Poplar wood vs Pine | Which is Better for Your Applications?


Poplar(Populus) is a common name of a certain tree of species. It is light and soft. All these species have almost the same characteristics. Populus is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous flowering plants. 

This is native to the Northern hemisphere. It grows very fast. Its trees are about 25m and 50m in length and the age of the trees is 100-150 years.

The main use of poplar wood is for making paper and crafts. Also, it is used to make matchboxes and packaging boxes.

Pine Wood

Pine (Pinus) is also the name of a group of several species, like poplar. Such as Western White Pine, Eastern White Pine, Longleaf Pine, and many more. The length of their trees is about 15–50 meters.

It is medium-weight and relatively soft. Pine is known for its strength and elasticity properties. It is also used for interior furnishing, furniture, building, construction, and many other purposes.

#Poplar WoodPine Wood
Scientific NamePopulusPinus
Tree Size25 to 50 meters15 to 50 meters.
Janka Hardness540 lbf (2,400 N) (Yellow Poplar )380 lbf (1,690 N) (Eastern white pine)
ColorPale yellow to yellowish-brown (Yellow Poplar )Pale yellow to light brown (Eastern White Pine)
WorkabilityGreat WorkabilityGreat Workability
UsesPaper, matchboxes, and packaging boxes.interior furnishing, furniture, building, construction
Difference between Pine and Poplar

Poplar wood vs Pine Wood Uses

Poplar Wood Uses

  1. It is most commonly used to make paper. The paper market requires a lot of wood. It has grown very fast. Therefore the needs can be easily met.
  2. It is also sold as inexpensive hardwood timber and cheap plywood.
  3. It is flexible, due to it containing a reasonable amount of moisture. Therefore, it can be folded into a rigid structure. Therefore this is the best option for making bodies of electric guitars and drums and other complex structures.
  4. Poplar tree bark is used for tanning leather in Europe. Because it contains a sufficient amount of tannic acid.
  5. Free of knots gives a uniform look and great workability. So it is a good option to make decorative things such as photo frames, pocket watches, and many more.

Pine Wood uses

Pine wood
Pinewood texture
  1. Pine is considered better for indoor uses. because it’s easy to shape and stain. It is used to make furniture, window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing.  
  2. Many species of pine wood are used to make attractive ornamental plantings for parks.
  3. Some special pine species have large seeds called living pine nuts. Those seeds are sold for cooking and baking.
  4. Pine has no insect- or decay-resistant qualities. It starts to rot when exposed to soil. So pressure-treated pinewood is the most affordable option for deck building and another exterior application.

Poplar wood vs Pine Wood Workability

Poplar Wood Workability: Due to its low density. It is quite easy to work with tools and machines. Sharp cutters are required when planning to avoid fuzzy surfaces. It does not require prior drilling to apply screw and nail. Glues and finishes well.

There is sufficient moisture in it.  Therefore it is quite easy to carve and trim.  It starts to shrink after drying. For its better use, it is necessary to use it after it has completely dried.

Pine Wood Workability: Pinewood is medium-weight and relatively soft. Pinewood has good workability with machines or hands. Glues, nails, screw, and finishes well.

Poplar wood vs Pine Wood Durability

Poplar Wood Durability: It does not have a good rating for durability. It can easily be scratched, damaged, or even dented. So generally recommended for only interior construction purposes. For the exterior application, pine must be treated with a copper azole, chromate copper arsenate, or another suitable chemical preservative.

Pine Wood Durability: If we talk about the durability of pine, then it is quite better than poplar wood in some cases. Keep in mind, as we mentioned before, that there are many varieties of pine. 

But It is not as strong as oak, but it does still offer durability. Pine trees are considered softwood trees. Therefore pine wood is softer than hardwood wood.

Poplar wood vs Pine Wood Color/Appearance

Poplar: It is a white to light cream and brown or gray sections or streaks through the grain. If we talk about the color of “Yellow Poplar”, the heartwood is a light cream to yellow-brown, and the sapwood is white to yellow.

Poplar has a straight, granule with a medium texture that gives a uniform texture.

Pine: Most pinewood colors are pure white to reddish-brown. But if we talk about Eastern White Pine, Heartwood is a light brown. sapwood is a pale yellow to nearly white. Color tends to darken with age.

It has a straight grain with a medium texture.

Poplar vs Pine Hardness

If we talk of Janka’s hardness or hardness of the wood, It is determined how well the wood will withstand dent, dance, and wear. It also predicts the difficulty of applying, sanding, or nailing, screwing of a given wood species.

Poplar: Janka’s hardness of yellow poplar is 540 lbf (2,400 N). While White Poplar has 410 lbf (1,820 N), which is slightly lower. The hardness of Balsam Poplar is 300 lbf (1,330 N). It is softer than yellow poplar and white poplar.

Pine: Longleaf Pine has an 870 lbf (4,120 N) hardness, which is quite good for indoor furniture. While Eastern White Pine has 380 lbf (1,690 N), it is very soft. If we talk about the hardness of Radiata pine hardness is 710 lbf (3,150 N) and the hardness of Scots pine is 540 lbf (2,420 N).

So if you are curious about comparative rigidity then read this Janka Hardness test.

Which is better, Poplar or Pine?

In a word, it is difficult to say which wood is better. Pine and Poplar have many species of tree. All wood species have their own properties. It is considered better for some Indoor and for some paper, craft, and other applications.

The hardness, strain, color of these wood are many things that make them different from each other. So which wood is better for you? It depends on your applications.

In some cases, pine is better, in some cases, polar wood is better. It all depends on the uses of applications.

If we talk about the cost, pine is cheaper than several other types of wood, including oak. Pine is known for making inexpensive furniture. In many cases, pine is even cheaper than poplar but it is not true in every case. Poplar tends to be somewhat easier to work than Pine.

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