Hard Wood vs Soft Wood

Difference between Hard Wood vs Soft Wood


We have discussed in detail about the various types of wood available for interiors. We also discussed hard and soft wood in brief. These are the two broad categories in which all wood species are generally divided. Like always, exceptions exist so please do not hold us to this definition. But if you are getting your wood work done, its important to know the difference between hard and soft wood. This is specially true for wooden furniture or other hard wood work.

Please note that plywood and other engineered wood usually have a mix of hard and soft wood.

So lets get on to understand the hard wood vs soft wood.

Types of trees

Hardwood typically comes from flowering trees. These trees are slow growers and give a dense and hard wood which takes time to form. Softwood comes from trees which produce seeds and cones. They are much faster growing and many times, found in areas of high wind. Wood is much less dense.


Hardness in a tree comes from density. As hard wood trees like Teak, Rosewood and Acacia take more time to grow, the wood can be much harder compared to soft wood trees like pine. Density also identifies the strength which makes hard wood trees much better for making furniture compared to soft wood trees.


As already mentioned, hardwood is much stronger and durable compared to soft wood. This makes it an idea candidate for making highly durable furniture as well as wooden flooring. The wood is also aesthetically appealing and depending on the requirement, different species can be used to get a different color palette as well. Soft wood is easy to work with and allows nails etc to be hammered in with much more ease. This makes it ideal for general carpentry and construction.

Nail Holding

A wood, when worked with has to be able to hold nails. Its easy to drive nails into softwood and take them out as well. This makes softwood good for carpentry like already discussed. Its much more difficult to drive nails into hard wood. On the other hand, once in, its difficult to take them out as well. That is why hardwood becomes good for making durable furniture.


Hardwood takes time to grow. This makes it more expensive compared to soft wood not just because its less in quantity but a farmer growing hardwood will want his farm usage to be optimized as well. Softwood has high throughput and hence much cheaper in comparison.

Both, hard and soft woods have their advantages and disadvantages. Pine is an example of soft wood which has gained immense popularity in recent years purely because of its beautiful color, grains as well as cost. The fact that it is super easy to work with is an added bonus. Teak wood is a hard wood which always make people awestruck with its beauty.

A good quality plywood is an engineered wood which makes use of advantages of both hard and soft wood by having alternate layers of the woods pressed together.

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