Heating with wood is often linked to the cozy comfort experienced after a day of outdoor activities. While romance has its costs, the warmth provided by firewood is pleasantly affordable. Wood logs continue to be a reliable and efficient fuel choice, outperforming other alternatives. Yet, considering current price trends, it’s crucial to explore how firewood prices compare in the market.
The cost of firewood is influenced by a range of factors. Naturally, firewood becomes more appealing during periods when suppliers offer lower prices. Through extensive research, I’ve identified affordable sources for firewood, ensuring you can find cost-effective options for your heating needs.
How Much Does Firewood Cost?
Currently, the price of a bundle of firewood is between $5 and $10. However, these prices change depending on where you get it, and Farm and Feed stores are some of the cheapest places for it.
When ordering larger quantities, the overall cost of firewood becomes more economical as it is spread over a greater volume. Calculating the amount of wood needed for a campfire in advance allows you to estimate the total cost of your trip, providing a practical way to manage expenses.
The price of firewood depends on various factors:
- Softwood or hardwood: Hardwood, due to its higher calorific value, produces significantly more thermal energy with the same volume compared to softwood. Consequently, hardwood is consistently priced higher than softwood. The moisture content of the wood also plays a crucial role. Dry wood with 20% humidity can generate twice as much energy as freshly cut wood with approximately 55% humidity.
- Cleanliness: The quality of firewood is a crucial factor in determining its price. Ensuring that the wood is free from bugs and contaminants is essential. Trusting your sense of smell is another valuable indicator; if the wood emits a musty odor, it likely has mold growth.
- Fresh or already stored: If you buy fresh logs that you have to store for two years before burning, you will of course get a lower price than for already dried “ready-to-heat” firewood. If you have the appropriate storage facilities, you can save up to 20% by buying logs with high residual moisture content.
- Degree of processing: The more work steps there are in the delivered firewood, the more expensive it is. Unsplit trunk wood is significantly cheaper than split firewood with a length of 30 to 50 cm.
Where Can You Get Firewood Cheapest?
Comparing the prices for firewood, the best place to get cheap firewood is somewhere local. As I mentioned earlier, larger order quantities make firewood cheaper. There are also some ways you can get a nice bundle of firewood without cost. I’ll share with you some good “firewood sources” and mention the cheaper places you can get.
1. Cut Firewood Yourself
Leaving aside the amount of work, cutting firewood yourself is a cheap way to get firewood. However, simply going into the forest and cutting down trees and chopping wood is not allowed. But you can contact the local forest ranger. It may be possible in your district to obtain a wood collection permit. Please note that you must have a chainsaw driver’s license to cut trees independently in a state forest.
2. Look in Your Area
Websites like Craigslist, the Freecycle Network, and Facebook Marketplace can be used to find people who don’t need firewood and would like you to get it out of their hands. You can do this by posting your own ad or by searching for ads placed by others. If your neighborhood or city has a special Facebook chat group, be sure to look there and post as well.
Online ads are great for reaching more people, but not everyone visits the websites you use. Feel free to post or monitor print ads around town. A grocery store, post office, newspaper, or other high-traffic areas can be a good place to look for free firewood or ask locals if they have any firewood they want to throw away.
3. Free Firewood From Neighbors
As the owner of a stove, it is worth asking your neighbors, friends and relatives regularly. Perhaps firewood was thrown up in the garden as part of a major clean-up, or the already unsightly decking boards were replaced. But keep in mind that you can only burn dry and untreated wood in the fireplace.
People you know are often happy to get rid of the felled tree and will give you the wood for free as a thank you. Unfortunately, this procurement method cannot be constantly calculated. But the more people know about your basic interest, the more likely it is that you will find a cheap firewood opportunity.
4. Firewood From the Wayside
Here too, the basic principle applies: the wood in the forest is the property of the respective forest owner and may not be collected without permission – even if, for example, branches were torn off in a storm. However, official pick-up points are set up after deforestation or extensive storm damage occasionally. If you would like to collect, you can also try to get the consent of the respective forest owner.
