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When researching the best wood for a fire pit, there are a few considerations you’ll want to look for. You want something dense so that it will burn slowly and require less tending on your part. For a more comfortable experience, you also want something that emits as little smoke and sparks as possible. This is why the best wood for a fire pit is usually some type of hardwood.  

Best Wood for A Fire Pit

1. Oak 

When it comes to the best wood for a fire pit, oak is one of the most popular choices. Being a hardwood, it burns longer and tends to produce less smoke than softwood choices. This means you can spend more time relaxing and less time maintaining the fire. It’s also easy to find, with several different types available.  

2. Hickory 

Another great hardwood is hickory. Like oak, it is a low-maintenance option that will last for hours and create little smoke. If you’re weighing the differences between the two, hickory has a shorter seasoning time than oak. It can dry out in about a year compared to two for oak. However, hickory firewood may be more difficult to find and more expensive.  

3. Beech 

A third hardwood choice is beech. It emits around the same heat as oak and has a seasoning time of about one to two years. One benefit to choosing beech is price. It’s often cheaper than oak or hickory.     

4. Maple 

Although it doesn’t burn as hot as hickory or oak, maple will still burn for a long time with less smoke and sparks than softwood. However, there is a lot of variation between the types of maple, with some types creating more smoke than others. The best maples for firewood include species like Sugar maple and Red maple.  

5. Apple

While the other hardwoods above produce certain scents when burned, apple wood is well-known for its fragrance. It’s good for building long-lasting fires, but many people also prefer it for cooking over their fire pit. The biggest downside to apple (and many fruit woods) is the price. It’s significantly higher than many of the others. It may cost an additional $50-100 or more per cord. 

6. Cherry 

Similar to apple, cherry is another fruity firewood. It’s great for both smell and flavor when cooking. It doesn’t create as much heat as the others, but it still offers many of the same benefits as the other hardwoods. For example, it has a low smoke output and burns slowly. It also takes a shorter time to season, ready to burn in about six months to a year. 

7. Black Locust 

With low smoke emissions and easy to split, Black locust is a great firewood option. It also has a low seasoning time and can be dried within a year. One of the biggest downsides to Black locust, however, is the price. It’s comparable to hickory, which is around $20 more per cord than oak and $50 more than beech.  


Bonfires should be comfortable and relaxing, which is why hardwoods are often the best wood for a fire pit. They burn longer and produce less smoke. The seven options above are all great choices for your fire pit. Which you should choose will largely come down to personal preference and price. The best choice for the price is beech. If you’re seasoning the wood yourself and want a fast-drying option, fruit trees seem to have shorter seasoning times, but they’re not as readily available. Black locust, which can air dry within a year, maybe a better choice.

If you want to learn more about different types of firewood, check out this website, which has several detailed articles about each.       

Want to build your own firepit area? Check out these sunken fire pit ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

Axe splitting log - Best Wood for a Fire Pit

What’s the Worst Wood for A Fire Pit?

When searching for the best wood for a fire pit, you might also consider what the worst choices are or which you should avoid. While hardwoods are the best for both firepits as well as fireplaces, you should often avoid using softwoods. For example, many people ask whether it’s okay to burn pine in a fire pit. While it will work in a pinch, pine is a softwood with a high sap content that produces a lot of smoke and sparks.

Can You Burn Pallet Wood in a Fire Pit?

Pallets are primarily made of either pine or oak. Which type they are will determine whether you’ll want to use them as fuel for your fire pit. Oak is one of the best choices for fire pit wood, while pine is one of the worst. 

How long does firewood need to dry?

Each type of wood requires a different seasoning time to fully dry out. This is due to the moisture content and density of the wood. Oak can take two years or more to fully season, while cherry trees may only take about six months to a year.  

How can you tell if firewood is seasoned or not?

One way to tell if firewood is seasoned or not is to use a moisture meter. If the reading is 20% or below, it’s ready to burn. A less accurate way is to look for cracks and darkening in the logs. 

What is the fastest way to dry out firewood?

If you don’t want to let wood dry naturally, the fastest way to dry out firewood is by using a kiln. This is a machine that dries the wood out using heat.  


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