Consumers that are new to the world of wood-burning fireplaces make one common mistake – they buy the wrong grate. This simple accessory’s sole purpose is to hold your firewood while it burns, but the best fireplace grates can do much more than that. In our guide, we’re going to tell you why a good grate is so important, and we’ve chosen seven of the best models available for homeowners today.
- The Best Grates for your Fireplace
- #1 HY-C Liberty Foundry Sampson
- #2 Woodeze Deep Forest Fireplace Grate
- #3 Uniflame Stainless Steel Bar Grate
- #4 Minuteman International FG6 Tapered Fireplace Grate
- #5 Grate Wall of Fire High-Efficiency Fireplace Grate
- #6 Pleasant Hearth Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer
- #7 SteelFreak Heavy Duty Steel Fireplace Grate
- How to Find the Best Fireplace Grate
- Why you need a fireplace grate
- Types of Fireplace Grates
- Fireplace Grate Sizing
- Final Thoughts
HY-C Liberty Foundry G500
- Material: Cast Iron
- Style: Self-feeding Basket
- Size: 22”W x 15”D
- Warranty: 1-year
Woodeze Deep Forest
- Material: Steel
- Style: Standard
- Size: 36”W x 17”D
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Style: Standard
- Size: 23”W
- Warranty: 1-year
Minuteman International FG6
- Material: Steel Bar
- Style: Tapered
- Size: 24”W x 14”D
- Warranty: Unknown
Grate Wall of Fire TR-7
- Material: Steel Bar
- Style: Rumford Tapered
- Size: 27.5”W x 15”D
- Warranty: 30 day
- Material: Steel
- Style: Ember Guard
- Size: 21”W x 12”D
- Warranty: 1-year
- Material: Steel
- Style: Standard
- Size: 13”W x 10”D
- Warranty: Unknown
The Best Grates for your Fireplace
Finding the best fireplace grate can be a time-consuming journey for some homeowners and a rather simple process for others. It may depend on the size of your fireplace or your sense of style, but most homeowners focus on how it’s made along with the price. We’ll cover those areas in our guide, but first we are going to take a look at seven of the top fireplace log grates around.
#1 HY-C Liberty Foundry Sampson
The Best Adjustable Fireplace Grate
Choosing the right size fireplace grate is incredibly important and an area where many consumers trip themselves up. If you’re not sure what size grate you need or want something adjustable, the G500 Sampson is the perfect grate for your fireplace.
The G500 is constructed from cast-iron, but this grate is not in one solid piece, unlike similar models. Instead, it comes in sections, allowing you to adjust the basket's angle with the twist of a wrench. While the length can vary, the height remains the same at 7.5,” and there is 2 ¾” clearance between the bottom of the grate and your fireplace floor.
As for the type style of basket, HY-C went with a self-feeding design on the G500 series. A gentle slope ensures your firewood stays in the center of the grate while large openings in the bottom take care of the ash. The grate is available in five different widths that range from 18” to 33” and is backed by a 1-year guarantee.
There are a handful of other companies with adjustable grates, but they aren’t built like the versatile HY-C G500. You can have this fireplace grate assembled in a matter of minutes, and it will hold up long after the company’s short warranty has expired.
#2 Woodeze Deep Forest Fireplace Grate
The Best Lifetime Fireplace Grate
Every grate on our list has been proven to last through hundreds or thousands of successful burns in fireplaces, but some are designed to last a little longer than others. That’s the case with this 36” grate from Woodeze, which is built to last a lifetime.
The Deep Forest fireplace grate is designed for hearths both large and small. The model we chose is for larger fireplaces, however, and measures 36” wide in the front, 32” wide in the back, and can hold plenty of timber. That’s because it’s 17” deep, although there’s room for air to circulate with a basket height of 4 5/8”. This grate is also a bit of a beast with a weight of 52 pounds.
While the company has smaller versions of this behemoth, all are built to withstand years of abuse. The grates are made from steel bars that are 1” wide, and this model has twelve of them set across the top. There are two extra sets of legs in the middle of this fireplace grate as well, so it’s incredibly stable between its overall weight and the design.
