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

Generally, Poplar wood is harder, stronger, and more stable than pine. But some species of pine which are harder than poplar are known as hard pines. The type of hard pine is as follows: Shortleaf Pine, Slash Pine, Longleaf Pine, and Loblolly Pine.

Poplar wood

Poplar is durable, strong, and highly stable hardwood, used for paper, furniture, crafts, matchboxes, and packaging boxes. It is a light-color wood.

Poplar (Populus) is a common name for a certain tree of species. 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.

Pine Wood

Pine wood
Pinewood texture

Pine is beautiful, inexpensive, easy to work with, and the most popular softwood. It is known for its strength and elasticity properties. It is also used for interior furnishing, furniture, building, construction, and many other purposes.

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.

#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

Poplar wood vs Pine Wood Uses

Poplar Wood Uses

  1. Mainly popular wood is used for making furniture, cabinets, plywood, and veneer sheets. It is easily available at a moderate price. So manufacturers used to make inexpensive plywood.
  2. It is used for pallets, crates, and paper (pulp).
  3. Poplar wood is used as the body of a guitar and drums or as a laminate top of electric guitars. It is easy to finish and easy to work with.
  4. Free of knots gives a uniform look and great workability. So it is an excellent choice to make decorative items such as photo frames, pocket watches, and many more.

Pine Wood uses

  1. Pine is an excellent choice for furniture, window frames, paneling, floors, and roofing.
  2. Pine wood is not naturally resistant to rot or insects. It starts to rot when exposed to soil. Pressure-treated pine wood is the most affordable option for deck building and other exterior applications.
  3. Many species of pine wood are used to make attractive ornamental plantings for parks.

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, screws, 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 section 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 pale yellow to nearly white. Color tends to darken with age.

It has a straight grain with a medium texture.

Poplar vs Pine Hardness

The hardness of wood determines. How well the wood will withstand dent, dance, and wear. It also predicts the difficulty of applying, sanding, nailing, and screwing a given wood species.

Poplar Wood

Poplar wood is hard but not very hard. It can be referred to as a softwood with medium hardness. Some species of poplar are softer than pine.

The Janka hardness of the species of poplar wood is as follows.

Types of PoplarJanka Hardness
Yellow poplar540 lbf (2,400 N)
White Poplar410 lbf (1,820 N)
Black Poplar460 lbf (2,020 N)
Balsam Poplar300 lbf (1,330 N)

Pine Wood

The density of most species of pine wood is higher than that of poplar wood while some have less. But pine is a soft and light wood compared to other softwood species.

The Janka hardness of the species of pine wood is as follows.

Types of PineJanka Hardness
Longleaf Pine870 lbf (4,120 N)
Radiata pine710 lbf (3,150 N)
Scots pine540 lbf (2,420 N).
Eastern White Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)

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

Which is better, Poplar or Pine?

The answer may not be straightforward as to which wood is best for you. Both poplar and pine wood are great species, they have their own characteristics. Which wood is right for you between poplar and pine, depends on your purpose of use.

Some woods are suitable for indoor use while some are outdoor. Some soft and low-density softwoods are used for making papers, crafts, and boxes while some hard and strong woods are used for flooring.

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

Generally, Pine is cheaper than several other types of wood, including oak. Pine is known for making inexpensive furniture. But the price of any wood depends on its grade or quality.

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