of firewood. An 8-foot truck bed can hold one-half of a cord while a 6-foot bed can barely hold one-third of a cord.

How do people measure firewood? ›

The Amount of Firewood in a Cord

For an accurate volume measurement, the wood should be neatly stacked with as little space between logs as possible. A cord of firewood is a rectangular pile four feet high, eight feet long and four feet deep, or 128 cubic feet. This is the standard Imperial measurement unit.

How do you calculate the volume of firewood? ›

The standard way to measure firewood is by volume, meaning length multiplied by width multiplied by height. So, you'll usually see companies format their measurements in one of two ways: By the length, width and height, OR. In cubic feet.

What is the formula for measuring wood? ›

The formula is (Width x length x thickness) / 144. All measurements must be converted to inches for this formula to work. You can also convert to feet first and then leave out the division by 144.

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