How Long Does Firewood Burn & Which Burns The Longest

While buying or preparing firewood for any purpose, it is important to know how much firewood you will end up using and for how long will the firewood burn. It can get pretty confusing for someone who isn’t experienced with handling firewood. Let’s take a look at all the things you need to keep in mind while selecting firewood.

The longest burning firewood is considered to be Hickory. The burn time is largely related to the density of firewood. The denser it is, the more ‘fuel’ is packed within an area. On average, hardwood firewood can burn for anywhere between 2-8hrs depending on the fire conditions.

longest burning firewood

How Long Does Firewood Burn For?

Although the burning times can vary a lot depending on the factors we discuss below, on average a piece of wood can burn for anywhere between 4-8 hours.

The longest burning firewoods have a direct correlation to their densities. This is because denser firewoods are more ‘packed’ with fuel.

Below is a table of firewood with descending orders of densities or burn times.

Wood NameDensity (lbs/ft.)
Black Locust42-44

Which Firewood Burns for The Longest Time?

Hickory is considered to be the slowest burning firewood. Other slow-burning hardwoods include oak, black locust, beech, and ash. Ash is usually the popular choice because of its availability and less seasoning time.

Hickory also burns very hot, producing about 28 million BTUs/cord.

How Do Burn Times Work?

It’s important to understand what burn time actually means. The terms seem to be pretty simple but there are some crucial things which you need to keep in mind. Burn time entails how long a single piece of wood will burn right from its ignition to its smoldering stage.

Firewood is considered to be extinguished when a new piece of wood cannot catch fire from the already burning embers. Burn time on the other hand does not refer to the amount of time a piece of wood will produce large amounts of heat.

But usually, people only care about the amount of time a piece of wood will produce visible flames.

Burn time has two crucial elements to it. The BTU count of a fireplace or firewood represents the maximum amount of heat it can produce. And the second factor is the fireplace setting, that is, burning on high vs burning on low.

If you burn a piece of firewood on high settings, it will produce the maximum amount of heat but at the same time, it will burn for less amount of time. You can either choose between high burning settings or low burning settings, not both. Most people tend to go for a medium setting.

As an example, if you burn a piece of wood at a High Heat Value (HHV), it will produce 55,000BTUs and burn for about 2.5hrs. On the other hand, if you burn the same piece of wood on Low Heat Value (LHV), it will produce 18,000 BTUs but burn for 8 hrs.

What Factors Affect Burn Times?

There are a lot of factors that can determine the burn time.

  • The first is the type of wood you are choosing. Usually, hardwoods like oak, walnut, and Hickory burn for a longer time when compared to softwoods like pine and fir.
  • The second factor is the moisture content. If you are dealing with unseasoned firewood, it will likely burn for longer, but create less heat during the combustion process as a lot of the energy is used to evaporate the moisture.
  • The third factor is the setting of the fireplace you are using. If you let more air flow into the fire, it will burn hotter but for a shorter amount of time. You will need to restrict airflow into the fire so that it burns less hot and for a longer amount of time.
  • The last factor is the climate and the altitude in your area. If you live in higher altitudes, there is less oxygen available which reduces efficiency and leads to shorter burn times. The same applies to high humidity.

How to Make Any Firewood Burn for Longer?

It is very important to know how to light a fire and treat it correctly for maximising the efficiency of firewood. You can greatly increase the burn time of firewood if you keep a few things in mind:

  • The first factor is providing the right amount of ventilation. Opening the air dampener fully will make the firewood burn very hot but it will also go out quickly.
  • The second factor is building the fire correctly. One method of making the fires last longer is using reverse stacking. Make the bigger logs sit at the bottom, on top of which put the kindling then a fire started on top.
    This way, the fire will burn downwards, and you can use larger logs as they won’t smother the fire. Also, arrange the kindling wood in a crisscross pattern. This will provide the right amount of ventilation.
  • Another factor is using warm wood. Cold wood takes a long time to ignite and requires more energy to start burning well. This can lead to the fire going out prematurely or not burning properly.
  • The last thing to keep in mind is using properly seasoned wood. Higher moisture content will again require more energy to start burning and will also produce more smoke.


Hickory is considered to be the slowest or longest burning firewood. It is one of the densest hardwood firewood types you can buy. As the density of firewood increases, more fuel is packed within which allows it to burn for longer. Hickory firewood can burn for up to 8 hours, but lasts anywhere between 4-6 hrs on average.

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