Both hardwood and softwood can be used in a fire. Softwoods are better for starting fire, but burn quickly. Hardwoods burn hotter and longer, but are harder to ignite. Beyond this, the individual types of hardwood and softwood produce different levels of smoke, different scents, throw sparks differently, and split differently. There’s a lot to know about firewood. The more you know, the easier it will be to start a safe fire and keep it going. View our firewood ratings page for more information.