Firewood - BTU Content by Tree Species

By:Warren Walborn

What is the BTU content of firewood? 

A full cord of wood is a stacked wood pile that is four feet wide by four feet tall by 8 feet long - 4'x4'x8'. It is therefore 128 cubic feet but because of air space between pieces the actual amount of solid wood may be only 70-90 cubic feet. This depends on the size and shape of the pieces and how tightly they are stacked. Because of this variable consider the firewood BTU values and weight in these charts to be approximate.

The BTU in a cord of firewood is usually close to the same per pound between species. One pound of dense hardwood will have about the same amount of energy as one pound of light softwood. The difference in energy content is in the woods density. A cord of the more dense wood will have more energy than a cord of less dense softwood.

 

Amount of Heat Energy In a Firewood Cord

FIREWOOD BTU OF WESTERN HARDWOOD SPECIES

 

Species Million BTU's per Cord Pounds Per Cord 
Green
Pounds Per Cord 
Dry
Live Oak 36.6 7870 4840
Eucalyptus 34.5 7320 4560
Manzanita 32.0
Pacific Madrone 30.9 6520 4086
Dogwood 30.4 6520 4025
Oregon White Oak 28.0 6290 3710
Tanoak 27.5 6070 3650
California Black Oak 27.4 5725 3625
Pepperwood (Myrtle) 26.1 5730 3450
Chinquapin 24.7 4720 3450
Bigleaf Maple 22.7 4940 3000
Red Alder 19.5 4100 2600
Quaking Aspen 18.0 3880 2400
Cottonwood 16.8 3475 2225

 

FIREWOOD BTU OF WESTERN SOFTWOOD SPECIES

 

Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord
Green
Pounds Per Cord
Dry
Douglas Fir 26.5 5050 3075
Western Juniper 26.4 5410 3050
Western Hemlock 24.4 5730 2830
Port Orford Cedar 23.4 4370 2700
Lodgepole Pine 22.3 4270 2580
Ponderosa Pine 21.7 4270 2520
Jeffery Pine 21.7 4270 2520
Sitka Spruce 21.7 4100 2520
White Fir 21.1 3190 2400
Red Fir 20.6 4040 2400
Incense Cedar 20.1 3880 2350
Coast Redwood 20.1 4040 2330
Grand Fir 20.1 3880 2330
Sugar Pine 19.6 3820 2270
Western White Pine
Sequoia Redwood

 

FIREWOOD BTU OF EASTERN HARDWOOD SPECIES

Inconsistency between charts may exist due to different laboratory variables

 

Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
Osage Orange 32.9 4728
Shagbark Hickory 27.7 4327
Eastern Hornbeam 27.1 4016
Black Birch 26.8 3890
Black Locust 26.8 3890
Blue Beech 26.8 3890
Ironwood 26.8 3890
Bitternut Hickory 26.5 3832
Honey Locust 26.5 4100
Apple 25.8 3712
Mulberry 25.7 4012
Beech 24.0 3757
Northern Red Oak 24.0 3757
Sugar Maple 24.0 3757
White Oak 24.0 3757
White Ash 23.6 3689
Yellow Birch 21.8 3150
Red Elm 21.6 3112
Hackberry 20.8 3247
Kentucky Coffeetree 20.8 3247
Gray Birch 20.3 3179
Paper Birch 20.3 3179
White Birch 20.2 3192
Black Walnut 20.0 3120
Cherry 20.0 3120
Green Ash 19.9 2880
Black Cherry 19.5 2880
American Elm 19.5 3052
White Elm 19.5 3052
Sycamore 19.1 2992
Black Ash 18.7 2924
Red Maple (Soft Maple) 18.1 2900
Boxelder 17.9 2797
Catalpa 15.9 2482
Aspen 14.7 2295
Butternut 14.5 2100
Willow 14.3 2236
Cottonwood 13.5 2108
American Basswood 13.5 2108

 

FIREWOOD BTU OF EASTERN SOFTWOOD SPECIES

Inconsistency between charts may exist due to different laboratory variables

 

Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
Rocky Mountain Juniper 21.6 3112
Tamarack 20.8 3247
Jack Pine 17.1 2669
Norway Pine 17.1 2669
Pitch Pine 17.1 2669
Hemlock 15.9 2482
Black Spruce 15.9 2482
Eastern White Pine 14.3 2236
Balsam Fir 14.3 2236
Eastern White Cedar 12.2 1913
Eastern Red Cedar

 

 

These firewood BTU ratings charts compare the heat energy content of common firewood types along with both green and dry weight per firewood cord. These charts were compiled from various sources so some comparisons between species may conflict some due to variables in laboratory variables of how much actual solid wood is in a cord.

Source: Wood Forest Industries