2020 Buyers Guide: The Best Fireplace Grates

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Getting the most from your fireplace over the colder months relies on the circulation of air through your home. If you’re finding that your fire is burning unevenly or that your room fills with smoke, you may want to consider a fireplace grate.

By lifting the fire off the chimney floor, a fireplace grate improves air circulation resulting in more even heating, better fuel efficiency, and cleaner air.

Check out this guide to know what to look for, while understanding where to start when choosing the right product for your requirements.

Our Top Picks for Best Fireplace Grates

  • Great circulation
  • 24-inch wrought iron
  • Safely holds wood/coal
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  • Improves airflow
  • Heavy-duty grates
  • All-steel construction
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  • Fits most fireplaces
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Prevents sagging
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Comparison of the Best Fireplace Grates

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Lift firewood off heart and chimney floor for better air circulation
  • 24-inch wrought iron grate made from square bar steel to last long
  • Wide bars provide more surface to safely hold coal and wood
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  • Used to lift firewood from the firebox’s bottom to improve airflow
  • Heavy-duty grates made from flat steel bars are built to last
  • All-steel construction outperforms other low-quality cast-iron grates
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  • 14-inch deep and 21-inch wide with tapered shape ideal for most fireplaces
  • All-steel heavy-duty construction makes it highly durable
  • Equipped with shorter support legs in the center to prevent sagging or rocking
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  • Best Outdoor Fireplace Grate
  • Comes with a strong construction to last longer
  • Very easy to install and use in fireplace
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  • Black finish makes it ideally fit in with different décor
  • One-piece, basket-style grate with cast-on legs and flat bottom
  • Keeps logs in place for efficient burning and improved circulation
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  • Seven bars to safely hold firewood, suitable for almost all fireplaces
  • Made with ¾-inch solid bars, ensuring heavy-duty construction
  • By lifting the firewood off the floor, it ensures better circulation
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  • Ideal for small fireplaces as it can hold small logs
  • Made of 18-inches black wrought iron with five bars
  • Solid and good quality construction that will last for years
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  • 27-inch bar grate provides increased airflow for wide fireplaces
  • Hexagon shape keeps the logs from rolling
  • Has a black finish that goes well with various decors
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What is a Fireplace Grate?

A fireplace grate is one of the most important safety features of a fire pit or a fireplace, as well as assisting with a more smooth operation. Helping to safeguard open fires, a fireplace grate gives a solid foundation for the fire to burn upon. You will find that the grate sits just over the ash pan.

One of its functions is to serve as a filter for the resulting ash. In doing this, it helps to keep the fire burning efficiently. This stops the fire from behaving unexpectedly, as well as saving money as fuel is more efficiently burnt. Equally, it raises the fire, allowing the fire to suck in oxygen. The improved airflow helps the fire burn evenly.

Fireplace Grate in Use (Source)

Choosing a Fireplace Grate

When choosing a fireplace grate, there are a few things to consider. First, there are two main types of fireplace grates: cast iron and steel bar grates. Consider your own fireplace and its fuel requirements and size.

Cast iron grates are designed to be more suitable for charcoal burning. They can be used for wood and logs, but not very heavy fuel.

Steel bar grates, however, are only suitable for burning wood. Visually, steel bar grates have heavy steel bars across them. The gaps between the bars are too big to hold coal, which would fall through. In this sense, they are designed to only to hold logs.

Sizing your fireplace grate is very important as something too small will fall down, while a fireplace grate that is too large, won’t fit correctly. Make sure you measure your fireplace (always measure thrice!) to make sure it fits. This is especially important when choosing a steel bar grate, as the number of bars is determined by the size of your fireplace or fire pit.

Lastly, try to look for something that has an easy-to-clean finish. Often fireplace grates can get clogged. The buildup of ash can cause fires and may damage the grate. If they are difficult to clean, they tend to have a shorter lifespan as it becomes harder to keep them in tip-top condition.

Benefits of a Fireplace Grate

Installing a fireplace grate brings about a few benefits. Firstly, fireplace grates provide good insulation. Made from solid metals, they help to encourage better energy efficiency. By holding the heat through thermal mass, they keep a room hotter longer, while ensuring the fire burns efficiently. They simultaneously help create radiant heat to warm the room faster and more evenly.

