Fireplace Grate Comparison
Fireplace Grate Buying Guide
There are many reasons to get a fireplace grate. We have listed the most common benefits that come from using a fireplace grate.
- Protects the fireplace floor – Using a grate keeps the high heat off the floor of the fireplace. This will extend the life of your fireplace.
- More Complete Burn – When the pieces of burned wood fall underneath the grate, it builds up a bed of goals that enable the firewood to burn from the bottom. This makes a much more complete burn that lasts longer and burns up more of the wood.
- Better Quality Burn – Air is crucial for a fire to burn well. The fireplace grate allows the air to circulate around the logs. The fire will be amped up with air, making the fire more efficient and hotter too.
- Quality Drafting – A fireplace grate lifts the fire up higher, closer to the chimney. It also allows air to move under the fire. This helps the smoke and fumes to draft up the chimney rather than coming into the house. If you have trouble with your fireplace smoking frequently and you don’t already have a grate, getting one could fix this problem.
- Easier to Light – The main reason for using a fireplace grate is to make the fire easier to light and burn. It is easier to light due to the increased air flow.
- Easier to Work With – A standard fireplace grate looks similar to others; it has a front and a back that curl up. This will cradle the wood and prevent it from falling out of the grate. The curled up front and back keep the wood in the center which helps prevent you from having to move the wood around to achieve the same thing.
Choosing the Right grate for Your Needs
There are two types of fireplace grates that you can choose from, cast iron and steel. Each one has its advantages and uses it is best suited for. We have listed the uses and characteristics of each below.
Steel Grates – Steel bar grates are best used for wood burning fireplaces. The bars of a steel grate are usually separated by the thickness of the bars that are used to create the grate. The thicker the bars are the longer the grate will last. Consider how often you will be using your fireplace and the type of wood you will be using. There are three different types of users that we will discuss.
- Rare Users – if you will only be using your fireplace on holidays and other special occasions, a lighter gauge of steel grate will work just fine.
- Frequent Users – If you use your fireplace about once a month or a more a middle or high grade fireplace grate is a better choice. In addition, take a look at the wood you will be burning. Woods like Oak, Beachwood, Maple and other hardwoods burn hotter which will add stress to your grate and cause it to wear sooner. Thicker steel will handle the hotter and more frequent fires.
- Daily Users – If you use your fireplace daily, even just during the colder, winter months you should get the heaviest, thickest fireplace grate you can find. Many of the heavy duty grates have a lifetime warranty and will not wear out even with daily exposure to fires.
Things to watch out for with Steel Grates
Where the legs meet the top bars need to have strong welds. You don’t want the welds on the flats you want it on the diagonals. Welds are where the grate would weaken and break first so make sure these welds are durable and long lasting.
If you choose a grate with thinner bars you should expect it not to last as long as a grate that has heavy duty bars. Look for at least 5/8” thickness.
Look for powder-coated grates which help them last longer. Powder coating will burn off after several fires. All grates can rust if they are exposed to moisture and heat but this can be reduced with a good quality chimney cap.
The number of bars is important in terms of durability. Look for as many bars as you can afford. This will ensure a stronger, longer lasting grate.
- Cast Iron Grates – Cast iron grates can be used for wood or coal. They last longer than traditional steel grates do except for the super thick steel grates. Cast iron grates are made a little different than steel bar varieties. They have small openings on the bottom that prevent the wood chunks or coal from falling through the grate too early. Cast iron grates are heavier than steel. The heavier the cast iron grate the stronger it is. You can use the same usage information above to choose the right grade of cast iron grate you choose.
Things to Watch Out for With Cast Iron Grates
Weight is one of the most important factors when it comes to cast iron grates. The heavier the grate is the sturdier and longer lasting it is.
Style is a matter of personal preference. There isn’t one style that is better than another. Some cast iron grates are being designed with wider gaps and bars which make it still work for wood but not suitable for coal burning as the coal pieces will just fall through the wider holes.
A fireplace grate is a metal item that provides many functions when it comes to the fires you burn in your fireplace. The grate sits above the ash pan if there is one or just above the floor of the fireplace if you don’t have an ash pan.
The bars of the grate are designed to provide you with the best quality fires you can start in your fireplace. The fumes from a fire built on a grate are much cleaner than those made without one.
Depending on the grate, it can improve safety by slowing down the burning rate and in some cases allow the fire to burn all night. This is very beneficial for homes that may use fireplaces as a heat source. The improved air flow makes large flames that are more efficient.
There are many different styles of fire grates available that cover traditional and modern designs. The differences may not be significant but they are enough to allow you some choices in the designs of these useful fireplace accessories.
The fireplace grates that we have featured above are very useful fireplace accessories that are not terribly expensive but they provide a slew of benefits that you will enjoy for a long time. The information in this buyer’s guide has been designed to help you sort of all the different choices and options and make a decision on the right one for you.
- Pleasant Hearth – http://pleasanthearthfireplacedoors.com/
- Landmann USA – http://www.landmann-usa.com/
- Panacea – http://www.panaceaproducts.com/