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Kiln Dried vs. Seasoned Logs: Choosing the Perfect Firewood for you

Image of kiln dried logs stacked

You could say that during these chilly months, your winter fuel becomes the heart of your home. It is the essential element, filling each room with heat, cosiness and comfort.

So when you’re buying firewood or winter fuel for your home, you want to be confident you’ve made the right choice. Basically you need dependable, consistent wood that’ll give you the perfect roaring blaze, every time you light your fire. So, how do you make sure you’ve picked the right fuel?

The first thing to do is research. To make the right decision, you need to understand where the wood that you’re buying is coming from, and how it’s been treated and prepared. Also, consider your own needs: a chiminea or fire pit will have different requirements to a wood burning or multi fuel stove.

At Big K, we think everybody should be empowered to make the best decision possible. To help you, we’ve come up with this guide to choosing the right firewood for your home, covering the main differences between seasoned logs and kiln dried firewood.

Seasoned logs or kiln dried firewood: which should you choose?

There are a few main options to choose from. You could use smokeless coal or instant light logs, but many people prefer to burn natural wood on their wood burning or multi-fuel stoves. For those burning natural wood, the choice is usually between seasoned logs or kiln dried logs. While some people choose to burn wet wood, there are a number of dangers to doing this.

So, if you’re going to burn natural wood, what are the differences between seasoned and kiln dried wood, and which should you choose for your home?

Seasoned Hardwood Logs

The difference between seasoned wood and kiln dried wood is the way in which the wood has been dried. Seasoning is a popular way of drying wood – this refers to simply leaving split and cut logs to dry in a pile naturally over time. It’s easy to do this at home if you have a covered wood store.

The main potential problem with seasoned wood is inconsistency. There’s a danger that your wood won’t have dried evenly, especially if you’ve seasoned it yourself. This could lead to disappointing fires that are harder to light and more difficult to keep going.

There’s also the issue that the extra moisture content in the wood can lead to a more inefficient burn. This could mean that you end up using more logs than you might do with other kinds of fuel.

With seasoned wood bought from a reputable supplier, the risk of inconsistent wood is reduced. All of Big K’s Seasoned Hardwood Log products are 100% UK grown, and feature a consistent moisture content of under 30%.

But, seasoned logs still contain a higher moisture content than kiln dried logs. For open fires, fire pits and chimineas, seasoned logs are a great fuel, providing high quality fires. But, for sensitive wood burning stoves and indoor fires, you may want to consider buying kiln dried wood with a lower moisture content.

Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs

Kiln dried logs are, as the name implies, dried in a large kiln. This process is much quicker than seasoning and allows for significantly more consistent drying.

Kiln dried logsIn other words, the main advantage of kiln dried logs is the consistency that they deliver. When you buy kiln dried logs, you get wood that has been tested to posses a consistent guaranteed moisture content level. In the case of Big K’s Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs, the moisture content is under 20%, making them perfect for indoor wood burners and stoves. At Big K we use a specially designed biomass boiler to use our waste wood to dry the logs to the low moisture levels.

Kiln dried logs are also easier to light than other types of log, meaning you can spend less time worrying about getting your fire going and more time enjoying the crackling warmth.

Plus, the ultra low moisture content ensures that you’ll use less wood to achieve the same amount of heat output, saving you money and time spent refilling your stove.

So, kiln dried logs are more efficient than seasoned logs, and they’re quicker to light and keep going. For wood burning stoves or indoor fires, kiln dried logs are the perfect option for a consistent fire every time. Plus, the lower moisture content in the wood means there’s less chance of the wood blackening the glass of your stove over time, which is a common problem with wet or improperly seasoned wood.

To summarise, if you’re using a fire pit, open fire or chiminea, kiln dried logs are still an ideal option due to the lower moisture content and added consistency of burn.

Other things to consider

When buying wood, there are some other things that you should bear in mind. It’s worth considering where the wood in your fuel was sourced. If you’re using a lot of wood fuel, you may want to look for wood that’s been grown in the UK as this reduces the distances your fuel has been transported. Big K’s Kiln Dried and Seasoned Hardwood Logs are both made from 100% UK grown wood.

There are a number of accreditation bodies that certify firewood and fuels. Buying fuel with these marks means that the fuel has been independently checked – so you’ve got a guarantee that it’s a quality fuel.

Forest Stewardship Council

The Forest Stewardship Council is an organisation that promotes sustainable management of the world’s forests. The FSC verify that the wood used in the fuel has been responsibly and sustainably sourced, and that the methods used to produce the product are environmentally friendly. Both Big K’s Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs and our Seasoned Hardwood Logs are FSC certified, so you can buy them with confidence that the wood has been appropriately sourced.

Woodsure Ready to Burn

Woodsure is a quality assurance scheme that certifies wood fuels. They test the production process and ensure that all products meet industry standards and are properly labelled. Their Ready to Burn scheme certifies that a wood fuel contains under 20% moisture content and is appropriately stored and produced. Big K’s Kiln Dried Hardwood logs are Woodsure Ready to Burn certified.

So, now you’ve got more insight, it should be easier to decide on which wood fuel is right for you. It all comes down to what you value the most and whether you want to buy wood that’s FSC certified. While both seasoned logs and kiln dried logs are suitable for all types of fires and stoves, kiln dried logs are more suited to wood burning stoves and indoor fires.

Whatever wood you choose, at Big K we’re here to help. Follow our Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages for more tips and advice on how to make the most of your winter fuel.