Logs for Wood Burning Saunas

For those who favor the authenticity of a traditional sauna experience, wood-burning stoves are often the preferred heating method over electric heaters. The charm of a wood-fired sauna lies in its rustic ambiance, complete with the soothing sounds of crackling wood and the ability to reach impressive temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, making it exceptionally efficient.

Selecting the right type of wood is critical to achieving and maintaining the perfect sauna temperature. Using the most suitable logs not only enhances efficiency but also contributes to the overall sauna experience. This article is dedicated to guiding you through the various options for wood logs suitable for sauna stoves. By the end of this discussion, you'll have a clear understanding of which logs are ideal for your wood-burning sauna, ensuring an effective and enjoyable sauna sessions.

logs for sauna stove

Why the Type of Wood You Burn Matters

The type of wood you burn in your stove significantly affects heat output, burn time, and smoke production. Using the right wood ensures efficient heating, reduces creosote buildup (a common cause of chimney fires), and minimizes harmful emissions. Additionally, properly seasoned wood protects your stove from damage caused by excessive moisture.

Softwoods vs. Hardwoods

Hardwoods are favored for wood burning stoves due to their ability to sustain a slow-burning, high-heat fire, while softwoods serve excellently as kindling to start the fire.


  • Characteristics: Softwoods like pine, fir, and spruce are easier to ignite and burn more quickly. They are often abundant and less expensive.
  • Best Use: Ideal for kindling and getting the fire started due to their high resin content and quick ignition.
  • Considerations: They burn at a lower temperature and produce more creosote, which can lead to increased chimney buildup.
  • Characteristics: Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and birch have a denser structure. They burn slower and hotter than softwoods.
  • Best Use: Excellent for sustained heating. They provide a steady, long-lasting burn, making them ideal for extended use in stoves.
  • Considerations: Hardwoods are generally more expensive and can be harder to ignite, but their efficiency and longer burn time offset these factors.

The Best Type of Wood to Use for Your Wood-Burning Sauna Heater

For wood-burning sauna heaters, hardwoods are generally the preferred choice. The key qualities to look for are:

  • High Heat Output: Woods like birch, ash, and oak are excellent as they burn hot and steadily, creating the ideal sauna temperature.
  • Low Moisture Content: Seasoned or kiln-dried wood with low moisture content (ideally below 20%) burns more efficiently and produces less smoke.
  • Availability: Local availability is important. Choose woods that are readily available in your area to ensure a sustainable and cost-effective supply.

wood-burning sauna heater

When selecting the best types of logs for wood burning stoves, factors such as heat output, burn duration, aroma, and smoke production are important to consider. Different wood types offer unique characteristics, making some more suitable for specific uses than others. Here’s a detailed look at some of the best options: Maple, Apple, Ash, Oak, Birch, and Beech. 


  • Characteristics: Maple is a dense hardwood known for its high heat output and long burn time. It produces a steady, warm flame with moderate smoke.
  • Best For: Ideal for long, cold nights where sustained heat is needed. Its steady burn makes it excellent for heating homes.
  • Preparation: Requires seasoning (drying) for at least one year due to its high moisture content.


  • Characteristics: Apple wood burns slowly and emits a pleasant, sweet aroma. It's a hardwood that provides good heat output with minimal smoke.
  • Best For: Perfect for environments where a pleasant smell is desired, such as in cooking stoves or small indoor fireplaces.
  • Preparation: Needs thorough drying; apple wood has a high moisture content and can take longer to season.


  • Characteristics: Ash is a favored firewood because it burns well even when slightly green (not fully seasoned). It produces a consistent and high heat output.
  • Best For: Great for general heating purposes, especially when access to fully seasoned wood is limited.
  • Preparation: Easier to prepare than other hardwoods as it can be burned less seasoned.


  • Characteristics: Known for its long burn time and high heat output. Oak produces a slow, hot flame with low smoke.
  • Best For: Excellent for overnight burning or long-lasting heat requirements. It's a popular choice for wood stoves and larger fireplaces.
  • Preparation: Requires significant seasoning time, often over two years, due to its density.


  • Characteristics: Birch lights easily and burns brightly, but faster than other hardwoods. It gives off a good amount of heat and has a pleasant smell.
  • Best For: Suitable for quick heating needs or as a starter wood in combination with slower-burning logs.
  • Preparation: Should be seasoned well; birch bark can be used as a natural fire starter.


  • Characteristics: Similar to Oak and Ash, Beech is a dense hardwood that burns for a long time and produces substantial heat.
  • Best For: Ideal for extended heating periods and in stoves where a continuous, steady heat is required.
  • Preparation: Needs proper seasoning to reduce its moisture content for optimal burning.

The Best Way to Feed Your Outdoor Wood-Burning Sauna

Owning an outdoor wood-burning sauna brings the decision of choosing between an inside or outside feed for your stove. Many sauna enthusiasts lean towards an inside feed for several compelling reasons:

Convenience and Aesthetics: Inside feeding is more user-friendly and adds an aesthetic element, allowing you to enjoy the sight of the flickering flames.It simplifies the cleaning process as everything is contained within the sauna.

Cost-Effective Installation: Opting for an inside feed often results in lower installation costs compared to an outside feed. This is because outside feeds require additional metal clearances and framing. A chimney kit typically used for inside feeds is more economical.

Heat Efficiency: According to a Finnish sauna stove manufacturer, outside feeds can result in a heat loss of up to 25% in your sauna.

Feeding your sauna stove effectively is essential for maintaining the right temperature and ensuring safety. Here are some tips:

  1. Start with Softwoods: Begin with softwood kindling to ignite the fire quickly.
  2. Add Hardwoods Gradually: Once the fire is established, add hardwood logs to maintain a consistent and hot burn.
  3. Monitor the Fire: Regularly check the fire and add more logs as needed. It’s crucial to avoid overloading the stove.
  4. Airflow Management: Adjust the air vents to control the burn rate. Proper airflow is key to efficient burning.

sauna heater

Best Practices for Storing Firewood

Proper firewood storage is key to maintaining its quality and combustion efficiency. Here are some effective strategies:

  1. Maintain Dryness:

    • Keep your logs dry to ensure they burn efficiently and produce minimal smoke.
    • Use a sturdy cover outdoors, like a wood panel, elevated at both ends to shield the logs from rain while promoting air circulation.
  2. Elevate Your Logs:

    • Avoid direct contact with the ground to facilitate constant air circulation, which is crucial for keeping the wood dry.
    • An old wooden pallet can serve as an excellent base, offering ample air flow.
  3. Cover with Care:

    • While covering your logs, leave one side open to allow the wood to "breathe," preventing moisture buildup.
    • If storing logs indoors, use a log holder or indoor storage solution. A wood barrel storage unit can be an attractive and practical option, keeping the logs off the ground and adequately covered.

Implementing these practices will enhance your sauna experience by ensuring you have high-quality, dry wood that burns efficiently and safely. Proper wood storage not only improves the performance of your sauna but also extends the life of your wood supply.


Choosing the right wood for your wood-burning stove, especially in a sauna context, is crucial for efficient heating, safety, and environmental responsibility. While softwoods are great for starting fires, hardwoods are ideal for maintaining them, especially in sauna heaters where consistent and high heat is desired. By understanding the properties of different wood types and mastering the art of feeding your sauna stove, you can enhance your sauna experience while being eco-conscious. Remember to always source wood responsibly and ensure it is properly seasoned for the best results.

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