Is Locust Good Firewood?

Locust trees are well-known hardwood used in various industries. This is because, despite its high cost, it is a beautiful and robust wood.

Locust wood is considered to be premium firewood because of the heat it produces, but how good it actually is?

Locust wood is a thick hardwood that generates an impressive quantity of heat and burns for a long time while emitting minimal creosote and smoke. Its coals burn for an extended period, and the wood gives out little ash making it an exceptional choice of firewood.

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Varieties of Locust Firewood

NameBTUDry weightWet weightSeasoning timeSap contentSplitting difficultysmokesmellCoal productionCreosote buildup
Black locust Firewood27.9389043096-8 monthslowerhighLittle to nothingHas no smellhighlow
Honey locust Firewood26.738104081Fall season 6-8lowerhighRelatively lowHas no smellhighlow
Skyline honey25.435083984Late spring 4-6lowereasyRelatively lowSomewhat smellymoderatelow
Bristly locust24.734973798Summer season 4-6lowerhighRelatively lowSomewhat smellymoderatemoderate
Imperial honey24.534813719Summer season 4-6moderateeasyRelatively lowSomewhat smellymoderatemoderate
New Mexico23.234593698Winter season 4-6moderatehardmoderateHighly smellylowmoderate
Purple robe23.334423606Summer season 4-6moderateeasymoderateHighly smellylowmoderate
Shademaster honey23.434013598Winter season 3-4moderateeasymoderateHighly smellylowmoderate
Sunburst honey23.132043512Winter season 3-4highhardhighVery highlowesthigh
Umbrella locust22.330913387Spring season 4-5highhardhighVery highlowesthigh

Heat Output and Efficiency of Locust

Because it is hardwood, it takes longer to ignite. Many individuals choose to start a fire using softwood kindlings from trees such as cedar. After igniting fast-burning cedar firewood, locusts will pick up quickly and maintain the fire inside the stove or a fireplace. 

Locust, depending on the variety yields 22.3 to 27.9 million BTUs per cord, making it one of the most heat-producing wood species.

Meanwhile, heat production is significantly reduced when firewood is burned damp.

Creosote build-up

When it comes to firewood, high resin and sap concentration, combined with high moisture content, results in high levels of creosote produced.

Locust varieties contain very little sap, due to this, they do not produce much creosote when adequately seasoned.

Amount of smoke

The smoke produced by Locusts wood is comparable to other hardwoods. Moreover, Locust’s firewood must be appropriately seasoned to minimize the amount of smoke produced.

Coal production

Hardwoods are often used to manufacture high-quality coals. Locust, among the highest density woods, produces exceptionally high-quality coals.

The coals radiate heat for lengthy periods and create a steady bed of coals for grilling or outdoor cooking.

Is It Ok To Burn Locust In A Fireplace?

Both honey and black locust firewoods are ideal to be used in indoor fireplaces. They will not only keep the house warm overnight, but they would also offer sufficient coals and wood to restart your fire the following day.

How Long Does It Take To Season Locust Firewood?

Locust firewood may be seasoned in as little as six to eight months in ideal conditions. However, if you want the best results you must season it twice as long.

The optimal seasoning period for the Locust is one to one and a half years. However, seasoning it for 2 to 3 years is ideal for the Locust firewood for indoor use.

Locust wood is considered to be seasoned once the moisture levels inside the wood are less than 20%. You can measure the levels of moisture using a moisture meter.

Is Locust Firewood Expensive?

Locust firewood is a high-priced wood. However, when we consider its benefits, it is well worth it.

Locust firewood prices vary around the globe. The expected price ranges between $220 to $450 per cord of wood in various areas of the United State. For example, according to a full cord of black locust wood currently costs 425$

Pros and Cons Of Using Locust As Firewood


  • High heat output
  • Emits low levels of smoke
  • Low Creosote
  • Burns for long time


  • Pricey firewood
  • Not as easily available as other firewood like oak firewood
  • Takes long time to season

How Does Locust Compare To Other Firewood?

Locust burns hotter and lasts longer than most other popular firewood, producing the most heat in respect to other wood in the winter season. Hickory and oak, ranked great firewoods, are similar options.
Overall, there are not many types of wood that are better than locusts when it comes to BTU rating except white oak firewood and osage-orange. The latter however throws out a lot of sparks so it is not suitable for everyone.

More about Osage orange firewood here.

Frequently-asked Questions

What Does BTU Stand For?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit; this unit of measurement is most commonly used for evaluating the thermal output of timber. 1 BTU is the amount of energy it takes to heat 1 lb of water by 1 F.

How Much Wood Is In A Cord?

The definition of a cord in the United States is a volume of 128 cubic feet. But usually, it is measured as a stack of firewood which is 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long.

What’s The Difference Between Softwood And Hardwood?

Hardwood is often derived from deciduous trees, which shed their leaves yearly. Softwood is derived from conifers, which generally are evergreen. Hardwood trees are slow-growing, resulting in denser wood.

How Do You Store Firewood?

Select a location on your property that is dry and has good airflow. If you do not have a barn for firewood storage, stack the wood on top of each other, bark down. After you have stacked all the wood, cover the top of the stack with a tarp. Ensure that there is enough airflow from the sides. Do not store firewood next to wooden buildings or near your house for safety.


Locust is one of the best firewood in North America. When properly seasoned, it produces a tremendous amount of heat, almost 30 million BTUs per cord while emitting very little smoke. (That is enough energy to heat 30 million lbs of water by one degree Farrenheit)

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