Best Fireplace Grate in 2017 (Reviews and Buying Guide)
If you own a wood-burning fireplace, you know the plenty of hassles associated with having a real flame in your home. Meanwhile, most of such fireplace owners won’t trade them for anything less natural. If you want to make your wood-burning fireplace operation easier and more efficient, you might need to consider purchasing a fireplace grate.
The grate lifts the wood off the floor, provides a better quality burn, makes the logs easier to light, and creates better drafting. While looking similar at the first glance, not all grates are created equal.
I went through dozens of such fireplace accessories trying to find the best fireplace grate. After months of research and testing, I’m ready to present you the top – 7 list.
Best Fireplace Grate Reviews In Details
Model M-6 High Efficiency Smoke-Free Fireplace Grate
This solidly designed fireplace grate can service a large fireplace. It reduces the smoke problems and boosts the heat output of your wood-burning fireplace.
While looking quite simple, this model is a great choice for all fireplace owners.
By lifting the wood off the ground, this grate brings the smoke closer to the chimney and eliminates the unpleasant odors. The smoke slides along the back wall of the fireplace and doesn’t spill into the room
Heat output increase
The heat given off by the fireplace is multiplied thanks to the heat being developed beneath the grate instead of going up into the chimney.
This grate comes in various sizes so it can easily fit any fireplace in any home. The design of this grate is amazingly simple. There are not delicate parts that might break. The unit weighs 35 pounds. You can use this grate with fireplace doors if you install it in the back of the hearth.
If for some reason you are not 100% satisfied with the way this unit works, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund.
The unit is heavy
Pleasant Hearth - 3/4" Solid Steel Fireplace Grates
This heavy-duty steel fireplace grate is exactly what you need to stock any type of wood and keep the fireplace burning hotter without producing any extra smoke. While the design is simple, the grate does its job perfectly.
This grate has eight bars, which make it easy to hold even the smallest logs. While other fireplaces have wider spaces between the bars, this one allows you to avoid the unburnt wood falling through the bars.
This grate comes in 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36 inches. This means you can choose a suitable size for your fireplace. The larger the grate is, the higher the price you have to pay for it.
Improved air circulation
This grate does a great job lifting the wood off the floor and allowing the air circulation to improve. This leads to the more efficient wood-burning process. Meanwhile, the smoke goes up the back part of the fireplace and straight into the chimney without going into the room.
This heavy unit weighs about 30 pounds. It’s solidly built and has a heat resistant finish. The overall design of this grate makes it a great –looking accessory for any fireplace.
The legs are a bit too high
Panacea 15424 Cast Iron Fire Grate
This cast iron grate is exactly what you need to lift the logs off the floor and make your fireplace more energy efficient.
The burnt wood falls through the holes of the grate and creates a bed of coals that keeps the heat coming.
The basket design of this grate doesn’t allow large pieces of unburnt wood to fall through, which means the logs burn more efficiently and only the real coals end up on the floor to give off continuous heat.
This fireplace grate comes at a moderate price compared to the similar models available on the market today. While the cost is lower, this Panacea model does just as good of a job as its more expensive counterparts.
This cast iron model is well-built. There are not screws to hold it together, which means it has a rather long life-expectancy. Meanwhile, it’s not too heavy and weighs only about 17 pounds.
This fire grate is designed to fit virtually any wood-burning fireplace, even the largest ones.
Slightly tips forward when used with heavy logs
Panacea Products Corp 18" Black Wrought Iron Grate
This grate is created to work with smaller fireplaces. The special design allows the grate to be more durable, hold more logs and provide more heat efficiency. The coals fall through the bars to create a nice coal bed that gives off plenty of heat.
While being rather small and light (only 4 pounds), it works great with fireplaces and wood burning stoves. It’s compact and nicely designed so it can be a great hearth accessory.
Hexagonal bars don’t just make the appearance of this grate more inviting, they do a good job holding the logs no matter what size they are.
The grate is made out of cast iron, which makes it durable and helps it withstand heat. Such cast iron grates usually have a high life expectancy. The overall design of this item is satisfactory especially when the price is considered.
This fireplace grate comes at a surprisingly low price. While it has its downsides, the low cost of this item makes it a really good buy.
May rust quickly
Landmann USA 97306 1/2" Steel Fireplace Grate
This steel fireplace grate has an interesting design. It tilts to the back and comes with an ember retainer.
These features make it a good choice for any fireplace regardless of how heavily it is used. It also comes at an invitingly low price.
