A fireplace grate is a necessary component for any fireplace, as it provides the safe and secure foundation upon which the fire burns. The grate is positioned just above the ash pan and has numerous important functions. Not only does it serve to filter falling ash from the burning fire above, but it improves the quality of the flames produced and increases the heat output.
There are a variety of grate options available on the market, varying in styles, material and finish. However, there are a number of functional differences that you ought to be aware of too. For instance, certain grates are only suitable for burning coal, while others are designed to accommodate wood burning.
Once you are aware of the type of grate you require, you can begin choosing the right one for your needs and benefit from the best iron and steel grates available.
What is a Fireplace Grate?
As the name suggests a fireplace grate is a metal component that provides many important functions. Situated above the ash pan, it contains bars, allowing ash to easily fall through the gaps into the pan ensuring your fireplace and the fumes produced are as clean and healthy as possible. In addition, some grates can improve the safety of your fire by making it burn at a slower rate, making it safe to keep alight through the night time. An another great function of grates is that they raise the fire above the ground, thus improving oxygen flow to the fire and therefore helping to improve the flame quality and heat output.
There are many different styles of fire grates including modern and the more traditional grates. However, another factor to be aware of is the type of material and the finish, since they are typically designed with a certain fuel in mind. This includes:
Cast iron grates – these are more suited for burning charcoal, although can also be used to burn wood and logs too.
Steel bar grates– these are suited for burning wood only, since the bars are too wide to hold coal.
What are the Benefits of owning a Grate?
In general, a fireplace grate enhances the overall functionality of a fireplace in terms of it heat efficiency and safety. This is made possible through its design. A grate is like a stand that holds logs or woods for burning higher or off the fireplace floor. Because of the space it provides between the floor and the fuel, the oxygen in the air is able to circulate better ensuring improved burning and creating hotter flames.
Improved Insulation – For better insulation, fireplace grates are typically made of cast iron or solid steel. This promotes energy efficiency and ensures that heat is stored for longer, allowing it to disperse over time throughout your living space.
Improved Drafting – One of the common problems that a homeowner may encounter with fireplaces is that smoke circulates within the house instead of passing through the chimney. The fact that the air flow is better with a grate, means that the dirty smoke and ash doesn’t linger in your home as long. Instead the resulting fumes will be drafted away up your chimney much more efficiently.
Cleaner and Easier Maintenance – The distinct feature of a fireplace grate is that it has small holes or gaps between the bars. These spaces allow the ash and used fuel to easily fall away from the fire into the ash pan for easy access and removal.
Which Grate is Best for Your Fireplace?
Choose the Correct Size – Fireplace grates come in various shapes and sizes. The size you choose usually determines the number of bars a grate has. Therefore, be mindful of the measurements when choosing your grate and think about the amount of fuel you like to use.
Choose the Correct Material and Finish – Remember that fireplace grates that are made of steel are recommended for wood burning. While, the cast iron designs are ideal for fireplaces that will use coal as the source heat for your home.
On Amazon, a fireplace grate can cost as little as $13. The most expensive on the market can reach as high as $193. Like anything in life it’s always wise to shop somewhere in the middle range, that way you can ensure you are not losing quality, yet aren’t wasting money on needless, additional gimmicks.
Pleasant Hearth – 1/2″ Solid Steel Fireplace Grates With Ember Retainer, Black, 18-Inch
This best selling, heavy duty steel fireplace grate promotes better burning due to enhanced airflow by lifting your firewood off the floor allowing air to circulate. A great bonus is the ember metal mesh retainer helps retain hot embers, helping to retain heat and keep the flames hotter for longer. For convenience, it is ready to be used immediately as it no installation or assembly is required. Importantly, it is is worth noting that this grate is designed for fireplaces that utilise wood for fuel to burn burn as it secures the firewood neatly above the bars, ensuring 360 degree air flow, as opposed to just the usual 180 degree air flow when the embers and wood is led directly on the bottom surface of the fireplace or stove.
Pleasant Hearth – 3/4″ Premium Solid Steel Fireplace Grates – Lifetime Warranty, Black, 24-Inch
This is another great choice and although more expensive than the grate above for it’s heat efficiency and high quality finish it’s worth the investment. The grate has 6 bars that holds fuel for burning and allows ash to easily fall below for easy ceaning.Similar to the first type of grate, it results in better burning process and gives a quality flame for improved home heating. This type of grate has a finish that is resistant to heat, meaning it has increased safety for long duration burning. Lastly, a great bonus is that the solid steel bars are thick meaning the heat is retained longer and radiated throughout your living space effectively.
Panacea 15424 Cast Iron Fire Grate, Black, 24-Inch
This fireplace grate is made of cast iron and has small openings or holes, making it ideal for coal or wood. When woods start to burn, smaller portions of used wood and ash fall through the holes that will make a base full easy to remove ash and soot. This also results in a more intense heat and cleaner fumes. in addition, it also allows the smoke and fumes to easily go up through the chimney and not into your home. Another great advantage is that a grate helps to protect your fireplace since woods and logs are not directly burning on the granite or stone hearth.
Pleasant Hearth – 3/4″ Premium Solid Steel Fireplace Grates, Black, 30-Inch
This type of grate is the most expensive discussed here, however it has a solid reputation and offers a much larger span than the other selections mentioned. It has a whopping 8 bars that will hold more wood logs to be used for burning and heating your home for hours on end. Just like the others, this grate provides the same function – holding the wood logs away from the fireplace itself protecting it from the heat of the flame, increasing airflow, thus improving flame quality and aiding maintenance.