Best Fireplace Tongs

Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for Best fireplace tongs

There’s nothing quite like sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold night. Safely lighting and maintaining a fire in your fireplace requires the right tools, and fireplace tongs can make the entire process much easier.

Like kitchen tongs, fireplace tongs are made of a heat-proof material that allows you to handle hot items. In particular, they’re used to add wood to a fire or adjust burning logs in a fireplace. Moving the logs helps the fire maintain its heat and cuts down on ash for easier cleanup. Some fireplace tool sets include a pair of tongs, but they’re often flimsy and cheaply made. For the most durable, easy-to-use fireplace tongs, you’ll need to get an individual pair.

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Longer fireplace tongs allow you to keep distance between your hands and burning logs. If the tongs are too long, however, you may not have as much control when lifting and moving the logs.

Key considerations

Material

Fireplace tongs can be made of a few different materials, and some are more durable than others. Let’s take a look:

  • Brass fireplace tongs are usually cheaper, but they can be incredibly heavy and difficult to maneuver. They’re often included in fireplace tool sets, but the quality may be low. Your best bet is to get tongs separately.
  • Coated carbon steel fireplace tongs are fairly affordable and much more durable than brass tongs. They’re very strong, especially considering the price, but they must be coated with a powder or heat-resistant coating to prevent rust.
  • Stainless steel fireplace tongs are the highest-quality option. They’re entirely rust-resistant and work well even in outdoor settings. Compared to carbon steel, stainless steel is just as strong, and in some cases, it is stronger. Diligent maintenance is not required. Notably, stainless steel tongs cost more than coated carbon steel tongs.

Style

In addition to choosing a material, you will need to decide what style of tongs you prefer. They’re typically available in two types: scissor and pincher.

Scissor-style fireplace tongs bend inward slightly to dig into the logs for a secure grip. The design calls for more hinges and thinner overall construction, which can lead to performance issues. Pincher-style fireplace tongs have a thicker build and fewer hinges, so they’re more reliable and don’t require as much upkeep.

One drawback to pincher tongs is that they must be opened fully to grab a piece of wood. As a result, scissor tongs may be easier to use, though they aren’t as strong or reliable.

Features

Length

Fireplace tongs should be long enough to allow you to safely handle burning logs. However, if they’re too long, they can make it more difficult to move and position logs because they put too much weight at the ends of the tongs.

Fireplace tongs generally measure between 26 and 42 inches. Tongs that fall in this range are long enough to put distance between you and the flames but not so long that you have difficulty moving the logs.

Weight rating

You want a pair of tongs that are strong enough to lift heavy logs or coals without issue. Many manufacturers provide a weight rating for their tongs so you know exactly how much you can lift. In general, a pair of tongs that can handle at least 15 pounds is desired.

If a manufacturer doesn’t include a weight rating for their tongs, it may be a sign that they can’t handle much weight. It’s a good assumption that the tongs could only handle about 5 pounds at once, so it may be best to avoid them.

Handles

Fireplace tongs should have comfortable, ergonomically designed handles that are easy to hold and maneuver. Most have one-size-fits-all handles designed to fit in most hands well. If you have very large or very small hands, you may need to look around for a pair that’s a good fit for you.

Clean your fireplace tongs by using a dry brush or cloth to remove soot. Steel wool pads are effective for particularly stubborn stains. You should also rub down the tongs with vegetable oil after cleaning to help build up a protective coating.

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Accessories

Fireplace bellows: Amagabeli Garden and Home Large Fireplace Bellows
Fireplace bellows deliver air to your fire to help feed it and increase its heat. This one from Amagabeli Garden and Home features a durable zinc cast nozzle and a hanging cord for easy storage.

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Did You Know?
Fireplace tongs can be used to add or adjust logs in an outdoor fire pit.
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Fireplace tongs prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable fireplace tongs are usually made of brass or another weaker material. They typically can’t handle more than 10 pounds, and durability is iffy. Expect to spend between $8 and $20 for tongs like these.

Mid-range: Mid-range fireplace tongs are typically made of carbon steel and range from 26 to 42 inches in length. The weight limit for these sits at 15 pounds or higher. You can also find some stainless steel tongs in this price range, though they tend to be on the short side. These tongs generally cost between $20 and $35.

High-end: The most expensive fireplace tongs are usually made of stainless steel and range from 26 to 42 inches in length. They also have a weight limit of 15 pounds or greater. These tongs typically cost between $35 and $55.

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Did You Know?
 Some fireplace tongs fold to make them more compact for storage. Foldability also makes the tongs more travel-friendly.
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Tips

  • Your fireplace tongs belong beside your fireplace. You’ll need immediate access to them if burning or smoldering firewood shifts in the fireplace or falls out of the fireplace altogether.
  • Different tongs are suitable for different wood pieces. Fireplace tongs with rounded tips are usually best for lifting and moving large logs or wood pieces. However, to handle smaller pieces of smoldering firewood, tongs with pointed tips typically offer greater precision. Shorter fireplace tongs can also be used to move hot coals around in a charcoal grill.
  • A large, deep fireplace requires long fireplace tongs. A pair that’s 45 inches in length or longer is your best bet.
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Fireplace tongs require the use of two hands, which allows you to have greater control when maneuvering logs.

FAQ

Q. Why do I need fireplace tongs?

A. When a fire is active, it’s normal for the logs to shift and move as they burn. Depending on how they move, there may be a reduction in airflow, increased smoke, or a larger amount of ash. By keeping the logs in a neat, compact pile, you can reduce the smoke and ash and keep the fire burning evenly.

Tongs are also an important safety tool. They’re a must-have if any pieces of wood fall out of the fireplace or fall against the fireplace screen.

Q. Do I need to get fireplace tongs if my fireplace tool set includes a pair?

A. Fireplace tongs that come in a set are often made of brass and can’t handle more than 5 pounds at a time. That can make it difficult to move burning logs around. Tongs that come in sets usually don’t last as long as tongs sold separately, either.

Q. Should I have any other fireplace accessories to use with the tongs?

A. There are plenty of tools that come in handy for managing your fireplace. When it comes to handling hot logs, you may want to pair your tongs with a couple of key tools. A poker is a pointed tool that can stoke the fire and move logs that only need a slight adjustment. Fire-resistant gloves are helpful because they protect your hands if you need to pick up burning embers or toss a log into the fire.

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