Most people simply place firewood on the hearth of their wood-burning fireplaces. What they don’t realize is that a fireplace grate can improve the overall appearance, performance, and safety of the fireplace.
Typically made of cast iron or steel spaced-out bars, a fireplace log grate‘s legs elevate the firewood off the floor. This doesn’t just improve the flow of oxygen to the fire but also enhances safety by keeping the logs from rolling out of the hearth as they burn. Some grates have curved bars that direct unburned logs toward the flames as the fire burns, while others consist of baskets that hold large volumes of wood.
This guide looks at all of the important features shoppers will want to consider before buying a fireplace grate and showcases some of the best ones available.
- BEST OVERALL: Amagabeli 21-Inch Wrought-Iron Fireplace Log Grate
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Landmann 18-Inch Steel Fireplace Grate
- UPGRADE PICK: Grate Wall of Fire 21-Inch M-5 Fireplace Grate
- BEST FOR SMALL FIREPLACE: SteelFreak 13-Inch Heavy Duty Steel Grate
- BEST FOR LARGE FIREPLACE: SteelFreak 36-Inch Heavy Duty Steel Fireplace Grate
- BEST FOR OUTDOOR FIREPLACE: InnFinest 23-Inch Fireplace Log Grate
- ALSO CONSIDER: Amagabeli 24-Inch Round Wrought-Iron Fire Grate
How We Chose the Best Fireplace Grates
We considered several factors when choosing the best fireplace grates, including quality of construction, design, weight, and size. We chose only those grates constructed from a single piece of forged iron or steel fireplace grates with bars that are at least 0.5 inches in diameter, ensuring that the grate can hold up to a full load of logs without bowing.
With regard to design, we featured grates with at least 3 inches of clearance from the hearth floor to ensure ample airflow. We also favored grates with curved tines that secured the logs while also helping feed them to the flames.
Since moving the grates regularly to clean ash is a requirement, we chose grates that are heavy enough to provide a solid base for logs but not so heavy they would be difficult to maneuver for cleaning.
Our Top Picks
Our list includes fireplace grates that are maneuverable, feature durable construction, and have thoughtful designs. These models suit a broad range of sizes, so any fireplace can be ready for chilly months.
With a simple design and durable wrought-iron construction, this V-shaped Amagabeli fireplace grate has seven solid steel bars. Weighing a little more than 15 pounds, this grate’s overall dimensions are 21 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches high, making it fit most hearths. It also comes in 24-inch and 30-inch-length options. The angled bars prevent the logs from rolling off, directing them instead toward the center of the grate. The grate’s 4-inch legs provide plenty of air circulation to promote a good burn.
An enamel coating on this Amagabeli fireplace grate protects the bars from corrosion, making it suitable for outdoor use, too.
- Material: Wrought iron
- Dimensions: 21 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches high
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Wrought-iron construction provides sturdy, long-lasting durability; can also be used in outdoor fire pits
- 7 angled bars direct logs to the center to prevent the logs from rolling
- Enamel coating helps prevent bars from rusting during outdoor use
- Weight may make it harder to move; better for a fixed location
- Welded versus single-piece construction; may wobble, with leveling slightly off
Get the Amagabeli 21-inch wrought-iron fireplace grate at Amazon.
This small fireplace grate from Landmann is 18 inches long by 11 inches wide by 5.63 inches high and is ideal for fireplaces, fire pits, and fire tables. Intended for burning standard fireplace logs only, this grate has four bars but also offers a few nice extras. It comes with a convenient mesh tray to hold a fire starter or kindling. Its thinner 0.5-inch steel-bar construction also makes it lighter. With a total weight of just 6 pounds, this grate is easy to move for periodic ash cleanups. The logs are elevated 3.5 inches off the floor of the hearth to improve ventilation.
