9 Fireplace Screens for a Safe, Inviting Hearth

A good fireplace screen combines safety with visual appeal. A wide range of beautiful designs with functional protection make up this list.

By Bob Beacham | Published Nov 17, 2023 10:30 AM

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The best fireplace screen protecting a brick surround from a burning fire.

Photo: istock.com

Fireplace screens are an essential piece of safety equipment for anyone who has an open fire. They prevent sparks and embers from jumping out, potentially leaving unsightly burn marks on carpets and furnishings. It’s not stretching the imagination too far to say they could even prevent a serious house fire.

The range of fireplace screens is enormous, and more than 60 were researched when putting together this review. They range from the purely practical to those that are highly decorative. In addition to aesthetics, we also considered materials.

In this article, all the key features are explained. Shopping suggestions follow for the best fireplace screens for a variety of different settings.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Fire Beauty Fireplace Screen With Doors
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Panacea Products 3-Panel Arch Screen
  3. BEST FLUSH-FITTING: Pleasant Hearth Alpine Glass Fireplace Door
  4. BEST GLASS: Clearly Innovative Glass Fireplace Screen
  5. BEST FOLDING: Amagabeli 4-Panel Wrought Iron Fireplace Screen
  6. BEST FLAT: UniFlame Single-Panel Black Wrought Iron Screen
  7. BEST WITH DOORS: Fire Beauty 3-Panel Folding Fireplace Screen
  8. BEST DECORATIVE: Plow & Hearth Tree of Life Fire Screen With Door
  9. BEST MODERN: Best Choice Products 2-Door Fireplace Screen

How We Chose the Best Fireplace Screens

We looked at all different types of fireplace screens, focusing on practical aspects like construction and user-friendly features such as doors for easy access or hinged sections for compact storage. We did not include outdoor fireplace screens in this particular list; we investigated only indoor models.

Freestanding fireplace screens protect against damage while also providing aesthetic appeal in a remarkable variety of sizes and styles. This means there’s something for pretty much everyone. While commissioning custom fireplace screens may be preferred by those who want one-of-a-kind pieces, almost anything imaginable is already available for purchase. From steel wrought iron to glass to seasonal items like Christmas fireplace screens, shoppers can choose what will create their ideal fireplace ambience. We tried to account for the full range of options when putting together this collated selection, narrowing it down to the best within well-defined categories.

We also checked the advice of experts. Radu Costei, senior R&D technician at Regency Fire, told us, “I personally recommend a mesh screen so that any wayward embers that are trying to make their way up and out of the fire are stopped.” He added that he would avoid fully covered metal ones “as they often get very hot against a roaring fire, enough to cause second-degree burns.”

The best fireplace screen shielding a grey stone hearth from a burning fire.

Photo: istock.com

Our Top Picks

The following selection covers a wide range of fireplace mesh screens plus one glass model. It has been divided into categories so potential buyers can focus on the most suitable models quickly and easily.

Best Overall

The Fire Beauty Fireplace Screen With Doors on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

Given the importance of individual preference, it’s nearly impossible to choose a single best fireplace screen that will suit everyone. The Fire Beauty fireplace screen is a fine example of one that incorporates many of the key features in a single model.

The structure is steel throughout with a heavy-duty frame and mesh with decorative curls added to mimic traditional wrought iron. The whole thing is finished in powder coating that is baked on at high temperature. It is much more hard-wearing than paint. A pair of doors with sturdy piano hinges allow unrestricted access to the fire. Strong magnetic catches are used, and handles are placed high on the frame to prevent small children from reaching them.

A small amount of assembly is required, and the tools are included. The link provided also includes different sizes, plus various design tastes.

Product Specs

  • Size: 30.7 inches tall by 37.8 inches wide
  • Finish: Black, powder coated
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • Features doors for easy access, high-quality components, and hard-wearing powder-coated finish
  • Strong magnetic catches with door handles placed out of reach of small children
  • Uses long piano hinges so there’s no stress on individual points and greater durability

Cons

  • Requires minor assembly, and a few have arrived with missing or broken parts

Get the Fire Beauty fireplace screen with doors at Amazon.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Panacea Products 3-Panel Arch Screen on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

Good three-panel fireplace screens have two features that are particularly useful. First, they wrap the fireplace, providing more side protection than flat screens. Second, they fold up when not required, making them easier to store. The Panacea Products three-panel screen underlines these benefits, and the budget-friendly price means anyone can afford one of these versatile safety accessories.

