Does Oak Make Good Firewood

Summary – What makes Oak Good for Firewood

Oak is one of the best choices for firewood.
Most species of Oak have a very high MBTU output, this is due to its dense structure which makes it very heavy.
Oak burns very hot, with little smoke and sparks. Oak is great for loading a wood stove for overnight burns.
Oak dense structure also means it contains and holds water well, often requiring long seasoning times, of up to 2 years.
Oak is easy to split when wet, becoming more difficult as it dries out.
Oak is very hard to cut and is known for blunting cutting tools.
Try to avoid Red Oak, although it has a good MBTU output it is the lowest of the Oak species, and gives off an unpleasant odor when burning.


Common Name: Oak.

Scientific Name: Oak, Bur (Mossycup) (Quercus macrocarpa); Oak, Gamble (Quercus gambelii); Oak, Live (Quercus virginiana ); Oak, Oregon (Garry) (Quercus garryana); Oak, Post (Quercus stellata); Oak, Red (Quercus rubra); Oak, White (Quercus alba).

Identification: Tall trees up to 100 foot high, with a large leaf canopy. Oak tress usually have a large knotted branch pattern, bark has deep furrows that look like rivers. Leaves are lobed, which look like smooth fingers with rounded ends.

Oak Tree
Oak Tree
Oak Leaf
Oak Leaf

Location: Central to Eastern USA, through Hardiness zone 2 to 9.

Hard / Soft: Hard.

US Hardiness Zone

Average Dry Weight / Cord: 3632 lbs to 4840 lbs (Heaviest 25%).
Average Green Weight / Cord: 5500 to 5700 lbs.
Comparative Seasoning / Drying Time: over 12 months

Average MBTU / Pound: 23 to 37.
MBTU / Pound Percentile: Mid Upper to Highest 25%.
This is a comparison measure of MBTU compared to common fire wood varieties as per this best firewood to burn chart.

Cut-ability: Difficult.
Split-ability: Easy.

Smoke: Low smoke.
Sparks: Low sparks.
Scent: Mild.


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