- Material: Steel
- Dimensions: 18 inches long by 11 inches wide by 5.63 inches high
- Weight: 6.14 pounds
- Affordably priced; a great value compared to similar fireplace grates
- Mesh rack for fire starter; catches embers to simplify cleanup
- Curved bars direct logs inward, and elevated height improves ventilation
- Light weight of just 6 pounds total makes it easy to move
- Smaller capacity than other fire grates, which means more work to keep fire stoked
- Fewer steel bars for support; steel bars are also thinner than other models
Get the Landmann steel fireplace grate at Amazon.
Offering a different take on the fireplace grate, this vertical fireplace grate from Grate Wall of Fire features a unique design of most self-feeding fireplace grates.The grate fits at the back of the hearth, pinning a stack of logs between it and the fireplace’s back wall. This configuration forces the logs at the top of the stack to fall into the flames as the logs at the bottom burn and crumble.
In addition to eliminating the need for any tending, this vertical fireplace configuration also burns more efficiently, creating more heat and fewer unburned pieces. Since logs are traditionally positioned at the back of wood-burning fireplaces, there’s less opportunity for smoke to escape into the room. This vertical fireplace grate doesn’t resemble a standard fireplace grate, so those who prefer a classic fireplace look may not like it.
- Material: Steel
- Dimensions: 21 inches long by 14 inches wide by 15 inches high
- Weight: 30 pounds
- Creates efficient burn that produces more heat and fewer unburned pieces
- Vertical fireplace grates self-feed the fire, a unique feature among fireplace grates
- Keeps logs at back of hearth, preventing smoke from entering room
- Doesn’t look like classic wood-burning fireplace grates, which not everyone likes
- More expensive than standard grates due to its unique design
Get the Grate Wall of Fire fireplace grate at Amazon or Grate Wall of Fire.
Finding a grate to fit a smaller fireplace can be a challenge as most are designed for larger hearths. At just 13 inches long by 10 inches wide by 4 inches high, this SteelFreak grate fits smaller fireboxes and wood stoves. And, although small, it’s mighty, consisting of five 1.375-inch flat steel bars welded to two 10-inch bars that serve as the base.
With a curved shape and flat surface, the bars hold logs securely while also pushing them toward the center of the grate. The bars rest 3 inches off the ground, providing ventilation for burning logs while still remaining low enough to suit a smaller fireplace.
- Material: Steel
- Dimensions: 13 inches long by 10 inches wide by 4 inches high
- Weight: 9 pounds
- Sturdy flat steel bars that rest 3 inches off the ground for excellent ventilation
- Curved shape keeps logs from rolling out while pushing them toward the grate’s center
- Lightweight design makes this fireplace grate easy to move during cleaning
- Smaller size means smaller capacity; frequent stoking by user required
Get the SteelFreak 13-Inch fireplace grate at Amazon or SteelFreak.
Whether it’s Christmas, a chilly night, or a time of celebration, this SteelFreak fireplace grate is a great choice for anyone looking to burn wood in a hearth. Measuring 36 inches in length, this heavy-duty all-steel grate is extra wide and can hold several fireplace logs, providing maximum capacity inside a fireplace or a larger fire.
Made in the U.S., this SteelFreak fireplace grate is constructed with locally sourced materials and has a tempered design to avoid warping and wear and tear over time. Plus, the 0.375-inch-thick bars provide added durability, providing owners a lifelong fireplace grate for open wood-burning fireplaces.
- Material: Steel
- Dimensions: 36 inches long by 14 inches wide by 6.75 inches high
- Weight: 22.3 pounds
- An extra-wide design allows for maximum capacity of fireplace logs
- Heavy-duty, solid, and durable; 0.375-inch bars and tempered construction
- 6.5-inch height allows for maximum air circulation to keep the fire going
- Available in a variety of sizes to fit any hearth
- Very pricey compared to similar fireplace grate options on the market
- Some users report limited longevity compared to other fireplace grates
Get the SteelFreak 36-inch fireplace grate at Amazon or SteelFreak.
