Fireplace grates help to raise a fire off a hearth and can aid with airflow to a fire and help with ash collection, but can also simply be used complete the fireplace look and feel of a traditional fireplace.
While fireplace grates are commonly placed in traditional open fireplaces, wood burning stoves are also commonly installed inside existing fireplaces to help improve the efficiency and heat output of burning wood.
Installing a stove in an open fireplace would remove the need for a grate, but does a wood burning stove have a grate?
Wood burning stoves do not typically have a grate. Wood can burn more efficiently with airflow from above the fire and so the majority of wood stoves are lined with a flat fireproof material at the base of the firebox. Multi fuel stoves, which can burn other types of fuel such as coal, will typically have a grate.
We have both a wood burning stove and a multi fuel stove and so we’ve explained in more detail below why one has a grate while the other stove doesn’t, and well as discussing whether a wood stove needs a grate.
Does A Wood Burning Stove Have A Grate?
It’s not typical to find a wood burning stove with a grate.
Wood burning stoves are designed to only burn wood. Firewood can burn best with a source of air from above the fire and so wood stoves are designed more around the supply and control of air to the top of the firebox.
Instead of a grate, wood burning stoves will have a flat surface at the base of the stove, which will usually be made from the same fire-resistant material found lining the sides and back of the stove firebox.
Our particular model of wood burning stove is lined with firebrick on all of the internal surfaces, including the base.
There’s no grate in this wood stove.
Any leftover ash is left at the base of the stove and the instruction manual for this stove explains that wood can burn more efficiently on a bed of ash.
As a result we leave an inch or two of ash at the base of this stove between fires (more information about how much ash to leave in your stove here).
If there was a grate at the base of this stove then any ash would fall through.
We also have a multi fuel stove.
Multi fuel stoves allow us to burn more types of fuel other than wood, including coal.
While wood can burn more efficiently with a source of air from above, coal can need a source of air from below in order to burn more effectively.
Instead of a flat fire-resistant material, at the base of our multi fuel stove is a grate.
Along with a grate, there is an ash pan compartment below the firebox to catch any ash that falls through the grate, and a separate air vent to control the airflow to below the fire through this grate.
We’ve explained the differences between a wood stove and a multi fuel stove here, but the main difference is that a wood stove typically won’t have a grate while a multi fuel stove typically will.
As a multi fuel stove is designed to be able to burn types of fuel other than wood, a grate setup with a primary air vent allows a multi fuel stove to be able to burn different types of fuel as and when required.
Do You Need A Grate In A Wood Stove?
Instead of being built into a stove, grates can also come freestanding as they would with a traditional open fireplace.
Wood stoves may also be used with a slimline grate placed at the base of a stove, but it’s not typically required.
Our particular model of wood burning stove doesn’t need to be used with a grate as the firewood is designed to be placed directly on the base of the stove, ideally on top of a small layer of ash.
Our multi fuel stove already has a grate built into it and so does not need any further grate to be able to burn wood and other types of fuel effectively.
Can I Use A Grate In My Wood Stove?
Wood burning stoves are typically designed to be used without the need for a grate.
A grate would lift the main bulk of the fire up from the base of the firebox and likely reduce the amount of space available for firewood, which may reduce heat output.
Lifting a fire further up into the firebox may also cause problems for other components inside a stove.
The baffle plate, located at the top of the firebox, can take the brunt of the fire and must withstand very high temperatures. Bringing up the fire closer to this baffle may cause premature and permanent damage to it over time.
You can read more about baffle plates in wood stoves here for more information.
If your wood burning stove has tertiary air vents located at the back of the stove then it’s important that any grate doesn’t raise the fire above these vents.
Our wood burning stove has a set of tertiary air vents (shown below as the small holes).
Tertiary air vents help to provide more air for the secondary combustion of waste gases, which helps to produce more heat. A raised fire due to a grate may block these vents and can reduce the efficiency and therefore the heat output of the stove.
We’ve explained what primary, secondary and tertiary air is in another article.
Wood Stove Grate Replacement
If your wood burning stove came with a grate and you’re looking to replace it, you can find the range of replacement wood stove grates available here.
You’ll need to choose the right size of replacement wood stove grate to ensure that it fits within your stove.
A wood burning stove won’t typically have a grate built into it.
Grates are more commonly found in multi fuel stoves rather than wood burning stoves as they are required to be able to burn types of fuel other than wood.
Wood stoves won’t also typically need any form of other loose grate in order to be able to burn wood effectively.