Softwood vs Hardwood – What’s the difference?

Woods are a major source material of different types of construction and projects. They are used for producing different objects and have become an essential part of every construction.

There can be different types of wood. However, there are two major classifications of woods. Namely, softwoods and hardwoods. Both the categories carry different woods that have unique and attractive qualities.

While both are considered to be equally good, there are some points that differ from one another. Both kinds of wood can have qualities that work the best in different situations. So let us discuss them below to have a better understanding.

Softwood vs Hardwood – Difference


Softwoods belong to the coniferous family. They are grown widely in many regions across the globe.

Softwoods are soft and lightweight in nature compared to hardwoods. They have lower density and hardness and are very soft in nature. It makes them not so heavy and easier to work with. Their lightweight nature is also why many people prefer softwoods for making furniture, as they are very convenient and easy to handle. However, less density leads to lower strength when compared to hardwoods.

Softwoods have great workability. Their lightweight nature is a major reason that adds to their high workability. They are also soft that makes them easy to cut and carve with small machines and hand tools. This also adds to why they are preferred for cabinetry. They have high bending qualities and are malleable with high flexibility.

Softwoods are also durable and shock-resistant. Many softwoods, such as pine, are resistant to rot and decay. They are also shock-resistant, making them a good and safe choice. However, they are not as durable as hardwoods because of their soft nature and lack of density. They are prone to dents and scratches, making them very vulnerable.

However, they are widely used in making furniture, flooring, cabinets, etc. Some of the popular softwoods are fir, pine, spruce, cedar, and juniper.


Hardwoods belong to the deciduous tree family. They are the most highly preferred woods that people use in almost all types of construction.

Hardwoods are hard and very dense, as the name suggests. Hardwoods range highest in the Janka ratings, and they are relatively very dense than other kinds of woods. And due to that reason, they are stronger and more stable. As said, density brings strength, hardwoods being tougher are highly preferred for making high-end furniture and large constructions.

Hardwoods provide moderate to good workability . Hardwoods are very heavy. That can add to why they are less easy to work with than softwoods. However, they are still very workable and can be used for many constructions. Hardwoods like oak are also amongst the most popular furniture woods and famous amongst the woodworkers.

Hardwoods provide longevity and are very durable. Compared to softwoods. Hardwoods are very durable, and their density also allows for more longevity. They are also highly resistant to rot and decay and are not very prone to dents and scratches. Due to this property, they are also more frequently preferred for furniture making and flooring than softwoods. They are good for high foot traffic areas as they wear well and also require low maintenance.

They are widely used for making cabinets, ships, furniture, instruments, flooring, etc. Some of the popular hardwoods are oak, walnut, mahogany, alder, etc.

Thus, both hardwoods and softwoods are good at different grounds. It is best to know their differences to choose the one that is right for the given purpose.

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