The filtering system of the grates, created by the closeness of the bars and grids, means that big lumps of ash are broken down before they hit the ash pan. This makes the ash pan much easier to clean. Not only is maintenance more simple, it also increases the life of your fireplace and ash pan.

Moreover, the improved airflow resulting from a fireplace grate means better air circulation throughout the area. In this sense, air flows more effortlessly up the chimney, which reduces the backflow of smoke into the room.

Cast Iron Grate (Source)

Quick Take: Best Fireplace Grates

Reviews of the Best Fireplace Grate

Let's take a look at this year's top picks.

Amagabeli Fireplace Log Grate 24 inch Wide Heavy Duty Solid Steel Indoor Chimney Hearth 3/4 Bar Fire Grates for Outdoor Kindling Tools Pit Wrought Iron Wood Stove Firewood Burning Rack Holder Black

PROS

  • Thick, Durable Steel
  • V-shape Safely Secures Logs
  • Comes with a Three-Month Warranty
  • Easy to Install with No Assembly Required.

CONS

  • Paint Flecks off Easily
  • Not for Smaller Fireplaces due to Tapering

Measuring 22 inches by 11.25 inches x 7.5 inches, this model rises four inches above the ground for increased airflow. Made from thick steel, the structure is durable. The V-shape holds logs securely, while the device comes already assembled.

Bottom Line

This model is solidly designed with a secure way of holding the logs. It comes with a three-month warranty, but it is wider at the back than the front, so bear that in mind. It is easy to install but take caution not to hit it on anything as the finish is a little brittle.

SteelFreak Heavy Duty 13 x 10 Inch Steel Grate for Wood Stove & Fireplace - Made in The USA

PROS

  • Well Priced, High Quality for Cost
  • Wide Bars for Larger and Heavier Logs
  • Modern, Sleek Finish, Provides Great Aesthetic Appeal
  • Versatile model, Functions Well in Small and Large Spaces

CONS

  • Heavy Grate Reduces Portability
  • Can Warp in Extremely Hot Fires

Specially designed for small fireplaces, this 13-inch model is made of heavy duty steel. It is only ten inches wide and has curved up edges to hold logs in place.

Bottom Line

Ideal for smaller applications, this model is sturdy and holds heavy, slow-burning logs. It is susceptible to warping if it gets too hot, but is perfect for smaller fires.

SteelFreak Heavy Duty Steel Fireplace Grate - Made in The USA (21-Inch)

PROS

  • Suitable for Heavy Loads
  • Heavy Duty Steel for Durability
  • Tapered Design Fits Most Fireplaces
  • Ideal Height for Easy Loading and Excellent Airflow

CONS

  • Finish Peels Off Quite Easily
  • No Mesh Base Allowing Small Wood Pieces to Fall Through

At 21 inches wide and 14 inches deep, this fireplace grate is made of heavy-duty steel. It is shaped to taper, allowing it to fit most fireplaces.

Bottom Line

This is a great, versatile model that fits most homes. While it doesn’t have a mesh layer to catch smaller twigs, it can hold a large load and is very durable.

Best Outdoor Fireplace Grate:
INNO STAGE Fire Wood

INNO STAGE Fire Wood Log Grate for Fireplace, 24' Cast Wrought Iron Grill Grate for Outdoor Camping Cooking, Solid Steel Andirons Firewood Stove Burning Rack Holder for Hearth or Fire Pit

PROS

  • Doesn’t need any assembling
  • Smart design allows better airflow
  • Durable welding for a robust frame
  • Long-lasting due to the thick steel construction
  • Log holder consists of seven heavy-duty steel bars

CONS

  • Not suitable for smaller fireplaces

What Recent Buyers Report

Various recent buyers are impressed by the build quality of this unit. People have used it both indoors and outdoors and have appreciated the airflow it allows. Moreover, the sturdy frame is built to last long, and many buyers have agreed to it. Overall, the users are happy with this grate and totally recommend it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The INNO STAGE Fire Wood grate is a highly praised unit in the market. It comes packed in a huge box, ready to get to work. You just have to put it into its space, and you’ll start to realize how amazing it is. The unit is built from solid steel, which makes it very long-lasting.

Moreover, the frame is heat-treated and made for going through the strongest of fires. The sturdy frame is put together by welding the thick rods, which enhances its durability.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, this unit is a great option for anyone looking for a new fireplace grate for themselves or to gift to a loved one. It has a sturdy design and is backed by numerous positive customer reviews.

