Charcoal vs Coal in Minecraft: are they any different?

Is there really a difference between Coal and Charcoal in Minecraft? They look kinda similar and they can be both used as fuel. They have different names though, so they have to be different in some ways, right?

Obviously the answer is yes, even if they do look similar they are not the same. Let’s see where they differ from each other.

minecraft charcoal vs coal

Charcoal vs Coal – How to get them

The first big difference between them is the way you can get them.

Coal can be found “naturally” inside Rock layers. This mean that you can see veins of Coal inside caves, underground or on the side of mountains and hills. This is the main way to obtain it, but you can also find it as loot inside Chests as well as when killing Withers (related topic to Withers: Everything about Potion of Decay).

minecraft coal in caves

Charcoal on the other hand can be mainly obtained by smelting. If you smelt a block of any kind of Wood (not Wooden Planks) you will get Charcoal and experience. You can also obtain Charcoal by breaking a Campfire if you use a Silk Touch enchanted tool to break it. Charcoal can’t be found as loot.

minecraft smelting charcoal

So if you need to fuel your Furnace but you don’t want to go inside caves (expecially if you are trying to survive your first night), Charcoal can be a safe solution for you. Other than that, many players don’t really see a reason to not use Coal, since it is usually so abundant in Minecraft.

Charcoal vs Coal – As crafting ingredients

You can use both of them to craft Campfires, Fire Charges, Soul Torches and Torches. But there is one block that you can craft by only using Coal: the block of Coal, which you can craft with 9 Coal.

minecraft coal block crafting recipe

There is no block of Charcoal. This basically means that Coal is easier to store in big quantities. Blocks of Coal will take less space in Chests and in your inventory than the equivalent amount of Charcoal.

Charcoal vs Coal – Trading

You can trade Coal with Villagers in exchange of Emeralds. Charcoal, on the other hand, can’t be traded with Villagers.

Charcoal vs Coal – As fuel

And now, the question that many players ask themselves. Which one is the most efficient as fuel?

Interestingly enough, the answer is: none. A piece of either Coal or Charcoal burns in Furnaces for 80 seconds, which is eough to smelt 8 items. They can also make Furnace Minecarts move for the same amount of time, which is 4 minutes.

If you are interested in knowing the burning time of other Minecraft fuels, you can check this very well done video on the subject. Charcoal is not there since it burn as long as Coal.


So these are the differences between Coal and Charcoal. As you can see they are very similar. Coal can be considered more valuable since it can be traded for Emeralds. The two ways to get them are very different though, so you are probably going to choose one of them based on how you prefer to obtain it. So thank you very much for reading the article this far and I hope I’ll see you again around here. See you and take care!