Trying to purchase logs for your woodburner or open fire can be a minefield and there are several considerations which will affect your choice. We're here to make that choice just that bit easier for you and to offer some insight into the factors you'll need to consider when scouring the internet for the perfect firewood supplier. Here are 10 things to consider when choosing a firewood supplier.
1. What type of firewood is best?
If you are new to the world of woodburning you may not be aware that hardwood logs are generally the recommended species for wood-burning stoves. Hardwoods come from slowly-growing deciduous trees (those that loose their leaves) and therefore the logs have a greater density than the faster-growing softwoods from evergreen trees. Species like ash, oak and beech are commonly used as firewood because the high-density properties allow the wood to burn slower and produce a higher level of heat output compared to that softwood firewood. But please be aware that silver birch, even though classed as a hardwood, will burn about 20%-30% quicker than species such as oak, ash or beech. You can find more information here.
2. Are my logs dry enough to burn well?
Another factor to consider when looking for a firewood supplier is whether or not the firewood has been dried to below 20% moisture content, which is, since 2021, required by law for volumes sold below 2m3. Woodsure and HETAS were appointed by The Governments Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to run the Ready to Burn Scheme, with the purpose of making it easy for consumers to find the cleanest fuels for home heating. By purchasing Ready to Burn firewood, it also makes it easy to comply with the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards- England) Regulations that outlaw the sale of wet wood. When looking for a new firewood supplier, make sure that they are Ready to Burn approved.
For more information on this, why not visit the Woodsure Ready to Burn website here.
Burning wet wood is bad for the environment and bad for your appliance due to the high levels of smoke and air pollutants that wet wood emits. If you're not wanting wait 1-2 years to properly season your firewood, you will need to buy kiln dried logs, which can be burnt immediately. The debate between seasoned and kiln dried logs is a long-winded one, and we have written on this topic here, but we think kiln dried wood is better than seasoned, as it's a more controlled process meaning consistent premium firewood, every time.
3. What size logs are the right ones for my wood burner?
When choosing a supplier, you need to make sure they fit your requirements. Most suppliers will offer guidance on the logs you are likely to receive, but from our experience our 25cm length logs fit 99% of the UK's wood burners. If your log burner is larger, you may want to consider our 35cm or even 50cm logs which will slow down the burn and you won't have to keep re-filling the stove as often. They will also work well if trying to keep some heat in the woodburner over night.
4. Does the supplier sell in volume or weight?
Any reputable firewood company should sell only by volume rather than weight as unseasoned logs could weigh more and hence provide false economy. When comparing suppliers, ensure you are comparing on a like-to-like basis, as even though a tonne of logs may seem rather appealing, compared to the equivalent in volume, you might find that you are not getting good value for money.
Our logs come delivered across the UK in three forms: in bulk bags on pallets, in little bags on pallets and in boxes delivered in a van. Our little bags are hand filled, containing between 8 and 12 logs (depending on log size) and our bulk bags are loose filled, containing the equivalent of 58 little bags in each 1.6m3, 43 little bags in each 1.2m3 bag and 28 little bags in each 0.8m3 bag.
5. Is it sustainable?
Sustainable wood is timber that has been harvested responsibly from well-managed and regulated forests. This is to ensure that there is no damage to the surrounding ecosystem or fauna and also that whole forests are not cleared, damaging the wildlife in the process.
Compared to gas and oil, burning wood is the most sustainable method of heating your home (as long as the firewood is taken from a responsible source that is), which is why sustainability is a factor to consider when looking for a new supplier. At Certainly Wood, all our firewood is approved under the Grown In Britain certification, which proves that all our firewood comes from responsibly managed UK woodlands.
6. Where has the timber been sourced from?
Wood that is sourced from Eastern Europe tends to be cheaper than timber grown in the UK. 2022 was the first time that British grown timber became more competitive against imported firewood, and this was due to various factors:
- transport costs which rocketed due to fuel prices
- the war in Ukraine meant difficulties in acquiring gas from the same sources, which prompted Europeans to, just like in the UK, turn to woodburning as a heating source where possible. This in turn meant that prices for timber sourced from Europe increased considerably.
While purchasing imported firewood can be more cost effective, we are increasingly having to consider the "log miles" caused by doing so. Due to high levels of British woodland management, purchasing British firewood will mean that you are in turn contributing to the conservation and increase of our forested areas in the UK. You are also reducing the emissions caused by transportation, as well as preventing any unwanted diseases from getting through our borders.
If the source of your firewood is high on your priority list, always ask your firewood supplier for the source of timber prior to ordering.
Especially with the current cost of living crisis, the most obvious factor to consider when selecting a firewood supplier will be the actual price of the firewood.
Please bear in mind that not all firewood is the same, as mentioned above, species and the dryness of firewood will massively impact the heat output you get with every log you burn. Therefore, before looking at price to start with, remember to make a decision on what firewood will be most suitable for your home and appliance. If silver birch burns 20% quicker than ash, you might want to consider that in the cost.
If you buy from our Certainly Wood website, you will get the best value for your money by purchasing kiln dried logs in bulk bags. These are delivered via our pallet network so you will need to make sure you have good enough access for a minimum of a 7.5 tonne lorry.
Brand reputation is important - you need to trust the company you're buying from, no more said. To do this, it may be worth having a look at their reviews on feedback sites like Feefo or Google or taking a look at their social media to see if their values which they promote through their communication channels is in line with yours.
Our official Feefo review page shows an impressive rating of 4.8 for product feedback and 4.7 for service, with 5-star reviews representing 85.71% of our product feedback in the past year. We very rarely receive negative feedback regarding our quality which is one of our main priorities and any issues are resolved promptly by our friendly customer service team. We also offer a money back guarantee promise if anything you receive from us is out of specification.
9. Lead time
Demand for firewood is a lot higher in the winter than in the summer and because of this increase in demand, consumers often face long delivery lead times when it counts the most (in the colder months). Even though delivery is often a second thought, it is a crucial element that needs thinking about, so, when looking for a new firewood supplier, always check their lead times to ensure your firewood is with you in time.
Our bulk deliveries usually arrive within 3-5 working and smaller parcel deliveries within a couple of days via DPD. When ordering bulk, you also have the option of selecting a delivery date in our handy callendar at checkout, giving you the flexibility to receive your logs at a date suitable for you.
A firewood supplier should meet your needs and if they're not, you may need to reconsider.
Have access issues? With bulk deliveries, delivery companies may struggle to access your property, so that option may not be possible. Always make sure you read the terms and conditions on orders involving bulk deliveries.
If access is difficult, you might want to consider smaller packs.
Our Firekits are perfect for those with access difficulty or storage shortage, as each box contains between 16-24 kiln dried hardwood logs and 3 of our KindleFlamers and are delivered withing 1-2 working day via DPD. While these come at an extra cost, you may save money on not having to find additional storage if space is of issue. You also save time on having to store the logs away as you can order as little as one box a time!