Wood Species Price Comparison

Hardwood, softwood, cordwood, what should you pay

This chart provides a fuel cost estimate for your wood fireplace or stove. The species of wood listed in the chart are among the more popular choices available.

The chart results are based on a wood fireplace or stove with a 75% efficiency rating. We also used the average cost for a cord of hardwood and softwood; $100 per cord of hardwood and $90 per cord of softwood. However, the cost of individual wood species varies by season, supplier and region. Typically, firewood (sometimes called 'cordwood' because of the common measurement for it) is sold as a mixture of several varieties, but many suppliers will offer a single variety or guarantee a certain mixture. Since most suppliers of firewood are relatively small-scale ventures, you can discuss pricing with your local distributor, but it is important to recognize that firewood comes from trees and is not made in a factory; as long as you pay a fair price for your firewood, one type is as good as another. Just make sure you have enough of it on hand.

The term BTU stands for "British Thermal Unit" and it is the amount of heat energy required to warm one pint of water one degree Fahrenheit at sea level, which is approximately the energy present in one regular match. The number of BTU's per cord tells you the amount of heat that would be produced by burning the entire cord. Of course, you would never burn an entire cord at once - a cord contains 128 cubic feet of wood (a stack 4' tall by 4' deep and 8' long) which is enough wood for an entire season for many homeowners as long as you do not heat and cook exclusively with a wood stove.

Wood Species BTUs / Cord Cost per Million BTU ($US) Average Cost Per Year ($US)
Hickory (hardwood) 24,500,000 $3.61 $342.95
White Oak (hardwood) 24,300,000 $3.89 $369.55
Beech (hardwood) 22,900,000 $4.17 $396.15
Sugar Maple (hardwood) 22,600,000 $4.17 $396.15
White Ash (hardwood) 22,100,000 $4.24 $402.80
Apple (hardwood) 21,400,000 $3.77 $358.15
Cherry (hardwood) 18,600,000 $5.00 $475.00
Paper Birch (hardwood) 18,300,000 $4.93 $468.35
Spruce (softwood) 13,600,000 $4.81 $456.95
White Pine (softwood) 12,000,000 $5.63 $534.85
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