The Ultimate Guide to Fireplace Grates
Fireplace grates are a great addition to any fireplace. They significantly increase the lifespan of your fireplace by providing a better quality burn, while making cleaning your fireplace that much easier as well. There are many different types of fireplace grates or racks for your fireplace out there so it’s hard to determine what the right kind is for you.
Below we’re going to go through everything there is to know about fireplace grates, why you should get one, what size it should be, and the different types of grates so you feel confident in choosing the right fireplace grate for you.
All About Fireplace Grates
Fireplace grates are essential to a fuel holder that sits directly inside of the fireplace. Its purpose is to hold up your logs whether it’s a natural wood-burning fireplace or a gas fire-place, you will probably need a fireplace rack of some sort.
As the fire is burning, a grate in the fireplace will allow the ash to fall through and improve the flow of oxygen to the fire at the same time. This keeps the fire burning at a higher temperature while making clean up easier with just having to collect the ash in one spot.
The Importance of Fireplace Grates
Although not completely necessary, fireplace grates are great if you want to increase the lifespan of your fireplace, have a more high-quality burn, and make cleaning up easier. Needless to say, we recommend everyone has a fireplace grate in their fireplace.
How They Work
As your fuel, the logs or coal, sit on your fireplace grate, the grate improves the oxygen flow to your fire, which helps to make it a more powerful fire. Also, with having the fire situated off of the floor, the smoke is more likely to be directed towards the chimney and not inside your home, providing a more pleasant experience. Lastly, with keeping the heat directly off the floor of your fireplace, you are elongating the lifespan of your fireplace hearth.
With the small gaps and holes between every bar, this allows embers and ash to fall through in one place. Once the fire is out, you can pick up the grate and quickly brush and scoop all the residue away without any hassle.
If you haven’t been already convinced that you need a fireplace grate in your fireplace, below you will find some additional benefits of using a grate in your fireplace.
- Prevents Logs From Escaping The Fire
- Preserves the Quality of Your Fireplace
- Elevates the Fuel For a Better Quality Fire
- Easier to Light Fuel Souce
- Redirects Smoke to Chimney
- Easy Clean-Up
Things To Consider When Buying
There are a few things you need to consider before buying a rack or grate for your fireplace. It’s important that you’re looking for a grate that’s the right size for your particular fireplace. A fireplace rack that is too small or too large isn’t going to do you much good, so it’s important to measure before purchasing. There are a few other factors as well such as the type of grate and the brand reputation of the grate as well.
Important Factors to Consider:
- The Size Required
- The Type of Grate
- The Brand
How to Measure
Measuring for your fireplace rack is incredibly simple.
- Measure the Width of the Fireplace (the front and back opening)
- Measure the Depth of the Fireplace Box
- Subtract Six Inches From Each Measurement
With this simple equation, you can find the right measurements for your fireplace grate. We always prefer to shop online due to just being able to search for exactly what dimensions we’re looking for.
Top Fireplace Rack Companies
Types of Fireplace Grates
There are a variety of different types of fireplace grates for all different needs and preferences. It’s important to look not only at what will work with your fireplace but also what your fuel source tends to be.
Standard Bar Grates
Standard Bar Grates are also referred to as open grates and are ideal for hardwood fuel logs only. They’re typically lower-cost than some other models but are still made from high-quality steel bars.
Standard bar grates have no mesh to hold coal or additional fuel up and instead of square steel bar grate fingers that are welded across the support legs.
Longevity: Lasts about three seasons before replacement is needed.
Best Standard Bar Grates
Rocky Mountain Goods Fireplace Grate
This Rocky Mountain Goods Fireplace Grate is your standard, great quality fireplace grate. There is no assembly required which means installation into your fireplace can be done within seconds. It’s made to withstand daily burning with it’s steel finish and actually has a lifetime warranty, which you don’t find with every fireplace grate.
It’s made from heavy-duty ¾” wrought iron and has a 4” clearance that allows for better air circulation and hotter fires. It’s available in both 23” or 27” and is a great option when it comes to standard bar grates.
SteelFreak Heavy Duty Grate
SteelFreak has a variety of different sizes available in this heavy-duty steel fireplace grate. This grate has unique shorter center support legs that help prevent rocking and sagging when wood is placed on the grate and is conducted of heavy steel to ensure it’ll last a while.
You can get this same exact design in 15”, 18”, 21”, 24”, 27”, 30”, 33”, and 36” ensuring that you can find the perfect SteelFreak standard bar grate in any size you require. With great 4.5 star rating on Amazon, this standard bar great is a great option.
