10 Places to Buy Coal (Anthracite, Bituminous, etc)

Anthracite coal in large bins in a warehouse

Coal is often burned to generate electricity, but it has domestic uses too — most commonly heating and blacksmithing.

Coal forms under high heat and pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. The highest grade coal, anthracite, has spent the most time underground exposed to pressure and heat.

Lower-grade coals, such as bituminous coal, have spent less time forming underground. The higher the grade, the harder and purer the coal.

Below, we provide an introduction to the most commonly used types of coal and their applications, plus where to buy different types of coal.

Choosing the Right Type of Coal

There are several different kinds of coal, and different sellers sell different types. The first step when shopping for coal is to identify what kind you need.

Here are the most common types of coal and what they’re used for:


Anthracite is a hard, high-grade coal that produces a hot blue flame when burned.

Most anthracite in the U.S. comes from Pennsylvania, where it was heavily mined in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Anthracite has become more difficult to mine because the remaining reserves are deeper and deeper underground.

Anthracite is ideal for generating heat in coal-burning furnaces in homes or small businesses.

Not only does anthracite burn hotter than other coals, but it also burns more slowly and is the most efficient heat producer relative to its weight.

Anthracite is the cleanest-burning coal, and when used properly in modern furnaces will require little cleaning.

Anthracite comes in several sizes, as shown below. The larger the pieces of coal, the higher the price.

Chestnut and Pea sizes are used in hand-fired furnaces while the smaller Rice and Buckwheat sizes are used in automatic stoker furnaces.

Be sure to check the instructions on your stove to confirm which size is appropriate.

  • Size: Barley
    • 3/16″ x 3/32″
    • Approximately the size of coarse sand
  • Size: Rice
    • 5/16″ x 3/16″
    • Approximately the size of a pencil eraser
  • Size: Buckwheat (Buck)
    • 9/16″ x 5/16″
    • Approximately the size of a dime
  • Size: Pea
    • 13/16″ x 9/16″
    • Approximately the size of a quarter
  • Size: Chestnut (Nut)
    • 1 5/8″ x 13/16″
    • Approximately the size of a golf ball
  • Size: Stove
    • 2 7/16″ x 1 5/8″
    • Approximately the size of a baseball


Bituminous, or “soft” coal, is so named because it contains bitumen, a tar-like material.

Bituminous coal is lower quality and easier to mine than anthracite. It is burned to produce electricity and run trains.

Bituminous coal can produce excessive soot and smoke when burned, so it’s not ideal for heating, especially in coal or wood-burning stoves in the home.

Bituminous coal is also used to produce coke and to make iron and steel.

Anthracite is not commonly used for blacksmithing because, unlike bituminous coal, anthracite produces small pieces of coke that tend to blow up and out of the fire. As a result, bituminous coal is better suited for blacksmithing.

Blacksmith coal used in forges is high-quality bituminous coal, although some forges may use coke or charcoal.


Lignite, or “brown coal,” is the lowest quality coal. Geologically, it is the youngest type of coal.

According to the Lignite Energy Council, about 79% of lignite coal is used to generate electricity and 13.5% is used to generate synthetic natural gas, while 7.5% is used to produce fertilizer products (including anhydrous ammonia and ammonium sulfate).

Lignite produces little heat relative to its weight compared to other coals, so it is usually used to generate power in plants near the mine.

Because only a very small percentage is used domestically (typically for heating or fertilizer), lignite is not covered by our list of coal suppliers and dealers.

Coal Slag

Coal slag is the byproduct of coal that is burned to create power. Slag can be made into blasting abrasives that are cleaner and safer than silica sand (which is another common blasting abrasive).

Producers of this material clean the slag and sort it by size — medium, fine, and extra fine — before selling it to consumers.

Abrasive blasting involves using high pressure to propel abrasive material, such as coal slag, onto a surface either to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, or clean the surface.

Places That Sell Coal

You can buy coal from local hardware or supply stores, blacksmithing stores, and in some circumstances, straight from the producer.

Coal at hardware stores is often sold in 40- or 50-pound bags. Hardware stores are best if you just want a bag or two.

Blacksmithing stores also carry coal, though they will only carry bituminous coal; they generally won’t sell coal appropriate for heating.

Suppliers are best if you want to buy in bulk. They often sell by the skid, or pallet, which has approximately 50 bags and equals one ton.

Our list covers stores or suppliers that will ship regionally or nationally, or have a large number of stores. Be sure to check your local hardware store, blacksmith supplier, or local mine to compare prices and delivery options.

Hardware Stores (Best for Small Quantities)

A local hardware store is the best bet for buying coal in smaller qualities suited for individual domestic use. Hardware stores often carry both anthracite and bituminous coal (which is suited for blacksmithing).

There may be smaller regional stores near you that didn’t make our list, so you can call your town’s hardware store if you’re seeking a local option.

Aubuchon logo

1. Aubuchon Hardware

Lehmans logo

2. Lehman’s

  • Products: Lehman’s sells anthracite by the pallet (2,400 lbs)
  • Location: Kidron and Hope, OH.
  • Shipping: Lehman’s will ship pallets of anthracite by freight only. Prices for shipping range from $200 – $700, depending on the buyer’s location. The coal ships from Ohio. Call (800) 438-5346 for a quote.

Tractor Supply Co logo

3. Tractor Supply Co.

Blacksmith Supply Stores (Best for Bituminous Coal)

Blacksmith stores usually have only a few locations, but usually ship nationwide for affordable, flat rates. They generally only carry bituminous coal best suited for smithing, and not anthracite which is best for heating.

