Is Poplar a Hardwood? Learn When to Use Poplar Wood

If you work on wood projects, then chances are you are likely to come across poplar wood. This type of wood can be quite versatile so that you can use it for various projects.

Different projects would require either softwood or hardwood. That is why some ask, is poplar hardwood? Well, it is vital to understand the type of wood before using it correctly.

Softwood vs. hardwood

Before we can decide if poplar is hardwood or softwood, it is best to understand the difference between these two types of wood.


Softwoods will have simpler cellular structures and will lack the vascular pores that are used for transporting water through the trunk. Based on who you ask, you can get various definitions of softwood. A lumberjack would claim that softwood would have needles and can grow quickly and straight.

As for a carpenter, softwood means you spend less money, and such wood can also be versatile for various projects. Some of the trees that offer softwood include redwood, pine, and spruce.


Hardwoods would have a different cellular structure from hardwoods. This makes them more complex and will have pores throughout the trunks. Hardwoods also tend to grow slower and can branch out a lot compared to softwoods that grow straight upwards.

Because hardwoods grow slowly, this leads to an increase in the price of hardwood. Also, the high density of the material can make it hard to work with such a material. However, this density is what gives this type of wood its durability. Good examples are maple, poplar, and oak.

Is Poplar a Hardwood?

Coming back to our earlier question, poplar is seen as a hardwood tree that ends up producing soft wood as compared to similar hardwood trees.

Do not get confused, as it is possible to get soft wood from a hardwood tree. Looking at its hardiness, we see that poplar has the same hardness as pine and cedar. However, the cellular structure of poplar wood is more defined, and it gives off a better appearance than what you get with coarse-grained softwoods.

Because of its appearance and cellular structure, you can find that it is perfect for cabinets, furniture, and more. You cannot use it for demanding projects like flooring.

Uses of Poplar

Now that you know more about poplar wood, we can look at its applications.

Picture frames

One of the most common uses of poplar hardwood is picture frames. Thanks to its pleasing aesthetics, you can easily find uses for it as a picture frame. Over the years, the photography industry has grown to appreciate what poplar wood can do; thus, you can find such picture frames in many homes.

Pallets and crate

The same can be used for pallets, crates, and boxes. This is because of the wood’s modest price. It is not as expensive as other hardwood trees, thus the reason you can find it being used in various industrial applications too.


There is no doubt furniture would have been among those applications you get for poplar wood. This is thanks to its looks. Some often use it for framing and support. As such, you can find that your furniture will be quite strong compared to the other softwoods.


Anyone would want the cabinets to look great and strong. That is why you would consider getting yourself poplar wood too. You can still machine the wood to achieve the proper finish that you want for the cabinets.

Moldings and trims

Moldings and trims are another application for poplar wood. The wood is used for such applications because you can achieve stable molding and trim. Also, the wood can take stains and paints very well.

So, you can see that poplar wood can have many applications. All you have to do is use the wood correctly, and you shall enjoy its looks.


Poplar wood can be a great choice for various applications. All you have to do is make sure you use it correctly. Because of its composition, the wood is best suited for furniture making. It is advisable not to use poplar wood for flooring as it cannot handle the traffic that would be going over it for years down the line. So long as you can use it correctly, you should find poplar a great wood option.

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