Pine vs. Acacia: Which Wood to Use?

Pine vs. Acacia: Which Wood to Use?

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If you are looking for a good type of lumber to use for building a variety of items around your home, then you have some options to consider. Two popular choices on this front include pine and acacia.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so we want to compare the two. Today, we will figure out which of these two types of wood is better for you to use for specific projects.

What Is Pine?

First, we have the pine tree, particularly the eastern white pine. This is a coniferous softwood and is one of the most commonly found types of pine in North America, and is also very popular for construction, woodworking, and more.

The eastern white pine usually has a straight and even grain combined with a medium texture. It may have some gaps and knots, and many large resin canals. The heartwood is very light brown, with the sapwood being pale yellow.

The eastern white pine tree is fairly soft, one of the softer types of softwood found in North America. Therefore, it’s not overly resistant to denting or scratching. It also isn’t very resistant to decay, moisture, or pests.

Therefore, it’s not the best option for outdoor use. It’s usually used for fairly basic indoor purposes, such as for crates, boxes, carvings, millwork, pallets, decorative pieces, and even low-end cabinetry and furniture.

What Is Acacia?

We then have the acacia tree, which grows mostly in the Pacific Rim, Africa, and Asia, and is most commonly found in Australia. An important note about the acacia tree is that the grain is extremely irregular. It can be curved, straight, wavy, or even ringed.

This type of wood also has many gaps and knots, because it has many branches that grow right out of the trunk. The color of the wood is generally a light brown, although it can also be a bit darker brown and even red, almost like a mild mahogany.

Acacia wood is a very hard and dense material, one of the hardest and densest in the world in fact. Because of this, it is quite durable and structurally sound, and it tends to be ideal for outdoor use due to its resistance to the elements.

However, due to all of these factors, this material is often quite expensive. Because of this, it’s generally reserved for higher-end applications, like outdoor and indoor furniture, decorative pieces, cabinets, doors, windows, and more.

Pine vs. Acacia: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know the basics about these two types of wood, let’s take a closer look at what makes them different from each other.


In terms of hardness, eastern white pine features a Janka hardness rating of 380 lbf. On the other hand, acacia wood comes in at 2,200 lbf. This means that acacia is several times harder than eastern white pine, therefore making it much more durable and resistant to denting, scratching, and all sorts of physical damage.


As for density, eastern white pine weighs around 25 lbs/ft3, while acacia wood weighs a whopping 49 lbs/ft3. As you can see, acacia is about twice as dense as eastern white pine.

This does also lead to it being more durable and much more structurally sound, although the heavier weight does also make it a bit harder to work with.

Pest and Moisture Resistance

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between these two types of wood is that pine is not resistant to moisture, pests, fungus, or decay at all.

On the other hand, acacia is the exact opposite and is very resistant to moisture and pests. Therefore, while pine is not ideal for outdoor use, acacia certainly is.

Overall Strength

In terms of the overall strength, if we look at various factors, such as the compressive strength, the modulus of rupture, and the modulus of the elasticity, acacia is the far stronger of these two types of wood.

It can bear more weight, handle more pressure, and it is more structurally sound. If you need a type of wood that is going to hold up a lot of weight, acacia will do the trick.


Now, what needs to be said about acacia is that it is very hard to work with. It’s dense, it’s heavy, and it has an irregular grain pattern and a whole lot of branches growing out of the trunk. It’s actually one of the more difficult types of wood out there to work with.

On the other hand, we have pine, which besides having a lot of knots and resin canals, is really not that hard to work with. It’s fairly soft and lightweight, and the grain is fairly even too.

Appearance – Grain and Color

Another huge difference between these two types of wood is that acacia features a very irregular grain with a somewhat coarse texture, and a light to dark brown appearance, with a bit of red sometimes being in the mix.

We then have eastern white pine, which just has a very basic straight, even, and regular grain combined with a somewhat pale yellow or light brown color.

Most people would say that acacia is by far the better-looking of the two, although we suppose this is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.


Eastern white pine won’t cost you more than $10 per board foot, whereas acacia can cost you up to $50 per board foot.

When to Use Pine?

If you just need a really affordable type of wood that is fine for basic indoor purposes, then pine works well. It’s not very expensive and is strong enough to hold up a bit of weight, so you could technically use it for low-end furniture and cabinetry.

Most people would use it for more utilitarian purposes, but as long as you don’t try building a whole house out of it, or try using it for outdoor purposes, you’ll be just fine.

When to Use Acacia?

If you are looking for a super high-end type of wood that looks extremely nice, is moisture-resistant, and is durable too, then there isn’t much better than acacia.

It’s a type of wood that’s quite expensive, so we’d recommend using it selectively, but it excels at both indoor and outdoor use.

Alternatives to Pine and Acacia

Although acacia is quite resistant to the elements, there are still even better options, with one of the best being cedar. If you need a type of wood that can withstand all types of moisture and pests, then the cedar tree is by far one of the best in the world.


Now that you know what the major differences between pine and acacia are, you can make an informed decision between the two. As you can see, they each have their own strengths.