09 Sep

Top 10 Hardest Woods in The World

Wood, as a material, can have its hardness quantified using the Janka rating; the industry standard rating. With this rating, the resistance of wood samples to denting and wear is measured.  Varying on account of wood grain direction, different woods are tested based on the cut surface of a stump cut from the material. The measure of hardness and strength is pounds-force (lbf).

Why do we need to measure the strength of wood?

Measuring the strength of wood will help you determine whether it’s suitable for your job. Stronger woods are essential for supporting structures and withstanding daily wear. If the wood you’re using won’t be exposed to a heavy burden or harsh conditions, you might choose a weaker wood that offers greater aesthetic or cost benefits.

What is the Janka rating?

The Janka hardness rating is used to determine the hardness of various species. This is particularly important when using wood as flooring, because you need to ensure it can handle heavy loads.

The Janka scale starts at zero and goes through 4000. 4000 is an extremely hard wood, so that is considered the highest rating, for all intents and purposes. A wood suitable for hardwood flooring typically sits above 1000 in the rating. Understanding these ratings will help you make the most informed choice when it comes to purchasing wood or a wood product.

Here, we list the top 10 hardest woods in the world, and provide a bit of information about each type: 


1. Australian Buloke – 5,060 IBF

Australian Buloke

An ironwood tree that is native to Australia, this wood comes from a species of tree occurring across most of Eastern and Southern Australia. Known as the hardest wood in the world, this particular type has a Janka hardness of 5,060 lbf.

2. Schinopsis brasiliensis – 4,800 IBF

Schinopsis brasiliensis

A species of flowering plant in the cashew family, the schinopsis brasiliensis originates in Brazil and creates an extremely tough wood of 4,800 lbf. Due to this immense hardness and strength, this wood is often used in construction.

3. Schinopsis balansae – 4,570 IBF

Schinopsis balansae

A hardwood tree, the schinopsis balansae is a tree which makes up large areas of forest in Argentina and Paraguay. Reaching a whopping 24 metres in height at times, the tree’s wood is extremely hard, at 4,570 lbf.

4. Lignum vitae – 4,500 IBF 

Lignum vitae

A trade wood, lignum vitae comes from trees of the genus Guaiacum which are indigenous to the Caribbean as well as the northern coast of South America. This wood has been used since the 16th century, combining strength, density and toughness at an impressive 4,500 lbf in the Janka hardness test.

5. Piptadenia Macrocarpa – 3,840 IBF 

Piptadenia Macrocarpa

This wood has a Janka hardness rating of 3,840 lbf, making it suitable for a variety of construction projects. It comes from a tree native to areas including Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

6. Snakewood – 3,800 IBF 


Snakewood has a Janka rating of 3,800 lbf, and is an exotic hardwood which is particularly prized for the highly figured grain it exhibits. Originating from South America, it is used in  a variety of projects requiring tough, dense wood.

7. Brazilian Olivewood – 3,700 IBF 

Brazilian Olivewood

With a Janka rating of 3,700, this wood is an exotic, attractive choice. Combining its pleasing aesthetic with properties including toughness and strength, exotic household furniture can seriously benefit from its presence.

8. Brazilian Ebony – 3,692 IBF

Brazilian Ebony

A dense, heavy wood originating from Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, this wood has a Janka rating of 3,692. Particularly good for the construction of decking and planking, this wood is not only hard and durable, but shock-resistant, making it an attractive yet extremely practical and cost-effective choice in the long-run.

9. Brazilian Walnut – 3,684 IBF

Brazilian Walnut

Originating in Central and South America, this wood has a grain that varies from straight to irregular or interlocked. With a Janka hardness rating of 3,684, this wood can be used for a number of projects, whether indoor or outdoor.

10. African Pearwood – 3,680 IBF

African Pearwood

This is species of tree is found in Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Gabon and Nigeria. With a natural habitat of tropical moist lowland forests, the wood itself has a Janka hardness rating of 3,680 lbf.


Here at Hitchcock and King, we are a leading supplier of building materials , including timber to customers around the country. Our business is built on four main principles: stock availability, quality products at competitive prices, fast delivery and great customer service, all of which set us apart from our competitors. For more information about our range of products and services, and what we can do for your space, simply get in touch with our friendly team of experts today. We’ll be happy to help, whatever the enquiry.