Best Cast Iron Fireplace Grate:
HY-C Liberty Foundry G800-20-BX

HY-C Liberty Foundry G800-27-BX Fire Grate, 27' W x 15' D x 7' H, Black

PROS

  • Basket Style Securely Cradles Logs
  • One Piece, Does Not Need Assembly
  • Grid Style Grate Enables Use with Charcoal
  • Heavy-Duty Cast Iron, Making it Very Sturdy and Durable

CONS

  • Short Legs Make it Difficult to use with Paper Starter
  • Some Complaints about Uneven Legs and Wobbling

Formed into one solid piece, this basket style fireplace grate measures 15 inches deep, 27 inches at the front and 23 inches at the back. It has a grid style crate, making it suitable for coal, and is made from heavy-duty cast iron.

Bottom Line

Shorter than other models, this one-piece item has a basket style design to hold logs safely in place. The grid makes it suitable for coal, but be aware that sometimes it comes with wobbly legs.

Pleasant Hearth - 3/4' Premium Solid Steel Fireplace Grates, Black, 27-Inch

PROS

  • Heat-Resistant Finish
  • Strong Steel for Durability
  • Lifetime Warranty that Stands Behind the Product

CONS

  • Very Heavy, Can’t be Moved Around Easily
  • Bars are Widely Spaced, Requiring Larger Logs

With seven heavy-gauge steel bars, this solidly constructed fireplace grate turns up at the edges to stop logs from falling off. It has a heat-resistant finish and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Bottom Line

A large model, this fireplace is heavy, yet very sturdy. It won’t lose its finish as it heats up, but you need to use relatively large logs with this fireplace grate.

Best Iron Fireplace Grate:
 Panacea 15450Tv

Frigidaire FFRS1022R1 10000 BTU 115-volt Slider/Casement Room Full-Function Remote Control Window Air Conditioner, 10,000, White

PROS

  • Fits Smaller Fireplaces
  • Light and Easy to Move
  • Hexagonal Design Keeps Wood in Place

CONS

  • Can’t be Used with Heavier Fuel
  • Can Only be Used with Smaller Logs

Designed for smaller fireplaces, this grate has four hexagonal bars and is 18 inches in length. The hexagonal bars hold the wood securely and are made from heavy cast iron.

Bottom Line

For more lightweight use, this smaller model is great for both indoor and outdoor use. While you can’t place heavy logs on it, the hexagonal design ensures that smaller logs are held tightly to prevent them from falling off or through the grate.

Best Heavy Duty Fireplace Grate:
Uniflame, C-1546, 27 Hex Bar Grate

Uniflame, C-1546, 27 in. x 27 in. Hex Bar Grate

PROS

  • Good Air Circulation
  • Wide Shape Fits Large Fireplaces
  • Curled up Edges Safely Keep Logs Secure
  • Modern Look, Blends with Contemporary Aesthetics

CONS

  • Very Heavy/Less Portable
  • Packaging is Flimsy, Causing Damage While in Transit

This black-finish model has a 27-inch hexagonal bar-style grate. The turned up edges stop the logs from rolling off, while the large size fits even wide fireplaces.

Bottom Line

Designed for large fireplaces, this heavy steel model is considerably durable and holds logs well. It has a modern finish but is a little heavy to move around.

Cast Iron vs. Steel Fireplace Grate- Comparison Overview

Fireplace grates have two common variations. They are made of either cast iron or steel. Here’s a comparison between the two so you can determine which one suits your needs better. 

Durability

The first factor that comes in anybody’s mind before choosing a fireplace grate is the unit's durability. Cast iron is usually more efficient and durable than steel due to the different chemical properties of both the elements. However, a steel fireplace grate with a heavier grade can last as long as cast iron, but it might cost more. 

Use

Most stainless steel grates are commonly used for wood only. The bars or rods of the steel units are wider; hence they support wooden logs only. Therefore, if you’re getting a grate for more materials, like coal, you should go for cast iron.

Weight

Another factor you should keep in mind is the weight of the unit. Heavier units tend to be more durable and long-lasting due to their density. They tend to be better for you in the longer run. The more weight a grate has, the more fire retardant it will be.

What Size of Fireplace Grate Do I Need?

Buying the right size for the fireplace grate is important. The size you should opt for depends on the usage and the size of your fireplace. The three main dimensions of your fireplace to keep in mind are:

Width

The unit should be no longer than the back of your fireplace, as it would get difficult to move it around.

