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Charcoal vs coal in Minecraft: Is there any difference?

Coal and charcoal are remarkably similar but have a few key differences (Image via MCCreator)
Coal and charcoal are remarkably similar but have a few key differences (Image via MCCreator)
Edward Hays

In order to smelt items and cook food in Minecraft, players will need access to some fuel. Both coal and charcoal are some of the best fuel sources in the game and are relatively cheap to obtain.

Although these fuels are similar in many regards, some key differences set them apart.


Process to obtain charcoal and coal in Minecraft can differ

For starters, the primary use case for both charcoal and coal in Minecraft is as a fuel. Both have the same burning capacity, lasting for a total of 80 seconds each inside a furnace. This means that they can be used for smelting or cooking a total of eight items each.

The main way in which these items differ is how they are obtained. Coal is found while mining and is generated in the form of coal ore, most commonly within mineral veins of 1 to 17 blocks at depth levels between 0 and 127.

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Coal isn't only obtained through mining, however, and also can be obtained through trading with villagers and inside structures such as Dungeons, Mineshafts, Igloos, Shipwrecks, Underwater ruins, villages, and woodland mansions.

On the other hand, charcoal is not naturally generated and can only be created by smelting wood or logs.

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Another significant difference between these two items is that coal remains essential in many crafting recipes, whereas charcoal does not. Some of the vital crafting recipes the former is used in are:

  • Block of coal
  • Campfire
  • Fire Charge
  • Soul Torch
  • Torch

Is it better to use coal or charcoal in Minecraft?

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In the early stages of the game, players will probably benefit from using charcoal as it's somewhat of a cheaper and more renewable resource than coal.

Gamers in the late stage of a Minecraft survival world might be interested in setting up a fully automated, self-fueling charcoal generator. This nifty redstone based contraption will provide near-infinite fuel if fed enough wood.


Edited by Ravi Iyer

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