The frame is made of square tubular steel with steel mesh panels. The black finish appears to be durable powder coating (though the manufacturer doesn’t confirm the specifics of the finish, but the product is definitely made from steel). Strong drop hinges allow free movement and should put up with daily use. They allow the Panacea Products fireplace screen to fold completely flat when not required.

Product Specs

  • Size: 29.25 inches tall by 47.5 inches wide
  • Finish: Black
  • Assembly required: No

Pros

  • 3 panels wrap the fireplace for better spark and ember protection
  • Folds flat so it needs less space for storage when not required
  • Arched double-bar design strikes a good balance between classic and contemporary appeal

Cons

  • Complaints are very rare, though the relatively lightweight construction is not especially sturdy

Get the Panacea Products fireplace screen at Amazon.

Best Flush-Fitting

The Pleasant Hearth Alpine Glass Fireplace Door on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

The Pleasant Hearth Alpine glass fireplace doors are unlike other fireplace screens in that they are designed as a permanent installation, effectively turning an open masonry fireplace into a closed fireplace insert.

The black powder-coated steel frame supports two tempered-glass cabinet-style doors with magnetic catches. Damper knobs control the amount of heat that comes out of the fireplace. When the fire is not in use, the glass doors also prevent heat loss up the chimney. Behind these are two mesh doors, again with magnetic catches. These work just like a standard fireplace screen when the glass doors are left open for maximum warmth.

Installation is required, and Pleasant Hearth estimates this should take around an hour. Multiple sizes are available, so buyers will want to measure their fireplace opening to determine the correct size needed.

Product Specs

  • Size: 30 to 33 inches tall by 37.5 to 43.5 inches wide (multiple sizes available)
  • Finish: Black, powder coated
  • Assembly required: Yes, and installation

Pros

  • Flush fitting allows open masonry fireplaces to be fully enclosed for better heat management
  • Tempered-glass doors prevent warm air escaping when the fireplace is not lit
  • Steel mesh screen doors stop sparks and embers if the glass doors are left open

Cons

  • Quite expensive, and handles can get hot, so not recommended for those with small children around

Get the Pleasant Hearth fireplace screen at Amazon (silver finish), Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Glass

The Clearly Innovative Glass Fireplace Screen installed in a fireplace with a cream-color brick surround and marble mantle.
Photo: amazon.com

A number of models are described as modern fireplace screens, but none are as stylish and contemporary as this one from Clearly Innovative. The large pristine panel allows a clear, unobstructed view of the living fire while still offering full protection from sparks or embers that might get thrown out.

The glass itself is tempered to provide the necessary strength and safety. A 1-inch-wide beveled edge adds an attractive accent. Supportive metal feet are available in either silver or black finish to suit room decor. The feet need to be fitted when the Clearly Innovative glass fireplace screen is delivered, but this just means tightening two Allen screws. Sizes given are for the medium glass screen. Large and small alternatives are also offered.

Product Specs

  • Size: 29 inches tall by 39 inches wide
  • Finish: Feet in silver or black
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • Glass panel provides a cozy, uninterrupted view of a roaring fireplace
  • Made from tough ¼-inch thick tempered glass with a stylish beveled edge
  • Supportive metal feet in silver or black to suit room decor

Cons

  • It weighs around 30 pounds, and although rare, breakages are possible

Get the Clearly Innovative fireplace screen at Amazon.

Best Folding

The Amagabeli 4-Panel Wrought Iron Fireplace Screen on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

The charming gold accents and finials of the Amagabeli are reminiscent of classic antique fireplace screens, completing the nostalgic look with a matching companion set of fireplace tools. The Amagabeli fireplace screen is made with durable steel construction in wrought-iron style and high-quality mesh. At 51 inches wide when fully extended, it offers good protection for wider fireplaces.

With large fireplace screens, trying to find somewhere to keep them during the summer can be a problem, but those four folding panels on this model provide the solution. While some might feel it’s decorative enough to leave in place, it folds down to just over a foot wide. Given its size, it is also very affordable.

