Firewood BTU Ratings

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Amount of Heat Energy In a Firewood Cord

Firewood BTU of Western Hardwood Species

SpeciesMillion BTU's per CordPounds Per Cord
Pounds Per Cord
Live Oak36.678704840
Pacific Madrone30.965204086
Oregon White Oak28.062903710
California Black Oak27.457253625
Pepperwood (Myrtle)26.157303450
Bigleaf Maple22.749403000
Red Alder19.541002600
Quaking Aspen18.038802400

Firewood BTU of Western Softwood Species

SpeciesMillion BTU’s per CordPounds Per Cord
Pounds Per Cord
Douglas Fir26.550503075
Western Juniper26.454103050
Western Hemlock24.457302830
Port Orford Cedar23.443702700
Lodgepole Pine22.342702580
Ponderosa Pine21.742702520
Jeffery Pine21.742702520
Sitka Spruce21.741002520
White Fir21.131902400
Red Fir20.640402400
Incense Cedar20.138802350
Coast Redwood20.140402330
Grand Fir20.138802330
Sugar Pine19.638202270
Western White Pine
Sequoia Redwood

Firewood BTU of Eastern Hardwood Species

Inconsistency between charts may exist due to different laboratory variables

SpeciesMillion BTU’s per CordPounds Per Cord Dry
Osage Orange32.94728
Shagbark Hickory27.74327
Eastern Hornbeam27.14016
Black Birch26.83890
Black Locust26.83890
Blue Beech26.83890
Bitternut Hickory26.53832
Honey Locust26.54100
Northern Red Oak24.03757
Sugar Maple24.03757
White Oak24.03757
White Ash23.63689
Yellow Birch21.83150
Red Elm21.63112
Kentucky Coffeetree20.83247
Gray Birch20.33179
Paper Birch20.33179
White Birch20.23192
Black Walnut20.03120
Green Ash19.92880
Black Cherry19.52880
American Elm19.53052
White Elm19.53052
Black Ash18.72924
Red Maple (Soft Maple)18.12900
American Basswood13.52108

Firewood BTU of Eastern Softwood Species

Inconsistency between charts may exist due to different laboratory variables

SpeciesMillion BTU’s per CordPounds Per Cord Dry
Rocky Mountain Juniper21.63112
Jack Pine17.12669
Norway Pine17.12669
Pitch Pine17.12669
Black Spruce15.92482
Eastern White Pine14.32236
Balsam Fir14.32236
Eastern White Cedar12.21913
Eastern Red Cedar

These firewood BTU ratings charts compare the heat energy content of common firewood types along with both green and dry weight per firewood cord. These charts were compiled from various sources so some comparisons between species may conflict some due to variables in laboratory variables of how much actual solid wood is in a cord.

A cord is 128 cubic feet but because of air space between pieces the actual amount of solid wood may be only 70-90 cubic feet. This depends on the size and shape of the pieces and how tightly they are stacked. Because of this variable consider the firewood BTU values and weight in these charts to be approximate.

The BTU in a cord of firewood is usually close to the same per pound between species. One pound of dense hardwood will have about the same amount of energy as one pound of light softwood. The difference in energy content is in the woods density. A cord of the more dense wood will have more energy than a cord of less dense softwood.

25 thoughts on “Firewood BTU Ratings”

  1. Do you know how many btu’s are in straw or hay per pound. Is it similar to the weight of wood per pound?


  2. Hello and thanks for your helpful website. Do you have btu info for grape trunk wood? We have a vineyard and are planning to burn trunks- they are very dense and appear to be a good candidate for firewood.

  3. Mike,
    BTU rating of a material is usually the material itself and it’s theoretical rating (average). I think what you’re looking for is the “efficiency” of those two devices. . .if it was 90% then you would multiply the theoretical average by .9 to get the “ideal” output for that device with a specific wood type

  4. How long does it take for cut and stacked hardwood to lose its heating efficiency? I have 10 cords of oak and beach cut and stacked, thanks to Hurricane Irene. I burn about 2 cords a season, will the wood start to rot before I get a chance to burn it?

  5. from what i have learned about seasoned hard wood, the better seasoned the wood is the better heat it provides. Good quality hardwoods will easly survive 4 years and will be a premium burn at that age. but it will need to be stacked off the ground and have the top covered. I lay plywood across the top of my stacks. if it is stacked on the ground, it will rot and quickly become an idea bug habitat. I leave the sides of my stacks open so the air can blow through the wood and dry it out.

  6. Hi Mike-

    From my experience:
    Dry firewood won’t rot- the decay agents (micro-organisms mainly) need H20 to work.
    Keep it dry, and it’ll last “forever”…like the lumber that is in a house.
    Ground contact is especially lethal.
    I have some dry firewood that was cut & split 7+ years ago, and it burns great!

  7. I split wood for resteraunts to cook with, the wood is generally split very small about 1.5″x1.5″ what kind of seasoning time do I need to properly season the wood and what is the ash or cresote content after burning

  8. how many BTUs is lost in properly split and stacked firewood, (lets say oak wood) per year or does it maintain its BTUS for ever.

  9. What is the difference between red fir and Douglas fir listed in the “Firewood BTU of Western Softwood Species” chart? And also what is the million BTU rating for western larch “tamarack”, that would be listed in the “Firewood BTU of Western Softwood Species” not the tamarack listed in “Firewood BTU of EASTERN Softwood Species”?

  10. I split and burn a lot of oak and my impression is that it does gradually lose some of its punch over the years. Definitely burns a bit faster than in the first year after its split. Having said that though, it still burns pretty darn good and provides nice heat on a cold winter’s day.

  11. I have burned box elder and green ash and they burn about the same after they were cut dryed and seasoned about 6 months if you dry them for a full yr they will get to dry and burn like toilet paper they must have some moisture in them so they will not bur so hot and fast try it some time burn a piece of boxelder along side green ash (also called white ash but is wrong white ash is a different species of ash)and the burn time is little or no difference which bring me to tell you the btus are close for the two I have burned wood now for 30 yrs and sold firewood off and on and most people have to want to burn oak and ash and nothing else when boxelder is about the same hear value as ash but you cant change their mind no matter how hard you try Im from mn lots of oak and ash around here but because of propane fuel prices that might change before to long right now I am 2 wks behind cutting firewood for people

  12. I live inn.Idaho .have burned wood for more than 60 years. I worked in western Washington, Oregon, Colorado and burned the local firewoods of those areas. Madrone, Oak, Aspen, Pinion,Ash, Chikipin, Alder Tamarack,Doug fir,. and on and on. I must admit that to those who really know how to cut and split it in a timely manner, please do me a favor and help me keep the secret of the heating value of Black Locust. I studied the charts above and smile to myself. Keep up the good work and keep Black Locust in the back ground.

  13. Is there a difference in the amount of BTUs produced between a small diameter larch ( say 5-8 inch rounds) verses a nice Buckskin larch that is say 15-20 inches in diameter and is 200 years old? The larger wood burns much hotter, longer and better than the small larch rounds.

  14. It would be interesting to note how these stand up against corn, sorghum and the like that necessitates the clearing of forests to produce ethanol.

  15. what is the btu content of ailanthus or “tree of heaven” a chinese invasive? is there a standardized burning process to determine these numbers? what is it? is it reproduceable by a human on earth? at stp?. how different is heat production by decomposition by species? BTU content? are we oxidizing the wood when we burn it? dont we create water when we combust wood?

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