Bar Grates With Mesh Bottom
Bar grates that feature a mesh bottom are very similar to the standard bar grates but have a mesh bottom which embers and ash to fall, but also helps to promote a more powerful fire. The mesh is able to hold coals close to your fuel log which helps to have a higher, better quality burn.
Bar grates with mesh bottoms are perfect for all types of fuel logs including natural and artificial.
Longevity: Lasts a few years before replacement is needed. If it’s a diamond grate, it can last up to a decade.
Best Bar Grates With Mesh
Landmann Steel Fireplace Grate
This steel fireplace grate doesn’t have the standard mesh, but it does have this mesh-like woven pattern which gives a similar effect to traditional bar grates with mesh. It has 6 bars across to hold your fuel source and includes an ember retainer which helps to keep the wood embers in place for longer and hotter, more efficient fires.
With the tapering towards the back, it helps to keep your fuel source right in the center which means you won’t have to tend to the fire as often.
HY-C Liberty Foundry Fire Grate
This HY-C Liberty Foundry Fire Grate has a similar design to the Lanmann Steel Grate, but features multiple sizes to choose from and a smaller mesh batten. This steel grate is crafted with ⅝” solid, steel and designed for daily burning. It has a custom-design ember retainer which ensures that your embers are directly under the logs, while still allowing ashes to fall below. With this mesh design, it provides maximum airflow under the fire which causes more powerful fires.
Ultimately, this grate lifts wood off the firebox floor and holds it upright, allowing ash to fall for easy clean up and for air to circulate more freely.
Self Feeding Grates
If you’re looking for something you don’t have to constantly tend to, self feeding grates are an ideal choice. This grate is designed to keep the logs or fuel source constantly moving towards the center. It was a curved design to ensure that the fuel is always right in the center and staying hot.
Typically self feeding grates are made from cast iron, but there are some other materials used today as well.
Longevity: Lasts around 4-5 years before replacement is needed.
Best Self Feeding Grates
Plow & Hearth Deep-Bed
This fireplace grate from Plow & Hearth is designed with a deep-bed to ensure that logs won’t roll off. It has a hefy, stable design that is specifically designed for years of burning. The self-feeding design helps to produce more efficient burning. This grate only comes in one size and measures 17 ¾” x 11 ¾” x 5”.
HY-C Liberty Foundry Fire Grate
This firegrate comes in five different size choices to fit a variety of different size fireplaces. It’s uniquely designed with an adjustable slope to create a self-feeding basket. This basket allows your fire to continue burning for long periods of time and with minimum maintenance. The heavy-duty cast iron helps to ensure durability and long-term performance. WIth the holes throughout, it creates maximum airflow under the fire and helps to counteract against poorly drafted chimneys.
Basket grates are designed for both wood and coal burning and work fairly similar to an ember mesh tray. Instead of a mesh, the grate itself is designed in a way where there are small openings at the bottom which allow the embers to drop to the bottom of the firebox. This design also situates the goals closer to the fire.
It’s made from a single structure so it’s extremely durable and will last a long time.
Longevity: If made from cast iron, it can last 5-7 years burning wood and 2-3 years burning coal.
Best Basket Grates
HY-C Liberty Foundry
This basket grate from HY-C Liberty Foundry comes in both a 20” and 24” size. It’s crated with a heavy-duty cast iron and designed specifically for long-term durability and performance. It provides essential airflow under the fire which helps to produce a more high-quality burn and with lifting wood off of the firebox floor, this basket grate holds your fuel above any ash built up.
This grate is designed with optimized depths to ensure that loading wood into the basket is completely safe, regardless of how hot the fire is.
Panacea Fireplace Grate
Panacea is known for making some of the best fireplace grates out there and this 18” cast iron fireplace grate is no exception. It provides about 1” of clearance off of the ground which is more than enough space to scoop out any ashes that have fallen. It’s very sturdy and is made to last with the durable cast iron. It’s a great all-around basket fireplace grate and if you’re in the market for one from a reputable company, look no further.
How to Maintain Your Grate
Once you have found the perfect fireplace grate for your fireplace, you need to ensure that you maintain it so that it will last a long time. Your fireplace grate will need to be replaced eventually, but with proper maintenance, you can ensure that you get the most out of it.
- Knock all ash off the rack
- Use a wire brush to remove any smaller clumps
- Use a wet rag to remove any remaining residue. Only use water
- Let it dry.
Other than that, you should always check the manual that comes with your fireplace rack to see if they have any other suggestions on how to care for your fireplace grate.
For more information on how to choose the perfect fireplace grate for you, we recommend checking out NorthlineExpress YouTube video ‘How to Choose a Fireplace Grate.’