If you’ve searched for fireplace log grates in the past few years, you’ve probably heard of Lifetime Grates. A handful of companies produce them, but the heavy-duty Woodeze grates from Custom Firescreen are our favorites and have been very well-received by consumers. Smaller sizes for this log grate come in at 20”, 24”, and 28” with slightly lower price tags but the same lifetime guarantee.
#3 Uniflame Stainless Steel Bar Grate
The Best Outdoor Fireplace Grate
Most of the fireplace grates on our list have one thing in common aside from the fact they hold wood logs. They are made to be used in indoor fireplaces. Well, if your fireplace is outdoors, our you’re not partial to black, the Uniflame C-7723 should be at the top of your list.
When you want something to hold up outdoors in the elements, stainless steel is one of the best choices. This fireplace grate is made from 304 stainless steel and is in the traditional bar-style design. As it’s only 23” long, there are only five bars across the frame of this grate. The company didn’t provide many tech specs, but the bars are ½” thick.
You won’t have trouble cleaning this grate, and it’s lightweight at 13.9 pounds. While we were unable to find reliable depth or clearance measurements, the company lists the 7723 as being 16.5” high. The bar sizes vary on other models of this grate. The 27” version has six 5/8” thick bars while the large 30” grate has seven bars that are ¾” thick.
This attractive grate will look good indoors or out and is a nice change of pace from a standard black grate when your fireplace is unlit. A slightly longer warranty would have been nice given the price of this stainless steel beauty, but that’s really the only downside, in our opinion.
#4 Minuteman International FG6 Tapered Fireplace Grate
The Best Tapered Fireplace Grate
Minuteman International is known for producing high-quality fireplace accessories at a reasonable price. The FG6 is a fine example of that, as it certainly won’t break the bank and is the best tapered grate on the market for the price.
This simple fireplace log grate doesn’t have an adjustable basket but will keep your log from rolling out of the fireplace and onto the floor. It has a classic design that provides plenty of space between each bar on the grate. The FG6 has a twist; however, as it’s a tapered grate designed to keep the logs centered by design.
Minuteman produces this grate in three different sizes, but each is constructed from steel bar stock that’s 1 1/8” x ¾” thick. There is 3” of clearance beneath the crossbars. Every bar is topped off with the standard black powder finish with diamond-shaped sections for increased durability. The weight varies, but the FG6-24 clocks in at 19 pounds.
Tapered grates are a cheaper alternative to basket fireplace grates, and you can’t go wrong with the FG6 from Minuteman when you want something and tapered. It’s available in three different sizes as well, with two 24” models and an 18” x 14” variant.
#5 Grate Wall of Fire High-Efficiency Fireplace Grate
The Best Fireplace Grate for a Rumford Fireplace
For decades, fireplace grate manufacturers stood by a catalog of standard but effective designs. That’s changed in recent years as they’ve adopted new techniques which have resulted in products like the TR-7 from the aptly named Grate Wall of Fire company.
It’s easy to be scared away from this grate after a quick glance as it is tall and appears to be single-sided. That would be a mistake if you own a Rumford style fireplace considering this grate was built for them. This vertical fireplace grate's design hugs the back wall and makes sure smoke goes upwards instead of outwards into your home.
The design of the grate also ensures your fire burns efficiently as it’s in the self-feeding class. It’s constructed from solid steel bars that are ¾” thick with MIG welds. The center leg in the front will keep it stable, but you’ll want to check your measurements carefully as it’s 19” tall with a width of 27.5” in the front and 12” in the back.
The Grate Wall of Fire TR-7 is the best choice for consumers with a Rumford fireplace, although you can enjoy the design with other styles as well through their S and M-series grates. The TR-9 is an option as well for larger Rumford fireplaces. While this well-built grate is made in the USA, it only comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is disappointing.
#6 Pleasant Hearth Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer
The Best Budget-Friendly Fireplace Grate
Ember guards are a vital part of a fireplace grate for some homeowners, while others prefer a more open design. If you’re in the market for an affordable grate with a traditional diamond ember retainer, the BG5 line from Pleasant Heart is the best way to go.
This is another simple fireplace grate that doesn’t break any new ground from a design standpoint. It’s pre-assembled, however, so it’s ready to go out of the box and sized to fit large or small fireplaces. Pleasant Heart decided to use heavy-duty steel in the construction of this grate with a series of solid ½” thick bars.
