Pine vs. Oak – Which Is The Best One?

When it comes to Pine vs. Oak, both of these wood types are extremely popular amongst homeowners and businesses. However, each has unique properties that make them suitable for specific uses.

This guide will review each wood type’s attributes and assess their benefits and drawbacks.

Maybe you are starting a DIY project and want to keep to a tight budget. But, on the other hand, perhaps you want to ensure your furniture is solid and durable with no expense.

Whether Pine or Oak is the best option for these purposes and more will be analyzed in our guide below.

Which Is Best Pine Or Oak?

The most fundamental difference between Pine and Oak is that Pine is a soft wood, and Oak is hardwood. As a hardwood, Oak is superior in strength and durability. Unfortunately, this is also the reason that it is more expensive.

While softwood is still physically solid, hardwood is more durable. This extra durability means  Oak furniture will typically last much longer than Pine and is one of the most popular reasons people might choose Oak over Pine.

How To Tell Which Tree is Hardwood or Softwood?

Generally speaking, the best way to tell if a particular wood is a hardwood or softwood is to determine the tree type. If a tree is deciduous or evergreen, this simple fact can decide if something is hardwood or softwood. Deciduous trees are hardwoods, and evergreen trees are softwoods.

Deciduous trees lose their leaves every year, typically in Autumn. Some notable deciduous trees are:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Elm
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Mahogany
  • Hickory
green leafed tree on mountain
Oak trees are deciduous. Photo by Pixabay on

Evergreen trees are ones that keep their foliage throughout the year, which remain green and functional.

Some examples of evergreen trees are:

  • Pine
  • Firs
  • Cypress
  • Spruce

Hardwood trees like Oak and hickory take longer to grow, so the wood tends to be denser.

Pine vs. Oak: Which One Looks Better For Furniture?

The answer to this question will always be subjective, so there is no correct answer. For example, Oak is generally more famous for making furniture in bedrooms and living areas, whereas Pine is used more in kitchens.

Not only does the answer come down to personal taste, but it is also subject to prevailing sentiment. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was fashionable to use Pinewood for many household and domestic items. However, that trend has completely reversed as Oak furniture is now as popular as ever.

pine table furniture from 1980s and 1990s
Pine was popular during the 90s. Credit: Antiques Atlas

While both Pine and Oak wood come in wide varieties, Pine generally has lighter color. Due to the light color, Pine became more popular in kitchens as it gives that fresh feel. Pine is typically characterized by a striped wavy grain and has a rough texture compared to its hardwood counterpart.

In comparison, Oak has a beautiful tan-brown color and straight grain. The simple yet effective look gives Oak a more sturdy, strong, and stylish finish which homeowners usually want in their living areas.

Oak is also perfect for staining and polishing, which brings out its beautiful grains and makes it more of a showpiece.

Pine vs. Oak: Attributes

Let’s look at some of the attributes of Pine and Oak and what makes them suitable for specific purposes.


As we have seen, hardwoods, like Oak, typically take over 15-20 years to grow to maturity and can last from between 600 years to over 1,000 years. This incredible durability and strength make Oak one of the most popular building and home furniture materials.

Regarding furniture, Oak is far less susceptible to damage than Pine and is a significant reason for its revival in living room furniture in recent years.

In addition to its resistance to wear and tear, Oak also has fungal and water-resistant properties. These properties add to the many reasons for using Oak for everyday household items.


Pines, on the other hand, take 1-3 years to grow to maturity and can last between 400 years and 600 years. Pines grow at a significantly faster rate than Oaks. The shorter lifespan means that Pines are less dense and have less strength and durability.

However, while Oak beats Pine regarding strength, durability, and density, Pine is not too far behind. Pine is one of the strongest softwoods you can get.

The fact that Pine is also very strong means that this has to be taken into account when it comes to the cost-effectiveness of both kinds of wood which we will look at later on.

Unless you want a coffee table that can last 1,000 years, there should be no practical difference between the two kinds of wood. It all comes down to a matter of taste.

Pine is generally less structurally dense than a hardwood alternative, making it easier to cut and use for DIY projects.

What Is More Expensive Oak Or Pine?

We have established that when it comes to durability, hardness, and overall strength, Oak beats Pine in most cases. For this reason, Oak is generally more expensive than Pine.

However, just because Oak is the more robust material doesn’t mean it would be more suitable for you. It depends on what purposes you intend to use it.

