Is oak good firewood? [a detailed breakdown 2024]

Is oak good firewood? The oak tree is undoubtedly one of the most popular trees in the world, known for its exceptional durability and unique leaves, the oak tree serves countless functions including being used as firewood. The suitability of the amazing tree as firewood will be explored in detail in this article.

is oak good firewood
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Oaktree: overview

Oak trees are remarkably durable and versatile, they feature sturdy trunks and sprawling branches making them easy to distinguish from other common species, the oak belongs to the Quercus genus, and this genus has about 500 other species making it a very large genera.

The oak is a very important part of the ecosystem, it serves as a habitat for countless flora, oaks produce acorns which serve as a food source for many animals, and they support a wide range of animals and plants contributing to the overall richness of ecosystems.

Oak trees have a robust and intimidating stature, they feature thick trucks, broad branches, and distinctive leaves.

Numerous factors pose a threat to oak trees all over the world affecting the availability of these wonderful trees, these threats include climate change, habitat loss, and pest issues. Among these threats, pest issues have proven to be a more serious concern, the oak moth has been significantly affecting the oak population for years, drastically reducing oaks.

Climate challenges also affect temperatures and seasons, these factors impact the growth of survival of oaks. Other concerning issues include deforestation, diseases, and urbanization.

An oak might take 15-40 years to mature, depending on the species. Every oak tree reproduces by pollination. In spring, male flowers release pollen, which fertilizes female blooms and results in the production of acorns.

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Oak seasoning

Seasoning means reducing the moisture content of wood for combustion, this process improves the quality of wood and makes it easier to split.

Oak wood is a dense hardwood which means it will take more time to be ready than soft wood.

Oakwood needs a minimum of two years to be ready to burn. If possible oaks should be left for four years for them to be ready to burn, the longer the better rule applies to most trees including oak.

Features of oak firewood

Numerous distinctive features make oak trees a hundred times better than most woods, these features are explained below.

Good odor

Having a good odor is an amazing feature that makes oak trees a favorite for a lot of applications, oak has a unique chemical composition that includes vanillin, which has a vanilla-like smell, and guaiacol which has a sweet and amazing odor, vanillin and guaiacol are primarily responsible for the distinctive and appealing smell that oak firewood produces.

Burning oak firewood creates a cozy and positive atmosphere for any outdoor gathering, this is another reason why oak is chosen among other woods.

The odor produced when you burn oak gives a sense of joy to some people, just like some people value the smell of rainfall and some people enjoy the smell of gasoline.

Most individuals find the smell to be mildly pleasant and earthy. An amazing scent fills the room when you burn oak firewood because part of its organic matter is released into the atmosphere. Several homeowners burn oak firewood specifically because of its fantastic smell.

Burns hot

This is another amazing feature that shows just how perfect oak is, the heat output of oak is nothing less than mind-blowing, Oak fibers ensure a very slow combustion process unlike most other alternatives, heat slowly penetrates the surface of oak logs resulting in a blazing hot heat output.

Oak is an excellent option if you’re looking for premium firewood that can last for a long time and provide a roaring fire for hours.

Oak firewood has a high calorific content, which means that when you burn oak, it produces a lot of heat and provides a steady supply of heat even when the flame flickers slowly. This implies that you obtain more energy from an efficient fuel at a very affordable price.

Another amazing part about oaks is that all oaks produce intense heat when burned, you’ll get all the hotness you want whether you are using white oak, red oak, or any of the other 500 oak species available.

Whether being used for crafting, cooking, or smoking, kiln-dried oak serves as a reliable heat source trust to produce more heat than most of its counterparts.

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Easily split

Oak is a dense hardwood that has a fantastic cellular arrangement which makes spitting very easy because it has a tight cellular structure and closely packed fibers, this density makes oak extremely durable and strong.

Oak contains medullary rays that run perpendicular to the growth rings, these rays serve as weak points to facilitate easy splitting, this structure also allows the tree to undergo subtle changes during growth.

Young oak trees are especially very flexible and less dense and they become denser and harder as they age.

Some trees are hard to split because they have an uneven grain, fortunately, oak trees are not one of them, oak trees are all easily split due to their straight grain. Usually, wood is split into quarters or halves to maximize its firewood performance. By reducing the quantity of bark on the logs’ surface, splitting makes them easier to light and promotes a cleaner burn. 

Besides being a very good firewood, the ease of splitting that both white oaks and red oak logs provide makes them a very popular choice for woodworkers around the globe, this versatility of oak trees makes them a favorite for countless jobs.

Low smoke

Low smoke is an important feature most people consider when selecting wood to burn as firewood, oak firewood doesn’t contain volatile compounds unlike most soft wood, it also does not contain high levels of resin making it an excellent firewood.

Compared to most wood, kiln-dried oak logs release very few particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment, this results in a safer and cleaner environment for both you and your food.

Low smoke emission provides convenience and comfort when cooking and minimizes air pollution, the reduced smoke emission also means that there are fewer emissions of any potential substance that can be harmful to humans or pets.

The low smoke profile of oak firewood also offers health benefits and helps avoid potential respiratory issues, unlike other woods which produce more smoke and can potentially affect the user.

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Moisture content

The moisture content refers to the amount of moisture present in a wood and the moisture content of oak is another important feature worth considering when choosing firewood. A high moisture content equates to more energy required to evaporate water before combustion, this is why green wood burns less efficiently.

More importantly, oaks are easier to dry out than softwood trees. Common methods for processing firewood include air drying and kiln drying, which involves baking firewood in an oven called a kiln. Kiln-dried oak firewood has a lower moisture content than air-dried fire wood.

When seasoned and kiln-dried properly oak logs are very efficient as firewood. Freshly felled oak logs have a higher moisture content than seasoned or kiln-dried wood. This higher moisture content makes the splitting process very simple, splitting the wood becomes harder after seasoning.

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The availability of air and kiln-dried oak logs makes them perfect for countless applications, oak wood is available across numerous regions all over the world.

The popularity of oak wood influences its economic accessibility, white and red oaks are very popular in most regions, most carpenters and woodworkers use oak due to its availability and extensive features.

Oak firewood is also considered cheap and affordable, unlike rare and exotic fire wood which are usually worth more than expected.

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Why does oak not burn well?

Oak is regarded as a very good fire wood because it burns for a very long time and produces more heat than most wood.

Is oak OK to burn in a fireplace?

Yes, OAK wood is an amazing choice to burn in a fire place as it is a very dense wood and burns very slowly.

How long does it take oak firewood to dry?

Though the drying process depends on several factors like weather and environment, oak wood takes generally like eight to twenty months to cure.

Is oak or pine better for firewood?

Oak is a dense hardwood that has a very high energy content and burns slowly making it better than pine for firewood.


Oak is a fantastic tree generally preferred for its high heat output, long burn time, and amazing toughness. Oak wood is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a reliable and durable wood for firewood or other heating purposes.

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