Kiln Dried Firewood vs Seasoned Firewood – What’s the Difference, Which Should I Buy?

Published Categorized as Lumber Journal

Because the water content hovers around 60%, wood from a newly felled tree is considered green and essentially worthless as firewood. Greenwood is typically dried in two ways: naturally seasoned or kiln-dried. Is one superior to the other? Yes, indeed.

The sort of firewood used influences how well a chimney system works. Homeowners should grasp the differences between kiln-dried and seasoned firewood so that they may get the most out of their chimney systems.

In this article, we’ll discuss kiln-dried firewood vs seasoned firewood, so that you can understand the differences and know which one is best for you to buy!

Table of Contents

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What Is Kiln Dried Firewood?

Kiln-dried firewood was previously green firewood, but it handles the high moisture issue differently. Instead of going through the natural air-drying process, kiln-dried wood mimics it in a big kiln.

Kilns that produce kiln-dried firewood are essentially large ovens. Workers cut the wood to length before stacking it in a metal cage and loading it into the kiln. The kiln then eliminates the moisture by heating and drying the wood using a big fan.

The kiln’s regulated environment makes it simple to dry the firewood to the optimum moisture content. Furthermore, the kiln’s great size allows for the drying of many logs at once.

What Is Seasoned Firewood?

Seasoned firewood is air-dried wood that has been dried for a lengthy period of time. Air drying is required because freshly cut-down lumber, often known as green firewood, contains far too much moisture to be able to burn properly.

You know what we’re talking about if you’ve ever tried to burn green firewood! The increased moisture makes it difficult to fire the wood, and the resulting flames frequently fizzle and emit a lot of smoke.

Furthermore, because green wood is derived from a living thing (a tree), it may include moss and mold, which can emit toxic pollutants when burned.

As a result, the lengthy air-drying process that seasoned wood goes through is critical. It decreases the moisture content to a considerably lower level, allowing the wood to burn more easily.

Learn more about the various firewood types in our Firewood Identification guide!

Kiln Dried vs Seasoned Wood: Which Is Better?

To determine which is better between seasoned firewood vs kiln dried wood, let’s take a look at the three decisive questions:

  1. Which wood dries faster?
  2. Which wood burns better?
  3. Which wood is more convenient?

Which Wood Dries Faster?

As previously stated, both of these drying processes do an excellent job of reducing the moisture content of the wood. However, as we will see, one method generates dry firewood in far less time!

On the one hand, seasoned wood can take years to reach an appropriate moisture content. Meanwhile, the artificial drying process of kiln-drying can prepare the wood for a perfect fire in a matter of days.

So, kiln-dried firewood dries a lot faster, but does that really matter? Yes. A lot can impair the quality of seasoned wood throughout the drying process. For example, if you keep the wood outside, even if you place it in a covered rack or tarp it, a storm could come and get it wet again.

The wood may also get contaminated with insects or mold, which are never pleasant to deal with—especially if the wood is used inside your home!

Because kiln-dried firewood eliminates this waiting period, it also reduces the associated hazards. The wood emerges from the kiln ready to burn for an efficient and clean fire!

Which Wood Burns Better?

One would anticipate that this round would be a tie because both processes produce wood with a low moisture level. Surprisingly, this battle is also not close!

The key to victory in this battle is to have a moisture content of less than 20%. Firewood specialists agree that the 20% criterion is the difference between a good fire and a bad one. Any moisture over that level makes the fire less pleasurable.

So, how does seasoned wood fare in terms of going below 20%? It’s not amazing. While it is possible to season firewood below that threshold, it is difficult due to the many uncertainties that come with air drying.

The moisture level of seasoned wood is frequently in the 20-30% range, resulting in an extremely smokey burn that fizzles quickly.

This is not true of kiln-dried firewood. The controlled environment within the kiln allows the wood to be dried to less than 20% moisture every time. Furthermore, because the wood is always free of mold and insects, there is no chance of excessive smoke or harmful emissions.

Instead, you get a fire that is easier to light and burns longer, brighter, and with less smoke than a fire made with seasoned wood.

Because of its extremely low moisture content, kiln-dried wood is ideal for cooking. Its hotter burns thoroughly cook food than seasoned firewood. And cleaner smoke results in better-tasting meals.

Which Wood Is More Convenient?

The great thing about seasoned firewood is that it can be made by anyone. All you have to do is chop the wood and stack it correctly in a location with low humidity and weather protection. Of course, you must then wait 18-24 months and pray that the wood does not become contaminated with mildew or bugs during that time.

In the meantime, you can monitor the wood’s progress with a moisture meter. (Be sure to split a piece of wood and examine the moisture content in the middle because it dries slower than the outside.)

But, after all that effort, you will hopefully be able to enjoy a beautiful fire. We’re not sure about you, but all that effort doesn’t sound very convenient to us!

You are free to go through all that bother if you so desire. You may also buy kiln-dried firewood, which is ready to burn right away and has a lower moisture level than any wood you could season yourself! Sure, it will cost more than doing it yourself, but we believe the convenience will be well worth it.

You could, of course, buy seasoned firewood from a store. It is usually less expensive than kiln-dried wood, but it is also risky. Companies may try to take advantage of you by selling you unseasoned wood. Because it takes so long to dry, it’s not always simple to find well-seasoned lumber all year.

This is not true with kiln-dried wood. It’s always in short supply because it’s so simple to manufacture all year. And you can be confident that the moisture level will be low enough because the kiln removes all variables from the drying process.

Looking to cut down some trees for firewood? Visit our Best Firewood Chainsaw & Best Trees for Firewood guides!

Sorry seasoned firewood fans, it was never going to have a chance. The truth is that seasoning is difficult to attain an ideal moisture content. And so much may go wrong with the wood during the drying process.

Kiln-dried firewood eliminates all of these issues by using a simple drying method that yields wood that is suitable for burning. It is the quickest, simplest, and most reliable approach to obtaining the firewood of your dreams!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is kiln-dried better than seasoned?

Kiln-dried firewood outperforms regular seasoned wood in almost every use, whether for a campfire or a nice flame in your living room fireplace. It is not only more easily available than seasoned wood, but it also has a lower moisture level and hence burns better.

Does kiln-dried wood need to be seasoned?

No, kiln-dried wood doesn’t need to be seasoned as the wood has been dried in a kiln and is ready to be used.

Does kiln-dried firewood burn better?

Yes, kiln-dried logs burn a lot better and more evenly since the wood has a continuously low moisture content, resulting in a considerably more efficient and longer-lasting burn than other wood kinds.

Does kiln-dried wood burn longer?

Yes, one of the primary advantages of burning kiln-dried logs is that they burn considerably longer and more slowly than seasoned or semi-seasoned logs.

By Dave Cross

Hi, I'm Dave. I’ve been sawing for more than 40 years. I feel most at home when I’m surrounded by nature and my saws, but occasionally, I’ll share some of my know-how and experience on Cross Saw Mill.

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