I know some on here only have access to softwood, so you have no choice. I have access to both, but I find that burning softwood when I'm at home, I get more consistent heat. Maple has got to be one of my favorite burning woods. It doesnt coal up like Oak or Hickory ( hardwoods ), so I can re load the stove sooner. I use my hardwood for over night burns or when I'm gone to work all day. The down side is it takes the same effort to cut, split and stack the softwood as it does hardwood but the softwood burns about 2/3 less time. But, over all it's worth it to me because I stay warmer on colder days. Advantages of softwoods are, it's best for burning down the coals, starting fires and it seasons quickly. I try to keep at least 2 cords on hand each year.