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Sandalwood vs. Cedarwood: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 12, 2024
Sandalwood, known for its fragrant aroma and use in perfumes and rituals, is softer and more expensive, while Cedarwood, valued for its strength and durability, is commonly used in construction and crafts.

Key Differences

Sandalwood, primarily found in South Asia, is renowned for its distinctive, sweet-smelling fragrance, making it a prized ingredient in perfumes and incenses. In contrast, Cedarwood, native to various regions including the Himalayas and the Mediterranean, is noted for its robust and spicy aroma, and is frequently used in the manufacturing of moth repellents and essential oils.
The texture of Sandalwood is notably fine-grained and smooth, which, coupled with its aromatic properties, makes it ideal for carving religious statues and artifacts. Cedarwood, on the other hand, is characterized by its coarser grain and remarkable durability, qualities that lend themselves well to outdoor construction, such as in decking and fencing.
In terms of availability and cost, Sandalwood is relatively rare and expensive due to over-harvesting and strict regulations on its trade, reflecting its status as a luxury good. Conversely, Cedarwood is more abundantly available and generally more affordable, making it a popular choice for various commercial applications.
Medicinally, Sandalwood oil is sought after for its potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, often used in traditional medicine and skincare products. Cedarwood oil, distinct in its uses, is thought to have grounding and calming effects and is commonly employed in aromatherapy.
In cultural and spiritual contexts, Sandalwood holds significant importance in many Eastern traditions for its use in religious ceremonies and meditation practices. Cedarwood, while also used in some spiritual practices, is more commonly associated with its historical use in ancient civilizations for building and ship-making.

Comparison Chart


Mainly South Asia
Himalayas, Mediterranean, and other regions


Sweet, rich fragrance
Robust, spicy scent

Use in Products

Perfumes, incenses, and carvings
Moth repellents, essential oils, and construction

Texture and Durability

Fine-grained, smooth, less durable
Coarser grain, highly durable

Cultural Significance

Used in religious rituals and meditation in Eastern traditions
Historical use in construction and ship-making in ancient civilizations

Sandalwood and Cedarwood Definitions


A material used in fine carving and sculpture.
The artisan crafted a delicate figurine from sandalwood.


Often used to describe a sharp, slightly spicy scent.
The room had a refreshing cedarwood fragrance.


Used to describe a sweet, woody scent.
She preferred candles with a sandalwood fragrance.


A material commonly used in construction and crafting.
They chose cedarwood for the outdoor furniture for its strength.


A symbol of sanctity and purity in various cultures.
Sandalwood paste is often used in religious ceremonies.


The wood of a cedar tree, known for its durability and aroma.
The cedarwood deck resisted rot and insect damage.


A fragrant, yellowish-brown wood from a tropical tree.
The sandalwood incense filled the room with a soothing aroma.


Refers to oils and extracts used in various therapies and products.
Cedarwood essential oil is often used in aromatherapy for relaxation.


A term for products or oils derived from the sandalwood tree.
Sandalwood oil is popular in aromatherapy for its calming effects.


Associated with properties like moth repellence and antifungal effects.
Cedarwood chests are great for storing woolen clothes.


Any of several tropical Asian hemiparasitic trees of the genus Santalum, especially S. album, having aromatic yellowish heartwood used in cabinetmaking and wood carving and yielding an oil used in perfumery.


The wood of the cedar tree.


The durable aromatic wood of any of numerous cedar and cedarlike trees; especially the wood of the red cedar, often used for cedar chests.


Durable aromatic wood of any of numerous cedar trees; especially wood of the red cedar often used for cedar chests


What are the uses of Cedarwood?

Cedarwood is used in construction, crafting, and as a moth repellent and essential oil.

Is Sandalwood sustainable?

Sustainability of sandalwood varies; over-harvesting issues have led to efforts for sustainable cultivation.

Is Sandalwood good for health?

Sandalwood oil is believed to have health benefits like anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Why is Sandalwood expensive?

Sandalwood is expensive due to its rarity, over-harvesting, and strict trade regulations.

What does Cedarwood smell like?

Cedarwood has a robust, slightly spicy, and woody scent.

What is the color of Cedarwood?

Cedarwood typically has a reddish to light brown color.

How long does Cedarwood last?

Cedarwood is durable and can last many years, especially in construction.

Can Cedarwood be used indoors?

Yes, Cedarwood can be used indoors, often in furniture and decorative items.

Is Sandalwood used in aromatherapy?

Yes, Sandalwood oil is popular in aromatherapy for its calming effects.

Can Cedarwood be used in skincare?

Yes, Cedarwood oil is sometimes used in skincare for its potential antifungal and antibacterial properties.

What is the difference in the grain of Sandalwood and Cedarwood?

Sandalwood has a fine grain, while Cedarwood has a coarser grain.

What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood is a fragrant wood from tropical trees, used in perfumes, carvings, and rituals.

Are there different types of Sandalwood?

Yes, there are different types, like Indian Sandalwood and Australian Sandalwood, each with unique characteristics.

Are Sandalwood and Cedarwood oils safe for everyone?

Generally, but it's advisable to check for allergies or skin sensitivity.

Can Sandalwood be grown artificially?

Sandalwood can be cultivated, but it requires specific conditions for growth.

Does Cedarwood have any spiritual significance?

Cedarwood has been used historically in various cultures for spiritual purposes, though less so than Sandalwood.

Is Cedarwood eco-friendly?

Cedarwood is considered eco-friendly due to its durability and natural resistance to decay.

How is Sandalwood harvested?

Sandalwood is harvested by carefully cutting and extracting the wood from mature trees.

What is the texture of Sandalwood?

Sandalwood has a smooth, fine-grained texture.

Can Cedarwood be used in traditional medicine?

Cedarwood has been used in some traditional medicinal practices, particularly in aromatherapy and naturopathy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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