Pine is one of the strongest softwoods in the softwood category. Therefore, if you choose between a Pine or Oak dining room/living room table, both kinds of wood would provide the strength and durability necessary for daily usage. However, you can consider other factors when deciding which one to choose.

oak table on black stand with black leather seats around it
Oak tables stand out. Credit: Archiproducts

If you decide to leave the wood in its most natural state, Oak is a clear choice. Its beautiful grain makes it a real showpiece for any home.

However, Pine would be the better option if you decide on painting your furniture. Its strength will suffice for home furniture, and as it is being painted, it will be much cheaper.

Does Oak or Pine Warp More?

When wood becomes warped, it becomes bent/twisted out of shape. The primary reason for this is that the moisture content of the wood changes unevenly. If one part of the wood dries quicker, it may change shape over time. The changing of shape is referred to as warped.

While most woods can warp, hardwoods generally warp more in humid environments than Pine.

One way to reduce warping is to stain your wood before using it. As previously discussed, Oak is the superior choice for staining and has a better wood-stained finish than Pine. However, Pine can also be stained successfully.

Which Is The Better Firewood – Oak vs. Pine?

Generally speaking, hardwoods have high calorific density than softwoods. The higher density means that they give more heat energy per unit – more energy results in longer, more intense fires, which we all want.

The specific heat content of hardwood is 2300kWh/m3, whereas, for softwood, it is 1300kWh/m3.

With these figures in mind, it would take roughly twice the amount of softwood logs to achieve the same output as hardwood logs.

Oak gives one of the highest heat energy outputs in the hardwood category. The high energy makes it a superb choice for firewood.

Pine is a softwood but provides a good amount of heat compared to its softwood counterparts.

focus photography of a ignited firewood
Photo by Lum3n on

Which Wood Weighs The Most?

Unsurprisingly, the wood with a higher density is generally heavier. Hardwoods typically take longer to reach maturity, making them denser and, as a result, heavier.

The implications for this can be massive. For example, if you are buying furniture that you are not going to move around, then Oak is the way to go.

However, if you are thinking of starting a DIY project where you constantly move the wood, lighter wood may be better. Pine would be a better choice in this situation, especially if you are a beginner in DIY.

Pine vs. Oak: Common Uses

As we have established in the above analysis, the Oakwood beats Pine in most categories. However, if you use Oak, it must be suitable for its purpose. Here are some of the common uses of Oakwood:

  • Dining Tables (Showpiece)
  • Internal Home Doors
  • Decking
  • Skirting
  • Flooring
  • Pergolas
  • Bookshelves
vineyard with wooden pergola on sunny day
Pergolas are ideal for oak. Photo by Milada Vigerova on

When using Pine, the basic premise is to use it for furniture you can paint or that need to be lightweight. It is also ideal for furniture or items that go through a lot of use, so scratching doesn’t matter.

This type of items will include:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Children’s furniture
  • Beds
  • Bookcases

These types of items are easily replaced and can be repaired quickly at a low cost if you have the DIY skills necessary.

Children’s bookcases and tables are generally painted and moved around a lot. Therefore bookcases are the ideal furniture to use Pine as it is lightweight, inexpensive yet sturdy, and strong enough to fulfill this role.

Pine vs. Oak FAQs

What is the difference between Oak and Pine?

The primary difference between Oak and Pine is that Oak is a hardwood, whereas Pine is a softwood. As the name suggests, hardwoods are more robust and durable but come at a higher cost. Conversely, softwoods are, relatively speaking, less robust but are more cost-effective.

How strong is Pine vs. Oak?

Whereas Pine is softwood, it is still a durable material that will be able to fulfill most of your DIY or homeowner needs, in the short term at least. However, Pinelighteright than Oak as it is less dense and more vulnerable to scratches and indentations.

Undoubtedly, Oak is the stronger of the two, and it is the better choice for building long-term furniture structures that need to be durable and last a long time.

Is Oak softer than Pine?

No, Oak is a hardwood with a more dense structure than Pine, a softwood. As a result, Oak is more robust, durable, and expensive than Pinewood.

What is more expensive Oak or Pine?

Oak is more expensive than Pine. However, Oak offers more in terms of strength, durability, and sturdiness. As a result, Oak is more popular for use in building structures and for home furniture making it more expensive.

What did you think of our guide on Pine vs. Oak? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or if you have any other comments.

Add Comment