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Wondering what types of wood to use in your burn barrel? There are many options that can make your burning experience even better!

Knowing and understanding types of wood can help improve your safety, reduce smoke production further, and maximize the efficiency of your incinerator. Our products are better for the environment due to their ability to completely incinerate materials with less smoke and ash. Different firewood gives different results, so being familiar with the characteristics and unique qualities of each type is important when considering options for your incinerator.

Two Main Categories of Wood

Firewood has two main categories that everything falls under: hardwood and softwood. The difference isn’t in their appearance, but in their reproduction and actual structure. Each type has benefits and should be considered for whatever your burning needs may be at that time. Having a variety also helps you learn what works best for you!


Hardwoods are usually denser and provide a longer burning experience with increased heat. They have the least sap and pitch, and are typically easier to handle. This category includes popular options such as oak, ash, birch, and maple, as well as most fruit trees. While they burn for a longer time, they can result in chunky ash due to the structure of the wood.


These are usually the most budget-friendly options when considering firewood. This category includes fir, pine, spruce, cedar, alder, and poplar, trees that can usually be found on large properties of land. These woods can be a little messy to handle due to their levels of sap, especially pine, and may cause some buildup after burning. However, these types of wood burn quickly and result in finer ash compared to hardwoods. They are also lighter to carry and season more quickly, meaning they can be burned sooner.

Which Option is Best for Me?

Choosing the right wood depends on what you need during that burning session! Each time may be different and may require a new option of wood. Check out some of these popular choices and their unique benefits.

Apple – Produces a pleasant scent and burns slowly with a small flame.

Ash – Produces a steady flame and strong heat output. This is considered one of the best burning options!

Birch – Burns quickly with strong heat.

Elm – Can be tough to split, but produces an even burn.

Maple – Burns similar to Oak, but is very dense.

Oak – Density of the wood produces a small flame and very slow burn.

Tamarack – Straight grained, easy to split and gives good heat.


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