Depth

The depth of a fireplace is the surface area available. The grate's size should be checked to see whether it’s leg will fit in or not.

Height

The fireplace’s height plays a vital role. The unit should be 10–15 inches clear of the top, so you can easily toss in the wood. 

How to Measure For a Fireplace Grate

Measuring a fireplace is one of the main prerequisites of buying a grate. It is a very basic yet vital procedure because if you get the wrong size, the grate's performance will decline, or it may not even fit in your fireplace. 

Therefore, the following is a step-by-step guide for measuring your fireplace. 

  1. First of all, measure the front width of your fireplace. This is the front end of the fireplace, which will be the access point between you and the grate.

  2. Secondly, get the width of the rear end because if your surface area is not in a square shape, you need to buy a grate accordingly.

  3. The depth of the fireplace is the next thing on the list. This comes in play with the legs of the grate, whether they will fit in or not.

  4. Lastly, the fireplace's height should also be considered to see whether there will be room for you to toss in the logs.

While going through this measurement procedure, there is one thing you should be aware of. Six inches of space should be left between the grate and fireplace surroundings due to the airflow. The space will be crucial in enhancing the performance of the grate.

If there’s still some ambiguity left regarding the process, here’s a video:

Conclusion

If you’re looking to help the circulation of air flow through your house while having a fire, a fireplace grate is a good place to start. Not only does it prevent backflow of smoke, keeping your home’s air cleaner, it also makes fireplace maintenance less of a chore. The filtered ash helps keep the ash pan in good knick, while the increased airflow allows for better heating and more even fuel usage.Remember to measure well and choose the model most suited to your fuel type.

People Also Ask

By now, you know that a fireplace grate can ensure the best circulation of air inside your house to keep it toasty and warm. However, you might still have some reservations. Check out these FAQs to clear any doubts you might have.

How High Should a Fireplace Grate Be?

We would recommend a minimum of 10-15-inch clearance from the top of the fireplace. This will be best not only for safety purposes but also for better airflow. It will help the wood to burn more efficiently.

Which Way Does the Fireplace Grate Go?

You should place the grate in the center of the fireplace with the longer side facing the opening. Around six inches should be left on all sides to ensure the safe distance from the surroundings of the fireplace.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Fireplace Grate

A cast iron grate should be cleaned in the same way as any other cast iron tool. Firstly, rinse the surface of the grate with a pressure hose. Next, use some abrasive cleanser, sprinkle it on the surface, and scrub it down with any stiff-bristle brush.

How to Install a Fireplace Grate

Place the grate in the center of the fireplace. Put two seasoned logs, parallel to each other, in the grate. Fill in some crumbled newspaper or dried bark work. Add an ample amount of twigs or leftover wood splits on the top. Light up a rolled newspaper and drop it in between the two logs.

What Are High Efficiency Fireplace Grates?

High-efficiency grates allow a wall of warmth, creating chimney ashes to develop at the unit's base while firewood burns in a controlled manner. The vertical structure starts a self-feeding fire, which allows a much more efficient burn.

What Size Grate Do I Need for my Fireplace?

When choosing the ideal size for your fireplace grate, there are three measurements to take care of. Firstly, the grade must measure as wide as your fireplace’s back. Secondly, the front of the grate’s legs shouldn’t interfere with a structure in front of the firebox like a glass door frame or raised hearth. Lastly, your grate’s height should be such that there’s enough room for you to toss wood into the fire over the grate.

Why Use a Grate in the Fireplace?

Using a grate for your fireplace will ensure a good airflow, which will, in turn, allow the fire to burn more efficiently and evenly. Without a grate, the logs will rest directly on the floor and will not heat evenly.

Should I Use a Grate in My Wood Stove?

You should definitely avoid doing so. A wood stove is designed such that the wood burns directly over the fire bricks. Using a grate will lead to overheating and can even damage the firebox.

What Are Fireplace Grates Made of?

Fireplace grates are of two kinds. There are those made using steel bars that are only used for wood. Then there are those made using cast iron. Such grates are used for both coal and wood.

Why Does My Fireplace Grate Melt?

Heat tends to oxidize or, in simpler words, rust any metal that has been using steel, cast iron, or any other kind of iron. With time, repeatedly heating the grate will result in such a rusting process that will thin the metal so much that it can bend or sever easily.