Balsa wood is light and soft, so some people consider it as a type of softwoods. This is not right since the balsawood is defined as a type of hardwoods botanically. What we should know is that the definitions of softwood and hardwood are not defined by characteristics but by botany.
Softwood is usually made from a conifer which is evergreen while the hardwood comes from the deciduous tree which loses leaves every year. Conifer has a tendency to grow faster and it usually grows in the area where is full of its specie. On the contrary, hardwood grows slower but they are more dense as usual. And unlike the softwood, hardwood may grow in the area where mix several species.
Softwood, such as the pine tree, is a gymnosperm. On the contrary, hardwood, such as balsa tree, is known as an angiosperm. Generally, gymnosperms spread their pollen by wind while the angiosperms with flowers can attract animals, such as bees, to spread pollen for them. And angiosperms can form fruits, such as apples and oranges.
Both softwoods and hardwoods can be used to complete lots of projects. For example, balsa wood can be used to make models for its lightness and strength. Elm and maple are floor companies' favourite raw materials. The redwood is usually used to make furnitures since it naturally resists to insect without using toxicant chemicals.
No matter which type of wood you are working with, make sure the quality of the wood is excellent. The wood should have no cracks or splits and you should be careful to maintain the wood to prevent it from rotting.