How Much is a Cord of Wood? Costs and Measurement Explained

Patrick McMann

Knowledge Based

A while back, I received a detailed question from a worried homeowner stating, “I have just bought myself a wood burner stove and I would definitely need some wood to utilize it. However, upon inquiring about the firewood, I heard about the term, “cord of wood” that made me confused. Do you know anything about what it is or more specifically how much is a cord of wood, so I can make an informed decision?”

Surely, I do know about the term cord of wood, and it’s mostly used by firewood business owners.

A cord is actually a standard unit measuring a stack of wood that roughly is 128 cubic feet.

But, how much should it cost and what you should do to measure it is a discussion that needs some serious explanation.

Let’s dive into the details as under:

how much is cord of wood

What Is a Cord of Wood?

In simple terms, “A cord is a unit for measuring firewood. It refers to a neatly stacked pile of wood that measures 128 cubic feet. To break that down further, it is typically a stack that is 8 feet long, 4 ft. wide, and 4 feet high. This measurement has been standardized and is used across the board when buying and selling wood.”

Generally speaking, in older times, when the stoves were mostly custom-built, the firewood was mostly left long, usually with a size of 8 feet. The homeowners then cut it into different sizes as per their requirements. That’s not the case in this contemporary era, where you will get logs and stacks of firewood in proper dimensions, i.e. 8 feet in length, 4 feet in width, and about 4 feet in height, which constitutes a cord.

Full Cord of Wood

How Much is a Cord of Wood?

Now, coming to the next important question, i.e. how much is a cord of wood, that mostly depends upon the demographics, i.e. where you reside, the type of firewood you order, and its seasonality, etc.

Based on these 3 parameters, the cost of wood may vary. That said, we are not talking about the lucky homeowners who make their own firewood, but the unfortunate ones, who will need to buy it out.

Getting started with the obvious, areas with dense forests will have higher costs when it comes to the cord, but that would not be the case with abound forests found in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast areas.

Similarly, a cord of dry wood will cost you roundabout $250 in summer when there is no problem with the supply of the wood. The same dry wood will cost you $450 in the middle of winter when dry wood is scarce.

Speaking of the type, it may also impact the overall cost of the cord of firewood. Oak, for instance, takes time to burn and causes less mess, hence, it’s a bit more costly than aspen, birch, etc. Aspen and Birch burn quite quickly as compared to Oak and they can also create creosote, which could be dangerous. These two types are, therefore, relatively cheaper than that of Oak.

Read More: Why They Invented the Chainsaws?

Here are some key points about the costs:

  • The cost can vary depending on factors such as the wood type and where you live
  • On average, the cost of a running cord ranges from $120 to $900.
  • The average price for a running cord is around $300.
  • Prices can be higher in winter due to increased demand.
  • Delivery and stacking may incur additional costs.

Comparison of Cord of Firewood Costs in Different States of the U.S.

Average Cost of Cord of Firewood
$250 - $350
New York
$200 - $300
$150 - $250
$180 - $280
$180 - $280
$160 - $260
$170 - $270
North Carolina
$160 - $260
$170 - $270
$160 - $260
$250 - $350
$200 - $300
$180 - $280
$250 - $350
$200 - $300
$160 - $260
$170 - $270
$160 - $260
$160 - $260
$160 - $260

Note: Remember that these prices are just averages and can vary even within a single state. It’s recommended to contact local suppliers for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing information in your specific area

The Measurement of One-third and Half Per Cord

Another thing that I want to discuss while explaining the cord is that one-third and a half cords are usually made with shorter wood lengths. In older times, the homeowners would resaw the longer 32 or 48-inch logs with the help of a reliable chainsaw to make them half or one-third cords.

However, that’s not the case today. A half cord in the market will feature three rows of 16-inch long logs stacked into piles with a measurement of 4 feet in length, 4 feet in width, and 4 feet in height.

On the other hand, one-third of cords are usually made up of only two rows of logs that are 4 feet tall and have a width of 4 feet at the same time, but they are 32 inches or 2.6 feet deep.

