The 3 Worst Smelling Wood To Burn And The 3 Best Smelling

The smell of burning wood is one of the most comforting aromas around. But not all types of wood are created equal when it comes to their scent. In this article, we will explore which are the worst smelling wood to burn and which ones make for a pleasant aroma.

Whether you’re enjoying a cozy fire in your fireplace or cooking over an open flame, nothing captures the feeling of warmth and relaxation like the smell of burning wood. That said some woods can produce unpleasant odors that take away from the experience, while others have pleasant fragrances that add to it.

We’ll also discuss why some woods smell better than others and how you can maximize their scent potential when using them in your fireplaces or grills. So if you want to get the best out of your burning wood experience, read on.

Worst Smelling Wood To Burn Explained

Wood is not only a captivating source of warmth but also creates an alluring ambiance with its scent. The aroma produced by burning wood in the fireplace can vary depending on the species being burned, from earthy to sweet or smoky scents.

The worst smelling wood to burn is wood that smells bad when burned. This can be caused by the type of wood or how it has been stored before burning. Burning wood can produce a strong, unpleasant smell that can fill your home.

If you’re unsure why your firewood isn’t giving off a pleasant smell, inspect the logs for signs of mold, fungus, or moisture. Additionally, fresh cuts tend to contain more sap and oils that can give them an unpleasant odor.

Therefore, selecting quality wood is essential if you want to enjoy its natural scent!

What Tree Produces The Best Wood?

There are hundreds of different types of firewood available for purchase on the market today. However, if you’re looking for the best wood to burn in your fireplace, hardwoods such as oak, maple, hickory, and ash are typically considered the top choices. These types of wood burn longer and produce more heat than softwoods like pine or cedar.

Hardwoods also tend to create a pleasant smell when burned which can fill your home with an inviting aroma. Additionally, these woods are less likely to spark and produce a lot of smoke which can be beneficial for indoor air quality.

Ultimately, selecting the right firewood for your needs will depend on the type of fire you wish to create. Whether you’re looking for a slow-burning fire or something that will keep your home warm for extended periods of time, the right type of wood can make all the difference.

Why Splitting Wood Is Important?

Breaking up unseasoned firewood is an arduous and lengthy process, yet unavoidable. Nature has designed trees to retain as much moisture as they can by forming a shield of bark that serves as an effective barrier against evaporation.

Chopping firewood not only increases the surface area exposed to air and sunlight but accelerates and enhances the drying process. You could say that smaller pieces of wood are better for this purpose.

How To Store Firewood?

  • Select the ideal storage spot: When selecting a location for storing firewood, make sure you pick an area that is dry and adequately ventilated. Otherwise, the wood will become sodden with moisture while it’s kept in storage.
  • Allow adequate airflow for peak performance: To ensure proper ventilation, keep your stack of firewood a minimum distance of 10 centimeters from any wall.

Best And Worst Smelling Wood To Burn

3 Best Smelling Wood To Burn

Oak Firewood

Oak is an excellent source of firewood for many reasons. It has a milder aroma than Hickory, yet still provides that same earthy scent. Not only does it burn effortlessly and produces good heat as well as prime cooking coals, but this type of wood can also be utilized to create campfires, smoke meat and build furniture.

Cherry Firewood

Cherry wood not only looks gorgeous but has a strong and delightful fragrance that’s far more intense than Applewood. It will fill your home with its pleasant aroma long after you’ve put out the fire; in fact, it might linger there for weeks! Ignite a Cherry flame today to enjoy its unique ambiance.

Not only is cherry fire unique, but it creates a lasting impression. All you need is to throw in just one log of cherrywood to their fires solely for the heavenly smell.

Pine Wood

Pinewood is an obvious choice for the holiday season – its distinctive, joyous aroma will instantly evoke a festive spirit and make your home or outdoor fire wonderfully inviting. Plus, this softwood sustains heat well; simply pair it with some robust hardwood to keep your guests cozy and captivated by delightful scents all night long.

3 Worst Smelling Wood To Burn


Found in many parts of Asia, the Ailanthus tree has become an invasive species across North American regions. Though it may provide a decent source of firewood, its burning aroma is anything but desirable – some have described it as being reminiscent of that of skunk and rotting animal combined! Undoubtedly unpleasant at best. Buckeye trees share this same odoriferous quality when burned as well.