Blacksmith Depot logo

4. Blacksmith Depot

  • Products: Blacksmithing Coal (Pea Size) (50 lb bag); and Blacksmithing Coke (45 lb bag). Discounts are available for large orders.
  • Location: Chandler, NC.
  • Shipping: Blacksmith Depot ships nationwide from Chandler, NC. Shipping cost varies depending on location and ranges from around $30 to nearby locations to over $60 on the west coast. Shipping quotes are available at checkout.

Centaur Forge logo

5. Centaur Forge

Pieh logo

6. Pieh Tool Co.

  • Products: Pieh sells coal and coke for smithing. Bituminous coal is available in 50 lb bags and coke is available in 50 lb bags. Discounts are available for purchases of five bags or more.
  • Location: Camp Verde and Cave Creek, AZ.
  • Shipping: Pieh Tool Co. ships nationwide from Arizona. Pieh advises that shipping can cost more than the product itself and that customers should call for a quote if concerned. In addition, Pieh recommends purchasing a minimum of 200 lbs and having it shipped by motor freight to minimize shipping costs.

Coal Mining Companies and Other Suppliers (Best for Bulk)

Coal mining companies mine anthracite, bituminous coal, and/or lignite. These companies often provide delivery, at least in their region, but they typically only deliver large quantities to individuals. Shipping rates are available upon inquiry.

Blaschak logo

7. Blaschak Coal Corporation

  • Products: Blaschak sells anthracite in 40 lb bags or by the ton.
  • Location: Mahanoy City, PA. The Blaschak website has a dealer locator to inquire about nearby dealers.
  • Shipping: Many Blaschak dealers deliver door-to-door. Use Blaschak’s dealer locator to find the nearest one and inquire about specific details.

Center Coal logo

8. Center Coal Co.

  • Products: Center Coal produces lignite.
    • At the Center, ND location: Treated stoker coal by the ton and lump coal by the ton.
    • At the Dickinson, ND location: Treated stoker coal by the ton and lump coal by the ton.
  • Location: Center and Dickinson, ND.
  • Shipping: Center Coal recommends that customers inquire about delivery details. Center Coal’s trucks routinely travel to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, and the company will consider shipping elsewhere as well.

Penn Coal logo

9. Penn Keystone Coal Co.

Reading logo

10. Reading Anthracite Company

  • Location: Reading is located in Pottsville, PA. Reading has a directory of dealers located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Use the directory, or call (570) 622-5150 or (800) 654-7792 for details about the dealer nearest you.
  • Shipping: Check with the nearest dealer for information on shipping.
  • Products: Reading sells anthracite for resident heating by the bag or in bulk.

Suggested Next Article: Are Infrared Heaters Worth It? Cost to Run, etc.


  • tom Lentner

    I am looking to buy stoker coal for heating and I am wondering how many ton I would have to buy and how much for delivery to foley mn 56329?

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Kathleen Wilson

      Hi, Tom. It looks like Center Coal Co. might be a good bet for you — it sells stoker coal and delivers to Minnesota. Check out the details below:

      Location: Center and Dickinson, ND.
      Shipping: Center Coal’s trucks routinely travel to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, and the company will consider shipping elsewhere as well.
      Products: Center Coal produces lignite.
      At the Center, ND location: Treated stoker coal is available for $36.75 per ton and lump coal for $39.25 per ton.
      At the Dickinson, ND location: Treated stoker coal is available for $56.75 per ton and lump coal for $58.25 per ton.

      For more info, you can go to the contact form on the company website. Hope this helps!

  • rodneyphillipsen@yahoo.com

    I am looking for coal mines in Utah where I can by coal by the semi loads . currently been using Rhino (Huntington canyon )at 80 per ton and the best around here but they are under contract (not currently available ) bronco south east of emery, expensive at 1000 per ton, but many problems ! s.u.f.c.o is located west of emery up Salina canyon has the best price, contains a lot of rock and fines but they just moved their long wall and will be some time before producing . I mainly need lump and prefer with in a 150 mile radius , thanks

  • Margaret

    Hi, I’m in Australia and finding it impossible to find anthracite. Would like to buy bulk for heating. Was sold a boiler that is designed to run on anthracite under the guise it was a wood stove, having endless problems with creosote, soot, smouldering when trying to burn good quality seasoned hard wood, as when doors are closed it has such little air intake, most probably because its a boiler designed to burn anthracite. Does anyone in the US export to a supplier in Aus? Unbelievable that I cannot find anthracite in Australia!

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Rebecca Turley

      Hi Margaret,

      You’re right! I was also unable to locate any distributors of anthracite anywhere in Australia. I recommend using this search tool to find anthracite dealers in the U.S. and then inquiring whether they would export to Australia. Best of luck!

  • Lai

    We are an R&D company doing research on scrubbing systems for coal fired plants. We need low quantities of Lignite, 50-100 lbs, and can’t seem to find source so far..
    Will appreciate some contact information.


    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Rebecca Turley

      Hi Lai,

      Because lignite is not commonly used domestically, finding a source can be tricky. I think a great resource for you would be the Lignite Energy Council. They have a contact form on their website, and you can also call them at 1-800-932-7117.

  • Mbhekiseni Thethwayo

    I need rb3 thermal coal , 50 000 mt

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Sarah Quinn


      Thanks for your question! The answer depends on your location. Our article primarily focuses on purchasing coal in the United States. RB3 coal is usually available mainly for the South African market, although some suppliers make it available for export. Most suppliers export RB3 thermal coal through RBCT (Richards Bay Coal Terminal). You might try Alibaba if you’re looking for a supplier within South Africa. Hope this helps!

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