Do not worry about the overall volume of the cord though as the length has nothing to do with it. Shorter logs will surely require more rows to complete a cord that is 128 cubic ft. to be exact. The wood, on the other hand, is presentable in any way the woodcutter wants though.

What About The Terms Face Cord, Rick of Wood, and Truckload?

When purchasing a cord, you may have come across some other terms like face cord, a rick of wood, and a truckload. Don’t confuse them with a cord though.

Let me explain them one by one:

Face Cord of Firewood

A face cord is actually only one row of wood with a length of 4 feet and a width of 8 inches. However, there is no standard measurement of the depth when we talk about the face cord, although it should be 16 inches. In short, it has no standard volume.

Rick Cord

I will also explain the rick of wood in detail some other day, but for now, you only need to know that a rick of firewood is a stacked pile of wood without any standard measurements. Rick, on the other hand, is a term used to define the wood that is lying without any dimensions or measurements.

rick of firewood

Truckload of Wood

As the name mentions, it’s actually a pile of firewood stacked up until the bed of a pickup truck. Now, the measurement in that case is also non-standard because trucks come in different sizes and shapes. Compact trucks, for instance, have a smaller bed size of about 8 feet only. Larger trucks have a bed size of 16 inches. Anything that you stack in your pickup truck would be called a truckload though.

Truckload of Wood

How is Firewood Sold?

Traditionally, firewood is sold by the cord. This standard measurement allows buyers and sellers to have a mutual understanding of the volume of wood involved in the sale of firewood. 

However, when purchasing wood, especially from local sellers, it’s not uncommon to come across terms like a “truckload of wood.” A pickup truck, depending on its size, may carry close to a full cord or less. Always clarify the exact amount of wood being offered.

Firewood Prices and Factors Affecting Cost

Firewood cost can be influenced by various factors

Wood Type

Hardwood, because of its high energy content and longer burning time, often costs more than softwood. Examples of hardwood are oak and maple, while pine is a softwood.

Seasoned vs. Unseasoned Wood

Seasoned wood, or dry wood, costs more than unseasoned or green wood. This is because seasoned wood burns more efficiently.


Prices can vary depending on where you buy firewood. Transport costs and local availability play a role.

Storing and Stacking Firewood

storing and stacking firewood

When you buy firewood, especially by the cord, you’re investing in a sizable amount of wood. It’s essential to store your firewood properly to ensure longevity and quality.

Avoid Stacking Wood Against Your House: This can attract pests and can be a fire hazard.

Use Raised Platforms: Keep firewood off the ground to prevent moisture absorption.

Ensure Proper Air Circulation: This aids in seasoning green wood.

When your firewood is delivered, you might need someone to stack the wood or you can stack firewood on your own, courtesy to the guide written by Rudy. Some sellers offer stacking services, but it might come at an additional cost.

Read More: Why Were Chainsaws Invented?

Making an Informed Firewood Purchase

Being aware of what a cord actually entails can help you make an informed purchase. Always clarify with sellers about the exact amount and type of wood being sold. A full cord is 128 cubic ft, but remember, not all sales, especially those not specifically described as cords, adhere to this measurement.

Before purchasing wood, consider your needs. Do you need a full cord, or would a face cord suffice? Understanding these terms can prevent over-purchasing and ensure that you get the right amount of firewood for your needs.

So, next time you’re looking to buy firewood, remember the distinctions, ask the right questions, and ensure you’re getting the best type of firewood for your money.

Cutting, Seasoning, and Preparing Firewood

Once you’ve made a purchase, especially if you buy firewood in its unprocessed form, it’s crucial to understand how to prepare it.

Cut Firewood Ideally,

Firewood should be cut into pieces that fit your wood stove or fireplace. While longer logs might be suitable for outdoor bonfires, shorter lengths of firewood burn more efficiently indoors.

Seasoning the Wood

Freshly cut firewood contains a lot of moisture and is termed ‘green wood.’ For the best burning experience, this wood should be seasoned, which means allowing it to dry. Season firewood by stacking it in a sunny location, ensuring that there’s good air circulation around the wood. This drying process can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the type of wood and local climate conditions.


