Post oak vs Live oak vs White Oak | Which is the Best for Smoking?

White oak is very durable while post oak and live oak is very good at resistance to decay. Therefore, oak woods are an excellent choice for making boatbuilding, posts, and fences.

Post Oak (Quercus stellata)

Post Oak is also called iron oak. It is native to the Eastern United States. It grows well on dry sites. Post Oak is shorter compared to other oak species. It is resistant to decay. Therefore, it is used for railroad ties, siding, planks, and many.

Live oak (Quercus Virginiana)

Live oak is native to the Southeastern United States. So it is also known as southern live oak. Live oak is not a true evergreen. Because it drops its leaves before new leaves emerge in the spring. Live oak is hard and durable. So it is used to make ships, but its primary uses are providing food and shelter for wild animals.

White oak (Quercus alba)

White oak is native to eastern and central North America. It is one of the most famous species of oak. Their lifespan is about 200 to 300 years. It gives acorns which are valuable for rabbits, squirrels, deer, and other wild animals. White oak wood is used to make woodcraft, musical instruments, and oak barrels.

#Post OakLive OakWhite Oak
Scientific Name:Quercus stellataQuercus virginianaQuercus alba
Tree Height:10–15 m (33–49 ft) tall 12-18 m (40-60 ft) tall24–30 m(80 to 100 feet )
Trunk Diameter:1-3 ft (.3-1 m) trunk diameter4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) trunk diameter3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Dried Weight:47 lbs / ft3 (750 kg / m3)63 lbs / ft3 (1,000 kg / m3)47 lbs / ft3 (755 kg / m3)
Janka Hardness:1,350 lbf (5,990 N)2,680 lbf (12,920 N)1,350 lbf (5,990 N)
Workability:Good workabilityOverall goodGreat workability
Rot Resistance:Good resistance to decayvery good resistance to decayvery good resistance to decay and very durable
Uses:Fence posts, cabinetry, furnitureCabinetry, furniture, interior trimflooring, boatbuilding, barrels, and veneer
The difference between Post oak, Live oak, and White oak

Post oak vs Live oak vs White oak Uses

Post-Oak Uses

  1. Exterior Applications: Post Oak has excellent natural decay resistance. So it is the best choice for fence posts, outdoor furniture, and decking. Post Oak got its name because it is widely used for fence posts.
  1. Interior Applications: Post Oak can handle weight quite well. Therefore, it is suitable for construction timbers, stair risers, veneers, particleboard, and flooring.
  2. Food: It is used as wildlife food for deer, turkey, squirrels, and other animals, but because nuts contain tannin, it is toxic to cattle. 

Live Oak Uses

  1. Furniture: The Janka hardness of live oak is 2,680 lbf (12,920 N) and dried weight 63 lbs / ft3 (1,000 kg / m3). It is strong and high-density wood and is best for flooring, boatbuilding, barrels, and veneer.
  2. Shady tree: The live oak tree crown is very dense, making it valuable for shade. So it is planted on the park and roadside. Being dense, it is suitable for making nests for animals like birds and squirrels.
  3. Foods: It provides large-scale food to various species of wild animals such as wood duck, yellow-bellied sapsucker, wild turkey, black bear, and squirrel.

White Oak Uses

  1. Food: The white oak also gives acorns like the post and live oak, although its acorns consume rabbits, squirrels, and deer as well as humans.
  2. Woodcraft: white oak is good water and rot resistant. Therefore, this preferred wood for coopers to make barrels, wooden casks, buckets, tubes, and other similar products. It is widely used by the Japanese as a martial art for some weapons, like bokken and Jo.
  3. Medicine: White oak bark is very beneficial for medicine. Used as a tea for arthritis, diarrhea, colds, fever, cough, and bronchitis. 
  4. Musical instruments: White oak is also used to make musical instruments. It creates a mellow sound on the banjo and other instruments.

Post oak vs Live oak vs White oak for Smoking

Meat Smoking

If you want a slightly sweet taste in meat, then Post Oak and White Oak can be a better option for you. Because both these kinds of wood give the smoke a slightly sweet, vanilla-tinged flavor similar to a Kentucky bourbon

Post Oak is the finest wood for the smoke. It is very popular in Texas. It burns well for a long time and produces very slow heat.

If you are choosing Live Oak for smoking, always select two years old or younger live oak trees. Because this wood still has a low weight and fresh taste. 

After cutting the wood, leave it for at least 5 months. Always use small pieces because a small piece of wood is always better for smoking.

Image by Artur Łuczka from Pixabay

Wood Identification

Post Oak Wood

Heartwood is light to medium brown while the sapwood is nearly white. Generally post oak has a straight grain with medium-to-large pores. 

Live Oak Wood

Heartwood is yellowish-brown in color while the sapwood is nearly white. The grain is straight and has an even and uneven texture.

White Oak Wood

Heartwood is pinkish and reddish hues while the sapwood is nearly white. Generally, the grain is straight with a coarse, uneven texture.

Tree Identification

Tree Size

The Post Oak is a medium-sized tree with a short trunk and a compact. Its tree length is about 10–15 m. Its tree length is shorter than live and white oak. It is found in a dry place and does not require much moisture for its growth.

The live oak is a medium-sized tree. It can grow to be 40–60 feet (12–18 m) tall and 4–6 feet (1.2–1.8 m) in diameter. Which is longer than post oak and shorter than white oak.

The length of the white oak tree is larger than the post, live oak. It is 65–85 ft (20–25 m) tall, with a 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) trunk diameter. It lives for 200 to 300 years.


The leaves of Post oak are a very distinctive, cross-shape, usually 5-lobed with the two middle lobes opposite, Leaves are 4–7 inches long,  and 3–4 inches wide.

Live oak leaves are usually narrow to a long oval and are stiff. That may be as long as 5 to 6inches. Live oaks drop their leaves in the spring. It is not true evergreen.

White oak leaves are simple and alternately arranged on the stems. The length of the leaf is about 4 to 8.5 inches long and 2.75 to 4.5 inches (7.0–11.4 cm) wide. 


The flowering of post oak occurs in April – May month, and male and female flowers come from the same tree. The male flower is larger in size than the female flower.

Live oak male flowers are green-hanging catkins and the flowers are about 3 – 4 inches (7.5–10 cm) long.

White Oaks flowers come in May and it is monoecious, So they have separate male and female flowers. Male flowers are yellow-green and female flowers are more reddish-green. The flower is two and a half to three inches long. 


Post oak fruits occur from September to October month. The acorns are 1.5–2 cm (0.59–0.79 in) long and mature in their first summer.

Live oak has small acorns. .4 – 1 inch (1 – 2.5 cm) has a length, it is shiny and tan-brown to black. Live oak acorns can be eaten like nuts.

White oak fruits grow about 0.5 to 1 inch (13–25 mm) in length, falling in early October. The acorn is different from the other oak because the cap of the acorn looks bubbly.


The young post oak bark is smooth and light brown, narrowly elevated near the oak tree. Gets darker and rougher over time.

Live oak is dark to light grayish, thick, and long-lasting. It has also become dark and rough over time.

The bark of white oak ranges from light gray to dark gray, sometimes it is also white. The bark of branches first in bright green, later red-green, and finally in light brown.

Read also Red Oak vs White Oak | Which is the Best for Furniture and Firewood?

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