While we went with the 24” wide version of this grate dubbed the BG5-245EM, the 18” model only has four bars across the top. Alternatively, the larger 33” and 36” variants have seven top bars and an extra leg in the middle for stability. All are lightweight, considering this model only weighs 8 pounds and the 36” grate is a little over 13 pounds.
There are fireplace grates made from thicker steel, but the BG5 lineup from Pleasant Hearth packs a punch for the price. It’s the best choice for homeowners that need a simple grate with an ember retainer, and it comes with a 1-year guarantee from the company.
#7 SteelFreak Heavy Duty Steel Fireplace Grate
The Best Small Fireplace Grate
SteelFreak has been manufacturing products in the USA since 2014 and are specialists in fireplace grates. While they don’t have the largest collection, several of their models caught our eye, including the small but sturdy SteelFreak SG-HF-13105.
This fireplace grate was designed using the standard bar-style design, and it is the smallest grate on our list at 13” wide and 10” long. That said, it would be a mistake to think it isn’t well-built just because it is small. The company used flat steel bars that are 1 3/8” thick across the top of this grate, so it’s a stout little system that can hold a heavy load.
SteelFreak left some measurements out on this grate, but it looks to be around 4” high. That’s more than enough room for air to circulate, and the bars are just wide enough to let ashes and embers fall freely. If you like this one's look, but it’s a bit too small, the company also has a 20” 8-bar model and a 26” wide variant with 10 bars.
This size of the SteelFreak SG-HF-13105 makes it an excellent choice for small fireplaces, and it will work with small wood-burning stoves as well. It isn’t important, but made in the USA and has wider bars than models at twice the price, with no real downside.
How to Find the Best Fireplace Grate
A fireplace grate doesn’t have to be an overly engineered product to work, like some of the grate heaters and blowers, but you may be surprised to find there are a half-dozen styles. Whether you have a factory firebox or a Rumford fireplace, rest assured there is an option for you. We’re going to touch on the different styles in this guide while also providing some invaluable tips that ensure you choose the right model for your home.
Why you need a fireplace grate
While there are plenty of folks that say not using a fireplace grate is the best way to go, most experts claim the contrary. It is entirely possible to burn logs directly on the floor of certain types of fireplaces, but there are a wealth of advantages to using a grate.
A grate makes fuel more efficient…
If you have trouble keeping your fire stoked or getting one started, it could be due to the grate or lack of one. Grates improve the flow of oxygen in a fireplace by keeping the logs off the floor and letting air circulate. The additional height also helps send smoke to the chimney instead of back into your home.
A grate can help protect your fireplace…
Everyone will experience a degree of wear and tear with their fireplace, regardless of what it’s made from or how well it’s constructed. Purchasing a quality fireplace grate will help keep the floor of your fireplace in great shape and can make cleanup considerably easier as well.
A grate will keep logs in place…
One of the biggest issues homeowners that are new to fireplaces face are rolling logs. It happens more often than you think and can be a serious problem if you don’t have a fireplace screen in place. Using a log grate to hold your timber keeps them in place while they burn and will keep you from having to constantly readjust shifting logs.
Types of Fireplace Grates
Now that you understand the benefits of using a fireplace grate, it’s time to talk about the grates themselves. Any grate made from steel or cast iron will work wonders in a wood-burning fireplace, but there are close to a half-dozen styles available to consumers today.
Bar Style Fireplace Grates
This is the most common type of fireplace grate, and something you won’t have trouble finding locally or online in a variety of sizes. These grates get their name from their design and the fact they use steel bar stock in their construction.
There are several variations of a bar stock fireplace grate, including ones that have an ember retainer attached to the bottom. That will increase the price to a degree, but these are still the most affordable type of fireplace grate around.
Zero Clearance Fireplace Grates
Whenever you hear the term zero-clearance, it means something is designed to work in areas with a low profile. That’s the case with zero clearance fireplace grates, which are geared to accommodate homeowners with small or shallow fireplaces.
There aren’t as many options for this type of grate as you’ll find with other styles, but they are ideal for factory-built fireplaces. They are smaller and lighter than traditional grates but can last just as long if you purchase one of the top options.
