Hardwood vs Softwood: Difference and Comparison

Wood is one of the most widely used objects of nature, and it is also known as the secondary xylem of plants. Wood is mainly classified based on its composition, structure, and time of production.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, while softwood comes from coniferous trees.
  2. Hardwood is denser and more durable than softwood, but also more expensive.
  3. Softwood is commonly used in construction and furniture-making, while hardwood is favored for flooring, cabinetry, and high-end furniture.

Hardwood vs Softwood

Hardwood is derived from deciduous trees that lose their leaves annually (like oak or maple), is denser and used for durable construction. Softwood comes from coniferous trees (like pine or spruce) and is lighter and softer, ideal for indoor use and furniture.

Hardwood vs Softwood

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Hardwood is hard and complex, with an uneven texture. It is obtained from the trees of dicotyledon angiosperm or flowering plants.

Softwood is soft with a light texture. It is obtained from the trees of monocotyledon gymnosperms or non-flowering plants.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison HardwoodSoftwood
AnatomyHardwood has a hard, complex, and large structure with an uneven texture.Softwood has simple, uniform, and light with an even structure with less density.
Water TransportVessels and tracheids transport water in Hardwood.Tracheids transports water in Softwood.
Plant WoodHardwood is from angiosperm or flowering plants.Softwood is from gymnosperms or non-flowering plants.
ResistanceHardwood has greater resistance to both heat and environmental changes.Softwood has very low resistance to both heat and environmental changes.
Color Hardwood is darker in color.Softwood is lighter in color.
CostHardwood is expensive.Softwood is cheap.
ExamplesEucalyptus, teak, oak, and maple.Sequoia, maidenhair tree, pine, and cedar.

What is Hardwood?

Hardwood is obtained from the woods of angiosperm or flowering plants. In angiosperm or flowering plants, the seeds are covered by fruits.

It has two cotyledons in its seeds, and fertilization is through pollination. Hardwood has a diplontic life cycle with a double fertilization process as two fusions are involved.

Hardwood transports water in different parts of the tree through transporting elements called vessels and tracheids.

Vessels and tracheids are elongated, long cylindrical tube-like cells or structures with thick, lignified walls without protoplasm.

Hardwood is used to make musical instruments such as violins, harmoniums, and pianos, manufacturing furniture, sports goods, rifle parts, and guns.


What is Softwood?

Softwood is obtained from the woods of gymnosperms or non-flowering plants. In gymnosperms, the ovules are not covered by the ovary, and they remain unprotected before and after fertilization.

Softwood is lighter in color due to less deposition of chemical substances. Softwood is a monocotyledon gymnosperm or non-flowering plant.

Softwood transports water and minerals through a transporting element called tracheids. Tracheids are long, broad, and wide tube-like structures with heavy, thickened walls.

Softwood grows faster and is easily available and cheap. Softwood is a widely used product in the pencil industry, match industry, and music industry.


Main Differences Between Hardwood and Softwood

  1. Hardwood tends to grow very slowly. On the other hand, Softwood tends to grow fastly.
  2. Hardwood is expensive. On the other hand, Softwood is cheap.
Difference Between Hardwood and Softwood
  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00833502
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01205
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12649-020-00955-0

Last Updated : 23 July, 2023

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