What fuel you should use for your wood-burning stove

wood burning stove

Most people who burn wood or multi-fuel stoves use seasoned logs. However, these aren't the most efficient fuels to use. That's according to a Which? Survey. 237 wood-burning and multi-fuel stove owners were asked what kind of fuel they used for their stove. They most often used seasoned logs (69%), kiln-dried logs (14%) free wood from their own gardens or from their neighbours (13%). Here is information on which types of wood fuel are best for a stove, along with their costs.

The best wood for burning in a stove

It is best to burn wood that contains 20% or less moisture. There are many reasons for this, including:
  • Efficiency is improved. Because the water won't have to be burned off first, more heat will be produced.
  • By burning dry wood, fewer potentially harmful particulates and air pollutants are released into the air.
  • Your chimney will be less likely to accumulate sooty deposits, which can cause a fire.
Seasoned logs contain from 25 to 40% moisture, whether partially dried or dried, by the manufacturer. Their heat output per kilogram is around 3kWh. Kiln-dried logs contain less than 20% moisture because they are dried out in a kiln before being sold. Logs of this type produce around 4.5 kWh of heat per kg when burned.

Free wood that has been collected may contain up to 90% moisture. As a result, only 1kWh per kg of heat is likely to be produced. Compressed wood briquettes or otherwise known as heat logs, is wood fuel created using recycled sawdust - it has a low moisture content. A kilogram of them can produce from 5 kWh of heat even when the moisture content is as low as 10%. The Which? survey found only six people using this fuel.

Wood Fuel costs for a stove

Wood with a higher moisture content costs less than one with lower moisture content. The average cost of each type of wood was found by comparing five online log suppliers. You will find that per cubic meter:
  • Seasoned logs cost around £125 per cubic meter.
  • Kiln-dried logs cost around about £140 per cubic metre.
  • Briquettes have a price of around £242 per 1kg.
Hardwoods such as ash, beech, birch, and oak are priced at these prices. The price of hardwoods (such as pine and fir) is slightly higher than softwoods, but they burn for longer, which means you use less. Delivery is typically included in the price of wood briquettes but not for seasoned or kiln-dried logs.

Wood for your stove at the lowest price

The recommended wood fuel for stove burners.
Even though seasoned wood and free wood have high moisture content, they can still be used - you need to dry them first. If you have patience, then this is the cheapest option. However, it may take two years or more to dry the wood, depending on how wet it is.

For storing it, you'll need a designated area where air can reach it, but moisture cannot. Check when it's ready with a moisture meter. Be sure that the wood you're using has not been treated with chemicals if you find it (such as on a roadway or in a waste dump).

Again, it needs somewhere to dry out while you store it. Alternatively, if you need heat logs or firewood shortly, we recommend compressed wood logs as the cheapest option in the long term. Take Pinewood Fuels Eco Logs, a heat log made of pressed sawdust, at less than £1.00 per kilo; it's the most efficient in heat output, time and cleanliness.

With these eco logs, you will benefit from 5kwh of heat due to the extremely low moisture content (under 8%), meaning almost immediate heat. What's more, eco heat logs are 100% natural and free from chemicals due to their source materials of sawdust from untreated timber yards. This eco-friendly characteristic is not only great for the environment, but it will also leave your stoves cleaner than alternative woodfuels.

The recommended wood fuel for stove burners

It's a clear winner; eco heat logs are the perfect choice for wood stoves due to their:
  • eco-friendliness,
  • higher heat output due to their low moisture content,
  • reduction in harmful emissions due to being 100% non-chemical,
That's not to say they are the cheapest, but the long term benefits outweigh the slightly higher cost.