Steel bars with a hexagonal design and large size make this fireplace grate from InnFinest work well for outdoor fireplaces. It consists of eight 0.75-inch-thick bars in a V formation to prevent logs and debris from falling out of the grates. At 23 inches long by 15 inches wide, it can support a large load of logs, such as those typically found in an outdoor fireplace.
Each of these durable grate’s angled bars ensures the wood stays in the fireplace while also helping to keep the fire going by directing logs toward the center. A little more than 8.5 inches tall, it has plenty of airflow to promote a good burn. Plus, this model comes fully assembled and ready to use.
- Material: Solid steel
- Dimensions: 23 inches long by 15 inches wide by 8.5 inches high
- Weight: 24.4 pounds
- Sturdy steel bars in a hexagonal design; suitable for holding several logs
- Angled bars in a V formation prevent logs from falling out of the grate
- Taller than comparable fireplace grate models; allows for maximum airflow
- Comes fully assembled and ready to use with extra durability for longer life-cycle usage
- Heavier and more expensive than other fireplace grates on the market
Get the InnFinest fireplace grate at Amazon.
This round fireplace grate from Amagabeli offers a different take on the typical rectangular fireplace grate. The grate is shaped like a wheel, and its 12 metal 0.7-inch-thick bars look like spokes extending from the center of the grate. The bars are angled upward to contain burning logs, preventing them from rolling off. This design makes it easy to start a fire that produces an ample amount of heat.
Four large legs elevate the grate 3.3 inches off the ground, allowing for plenty of airflow under the burning logs. Because its steel bars are protected by weather-resistant enamel paint, it works great for outdoor fire pits.
- Material: Wrought iron and steel
- Dimensions: 24 inches long by 24 inches wide by 7.33 inches high
- Weight: 22 pounds
- 12 thick steel bars extend from the center of the grate like spokes on a wheel
- Curved bars angle upward to keep burning logs supported and secured
- Round size won’t suit all hearths; may need to size down for indoor use
- Round shape and heavy weight may make it awkward to move
Get the Amagabeli 24-inch round fireplace grate at Amazon or Amagabeli.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fireplace Grates
Before buying a fireplace grate, shoppers will want to understand the difference between each type and learn how size, shape, and material affect performance. All of these factors play an important role in selecting the best fireplace grate for a home. Here is a closer look at all of these factors and features along with other important characteristics to help shoppers find the right fireplace grates.
Types of Fireplace Grates
There are three types of fireplace grates: bar, basket, and vertical. Bar varieties have parallel steel bars that are welded to four legs and elevate the logs a few inches off of the hearth. Basket fireplace grates are typically made from a single piece of cast iron and, while more expensive, they can hold much more wood securely. Vertical fireplace grates hold a bundle of logs in a 90-degree angle, pinning them against the rear of the hearth and dropping a fresh one down onto the embers as older ones burn, limiting the amount of smoke that can escape.
A fireplace grate must fit inside the firebox of the fireplace. While a grate that’s too large won’t fit, a grate that’s too small cannot hold enough logs.
Fireboxes don’t come in standard sizes, so measure the firebox of a fireplace and pay attention to the dimensions of the grate when shopping. Shoppers will want to measure the height, width, and depth of the firebox to ensure a proper fit.
They will also want to measure the width in both the front and the back, as fireplaces typically taper from the front of the firebox to the back. A fireplace log grate shouldn’t fit in the box like a glove; instead, it needs about 3 inches of clearance between it and the fireplace on all sides.
Most fireplace grates have bars that curve upward on the front and back. This curved design is intentional, and it serves two purposes: It prevents logs from rolling off while also directing unburned ones toward the embers in the middle of the grate. As the logs burn in the fireplace, gravity guides them to the middle of the hearth, helping them burn more efficiently without the need to push the logs back into place with a poker. Most fireplace grates also taper from the front to the back to match the typical shape of a hearth for a better fit.
Steel and cast-iron grates are suitable options for a fireplace. Cast-iron grates are typically made from one solid piece of metal. By contrast, steel-bar grates are usually made from multiple pieces of extruded square tubes that are welded together.