5. Clean Up After a Storm
High winds often bring down branches or even entire trees, but they also give you the opportunity to have plenty of free firewood. If you live in a city, there are usually tree remains all over the streets and in the parking lots. Your average homeowner may not have the physical ability, tools, or vehicle space to remove the largest fallen branches from their fences or roofs. In this case, you can step in and haul the debris for them.
Getting free firewood this way is a great idea because no one wants a messy neighborhood. But remember to get out quickly because depending on what time the storm passes, most people don’t hesitate at all to start cleaning up.
6. Raid a Pile of Burns
You cannot build a building or a house where there are trees. You can take advantage of these circumstances when a company or person cuts down trees only to get rid of them, by plunging and removing the wood for them. Now, you probably don’t want all the wood they have, but after getting permission to relieve them of the mess, you can rummage through the burn pile and bring home whatever you want.
Construction sites are a good place to look for this type of free firewood. But if you can’t seem to find any, you can try visiting a dump where the company may have dumped all the wood. In this case, you should have free rein to dig and take whatever you want.
7. Offer Cutting Services
If you have the expertise and equipment to prune branches, this can be a great way to get free firewood when you’re in a tight spot. One way to do this is to drive around and look for dying or overgrown trees that should be cut down. They can hang down the street or even hover right above someone’s house.
You can of course prune your own trees as needed, as often as you like. But be sure to get permission from the necessary parties like your neighbors or the city before you start cutting theirs.
Another idea is to contact local trimmers in your area. Most already have a way to dispose of the extra wood they receive, but they may be willing to leave some for you as well. They can even deliver if you ask nicely.
8. Visit a Sawmill
The whole function of the sawmill is to produce usable lumber from tree logs, but they don’t use 100% of the tree. Use this to your advantage by picking up any leftovers they are willing to give you. Something you could definitely use as firewood.
Sawmills may be willing to donate scrap wood because they are likely already subscribed (paid) to a service that disposes of their waste. If they can get you to pick up some of the load for free, they may be able to cut the cost; it’s a win-win for both of you.
9. Use Wooden Pallets for Firewood
Wooden pallets are a good source of materials not only for DIY woodworking projects but also for firewood. And there are plenty of ways to get pallets for free.
10. Firewood From the Hardware Store
Firewood from major hardware store chains typically maintains a consistent level of quality. However, it’s important to note that purchasing smaller quantities from these stores may mean missing out on the cost advantages associated with buying in bulk. Additionally, transporting the wood home yourself adds another factor to consider.
11. Buy At the Right Time
The approach of winter is not the best time to take advantage of low prices and short delivery times. It is best to renew your stock of logs in the spring. Remember that wood is bought by volume and never by weight since wet wood weighs much more than dry wood.
12. Order Firewood Online
If you want to buy firewood online, you should definitely compare the prices of the different providers in advance, because this is basically easier to do online. Pay attention to the firewood dimensions. Make sure to check whether the quality is right and whether the proportion of softwood is not too high. A price factor that should not be underestimated is the shipping costs.
Keep in mind, many dealers advertise with low prices and only add the high shipping costs shortly before the purchase is completed. It is very convenient to have the firewood delivered directly to your home. Due to the larger purchase quantities, the firewood ordered online is also comparatively cheaper than going to the hardware store.
Why Firewood is More Expensive in Winter?
The law of supply and demand plays a role in firewood prices as well. During periods of higher demand, prices tend to rise. To navigate this, it’s a smart strategy to stock up on firewood and arrange for delivery during the spring or summer months. If you have enough storage space, you should buy in larger quantities.
Getting affordable firewood is a simple matter if you know where to look. I hope this guide helped you to find the way to gather all the wood you need for a massive campfire. Do not buy logs in the high season in January or February, but already think about the next winter in midsummer. Then the firewood prices are usually at their low for the year.
When buying firewood, pay attention to quality. Delivery with a large proportion of softwood and excessive residual moisture or even mold reduces the calorific value considerably.
Lighting the fire from above so that you can burn wood wisely to keep your costs down. To optimize the capabilities of your appliance and ensure safe use, regular maintenance of your wood stove is necessary. Consider bypassing traditional fuel dealers and explore the option of sourcing firewood directly from the forest.