The retainer is a wonderful addition to any grate. It doesn’t allow large pieces of wood to fall through the bars. Eventually, only small coals fall down to the ground and create plenty of warmth.
Even though this unit looks heavy, it actually weighs only 11 pounds, which makes it easy to move around and clean when necessary. Surprisingly enough, the light weight doesn’t make it any less sturdy or functional.
This fire grate model comes in a perfect size to fit any fireplace. The versatility coupled with a low price makes this unit one of the best buys for its money. However, the life expectancy can be somewhat low due to the low quality of steel.
No screws are used to keep the pieces together. This model is solidly welded, which makes it extra sturdy.
Vestal Manufacturing Cast Iron Fireplace Grate
This cast iron grate has open ends, which allow you to use logs of any length. The design is simple and sturdy. It can fit almost any type of fireplace regardless of its size.
Made in USA
This product is made in USA, and this speaks highly of its quality. It has a high life expectancy due to the solid built and the high-quality materials used. For a unit manufactured in USA, this grate comes at a moderate price.
Since this model is made out of cast iron, it should be long-lasting. The overall impression this grate makes is extremely solid. It should hold up for years to come.
This grate has a flat bottom, unlike many other grates. This design allows the unit to hold more wood. Meanwhile, the open ends provide more space for large logs.
While many grates are just as sturdy and efficient, this particular one has an inviting design. I really liked the way it looks in my fireplace. There is nothing extra here. No bars sticking out or retainers making look like a basket.
Black finish turns white after heavy use
Liberty Foundry Franklin Style Cast Iron Fireplace Grate
This one piece solid fireplace grate stands on cast iron legs and provides a good hold for even the largest logs. This can be a great choice for various fireplaces since it creates a nice coal bed to boost the heat output.
The four-inch legs create enough space below the grate to house large amounts of coals. This is a great option for people who burn a lot of wood and want the coals to do the main heating job for them.
The one-piece design is a direct indication of quality. This heavy (30 pounds) unit creates a feeling of sturdiness and high quality. The design is sleek and seems like a good addition to the fireplace décor.
This unit is designed to fit any type of fireplaces. Sometimes people with unusually designed hearths complain that they can’t find a proper grate. If you have an extraordinary fireplace, this grate is the perfect solution.
This fireplace grate comes in one piece, so there is no assembly required. All you have to do is put it inside your fireplace and enjoy its functions.
Legs might seem too short to some owners
Best Fireplace Grate Buying Guide
While fireplace grates don’t seem too complicated at the first glance, there are still some rules you should consider following when choosing the best grate for your needs. Let’s take a look.
Before going to browse through various models, you need to choose the type of grate that fits your needs best. Below are the three types of grates available on the market today.
Steel bar grate
A steel grate usually looks more delicate than others do. However, most of them are quite sturdy. The main difference between these units is the thickness and the number of bars on top of the grate. The thicker the bars of the steel grate are, the longer such fireplace accessory will last. Most of the time, the thickness of the bars determines the cost of the grate. Steel grates are usually purchased for fireplaces that burn only wood.
Cast iron grate
Cast iron grates appear more sturdy. Instead of just having bars, these units are usually created in a form of a basket to allow the wood to stay there longer so it burns out completely. The main difference between cast iron grates is their weight. The heavier the grate, the sturdier it is. Cast iron grates are perfect if you want your fireplace to generate substantial amounts of coals.
Grate heater is a more expensive option than the above too. However, it produces much more heat thanks to the fan that blows the air back into the room. Such units can help your fireplace produce up to 40,000 BTUs in hour, which is enough to heat a rather large room.
Frequency of Use
The type of grate you want to buy depends on how often you use the fireplace. All grates break down over time. If you are planning to use the fireplace on special occasions only, then you can go for a moderately priced option. Even the lightest grate can last for years if used rarely.
If you are planning to use the fireplace on a daily basis, then you need to go for the heavy-duty pieces. If you’ve chosen a steel grate, then you need to look for the thickest bars possible. Don’t buy a steel grate unless its bars are less than 5/8 inches thick. If you’ve chosen a cast iron grate, then you need to go for the heaviest unit. Remember, the heavier the cast iron grate is, the longer it will last.
If you are using your fireplace occasionally, then you can go for an average-priced stainless steel grate. A steel grate that can withstand daily use will cost you more than a heavy cast iron grate. Accordingly, the best buy for an occasional user is a stainless steel grate. The best choice for a regular fireplace user is a heavy cast iron grate. If you are not limited by the budget and want to generate more heat for your room, go for the grate heater.
