What Are the Best Types of Wood to Burn Indoors?

Indoor fireplaces look beautiful and are also a great source of heat when the weather outside starts to get colder. Typically, lit fireplaces use wood as a fuel source, which is a good idea for several reasons: wood burns well, can be bought in bulk, and will effectively heat up an entire room. But with so many different wood types to choose from, which are the best for your indoor fireplace?

Best Wood to Burn Inside


If you’ve got an indoor fireplace, birch wood should be one of the first types of wood you consider using. In fact, in Scandinavia, birch wood is considered to be the traditional type of wood to burn in fireplaces. It catches fire quickly and then creates a lot of flames, producing plenty of heat in a short space of time. Like any wood, it produces a scent when it burns, but birch actually smells quite sweet. If you need a quick fire to warm up a room, you can use birch alone, but if you want to prolong the heat, mix it with a slower-burning type of wood.


Oak is one of these slower-burning woods that you can use in fireplaces to keep them smouldering for a long time. Oakwood also burns evenly, making it completely safe to use. You won’t need a huge amount to fuel an indoor fireplace because oak wood is so dense, so if you buy a lot of oak in bulk, you’ll be able to store it and keep your fireplace burning all through winter. Kiln-dried oak is your best bet because oak wood takes a long time to season before you can burn it.


Beechwood has excellent thermal efficiency because it has such a high heat output. A small amount of beech will effectively heat up a room because it burns hot and lasts for a long time. You’ll be able to maximize heat output without wasting a lot of fuel on the fire. One potential downside is that beech wood has a naturally high water content, so you’ll need to thoroughly dry it out before it can be used in fireplaces. Luckily, you can also buy kiln-dried beech in large packs, so all the hard work will be done for you.


Like birch wood, hickory is also recommended for those who would like to enjoy a nice aroma while their fireplace is lit. Too often, wood fires can smell unpleasantly smoky, but hickory is perhaps the best-smelling of all wood types. It also burns well because it has a low moisture content and produces little smoke. You’ll be able to enjoy a long, slow-burning fire with hickory wood that is great for keeping your home warm all day. For indoor burning, it’s best to choose small hickory logs so that the fireplace isn’t overwhelmed.


If you’re looking for another very clean-burning wood that works well in indoor fireplaces, ash is a great option. It burns steadily and produces a lot of heat, though, like birch, it is not the longest-burning option, so it is best to use when you want a quick fire that will heat up a room in a short space of time. If you haven’t bought prepared firewood, you can easily split and season ashwood yourself. It isn’t the most common type of firewood on sale, so you might not come across it as easily as other types, but it’s definitely one to consider.


Types of Wood That You Should Never Burn Indoors

With five great options for burning in indoor fireplaces, it’s also important to be aware of the types of wood that you should never burn inside your home. Pine wood is one because it has resinous qualities and will subsequently produce lots of soot as it burns. This will dirty your chimney and increase the risk of soot spreading through your living room. Driftwood should also be avoided because it is usually taken from the sea, meaning that it contains chlorine. Burning chlorine will produce nasty chemicals that you want to avoid.

Using freshly cut wood of any kind is also not advised because it needs to be properly seasoned and dried before it can burn effectively. Procuring your own firewood from trees in your yard is a great idea, but you need to give the logs time before they’re ready to be used. Another type to avoid is any wood that has started to rot because burning bad wood could release harmful toxins into your home. Ultimately, you need to burn wood that is safe and clean if you’ve got an indoor fireplace.