Most of the firewood sold in the UK is imported from the Baltic States, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. Over the last couple of years, the price of quality kiln dried firewood has increased significantly. The cost increase is due to several reasons, some including the EU shortage of responsibly sourced firewood, and most recently the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the negative impact on the pound compared to the Euro.
A common concern from new customers buying firewood from us is the vast variation of crate sizes and prices available on the internet. The sale of bulk firewood is not as standardised as the sale of other fuels such as coals and smokeless fuel.
As a solid fuel supplier, we are a member of the Coal Merchants Federation (CMF). All members are required to follow a number of guidelines that primarily benefit and protect consumers buying coal and smokeless fuel products. The guidelines set out by the CMF cover the way in which coal products are packaged, which includes stating the weight of the product when it is packed. Along with the rules from Trading Standards, a coal product can only have a deviance of 1% of the weight
These rules make the sale of coal products very standardised, meaning that a consumer knows exactly what weight they are buying for the sale price. The same standardisation cannot be said for firewood.
Firewood is sold by volume, not weight. Firewood with a lower moisture content weighs less than wet firewood. The problem with the sale of bulk firewood, which is mainly done on the internet, is the different crate sizes available, and the description of said crate. In most cases, a ‘Large Crate’ from one supplier has a different volume than a ‘Large Crate’ from another supplier.
To know if you are getting the best value firewood, you need to work out how much you are paying per cubic meter. To do this, you will need the crate dimensions and the selling price. To find the cubic meter, simply multiply the dimensions given by the supplier. From here, divide the sale price of the crate by the cubic meter you have just calculated.
How to calculate if you are getting the best value firewood
For ease, see example below:
Fitzpatrick Fuels 1.5m3 Ash crate, sale price £205.
Our crate dimensions are: 1.22m x 1.06m x 1.16m
To calculate the cubic meter value, use the sum below:
1.22m x 1.06m x 1.16m = 1.50m3
The next part of the sum is to divide the sale price (£205), by the cubic meter volume (1.5m3).
205 / 1.5 = 136.66
Therefore, our 1.5m3 crates cost £136.66 per cubic meter.
Supplier X – Large Crate Hardwood Logs, sale price £178.50
The crate dimensions from Supplier X are: 1.1m x 1.15m x 0.8m
The below sum tells us that the cubic volume in this large crate is 1.01m3.
1.1m x 1.15m x 0.8m = 1.01m3
To find the cost per cubic meter, divide the sales price (£178.50) by the cubic meter volume (1.01m3)
178.50 / 1.01 = 176.73
Therefore, Supplier X’s large crate costs £176.73 per cubic meter.
There is over £40 difference in the cost per cubic meter from Fitzpatrick Fuels, and Supplier X. However, both crates are described as a large crate, and both crate images look very similar.
It is easy to see why so many people get caught out buying overpriced logs on the internet. To make sure that you are getting the best value for your buck, be sure to use the calculations above before placing your orders.