Product Specs

  • Size: 32 inches tall by 51 inches wide
  • Finish: Black and gold
  • Assembly required: No

Pros

  • A 4-panel folding screen with gold highlights for classic appeal
  • Provides good coverage for wider fireplaces while remaining very affordable
  • Folds down to just over 12 inches wide when not needed

Cons

  • While complaints are not common, there have been a few durability issues

Get the Amagabeli fireplace screen at Amazon.

Best Flat

The UniFlame Single-Panel Black Wrought Iron Screen on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

For those who value simplicity, flat fireplace screens like this one from UniFlame will hold a lot of appeal. There are also subtle details with this model that elevate it above purely utilitarian steel frames.

Made from wrought iron, this screen has a hammered finish that hints at traditional wrought-iron craftsmanship. There’s a gentle curve to the feet and lifting handles that suggest they were hand forged even though they are factory produced. The mesh is heavy-duty for years of trouble-free protection.

Minor assembly is required, which the manufacturer says can be completed in just 5 minutes. This UniFlame fireplace screen is the large-size model, with medium and small versions also available.

Product Specs

  • Size: 33 inches tall by 44 inches wide
  • Finish: Black wrought iron
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • A simple yet stylish design with a hammered wrought-iron finish
  • Uses heavy-gauge steel mesh that should provide years of protection
  • Curved feet and useful lift handles are attached with Philips screws for rapid, easy assembly

Cons

  • Most buyers appear satisfied, though poor packaging has meant some orders have arrived damaged

Get the UniFlame fireplace screen at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best With Doors

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Photo: amazon.com

This pick from Fire Beauty will be popular with those who like an art deco aesthetic. It will also pair well with modern fireplaces and those with geometric designs.

It is a sturdy construction made in wrought iron and finished in a hard-wearing, rust-resistant powder coating. It benefits from twin doors that are latched with heat-resistant magnets, allowing easy access to tend to the fire while the screen stays in place. The three-panel layout folds to roughly half its extended size for storage.

While assembly is required, it is simply a matter of attaching the feet and door handles, which takes just a few minutes.

Product Specs

  • Size: 28.2 inches tall by 48.6 inches wide
  • Finish: Black, powder coated
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • Versatile design will fit with modern, geometric, and art deco fireplace styles
  • Durable wrought-iron construction with a hard-wearing, rust-resistant finish
  • Offers doors for easy access to the fire, and folds for more compact storage

Cons

  • There are seldom problems, though handles can get too hot for young hands

Get the Fire Beauty folding fireplace screen at Amazon.

Best Decorative

The Plow & Hearth Tree of Life Fire Screen With Door on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

Trying to judge what any individual feels is decorative is always a challenge, but the Plow & Hearth Tree of Life fireplace screen seems to have broad appeal. Its message about the interconnectivity of life has particular resonance as the human race strives to be more ecologically responsible.

This well-made, heavy-duty steel construction with a tough black and gold-flecked powder-coated finish provides dependable durability. It incorporates a single mesh door allowing access to the fire to add logs or clean without moving the screen away. In most cases, it can sit flat against the fireplace for maximum protection.

There is minor assembly required, but it’s simple and should only take minutes. A larger version of the Plow & Hearth Tree of Life fireplace screen is also offered.

Product Specs

  • Size: 31 inches tall by 38 inches wide
  • Finish: Black with gold flecks, powder coated
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • High-quality fireplace screen featuring a decorative Tree of Life motif
  • Single door provides convenient access and has a magnetic latch for secure closure
  • Heavy-duty welded-steel construction with a tough powder-coated finish

Cons

  • The quality construction does result in a higher price tag than many competitors

Get the Plow & Hearth fireplace screen at Amazon or Wayfair.

Best Modern

The Best Choice Products 2-Door Fireplace Screen on a white background.
Photo: amazon.com

The clean geometric lines and lightweight frame of the Best Choice Products two-door fireplace screen are designed to suit modern decor. Instead of chunky box-section steel, flat wrought-iron bar has been used. Both the frame and hinges are welded to provide the necessary durability, and the extended feet add stability.

The screen doors are steel mesh with magnetic closures. They are convenient because they allow the fire to be attended to without moving the fireplace screen. Slender handles compliment the style. Assembly may take a little longer than close competitors, though it should still only take around 10 minutes.