Elm firewood can smell amazing, but it all depends on where the tree was grown. If an Elm tree is rooted near a smelly septic line, then burning it will create a revolting odor in your home. To ensure you don’t experience this issue with your next bundle of wood, pay close attention to its source.

Catalpa Firewood

Another firewood that has sparked debate is Catalpa. Personally, I have found its slightly spicy smell to be overwhelming at times, no thanks to its combination of low heat and moderate smoke production capabilities.

Essentially this means you must burn more wood than usual throughout the night in order to maintain a hot blaze – something which only amplifies the scent as time goes by.

What To Look For In Wood To Burn


The smell of burning wood can be different depending on what type of wood you are using. Some woods smell really bad when they are burned while other woods smell pleasant. It is important to know the smells of different types of firewood so you can choose the one that will make your home smell the best.

Heat Production

When choosing firewood, one important factor is heat production. This is how much heat the wood will provide when it is burned. Some woods smell worse than others when they are burning, so you should make sure to pick a type of wood that won’t produce too much of a smell.

Heat production is measured in BTU per cord, for example, Hickory produces 28 million BTUs of heat per cord.


Smoke is the smell that comes from burning wood. Some woods smell worse than others when they burn, so it is important to pay attention to the kind of wood you use for a fire.

Undeniably, Hardwoods such as Oak are the ideal choice of wood for fires. Not only do they burn longer than other woods, but also generate less smoke and residue while providing a hot and strong fire that will last much longer than those produced by softer or wetter alternatives.

Recommended Wood To Burn To Get The Job Done

Old Potters Kiln Dried Firewood – Cherry

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This Cherry Dried Wood is the perfect choice for adding a unique flavor and aroma to your food. USDA-certified, free of bugs and insects, and easy to burn with little smoke, it’s the ideal solution for grilling, pizza ovens, and smoking.

The mini logs are 7 to 8 inches in size – just right for barbecues, campfires, wood stoves, fire pits, or any other cooking tasks you may have.

With its subtle flavors that provide a great heat source as well as excellent aromas – the hardwood will help you make the most out of your cooking experience.

Types of Wood To Burn

Kiln-Dried Firewood

Kiln-dried firewood is the perfect option for your fireplace, thanks to its low moisture content ranging from 20% down to an impressive 9%. This means you can get a blazing fire going with minimal effort and be sure of a safe, clean burn each time.

Kiln-dried firewood is an ideal option for both indoor and outdoor use, as it emits a bright flame that can last up to five hours – perfect for pizza ovens, wood burners, open fires, and firepits. What’s more, these logs produce minimal smoke and ash residue.

Seasoned Firewood

For those who prefer the natural drying process of firewood, air-dried logs are the way to go. Manufacturers can’t guarantee a set moisture content for naturally seasoned logs due to their reliance on an open-air curing method as opposed to a specialized kiln.

This variance in moisture levels is what makes this type of wood so unique and sought after by many people.

Video Review: The WORST Smelling Firewood

Don’t know which woods to stay away from when is wood burning? Look no further! This video will provide you with the worst types of wood for pyrography, and why they should be avoided at all costs.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to worst smelling wood to burn, there are a few contenders. Ailanthus and Elm have particularly pungent aromas when burned that many find unpleasant. Softwoods like aspen can also produce an acrid smell when burnt due to their higher resin content.

On the other hand, hardwoods such as oak and maple tend to create more pleasant-smelling smoke for burning in the fireplace or wood stove.

Ultimately, your choice of firewood will depend on what type of aroma you prefer in your home – just be sure not to overlook any potential safety hazards associated with burning different types of wood!


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David King has been working with fireplace installations and repairs for over 15 years. He has written about fireplace safety and installation for over a decade. His work can be found at, where you can find reviews on the latest fireplace products and advice from experts in the industry.
Photo of author
David King has been working with fireplace installations and repairs for over 15 years. He has written about fireplace safety and installation for over a decade. His work can be found at, where you can find reviews on the latest fireplace products and advice from experts in the industry.