15 Best & Worst Firewoods For Your Chimney

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A crackling fire can be the perfect way to add warmth and ambiance to your home. You must understand, however, that not all firewood is the same! Choosing the right type is crucial because it can impact your fireplace’s warmth, atmosphere, and safety. Here’s a breakdown of the best woods to burn in your chimney.

Best: Oak

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Red and white oaks are among the best options for those who enjoy fireplaces. This solid wood is perfect for those cozy winter nights because it burns slowly and generates much heat. Its adaptability to indoor and outdoor environments guarantees a consistent, dependable flame that invites a relaxing atmosphere.

Best: Maple

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Like oak, maple provides a satisfying fire experience because of its steady burn and moderate heat production. This hardwood is renowned for producing little creosote, which lowers the possibility of chimney accumulation and makes burning safer. Maple is prized for its exceptional properties as fireplace fuel and its faintly sweet aroma.

Best: Beech

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Beech is a safer and more convenient chimney wood, producing a consistent heat supply without sparks or popping. This type is also preferred for producing less smoke, which makes it a more environment-friendly choice. Also, it is highly valued because it burns with an even flame.

Best: Ash


Ash is famous for its burning properties, adaptability, and appeal. Besides having a low moisture content, it burns hot, provides a steady flame, and starts quickly. This wood promotes cleaner combustion with little creosote accumulation in your chimney, even when it’s still green.

Best: Birch

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Birchwood makes this list because of its bright flame, ease of lighting, and aesthetics. Although it burns more quickly than other hardwoods, you can use it with others with a slower combustion rate to produce a balanced and lasting fire.

Best: Hickory

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Hardwoods are chosen because they are reliable, burn slowly, and give a long-lasting source of heat. Hickory is known for more, though; it produces a fragrant smoke when you light it up your chimney. It’s an excellent option for people who want their fires to provide aroma, ambiance, and warmth.

Best: Ironwood

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You should use Ironwood for your fireplace because it burns long at a slow rate. This hardwood is the ideal heat source for your chimney due to its availability across the US, and it can also create a sizable bed of coals for future use or aesthetics.

Best: Locust

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Because locust lumber has a slow combustion rate and thick composition, it’s the ideal choice to keep a heated fire burning for long. This wood is dependable because it is resistant to rot and doesn’t decay quickly, allowing you to store it for long.

Best: Apple

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Apple produces a moderate, steady flame with a low combustion rate. As a fruitwood, it is a delight when burning in a fireplace because of the sweet-smelling fragrance that envelopes the atmosphere.

Best: Hornbeam

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When choosing hardwood for your fireplace, you should consider hornbeam because of its high energy content and slow burn. It’s ideal for long winter evenings as it offers warmth without producing too much ash. You can also store it for long without worrying about decay.

Best: Pear

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Like apple wood, pear burns bright and steady to produce considerable heat. Although it has a lackluster flame, its adaptability makes up for this deficiency. It can blend in with other types to provide a pleasing atmosphere without destroying your chimney.

Best: Cherry

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Although cherry doesn’t have the heat value of oak or hickory, it makes up for its limitations by the quality and appealing scent of the fire that it produces. Since it draws people in with a sweet, relaxing aroma, you’re better off blending cherry wood with other types for an optimal experience.

Best: Blackthorn

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Blackthorn wood adds a touch of sophistication to your house. It produces a hot flame and offers a steady source of heat. Its dense structure makes it burn longer, making it the ideal option to keep your chimney fires going.

Best: Hawthorn

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Hawthorn wood is valued for its high energy content and clean burn. It produces a hot flame with long-lasting heating because of its dense composition. It is also known for minimal sparking and popping, making it a safe option for your fireplace.

Best: Larch


Larch wood is one of the most excellent options for your chimney because of its availability and unique burning qualities. It is renowned for its clean burn and low smoke production, minimizing creosote buildup in your chimney. It also releases a subtle, sweet fragrance and high heat output while burning.

Worst: Green/Unseasoned Wood

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Burning green or unseasoned wood in your chimney may seem convenient, but it has several problems. The high moisture content makes it smoky and hard to light while giving minimal warmth. Also, incomplete burning can result in massive creosote buildup, posing a severe risk of chimney fires.

Worst: Treated Wood (lumber, plywood, etc.)

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Treated wood releases harmful chemicals that damage your chimney and pose an environmental risk. Never use wood that has undergone chemical treatment because they’re easy to come by. When burned, its poisonous fumes can be fatal to your family, pets, and even your fireplace.

Worst: Painted/Stained Wood

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Like treated wood, painted or stained timber releases harmful fumes and contributes to creosote buildup. The allure of colorful flames may tempt you to burn it in your chimney, but the reality is far from beautiful. The chemicals in paint or stain can damage your fireplace, and its combustion may release toxic life-threatening fumes.

Worst: Fir

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Fir produces very little heat because of its quick burn rate. The high resin component also leads to increased creosote buildup, which means you must repair your chimney regularly or risk the danger of constant fires.

Worst: Cedar

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Given its pleasant scent, cedar can appear like a good choice for your fireplace, but burning cedar is dangerous. From its hazardous smoke to the difficulties of keeping a steady fire, there are several reasons to avoid lighting cedar in your chimney. Though fragrant, it doesn’t produce much heat; therefore, it’s not suitable for warmth.

Worst: Eucalyptus

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The high concentrations of essential oils in eucalyptus contribute to the harmful smoke homeowners should avoid. Moreover, it’s hard to split and season, and some chemicals that irritate respiratory systems may be released when you burn this wood.

Worst: Poplar

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Poplar has several disadvantages when it comes to chimney fires. It is regarded as one of the poorest options considering its quick burn rate, low heat output, and difficulties keeping a consistent, effective fire. Besides the stress of regular cleaning, you’ll also have to keep reloading the fireplace.

Worst: Willow

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Although willow is known for its rapid growth, it has characteristics that make it less than ideal to use in your fireplace. It’s hard to sustain a steady flame because of its rapid combustion. Moreover, willow contributes to creosote buildup, meaning you’d clean your chimney more.

Worst: Driftwood

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Despite its abundance on our lake shores, you must avoid driftwood at all costs. It comes with a high salt content and several problems, including toxic substances that are harmful to your health. Its combustion also contributes to creosote buildup and may accelerate your chimney’s deterioration.

Worst: Cottonwood


Cottonwood isn’t recommended as a fuel for fireplaces due to its low heat output and rapid combustion rate. It generates a large amount of ash, meaning you’ll have to clean the fireplace more often or risk creosote deposits.

Worst: Pine


The high sap content in pine leads to excessive smoke, rapid creosote buildup, sparks, and short burn time. Its ready availability makes it an easy choice for your fireplace, but the cons make it one of the worst options. Pine also contains dangerous high resin levels that increases the risk of unintentional fires.

Worst: Sycamore

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Burning sycamore may contribute to creosote accumulation, requiring regular chimney maintenance to guard against fires. Like other softer woods, it gives less heat because starting and maintaining a steady flame is challenging.

Worst: Elm

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Elm is unfit for your fireplace because it sparks readily, increasing risks. The burning contributes to creosote buildup and chimney damage while offering an inconsistent and short-lived fire. It is also smoky and irritating to the lungs.

Worst: Boxelder


While abundant, boxelder wood is unsuitable for fireplaces. Its high moisture content creates excessive smoke, and you’ll struggle to maintain a steady fire. Moreover, it burns quickly with a low heat output and requires frequent refilling.


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