Self-Feeding Fireplace Grates
If you’ve dreamed of sitting by the fireplace for hours uninterrupted but are unable to do so because you constantly need to tend it, there is a solution for you. A self-feeding fireplace grate lives up to its namesake by extending the burn time of your firewood.
These grates are always sloped so that gravity naturally shifts the logs to the center of the pile as they burn. It’s an incredibly efficient design that will allow you to enjoy the fire for longer without having to deal with the logs.
Basket Fireplace Grates
This is another style of fireplace grate where the name says it all. These heavy-duty grates are shaped like a basket, which also helps shift your fuel to the center of the grate. Basket grates are made from cast-iron with small openings at the base, which allow ash and embers through.
You can find basket grates available in a number of different widths. They are more expensive than a standard bar stock grate but easy to deal with considering they are cast in one piece. These grates are perfect for firewood and smaller fuel sources like coal.
Lifetime Fireplace Grates
Any manufacturer that gives their fireplace grate the “lifetime” tag means guaranteed for a lifetime. As you’d expect, these grates are more expensive than a regular fireplace grate, regardless of the style or material, it’s made from.
Purchasing a grate that can withstand thousands of fires may sound ideal, but you will want to read the fine print. Most products with this type of guarantee have certain stipulations that may come into play when contacting customer service and taking advantage of that lifetime plan. Considering the price of a lifetime grate, it pays to look before you leap.
Steel vs. Cast-Iron Fireplace Grates
You may be able to find a fireplace grate in several different styles, but all are made from three types of materials. Cast-iron and steel are the two most popular options, although stainless steel is a suitable choice for certain situations.
Cast Iron Fireplace Grates
This material has been used for centuries in everything from cannons to frying pans and car parts. It’s also an excellent material for fireplace grates, which is why manufacturers have been turning to this material for years.
Cast-iron has excellent heat retention and durability. These grates are often used to burn coal as well as wood and will outlast a standard steel fireplace grate in most cases. The exceptions are lifetime steel grates and heavy-duty variants.
Steel Fireplace Grates
Fireplace grates made from steel are sturdy and often have a traditional bar design with five or seven bars set across a frame. There aren’t as many styles or variants available, but there are self-feeding steel grates and ones designed for tall or shallow fireplaces.
As mentioned, steel won’t last as long as cast-iron unless it’s extremely well-built or has a lifetime warranty. This type of grate is considerably cheaper across the board, however, and works just as well as cast iron when it comes to holding a log or a small pile of wood.
Stainless Steel Fireplace Grates
While both steel and cast iron fireplace grates are a drab black, a stainless steel grate brings a completely different vibe to your fireplace. They are the best option for outdoor fireplaces because of stainless steel’s weather-resistance but are not as strong as the other options on our list. Sizing is limited with this type of fireplace grate as well.
Fireplace Grate Sizing
There are a number of guides on the web that talk about the importance of measuring your fireplace beforehand, and we whole heartily agree with them. If you choose a fireplace grate that’s too small, it defeats the purpose, while an oversized model could potentially damage your fireplace.
To find the right size grate for your fireplace, first, consider the fireplace itself. Doors or hardware for hanging mesh fireplace screens should be taken into account, along with the style of your fireplace. If it’s a large Rumford model, you’ll need to take a few special measurements into account, and the same goes for factory-built fireplaces.
If you already have a fireplace grate or manufacturer in mind, you can simply refer to them for directions on taking measurements. Each has different advice or tips based on their specific units, although you can handle things yourself without climbing up the chimney as long as you have a tape measure.
When measuring your firebox, you need to measure the width in the front and the width in the back as well as the depth. If it’s a factory-built system with a grate already in place, you can measure the old grate or rely on the owner’s manual for your fireplace. Most companies recommend leaving around 3” of clearance on either side of the grate for proper airflow as well.
Choosing a great grate for your home is essential if you plan on using your fireplace in the winter or fall, and there are no shortage of options whether you prefer cast-iron or steel. Remember to keep your budget in mind and how often you use your fireplace when considering pricey models with short guarantees. As for fireplace heaters and blowers, the jury is still out on model designed for wood-burning fireplaces.