Which Wood Burns the Hottest for an Outside Wood Burning Stove?

Choose the right wood to get the most efficient heat from your outdoor wood burning stove.

Not all wood makes a suitable choice for burning in a wood stove. Softwoods with a higher sap content burn hot but leave a flammable coating on the inside of your stove. Hardwoods with low sap generally burn cleaner for longer.


Outdoor wood burners distance heating fires from homes and other vulnerable buildings. The unit pipes the heated air into the home via heating ducts similar to those used by other furnaces. Water can also be heated by these outdoor wood stoves, providing the hot water needs of a family or business.

Wood Types

Softwoods provide hot, fast heat. But most woods of this type leave behind a film called creosote. This film coats the inside of wood burning stoves and chimneys, becoming a fire hazard. Seasoned or aged hardwoods do not contain as much sap and do not leave a large amount of creosote behind.

Best Firewood

Hardwoods burn longer with less residue.

Firewood gets rated like other heating/cooling systems, by BTU, or British thermal unit, output. Maple, beech, and oak have among the highest BTU ratings of common firewood varieties. Eucalyptus, with a BTU rating of 32.5 to 34.5, produces the hottest fire, but beech has the highest BTU rating, 29.0 to 30.4, for wood commonly sold by the cord in the U.S. Freshly cut “green” wood can be burned, but it produces a large amount of smoke. It’s best to stack and dry firewood before burning it in a furnace or wood stove to reduce the potential for creosote accumulation.

How to get the most from your stove

Remove the rust from the stove. Remove light rust by scrubbing it away with a wire brush and white vinegar. A wire brush drill bit can be attached to a drill to accelerate the process. Have your stove sandblasted with carborundum or have it stripped by an auto stripper if the rusting is too extensive to remove by hand. If your stove has any ceramic parts, it cannot be sandblasted or stripped.

Burn-off your stove after installing and before using. Open all of your windows and doors and turn on fans. Light a fire in the stove. The residual wax from the polish will emit a dark smoke. Step outside or wear a mask to prevent breathing in the smoke. Allow the fire to burn until the smoke ceases.