Acacia and teak are household names in the woodworking industry. They both make beautiful outdoor furniture and are particularly known to be extremely weather resistant. Both are also strong and versatile.
But which one is better? Which one should you pick for your next woodworking project, assuming you can only choose from the two? Let’s find out.
Acacia vs Teak Wood
Teak is definitely better than acacia. It is durable and boasts a higher natural moisture resistance. Moreover, teak has the coveted deep reddish-brown tint that makes it a top choice for luxurious furniture.
That said, acacia is also very strong and a great pick for patio furniture.
Acacia Wood vs Teak Wood: The Basics
The following is a basic overview of each wood type to set us up for the head-to-head comparison.
What is Acacia Wood?
So, what is acacia wood? Acacia wood is obtained from acacia trees. The acacia tree, genus acacia, family Fabaceae, is a fast-growing hardwood tree native to Australia. The trees also grow naturally in the Pacific Islands, Africa, and parts of the Americas.
There are hundreds of acacia species, with a few studies mentioning 700+ types. However, the most common varieties are;
- Acacia koa
- Creeping wattle
- Box leaf wattle
- Coastal wattle
- Flax-leaf wattle
Acacia wood’s heartwood ranges from dark red to light brown color to dark red hue, with an attractive natural grain and sharply demarcated sapwood.
A golden or medium brown heartwood is also not uncommon, as are figured grains called rings. The unique combination of qualities makes acacia one of the most sought materials for rustic or farmhouse decor and furniture.
Additionally, the beautiful grain pattern lends exceptionally to end grain chopping boards.
Acacia Advantages and Disadvantages
There are many reasons to choose acacia wood for woodworking as almost as many reasons to over avoid it; here are the advantages and disadvantages of acacia wood.
What Could Be Improved
- It is heavy (one of the most dense woods)
- It tends to have defects and variations
- Doesn’t withstand heat
- Difficult to maintain
What is Teak Wood
Teak wood is obtained from raw teak trees. The teak tree, Tectona grandis, is a deciduous hardwood native to Indonesia, India, and Central America. Thailand also has a few natural teak forests.
Teak comes in many species. However, the four main types that you’re likely to come across in the US are;
- Burmese teak wood
- Indonesian teak wood
- African plantation teak wood
- Thailand teak wood
- Brazilian teak wood
Teak wood is unique for many reasons. First off, it’s identifiable by the luxurious deep dark red or reddish-brown hue that many people consider the benchmark for royal timber.
It also has a medium luster and oily feel. Secondly, teak is one of the most weather-resistant types of wood. It produces natural oils that work as built-in water repellants, allowing the raw timber to ward off moisture, rotting, and harsh chemicals.
As a result, untreated teak furniture can last more than 30 years outdoors without rotting. The rich natural oils also give the luxury hardwood a high heat resistance.
Teak has a fine to coarse, even texture and a straight, tight grain pattern. Unfortunately, the grain pattern is not very inspiring. But one downfall is that teak wood is expensive.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Teak Wood Cost?
Teak Wood Pros and Cons
If you decide to source teak for your next woodworking project, you should know the following pros and cons of teak furniture.
What Could Be Improved
- It’s is very expensive
- It’s not readily available
Teak vs Acacia Wood Difference: Head to Head
So, you have acacia vs. teak wood to choose from and can only pick one. Here’s a head-to-head to help you make the right choice;
Teak and acacia are both hardwoods. However, they are from different plant families and native to different locations. Teak is from the Lamiaceae family of plants, also known as Labiatae.
Lamiaceae are large, deciduous, flowing plants commonly known as mints or sages. The trees are native to India, Indonesia, and Asia.
On the other hand, acacia is from the Fabaceae family, which is also known as Leguminosae. Leguminosae is a family of shrubs and trees best recognized by their fruit and compound, stipulate leaves.
The plants are native to the Pacific Islands, Africa, and some parts of the Americas.
Acacia wood and teak wood couldn’t be more different in appearance. Acacia wood typically has a light brown color. It can look a strong red when freshly cut.
However, it becomes a soft light brown once dried. However, that truly sets it apart os the beautiful grain pattern. Acacia wood pieces are characterized by gorgeous wavy grain patterns that are very easy on the eye.
On the other hand, teak is deep reddish-brown and remains so after it dries. It will only weather to a dark brown color if you leave the wooden furniture outside for a prolonged period.
