Maple firewood offers a fantastic choice for burning, especially for fireplaces and wood stoves. Understanding the differences between hard and soft maple species can help you make an informed decision on the best maple firewood for your needs.
Maple firewood is a popular choice for burning due to its ready availability and excellent heat output.
With over 100 species of maple trees, it’s essential to understand the differences between hard and soft maple and how they perform as firewood.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the details of maple firewood and highlight the best species for various purposes.
The Distinction: Hard Maple vs. Soft Maple
All maple species fall into two broad categories: hard maple and soft maple.
Hard maple, like sugar maple, is known for its higher heat output and excellent coaling properties, while soft maple, such as silver maple, tends to have lower density and heat output, making it less ideal for burning.
Best Maple Firewood Species
a. Sugar Maple (Hard Maple): Sugar maple is one of the best choices for firewood. It produces approximately 24 million BTUs per cord, burns long and steady, and creates excellent coals. Ideal for fireplaces and wood stoves.
b. Red Maple: While not as potent as sugar maple, red maple is still a decent option for firewood, providing moderate heat output.
c. Silver Maple (Soft Maple): Silver maple is generally considered poor firewood due to its lower density and heat output. It may not perform as well as hard maple species.
d. Bigleaf Maple: Bigleaf maple falls somewhere in the middle, offering moderate heat output and serving as a suitable firewood option.
Characteristics and Performance
- BTU: Maple firewood produces approximately 18 million to 28 million BTUs per cord, with sugar maple leading the way in terms of heat output.
- Weight: Green maple firewood weighs between 3,900 lbs to 4,700 lbs, while dry maple firewood weighs between 2,750 lbs to 3,700 lbs.
- Seasoning time: Maple firewood takes 6 months to 3 years to season, which impacts its burning efficiency.
- Resin/Sap content: Maple firewood has approximately 800 gallons of sap per cord, which contributes to its pleasant smell.
- Splitting difficulty: Maple firewood is generally easy to medium to split, making it manageable for those cutting their own wood.
- Smoke: Maple firewood produces low smoke with most maple species, except for hard maple, which may produce more smoke.
- Smell: Maple firewood has a pleasant smell, adding to the overall enjoyment of burning it.
Choosing the Right Maple Firewood for Your Needs
- For high heat output and long-lasting coals, opt for sugar maple (hard maple).
- If you need a decent firewood option with moderate heat output, consider red maple or bigleaf maple.
- Avoid silver maple (soft maple) for firewood due to its lower heat output and density.
[Related Post: 10 Best Firewood For Fireplace: The Ultimate Heat Guide]