How to Measure for a Fireplace Grate
In order to understand what size of grate you need to purchase, you have to start with measuring your fireplace. In order to measure the width of the fireplace, you’ll need to get inside it and measure the very back part. Make sure you dress appropriately for this procedure.
The depth of the fireplace is measured along the floor from the very back to the doors. Then you have to measure the height of the opening. Once you have the three measurements down, you are ready to choose the grate. Here are a few rules.
- The grate can’t be wider than the back part of your fireplace (width). Even though the front part of the fireplace might be wider than the back, you have to follow the back measurement.
- The grate shouldn’t be wider than your depth measurement. The grate might seem small but the legs could be sticking out and interfering with the doors or the screen.
- Add at least 20 inches to the height of the grate and make sure this measurement doesn’t exceed the height of the fireplace. Keep in mind that you’ll need to place wood on top of the grate and there should be enough space above the wood for proper burning.
Another general rule for choosing the size of your fireplace grate:
- The grate must be at least 6 inches narrower than the fireplace.
- The width of the grate must be at least 3 inches less than the depth of the fireplace.
- The legs of the grate must be long enough to clear any items, such as a burner, on the floor of the fireplace.
Make sure you always read the return policy closely in order to have a chance to return or exchange the grate if, even after all the measurements are done, it still doesn’t fit as well as you wish.
When You Need to Change Your Fireplace Grate
As I said earlier, all fireplace grates eventually wear out. Even the highest quality cast iron grates need to be replaced after a certain time. How do you know that the time has come to buy a new piece? If you use the fireplace heavily, inspect at least once a week. The grate damage might not be visible right away, so a close look before starting a fire can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
If you have a steel grate, take a close look at the bars. They are the first ones to go. Most people report the bars breaking right in the middle of the fireplace operation. That’s why you need to inspect them closely. If you see that they are starting to sag, it’s a sign you should look for a new fireplace.
If you have a cast iron grate, pay attention to the overall appearance. Cast iron grates often become deformed. Deformation leads to improper wood burning and worse coal formation. Such a grate can still serve its function but the output will be worse. Also, look for the sagging. A sagged grate allows fewer coals to form beneath it and less heat to be produced.
Before using the grate for the first time, make sure it perfectly fits into your fireplace. If you have any doubts about the width or the height of the piece, you should return it immediately. Once you use it for the first time, you’ll unlikely get a refund.
Many grates come with warranties. If you want a high-quality grate that won’t need to be replaced shortly, consider a piece that has a warranty. More often than not, manufacturers that offer warranties are confident in the high quality of their products.
How to Paint a Fireplace Grate
Nice and shiny fireplace grates tend to turn into dull and ashy units when used frequently. Since the grate is one of the essential fireplace accessories that you look at when the fire is not burning, a sorry looking grate can considerably corrupt your room’s décor. If your grate is still functional and it’s too early to replace it, you can paint it to restore the ideally new appearance. Here is how.
Buy the right paint
When choosing the paint for your grate, you have to look for the “heat resistant” options. Such paint is specifically created to withstand the highest temperatures. The best paint for the fireplace grate should be labeled at least 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. The color of the paint doesn’t matter. You can let your imagination run wild here, since heat-resistant paint comes in a variety of shades.
Prepare your workplace
Since painting the grate is a dirty and smelly work, try to do it outside. Make sure you spread rags or newspapers on the ground to place the grate on.
Clean the grate
Use a brush to remove all the ashes, soot, and other large debris off the grate. After it’s smooth, you can wash it with soap and water. The cleaner the grate is when you start painting, the better the paint will hold. Remove all oil and grease by using an acetone-containing solution.
Paint the grate
The easiest paint to use is the one with a spray applicator. You can use the brush if you wish as well. Try to avoid rollers since they create air bubbles, and the paint won’t last. Apply at least two coats of paint. Wait about 20 minutes between the coat applications. Leave the grate to dry for at least 12 hours before use.
Now that you know all the details, you are ready to choose the best fireplace grate for your needs. While some people manage to operate their wood-burning fireplaces without a grate, this accessory can make the operation much more efficient and enjoyable.
The main thing you must consider when choosing the perfect fireplace grate is the frequency you are planning to use it at. You can save plenty of money on these units if you are an occasional fireplace user. I hope that the above information can help you make the right decision and avoid returns and refunds. Good luck!