Unfortunately, the teak wood grain pattern isn’t very inspiring. Nevertheless, it has a tight grain pattern that’s occasionally interlocked.
Density and hardness
Both acacia and teak are dense wood species that are very hard and strong. Acacia generally weighs 700 kg/m3, whereas the densest teak wood species is the African plantation teak, with a density of 980kg/m3.
Both are also very hard, though teak is harder. Acacia hardness is rated 2,300 lbf on the Janka scale, while teak, though rated 1,550 Janka, on average, can go up to 3,000+ Janka.
For instance, the Brazilian teak is rated 3540 Janka, making it one of the hardest trees.
Many factors determine the durability of a piece of wood or the wood’s products. However, weather resistance and the ability to resist pests, insects, decay, and rotting are the biggest factors.
Fortunately, both acacia and teak score highly in these areas, with teak ranking slightly higher. Acacia wood is highly weather-resistant, with natural oils that allow it to repel moisture and water.
It is also highly resistant to pests, though it’s only moderately rot-resistant. Meanwhile, teak is even more durable, typically lasting a lifetime with good maintenance. It’s highly decay and rot-resistant and is naturally resistant to pests.
The workability of a wood type depends on physical properties, such as hardness, texture, and the presence of stains and knots.
The good news is that neither acacia nor teak trees have knots to worry about, though you’re bound to run into one or two knots when using acacia. The two wood types also rarely have stains as they are naturally resistant to pests and diseases.
However, Remember that both are very hard hardwoods. Extra hard timber can be challenging to cut, especially with hand tools. So, you need power tools in both cases.
Teak is even more challenging to work with as it’s harder and has a coarse texture.
Learn more here on how to stain acacia wood easily.
The obvious winner here is acacia, albeit with a few twists. Acacia wood grows in large plantations in African countries and many parts of Central America. So, it’s highly available.
However, the problem is getting it to the US. Since it’s an exotic wood, the availability depends on the shipping networks.
The opposite is true for teak. It’s native to the US, taking shipping challenges out of the equation. However, it’s very rare and therefore not readily available either. So, generally, you will find acacia lumber more easily.
A wood species is sustainable if it’s available in large forest areas and not immediately threatened by deforestation or natural factors. So, you can guess that acacia is more sustainable than teak wood.
Acacia grows naturally in many African countries. Moreover, it grows very fast. So, new trees quickly replace old ones. Unfortunately, teak isn’t as sustainable.
First, the area under teak is dwindling. Worse still, teak grows very slowly. Thus, replacing old trees becomes a challenge. Finally, illegal logging is a major challenge for acacia trees.
Both teak and acacia wood are highly versatile, with applications ranging from furniture making to cabinetry, woodturning, construction, and fine woodworking.
Acacia wood is an excellent choice for indoor and outdoor use. It makes durable outdoor furniture, countertops, and cutting boards. It’s also a good choice for artistic work, such as making bird perches and wooden bowls.
Above all, it’s used for support beams in construction.
Meanwhile, teak is primarily used for luxury furniture, though it also makes the perfect material for boat building, high-class joinery, and flooring. It’s also used to make chemical tanks, paneling, flooring, and plywood.
Finally, teak is significantly more expensive than acacia wood. It’s important to note that both are expensive woods due to their physical properties. However, teak is significantly more expensive because it’s considered a luxury wood.
The exact prices vary depending on your location, time of the year, and the wood species. However, acacia wood will generally set you back around $10/ board foot.
Shipping costs mainly influence the price. On the other hand, teak costs $50/board foot, depending on availability.
Acacia Wood vs Teak Outdoor Furniture Comparison
It’s difficult to pick a winner between acacia or teak wood furniture. However, if we must, teak has a slight edge. For one, teak is more beautiful than acacia wood.
Therefore, teak furniture pieces are more aesthetically appealing. Additionally, teak wood is rare, which adds to the value of teak furniture. Above all, teak is more moisture- and weather-resistant than acacia wood.
That said, acacia makes some of the strongest and most durable furniture. Yes, the furniture requires more maintenance than teak. However, acacia furniture can last a lifetime with good care.
Both acacia and teak wood are highly water-resistant woods. However, natural untreated teak is more water and moisture-resistant than untreated acacia wood.
