difference between softwoods and hardwoods

The Difference Between Softwoods and Hardwoods

When it comes to building furniture or constructing a building, choosing the right type of wood is crucial. There are two main categories of wood, softwoods, and hardwoods. While both types of wood possess their unique qualities, they differ in their physical properties, price, and natural resistance to wear and tear.

Physical Properties

The primary difference between softwoods and hardwoods lies in their physical properties. Softwoods come from evergreen and coniferous trees such as pine, spruce, and cedar. Their texture is usually light and easy to work with, making them the preferred type of wood for furniture, decking, and outdoor constructions.

On the other hand, hardwoods are denser and more complex concerning their cellular structure, which makes them more challenging to work with. They come from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, and cherry. Because of their sturdy texture, hardwoods are more durable and are typically used for flooring, cabinetry, and high-end furniture.


The price of wood varies depending on the type, thickness, and quality. BUT, in general, softwoods tend to be less expensive compared to hardwoods. This is because the trees that produce softwoods grow quickly and can be harvested after a few years. In contrast, hardwoods are harvested after decades of growth, which makes them more expensive.

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Natural Resistance to Wear and Tear

Another significant difference between the two types of wood is their natural resistance to wear and tear. Softwoods are less resistant to wear because of their lighter texture and lower density. It makes them more vulnerable to scratches, dents, and dings. This is why softwoods are usually treated with preservatives before being used in outdoor constructions, to enhance their natural durability and lifespan.

In contrast, hardwoods are naturally resistant to wear and tear, making them the go-to choice for high traffic areas, such as flooring and cabinets. They also age beautifully and develop a unique patina over time, making them great for antique or high-end furniture.


Choosing the right type of wood depends on the purpose and function it will serve. While softwoods and hardwoods differ in price, physical properties, and natural resistance, they’re both versatile materials that can be used for furniture, flooring, decking, and more. By understanding the differences between the two types of wood, you can select the appropriate material for your next DIY or construction project.

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Table difference between softwoods and hardwoods

Softwoods vs Hardwoods

Softwoods vs Hardwoods

Features Softwoods Hardwoods
Source Coniferous or evergreen trees, usually with needles instead of leaves. Deciduous trees, usually with broad leaves that change color or fall off in fall.
Density Less dense, lighter weight. More dense, heavier weight.
Strength Lower strength, less durable. Higher strength, more durable.
Cost Usually less expensive due to faster growing and less dense. Usually more expensive due to slower growing and more dense.
Usage Construction, paper, furniture, decorative items, musical instruments. Furniture, flooring, cabinetry, trim work, decorative items, sporting goods.