Because of their single-piece construction, cast-iron grates are more durable than steel varieties, and they have excellent heat-retention properties. Cast-iron fireplace grates are also considerably heavier and more expensive than steel fireplace grates. Steel fireplace grates are cheaper but won’t last as long. Some models have an enamel coating that makes them suitable for use in outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.
Legs and Bars
Structurally, fireplace grates consist of bars that cradle the logs and legs that support the bars, elevating them off the base of the hearth. Most grates consist of six or seven bars. The more bars, the more securely the fireplace grate can support the wood. These bars are typically curved to keep logs at the center of the grate while also preventing them from shifting and rolling out of the hearth. Most fireplace grates have four legs to support the bars. The legs elevate the logs about 3 to 4 inches off the floor of the hearth, allowing for ventilation, which promotes a good burn.
Some fireplace grates have a steel-mesh or grille-like bottom. This feature prevents small pieces of burning wood from falling through the grate and landing on the hearth. Because the mesh catches much of the ash the fire produces, it makes the fireplace grate much easier to clean.
Fireplace grates that have a mesh bottom help keep a fire together, promoting a more robust, hotter burn. How the mesh is patterned typically depends on the metal used (typically steel or cast-iron varieties) to make the fireplace grate and whether the grate itself will be used to burn coal or wood.
The Advantages of Owning a Fireplace Grate
A fireplace grate for a wood-burning fireplace offers several advantages. Airflow is key to achieving a good burn in a wood-burning fireplace. Grates facilitate airflow by raising the wood off the hearth by 3 to 4 inches, allowing oxygen to circulate below the logs.
A lifetime fireplace grate—the kind used for the long-term—also reduces the amount of tending needed to keep the fire burning while making it safer. The curved tines of a grate push the logs toward the burning embers, so the user doesn’t have to do it manually. The bars also help contain shifting logs, reducing the risk that a burning log can roll into the room.
- Grates create airflow to promote an efficient burn.
- Grates self-feed the fire, reducing the need for tending.
- Grates hold the logs in place, reducing the risk of a fire hazard.
Tips for Buying and Using Fireplace Grates
A fireplace log grate isn’t simply about improving the aesthetics and performance of a fireplace; it’s also about safety. Fireplace grates help keep the logs and the fire contained, reducing the chances that an ember or burning log can escape the firebox. A fireplace grate should fit the firebox well and have about 3 inches of buffer on all sides.
Fireplace grates must be moved periodically to sweep up the ash that accumulates underneath. Shoppers should purchase a grate that’s light enough to lift and maneuver in and out of the hearth’s firebox.
To load a fireplace grate properly, two timbers should be placed on the grate followed by tinder and kindling. Then, additional logs can be placed on top of the tinder and kindling. A fireplace grate should never be overloaded, as too much wood could cause logs to roll off and into the room.
- Purchase a fireplace grate that fits the hearth.
- Make sure the fireplace grate is light enough to move for cleanup.
- Load the grate properly.
Our guide tried to address every question or concern shoppers may have about buying the best fireplace grate. Often, some shoppers may still be left wondering whether a cast-iron grate is better than a steel one, or they may have additional maintenance-related questions. Here are answers to the most common questions about fireplace grates.
Q. What is the best metal for a fireplace grate?
Cast-iron fireplace grates are the best metal for a fireplace grate. These grates eliminate the need for welds that can potentially fail and also retain heat better than steel.
Q. How are fireplace grates measured?
Fireplace grates are measured in length and depth. A fireplace grate usually needs about 3 inches of free space around all sides to promote proper airflow.
Q. How do I clean a fireplace grate?
To clean a fireplace grate, any ash or soot buildup should be removed with a dry rag. Water should not be used because it can cause rust.
Q. Can I use a fireplace without a grate?
Yes, a wood-burning fireplace can be used without a grate. A grate simply allows a fire to burn more efficiently while making it easier to manage.
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