Product Specs

  • Size: 31 inches tall by 38.5 inches wide
  • Finish: Black or gold, powder coated
  • Assembly required: Yes

Pros

  • Uses solid flat wrought-iron bars to offer a slender, modern appearance
  • 2 doors have discreet magnets to allow quick and easy fireplace access
  • Perpendicular feet are larger than many for superior stability yet remain unobtrusive

Cons

  • Although popular, a number of fault reports suggest that quality control is inconsistent

Get the Best Choice Products fireplace screen at Amazon or Walmart.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing a Fireplace Screen

Visual impact is always going to be one of the major considerations when choosing the best fireplace screen, and of course, price is another important element. There are several other factors that will help buyers focus on the appropriate model, and these are discussed below.

Safety

Safety is the absolute priority whether choosing modern or vintage fireplace screens. Historically, some fireplace screens had embroidered cloth panels and a wooden frame, but it’s important to point out that these were only ever used to conceal the opening when not in use.

Clearly, a fireplace screen needs to be inflammable. With wood-burning fires capable of exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s also important that the material doesn’t melt. As pointed out by our expert above, to protect users from burns, the construction should not be completely solid. Also, fireplace screens should either have feet or fold in such a way that they won’t topple easily.

Size

The size of the fireplace screen is another key element in its safety. It needs to be big enough to prevent sparks and embers from getting to areas where they can cause damage, but it shouldn’t be so big that it looks cumbersome.

Research revealed a wide variety of advice. Suggestions varied between ½ inch and 5 inches larger than the fireplace opening. A half inch probably doesn’t provide a sufficient safety margin, and 5 inches is likely to be too much. Somewhere between 2 and 3 inches seems ideal, providing an effective barrier and retaining visual appeal. The most important consideration is that it isn’t too narrow or too short, which would allow sparks or burning embers to escape.

Material 

The most used material for the best fireplace screens is steel: steel mesh for the main screen and steel section (usually square but sometimes round or flat) for the supporting frame. It’s durable and can be finished in different colors, so while black is most common, it’s relatively easy to create gold fireplace screens, for example. Other metals such as wrought iron, brass, and copper may be used, but the latter is quite soft and normally only used decoratively. Aluminum is also used on occasion as it’s easy to cast.

Glass is popular because it offers an unobstructed view of the fire. It must be tempered or toughened (two words that actually describe the same process) so it can survive occasional knocks. There are two minor drawbacks. First, toughened glass can be comparatively heavy. Second, as a solid obstacle, it can prevent direct heat from reaching those sitting in front of the fire.

Additional Features 

Beyond the decorative elements that are very much a question of personal preference, there are a couple of practical features worth considering.

  • Folding fireplace screens are often among the more decorative options. It’s usually possible to position them in a way that offers maximum protection while also being visually pleasing. Their other major benefit is that they are more compact when folded down and therefore easier to store.
  • Fireplace screens with doors have the advantage that users don’t have to move the whole screen out of the way to add logs or clean the fireplace. The simple mechanical or magnetic catches fitted are secure but easy to use.
    Some fireplace screens incorporate both of these features.

FAQs  

The article above contains a wealth of information that will be invaluable in helping people pick the best fireplace screen for their needs. While researching the subject, some general questions came up; those answers are provided here.

Q. Does a fireplace screen get hot?

Whether or not a fireplace screen gets hot will depend on the heat of the fire, the screen material, and its distance from the fire. It’s always safest, especially with kids around, to warn others that it could be hot and that it shouldn’t be touched.

Q. How big should a fireplace screen be?

Consulting several retailers about how big they thought a fireplace screen should be, the resulting answers varied between ½ inch and 5 inches of overlap all around. The important point is that it should never be too narrow or too short to prevent sparks or embers from escaping.

Q. Do I need a fireplace screen if I have a gas fireplace?

Yes, you do. In the U.S., the American National Standards Institute demands that gas fireplace screens be fitted to protect people from the glass, which can get very hot.

Q. What is the best material for a fireplace screen?

All of the best materials for fireplace screens are nonflammable and durable. These typically include steel, plus copper, brass, or bronze, which can be more visually attractive. Glass is another popular option, but it must be toughened (also called tempered).

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.