Smokeless coal – and what we will be referring to as ‘normal’ coal (any household coal that isn’t smokeless) – are the two types of coal that you can buy domestically for home stoves and fire places in the UK.

There may not be too many differences between smokeless and ‘normal’ household coal upon first glance. But if you take a much closer look, the characteristics of each become evident.

Depending on where you live, it may be a requirement to use smokeless coal in your home stove or fireplace. So always be sure to check online with your local council if your home falls under a smoke control area.

Heat Output

One of the most obvious reasons for using smokeless coal – even if you don’t live in a smoke control area – is that they simply burn much hotter and longer than ‘normal’ coal. This means your stores of coal will go a lot further. You will also find your fire burning for much longer before you need to get up and apply more coal to feed the fire.


You might find that bags of smokeless coal and ‘normal’ household coal from your local supermarket are roughly the same price, but with a longer and hotter burn time you will be getting much more value for money with smokeless.

If you have substantial storage space, buying coal in ½ tonne quantities of normal coal may turn out to be cheaper than constantly purchasing 25kg bags, even when ordering 20 at a time.

Stoves and Fireplaces

Having a quality fire is vital to creating a fire that will efficiently heat your home. If your home fire is more decorative than functional then you may find yourself with a raging fire that will completely burn out completely in minutes without constant attention, or a fire that is hard to light in the first place.


You can buy both smokeless coal and ‘normal’ household coal from your local supermarkets, from garage forecourts or from specialised suppliers and coal merchants in larger bulk, if you have the required storage space.