The main reason is that teak has a higher percentage of natural oils that repel water and moisture. Indeed, teak wood is so saturated with natural oils that finishing it with penetrating natural oils can be a little challenging. As a result, teak doesn’t require a preserving oil, whereas acacia does.
Verdict: Teak wins
Ease of Maintenance & Care
Both acacia and teak are low-maintenance woods. You don’t have to worry as much about dust, scratches, and spills as you often do with other woods. However, teak is easier to care for and maintain.
First, teak is highly water-resistant. So no amount of water spills can damage it. Additionally, it’s highly rot resistant, even in damp conditions. Above all, teak wood is more scratch resistant than acacia and hides scars better. This is why it’s a dream for homeowners.
Verdict: Teak wins
Price and Affordability
Both acacia and teak are expensive hardwoods as they’re coveted wood species with exceptional physical properties. However, acacia is more affordable than teak.
Of course, the actual prices vary from place to place and depending on the quality of individual planks. However, you can purchase 4×4 acacia wood planks for $8 to $10 per board foot. On the other hand, 4×4 teak wood costs as much as $40 per board foot.
Verdict: Acacia wins
Eco-Friendliness: Teak or acacia wood outdoor furniture
If environmental sustainability is at the top of your priorities, you should consider acacia over teak wood. Although both are in high demand, acacia is under no immediate threat of depletion, whereas teak and mahogany are some of the most endangered hardwood species.
Untamed logging from the 19th century to date has depleted teak forests, and although there have been attempts to regrow teak plantations, the tree’s slow growth rate has rendered those efforts unfruitful. On the other hand, acacia plantations are thriving in Australia and South Asia.
Verdict: Acacia wins
Sun & Heat Resistance
Unfortunately, acacia wood, though strong and highly durable, is sensitive to high temperatures. Prolonged exposure to high-temperature conditions causes its wood fibers to break, resulting in cracks.
Similarly, the sun’s UV rays can cause acacia wood to crack. Therefore, you’re often advised to take acacia furniture indoors when it gets too hot outside.
On the other hand, teak is highly heat resistant. As a result, it can stay outside in the sun the entire summer without any negative impacts.
Verdict: Teak wins
Winter Weather Resistance: Acacia vs teak outdoor furniture
Both acacia and teak furniture are exceptionally resistant to the cold winter conditions. You may argue that teak is better for cold weather because of its higher natural oil content. However, acacia can withstand the same conditions without damage.
That said, though, extreme weather can ultimately take a toll on any wooden furniture, no matter the wood type. Therefore, it’s wise to take your teak and acacia patio furniture indoors for the winter to prolong their lifespan.
Verdict: A tie
Acacia vs Teak: Stand Out Features
The standout differences between acacia wood and teak wood are appearance, durability, and pricing.
- Appearance: Acacia wood is a light brown wood with a gorgeous grain pattern. On the other hand, teak is a deep reddish-brown wood with a straight grain pattern. Unfortunately, teak’s straight grain patterns aren’t very exciting.
- Durability: Both acacia and teak wood are very durable. However, when comparing acacia wood vs teak outdoor furniture durability, teak wood carries the day. Untreated teak wood has more natural moisture resistance, insect resistance, and decay resistance than untreated acacia.
- Pricing: Acacia and teak are expensive hardwoods because of their outstanding physical qualities. However, teak is up to five times as expensive as acacia because it’s more durable, has the coveted dark reddish-brown color, and is rarer and thus very difficult to find.
Is Acacia Wood the Same as Teak
No, acacia wood isn’t the same as teak. Although both are hardwoods, they belong to two different pant families and boast different physical and natural properties.
For instance, whereas acacia has a light brown shade, teak is deep reddish-brown. Teak is also much harder and more durable than acacia.
Related: Walnut vs teak
Acacia vs Teak: Verdict
Acacia and teak are excellent hardwood choices for many woodworking projects. They are hard, strong, and durable. Moreover, both are highly resistant to pests and weather elements. However, they are also different in many ways.
- When to Use Acacia Wood: We recommend using teak for mid-range rustic indoor furniture. The light brown color and beautiful figured grain patterns make it the perfect choice for farm-house style decor.
- When to Use Teak Wood: We recommend using teak for luxury indoor and patio furniture. The dark reddish-brown color and oily luster also make it a great choice for high-end office furniture.
So, overall, it comes down to the type of project you’re working on. However, if you’re solely concerned about the better wood between the two, teak is much better.