The objective of this paper is to review the published literature on improving properties of wood composites through thermal pretreatment of wood. Thermal pretreatment has been conducted in moist environments using hot water or steam at temperatures up to 180 and 230 °C, respectively, or in dry environments using inert gases at temperatures up to 240 °C. In these conditions, hemicelluloses are removed, crystallinity index of cellulose is increased, and cellulose degree of polymerization is reduced, while lignin is not considerably affected. Thermally modified wood has been used to manufacture wood–plastic composites, particleboard, oriented strand board, binderless panels, fiberboard, waferboard, and flakeboard. Thermal pretreatment considerably reduced water absorption and thickness swelling of wood composites, which has been attributed mainly to the removal of hemicelluloses. Mechanical properties have been increased or sometimes reduced, depending on the product and the conditions of the pretreatment. Thermal pretreatment has also shown to improve the resistance of composites to decay.