Best Fireplace Grates

Updated November 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
14 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
206 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best fireplace grates

If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace to enjoy in the winter, one essential piece of equipment you need is a fireplace grate. A quality fireplace grate can benefit a fire. It allows better air circulation, resulting in a hotter fire that burns fuel more completely. It provides a stable base for the fire, and it can help to protect the fireplace floor. A fireplace grate also allows the ash to fall from the fire, so the wood burns more cleanly.

While you may think that one fireplace grate is pretty much like another, there are quite a few features and design elements that make some grates stand out from the rest.

This guide examines some of the factors to consider when selecting a grate for your fireplace. In addition to construction materials and design specifics, we consider what you should be searching for in terms of bars, legs, and other elements that go into a grate. We also offer various price ranges for some of these grates and include some of our favorites.

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Fireplace grates can help to heat a room more quickly and efficiently through radiant heat.

Key considerations

Materials

When shopping for a fireplace grate, you have two primary materials to choose from: cast iron and steel.

Cast iron: Cast iron grates stand out for their longevity. If you take care of it properly, it should last for years. Depending on the spacing of the bars, these grates can be used to burn either coal or wood.

Steel: While not quite as durable as cast iron, a steel grate can also last for years, particularly if you buy one with thicker bars. The bars on steel grates are typically farther apart, so they can only be used to burn wood, not coal. While most fireplace grates are designed for indoor use only, some,  particularly those made of steel, can be used outside, too. If you plan to use the grate outdoors, contact the manufacturer or seller to verify that it will hold up to the elements.

Design

Fireplace grates come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While most are rectangular, some are square or hexagonal. Some have bars in a simple, straightforward design, while others are basket shaped or have some other contemporary design. Whatever you choose should adequately support the burning wood, allow for proper airflow, and enhance the appearance of your fireplace as opposed to detracting from it.

A black finish is pretty universal with these grates. Be sure that any grate you buy is coated with a durable finish that won’t chip or peel off.

Size

One vital element to consider when buying a fireplace grate is its size. Simply put, the grate has to be able to fit into your fireplace! Grates run from about 15 inches wide up to 36 inches or larger, and some sellers offer a variety of sizes to choose from. Check the FAQ section of this guide for more information on selecting the right size grate for your fireplace.

Also check how heavy a fireplace grate is before you order it. While a heavier grate offers more stability and is more suitable for larger logs, it can be more difficult to move from indoors to outdoors or even just move to clean the fireplace.

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Did You Know?
A fireplace grate can help to increase the longevity of the ash pan in your fireplace and the fireplace itself.
Staff
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Buying guide for Features

Components

Bars: Generally, the more bars there are in the fireplace grate — and the thicker they are — the better. More bars offer more support for burning wood, while thicker bars hold up better over time. Not having enough bars can also result in situations where partially burned logs slip through to the fireplace floor and fail to burn completely.

Legs: The legs are vital for proper airflow, and they also determine the sturdiness of the grate. How tall are the legs? You want legs that are tall enough so you can easily light the fire from underneath the grate, but not so tall that the grate is difficult to load with wood. A fireplace grate should have at least four legs, but six or more is better.

Mesh: While not standard, some fireplace grates incorporate a mesh layer that helps to hold the fire together longer, resulting in a hotter fire and logs that burn more completely. A grate with mesh can also be a better option if you want to burn coal.

Dyk2 
Did You Know?
By allowing air to move more efficiently through the fire and up the chimney, a fireplace grate helps to keep smoke from seeping back into your home.
Staff
BestReviews

Fireplace grate prices

While fireplace grates start out at less than $25 and can reach $200, most are priced in the $50 to $70 range.

Inexpensive: These grates are often smaller and flimsier. They’re best suited for decorative fireplaces or those that are used infrequently.

Mid-range: As the price rises, so do the quality and overall size of the grates. You’ll find both cast iron and steel in this range, although steel tends to be more expensive. Warranties of two to three years is common for these grates.

Expensive: At higher price points, you’ll find the largest grates, some in excess of 30 inches wide, and often featuring additional legs for stability. These are grates designed to stand up to everyday use. The quality of these grates is so high that some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty with them.
 

Dyk3 
Did You Know?
 A fireplace grate heater is a special type of grate that uses hollow tubes and a fan to blow heat back into your home.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips
 

  • Choose cast iron for durability. If you use your fireplace every day, you might be better off buying a cast iron fireplace grate, which is more durable than steel. If you’re in the market for a steel fireplace grate, try to find one with bars that exceed 1/2 inch thick for the greatest durability.
  • Choose the right size grate. The optimum space between the grate and the interior sides of your fireplace is 3 inches. If you use logs of a certain length in your fireplace, be sure to take that into account when choosing a fireplace grate size.
  • Try a hexagon. A hexagon-shaped fireplace grate offers more support for logs, which helps to keep them from rolling around in the grate or falling off it.
  • Check the mesh. While a mesh layer can help to keep a fire burning hot and cut down on ash, be sure to do your research before buying a grate with mesh. The mesh is usually much flimsier than the rest of the grate and can break down much more quickly.
  • Install a chimney cap. To protect your fireplace grate from moisture that can lead to rust, be sure that your chimney has a quality chimney cap installed on top.
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As a general rule of thumb with cast iron fireplace grates, heavier is better for maximum durability and stability.

FAQ

Q. How difficult are fireplace grates to install?

A. For most of these, installation isn’t difficult at all. Fireplace grates generally ship fully assembled, with installation being as simple as setting the grate in the fireplace. However, some of them require some assembly. For these, be sure that the instructions are easy to follow and comprehensive. One installation factor to note: as some grates can be quite heavy, you should take care when setting the grate in your fireplace so you don’t accidentally damage any bricks or chip the finish on the grate.

Q. How do I know what size grate to buy for my fireplace?

A. Purchasing the correct grate size is all about measuring, and there are three different measurements you need to take. The first is the width of the fireplace. If the width isn’t the same in the front of the fireplace as in the back, be sure to measure both. You also need to measure the depth of the fireplace, and take note of any glass doors or other obstructions that the grate needs to fit through. The final measurement is the interior height of the fireplace. It will be difficult to lay a fire in a grate that’s too tall. Be sure that any grate you’re considering fits into the fireplace space with a few inches of space around it to allow for proper airflow.

Q. Can I use a fireplace grate in my woodstove?

A. While one of these can be quite attractive inside a woodstove, you should avoid using it in such a way. Woodstoves are designed to burn wood with maximum efficiency. A fireplace grate added to this can result in fires that burn too hot, which can damage the woodstove.
 

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