Sustainable Dreams

How to measure the value of fire wood so you're not over paying

When you purchase fire wood, the official measurement used is "cord." Unfortunately, the methods and terminology used by individual dealers varies, so the actual amount of wood will vary as well. Here is a guide that will help you determine which dealer gives you the most for your money.

A full cord of wood will measure 4 ft. high, 4 ft. wide, and 8 ft. long. Generally though, you wont be buying 4 ft. long pieces of wood for heating. The standard cut for fire wood length is 16 inches. Terms used by dealers to sell it this way are face cord, stove cord, or furnace cord and the width of it is what the cut is (16 inches). The sales method used is only one third of a full cord.

With that in mind, to determine what the cost of the full cord would be when being sold as face cord, stove cord, or furnace cord, you would take the average length of wood which for this example we will say 16 inches, divide this length into the standard full cord length of 48 inches (4 ft.), and multiply by the price. So if Joe Schmo sold a facecord for $75, and the average length of wood cuts were 16 inches, it would look like this:

48 ÷ 16 = 3 x $75 = $225/full cord

Lets say the next dealer sells a face cord for the same price of $75, but his average sized cut is 12 inches. It would look like this:

48 ÷ 12 = 4 x $75 = $300/full cord

  • It is in our best interest to carry a tape measure when comparing prices of firewood dealers. 
  • Try to avoid purchasing firewood in other units such as pick-up truck loads or anything but the cord units because it is difficult to determine the actual value of the wood.
  • Don't order firewood by phone, or online. You want to see and measure your load for true comparison.
  • Keep in mind, the smaller the wood is cut for you, the more it will cost because of time and labor put into it. You'll pay more for convenience, so if you have the time and resources to split and or cut wood further yourself, you can save a bit of cash buying larger sized wood.