When using your firewood, always have smaller pieces of firewood and kindling to help start your fires. The smaller pieces catch fire more easily and can help ignite larger logs.

Benefits of Buying Wood by the Cord

Why buy firewood by the cord? Here are a few reasons

Standard Measurement

A cord is a unit for measuring firewood, which ensures you know the exact volume of wood you’re purchasing.


Purchasing wood in bulk, like a full cord, often comes at a discounted price per volume compared to buying smaller bundles of wood.

Stock Up for the Season

A full cord is often enough to last an average household through the winter, depending on usage and the severity of the winter.

Beware of Travel in Firewood

If you’re sourcing wood from a distant place, it’s essential to be aware of any local regulations related to transporting firewood. Some areas have restrictions due to concerns about invasive insects or diseases that can travel in firewood.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much wood is 1 cord?

A cord typically contains about 128 cubic feet of firewood. This measurement helps standardize the quantity of wood, ensuring fair transactions between buyers and sellers. It’s important to note that the type of wood and how it’s stacked can slightly affect the actual volume, but the standard measurement remains around 128 cubic feet.

Is a cord 4x4x8?

Yes, a cord is often described in terms of its dimensions: 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 feet in width. This arrangement results in a cubic volume of 128 cubic feet, making it a consistent measurement unit for firewood.

What is the size of a full cord of wood?

A full cord is typically stacked to be 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 ft. wide. This specific arrangement ensures that the volume of wood remains constant at 128 cubic feet. It’s the established standard for measuring firewood quantity.

What does 1/2 cord look like?

Visualizing half of a cord of wood, also known as a 1/2 cord, helps to understand its size. It’s a stack that maintains the height and width of a full cord (4 feet high and 4 feet wide) but is 8 feet long. This results in a volume of 64 cubic feet, which is half of the volume of a full cord.

What is the difference between 1/4 cord and 1/2 cord?

The key distinction between a 1/4 cord and a 1/2 cord is the quantity of wood. A 1/4 cord is one-fourth the amount of a 1/2 cord. While both have the same height and width (4 feet high and 4 feet wide), the 1/4 cord is only 4 feet long. This results in a stack that’s half the size of a 1/2 cord.

How long will 1 cord of wood last?

The longevity of a cord of wood depends on several factors, including how often it’s used, the type of wood, the local climate, and the efficiency of your heating system. On average, a well-seasoned cord of wood can last a typical household throughout the winter season, providing consistent heating during colder months.

Why is it called a cord of wood?

The term “cord” originated from the old English and French word “corde,” which referred to a measuring unit using a rope or string. Over time, this measurement was applied to stacked firewood due to its consistent volume. The name “cord” has persisted to represent the standardized unit of wood measurement.

How do you calculate a cord of wood?

To calculate a cord of wood, you multiply the stack’s dimensions: 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 feet wide. This results in a volume of 128 cubic feet, which is recognized as a standard cord of wood. This calculation ensures that the quantity of firewood remains consistent.

How long does it take for a cord of wood to dry?

The drying time for a cord of wood, also known as seasoning, can vary based on factors such as the type of wood, local climate, and storage conditions. Generally, it takes between 6 to 12 months for firewood to properly dry and reach an optimal moisture content for efficient burning. Properly seasoned wood burns cleaner and produces more heat, making this process essential for an effective wood-burning experience.

Conclusion: Getting the Most Out of Your Firewood Purchase

A cord of wood provides a standardized measurement, ensuring that both buyers and sellers are on the same page. By understanding the difference between a full cord, half cord, and face cord, you can ensure that you’re getting what you pay for. 

Remember to factor in the type of wood, its seasoned state, and where you’re sourcing it from when considering firewood prices.

Whether you’re warming your home, preparing for outdoor bonfires, or simply enjoying the ambiance of a fireplace, understanding the ins and outs of firewood measurements will ensure you make informed decisions and get the best value for your money. 

Always make sure to store, season, and prepare your wood correctly, and you’ll enjoy cozy fires all season long.

Patrick McMann