When it comes to purchasing firewood, understanding the measurements associated with it is essential. In this article, we will delve into the topic of firewood measurements and explain the meaning behind them. Whether you’re seeking a full cord or a smaller unit, having this knowledge will help you make informed decisions when buying firewood.

How Much Does a Cord of Wood Weigh?

It’s important to note that firewood is measured by volume, not weight. This simplifies matters since different wood species can vary in weight, especially when considering moisture content. To obtain an accurate volume measurement, the wood should be neatly stacked, minimizing any gaps between the logs.

A cord of firewood is a rectangular pile that measures four feet high, eight feet long, and four feet deep, resulting in a total volume of 128 cubic feet. This measurement is based on the Imperial system. However, due to the length of four-foot logs being impractical for most fireplaces, they are often cut into shorter lengths. By arranging the cut logs in four-foot by eight-foot stacks, you can still achieve a full cord of firewood.

Smaller Units: Face Cord and Rick

If you come across a stack of firewood that measures eight feet long and four feet high, it may or may not constitute a full cord. This depends on the log lengths and the number of stacks behind the visible one. If there is a single stack with uniformly 16-inch long logs, you are looking at a face cord. A face cord has a volume equivalent to one-third of a full cord, approximately 42.7 cubic feet.

Similar to a face cord, a rick is a stack that measures four feet by eight feet, but with a depth shorter than four feet. The length of logs in a rick can vary regionally and among sellers. For instance, if the depth of the pile is 16 inches, it equals a face cord. However, if the depth is two feet, it is equivalent to half a cord. In cases where the depth is only 12 inches (suitable for most wood stoves), it constitutes a quarter cord. It’s worth noting that some sellers might refer to a 12-inch rick as a face cord, adding to the confusion.

Even Smaller Units: Pallet and Bundle

For those who require a smaller quantity of firewood or have limited storage space, alternative units are available. Some wood suppliers offer firewood by the pallet, which is a cubic stack measuring 3.5 feet. A pallet has a total volume of approximately 42.9 cubic feet, similar to a face cord. In such cases, a half pallet may suffice.

If you only use your fireplace occasionally, purchasing firewood by the bundle might be the most convenient option. Bundles are commonly sold in grocery stores, big box stores, and gas stations. However, they tend to be more expensive for individuals who burn wood on a daily basis. Store-bought bundles typically have a volume of around 3/4-cu.-ft. With prices ranging from $5 to $7 per bundle, the cost can add up significantly. In comparison, purchasing a full cord directly from a firewood supplier may cost between $200 and $400.

Firewood Measurements in Metric Countries

For travelers or individuals residing in countries that utilize the metric system, understanding firewood measurements can be slightly different. The United States is one of the few countries that still primarily employs the Imperial measurement system.

In metric countries, firewood is often measured using units such as the liter and kilogram. The standard unit for firewood is the stere, which represents a stack measuring one meter by one meter by one meter. However, due to including the spaces between logs, a stere is slightly smaller than a cubic meter. Consequently, one stere is roughly equivalent to a quarter cord.

It’s worth mentioning that the stere is not a universal metric measurement unit for firewood. In the Netherlands, firewood is measured in kuub, while Germans use kubikmeter, and Finns measure it in motti. These units all share the same volume, equal to one cubic meter. However, since they do not account for the spaces between logs, they are slightly larger than a stere.


Understanding firewood measurements is crucial when making informed decisions about purchasing firewood. Whether you’re aiming for a full cord or opting for smaller units such as a face cord, rick, pallet, or bundle, considering the volume and associated units will help you meet your specific needs. By grasping the measurements used in your country and knowing the terminology, you can ensure that you procure the appropriate amount of firewood for your heating requirements.