Installing a wood or coal burning device to heat our home or provide hot water can be beneficial to some by taking the pressure off other heating options, but how do you know which one is more suited to you and your home?

There are positives and negatives to using wood or coal, so it is important to be able to weigh up your options before you commit to a purchase. So, how do coal and wood compare?


One of the main reasons that people tend to prefer coal over wood is simply due to their available storage space. Coal can be stored in a bin that takes up no more space than a standard general waste council bin whilst wood stores need to be much larger if you are going to make it through winter.

Coal and wood roughly provide the same amount of heat per pound of weight, but coal is at least twice as heavy as wood. To get the equivalent amount of heat from wood you require almost 1 ½ times the amount of space.


At the moment coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuels and will be for the foreseeable future until more renewable energies take over. Not only is it readily available, but it is also moderately priced and unlike wood, it doesn’t need to be seasoned and if left in the rain will not absorb moisture like wood will.

Coal needs no splitting and doesn’t need to be cut to size before use. When we bring coal inside our house there is also no chance of unwanted insects hitching a lift with it.

There are some negatives, however. Coal is also a dirty fuel; it may not bring in any insects but it will bring in plenty of coal dust which can make a real mess. Wood fires can produce a pleasant smell that makes a home feel more comfortable, coal smoke is definitely not pleasant.

By weighing up your options, you can determine whether you need a house coal or wood burning stove.