Firewood for the Discerning Eye: How to Pick the Best Logs

The best logs for firewood should burn cleanly, produce plenty of heat, and ensure that there is minimal smoke. This will significantly increase the comfort levels of the wood fire and keep the home heated properly.

fire log

Creating More Warmth

The best logs for firewood are seasoned hardwood. This type of wood is dry and burns cleanly producing very little creosote and smoke. The heat generated by the combustion is also released into the home in full providing better heating and warmth.

Proper Cutting Techniques

Seasoned hardwood is dry and discolored at the edges. It has plenty of cracks and wedges and is frequently a light grey in color. This is because most wood is composed of over 40 percent water. This sap has to dry to become less than 25 percent of the wood for the log to burn properly. The water can be dried by chopping the wood into short logs, since this will help release the water because of evaporation. While splitting the wood can also help dry it, chopping it is the best way to do so. If you have a log splitter or can rent one for a few hours, you should be fine.


In order to ensure that the logs you purchase are seasoned, you should buy them in spring and store them until winter. The log pile should be covered on top but left uncovered on the sides to ensure maximum ventilation and air flow.

By the Sound

Another fairly simple way of spotting dry and seasoned wood is to rap a log against something hard. If the log produces a clunk sound it is likely to be drier than one than produces a thud.

Natural Affects

A dry log will produce less creosote buildup and, therefore, require less frequent cleaning of the stove and chimney. Also, when the log is wet, a lot of the heat produced by the combustion is used to dry the water in it, releasing less heat for your needs. Instead, by using the sun to dry the wood, all the heat released by the combustion can be harnessed for your use.

Inspecting the Wood

In order to ensure that the wood is well seasoned, you should check its color, texture, and sound. Discolored wood that has many cracks and splits is better for use as firewood. Another way in which dry wood cuts down on expenses is that it is lighter than wet wood (it is also easier to carry because of this same reason). As such you do not have to pay for the water stored in the wood when you examines it for dryness before the purchase.