Guide to Coal and Smokeless Solid Fuel

Buying coal is not as easy as picking up the first bag you see. There is a lot to consider: does it suit your type of stove/fire?, how much heat is it going to produce? Is it smokeless?

Don’t worry, our coal guide will help you to choose the right type for heating your home.

There are four main types of coal for home heating:

  1. Anthracite
  2. Bituminous
  3. Lignite
  4. Smokeless
Types of Coal
Types of Coal

They rank depending on the carbon content meaning that the coal with the highest carbon content is the best and cleanest type.

Lower ranging coals have higher moisture content and therefore the heat output is lower.

Coal Burning. Image source: Alicja from Pixabay


  • Perfect fuel for your closed stoves
  • High level of heat (calorific value – 9 kW/kG)
  • Needs kindling to light
  • Low in sulphur and high in carbon moisture content – less than 15%
  • Burns with blue light
  • Smokeless fuel
  • Ideal to burn continuously over a lengthy, cold period
Anthracite Coal can be brought in store or online

Bituminous coal

  • Moisture content – less than 20%
  • Burns with a long radiant flame, giving lots of heat (calorific values – 6.8 – 9 kW/kG) the most popular bituminous coal is Premium Polish Coal
  • Easy to light
  • Ideal for open and closed fires
Fireplace Image. Image source: Free Photos from Pixabay


  • Also known as “brown coal”
  • Moisture content – 45%
  • High sulphur content
  • Calorific values – less than 5 kW/kG
  • Sold in form of union nuggets
Lignite Coal can be brought in store or online

Smokeless Fuel

Smokeless fuel consist of mixture of fuels: Petroleum Coke, Lignite, Ovoids and Anthracite.

Smokeless Ovoids

Smoky Coal Ban

A ban on the burning of smoky coal and other prohibited fuels now applies in all smoky coal ban Low Smoke Zones. Check out if you are in the smokeless zone or not by clicking here.

Cosy nights in by the fire
Cosy nights in by the fire

It is worth trying different types of coal in your stove to see which works the best. You are looking for coal that gives good heat, can stay burning all night, gives little ash and dirt (soot).

Remember never to use:

  • Household coal in multifuel stoves
  • Coal in a wood-burning stove
  • Smokeless coal in enclosed stove other than anthracite

Shop our range of coal online or in store.