Is Cedar Good for Firewood/Burning

Cedar is a common tree and is often used in commercial and domestic uses. It burns hot, produces ample heat, and doesn’t give off much smoke or creosote. Cedar also has many other uses besides burning. For instance, it can be used as a building material in all sorts of things, including fences, staircases, flooring, windowsills, and window frames.

This piece highlights everything you should know about cedar firewood, so be sure to read it in its entirety.

How Cedar Compares To Other Trees

Cedar is a softwood, which means it burns hot and fast. That characteristic makes it suitable for cooking, it’s also quite reliable when used in fireplaces due to cedar’s high BTU value (British thermal unit). The BTU value measures how much heat you get from burning wood, and cedar has one of the highest ratings among softwoods.

The high heat output can be beneficial if you want to use your fireplace more frequently or just want to get through chores faster. However, cedar also produces an averagely more smoke than other woods because of its lower density level and higher moisture content. This makes cedar logs less efficient than those made from denser hardwoods such as oak or maple.

Heat Output and Cedar Efficiency (BTUs)

Cedar is a hardwood, so it burns hotter and cleaner than softwoods. Hardwoods tend to be denser than softwoods, which makes them burn more efficiently. This means that hardwoods will create more heat per unit of wood used than softwoods, and cedar has the highest BTUs of all the North American woods (a measurement for how much energy a piece of wood releases when it’s burned). With its higher BTUs, cedar produces almost twice as much heat as fir or pine. Its heat output is similar to that of oak or maple.

Cooking with wood adds an extra layer of flavor to your food without adding artificial flavors or chemicals. Also, cedars are especially tasty because they have high levels of aromatic oils called terpenes. These oils have enhanced flavors like lemon juice and rosemary in recipes like lemon-rosemary yogurt parfaits.

When using cedar, you should expect around 13 million BTUs per cord. This might not be a lot of heat, but it should be enough to keep your area warm. This clearly indicates that cedar is good firewood that you can also use to cook wild meat when camping.

How Long To Season Cedar Firewood?

The best way to season cedar firewood is by stacking it in neat rows and allowing the air around it to circulate. Cedar is a coniferous tree, which means it has a very high sap content, which is too high for most people’s taste. Sap is sticky and can gum up your saw, so if you use cedar as firewood, you’ll want to season it before using or burning it.

If you don’t have time for this process (or if you want your wood sooner), sanding down the top layer of your freshly cut pieces will remove some excess moisture from them. You can also speed up this process by burning off any extra moisture with a torch or lighter flame. However, this method tends not only to be difficult but also less effective than either of the two previously mentioned options.

Most users report that cedar requires at least nine months to season. But this can also vary based on the moisture content and surrounding weather conditions.

How Hard is Cedar To Split

Cedar is one of the easiest woods to split, making it a great choice for firewood. It’s not as hard as oak but more difficult than pine. Cedar is a good option for you if you’re looking to cut down on your splitting time.

There are different types of cedar. But it would help if you rested assured that they are all fairly easy to split. You don’t need a unique tool to split your wood and use them for heating or cooking. All varieties share many characteristics that make them excellent firewood. They burn cleanly with little smoke or ash production. However, they also have some differences worth noting before you make your purchase choice.

Is Cedar Sap Messy?

When cedar is cut down, the sap that comes out is called resin. It’s sticky and messy if you don’t know what to do with it. If you use cedar as firewood, consider wearing protective clothing when working with it.

When freshly cut or dried, cedar has many resins that can make your hands sticky. When seasoned (dried out over time), most of these resins have evaporated and aren’t as much of an issue if you’re not handling the wood directly.

If you use cedar as firewood, dry it out before burning it. The resins that make it sticky when fresh can catch fire and burn quickly, leaving a lot of smoke and ash behind.

Fire quality, amount of smoke, and creosote

When it comes to firewood, there are many considerations. The most important thing is how your firewood burns. Cedar is a good choice for outdoor fires because it burns hot and clean. At times, it might produce a lot of smoke, so you should be careful when considering it for indoor. But this does not mean it’s bad for producing some warmth in the fireplace. It’s also a great choice for campers who want to cook their meals outdoors and have fun with their loved ones.

Another thing to consider is how much wood you’ll need for your fire. If your fireplace is large, you’ll need more than if it’s small. When buying firewood from a store, ask how much they charge for the cord. This will tell you how many pieces are in each bundle and how much wood you get for your money.

Other Common Uses of Cedar

Cedar is a popular wood for use in making musical instruments due to its sweet smell and low density. For many years, Cedar has also been used for shingles, fence posts, and siding.

Cedar chests are made from cedar planks and are often used to store clothes or other items that can require special protection from moths or insects.

Wardrobes are large closets used to store clothing. They may also be called armoires or chifforobes. They’re usually made of wood but can also be made of metal or plastic.

Shingles are thin pieces of wood used as a roofing material, and they can be made using cedar. They’re long enough that they overlap at the ends but short enough that they don’t bend under one’s weight when stepping.

Types of Cedar Used For Firewood

There are many types of cedar out there, but the three most common are northern white cedar, western red cedar, and eastern red cedar. All three types of wood have a similar appearance and are used for similar purposes in the home, but their properties make each one unique.

These are the types of cedar commonly used for firewood.

1. Northern White Cedar

Northern White cedar has some characteristics of softwood. This means it burns very hot, has a pleasant smell, and produces no smoke or ashes. The wood of the northern white cedar tree is used to make shingles, fencing, and lumber. The lumber itself has many uses, including flooring, siding, and furniture making. If you are looking for an excellent all-around firewood to help keep your home warm during those cold winter nights, consider using northern white cedar as your heat source.

2. Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is native to the Pacific Northwest and has a long history of use by indigenous peoples. It burns hot and long, making it ideal for cooking or warming. The wood is easy to split, and its pleasant aroma helps mask the odor of other fuels like coal or oil (if you’re burning in an enclosed space). Western Red Cedar is also used as fence posts, shakes, shingles atop houses, and even furniture.

The tree grows primarily in British Columbia and Washington State but can be found elsewhere in North America and parts of Europe and Asia.

3. Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar is the most common type of cedar used for firewood. It’s a softwood, so it doesn’t have to be dried before burning. This makes Eastern Red Cedar ideal for use as firewood in areas with wetter climates or where winters are milder.

Eastern White Cedar might be right up your alley if you’re looking for a higher-quality wood that will burn longer and more efficiently. On the other hand, if you live in arid conditions or need an all-season fuel source without needing to pre-dry your wood, Eastern Red Cedar may be better suited to your needs.

Pros and Cons of Using Cedar Firewood


  • Pleasant aroma
  • Easy to light
  • Easy to split
  • Hot flames


  • Burns quickly
  • Crackles and pops


Cedar is a type of wood that is ideal for use as firewood. It burns well and produces a lot of heat, making it one of the most popular types of wood. Cedar has been used by people since ancient times and is found in archeological digs from many different cultures worldwide. We hope this piece helps you learn essential points to note when using cedar for firewood. Let’s know by commenting below if you still have any questions.