Should I Use a Grate In My Wood Stove?

It can definitely seem weird at first to find out that many of the wood stoves on the market don’t come fitted with a grate.

I mean, fireplaces have them, so it can’t be any bad to equip one in your stove… or is it?

Most wood stoves do not require, or even strictly prohibit the use of any sort of grate inside the appliance.

The reason for why is, well, they don’t need one… The grates we think of are normally associated with fireplaces, not freestanding stoves, and for a good reason.

Fireplaces, ladies and gentlemen, function entirely differently than wood stoves. They don’t have the same airflow system, therefore elevating the wood with a grate, or as some might call andirons, fire dogs is essential.

What if I still do it?

If you use a grate in a wood stove that is not designed for this sort of thing, there’s a lot that could go wrong.

One of those things is overfiring. Simply put, the wood will burn quicker than necessary, causing dangerous internal temperatures which can literally warp the stove – not good.

I mean, this is a serious rule to follow – many manufacturers print this statement in capital letters, so you know you shouldn’t mess around with this.

At the end of the day, the use of grate will almost certainly void the warranty, so there’s that.

Reasons why grates are attractive

To start with, they definitely make lightning a fire easier.

The wood splits go onto the grate, leaving a nice open space under to put your kindling, fire starters, what have you.

But if you actually have a hard time building a fire just as it is with no grate to help, even if you had one it wouldn’t change much. The problem is either your technique, or the dryness of wood.

Struggling to start a fire with hardly seasoned wood in a stove is far too common in this home heating industry, so you may want to check on that first. (it has to be lower than 20% in moisture content)

The second why of, “why would a wood stove user want a grate?” revolves all around ashes and coals.

When a fire dies out in a stove, the ashes and coals end up mixing in one pile (unless there’s an ash pan).

So if you want to remove the ash and leave the coals for the next burn, it can be rather troublesome to do that with the standard shovel.

A grate can essentially hold many of the coals that end up accumulating after a burn on top, making it easier to just get rid of the ash and move on.

The good thing is that you can do the same exact thing in your wood stove, without utilizing any sort of grate.

All you have to get is an ember and ash separator. It is a sieve that lets you scoop up all the leftovers from your firebox, separating the hot coals from the ash.

You can get this same model right on Amazon (link).

In conclusion

Clearly, there are a number of reasons why grates may make sense initially to those who own stoves, but when you dig deeper and understand the actual dangers and the things you could be doing wrong, turns out getting one is really not needed.

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks for the article. Answered my question completely. Grew up with a fireplace in my home in Pittsburgh PA, moved to California and now I have a freestanding wood stove in my home and have been wanting to buy a grate haha. This was a good answer as to why I shouldn’t. I’ve been firing in it for a year now without one so I guess I can continue to manage.

  2. Bought a house with a villager b . We had been lighting fire burning only wood and it had a grate inside . The grate has now broken . Should I buy a new grate or burn the wood straight on the fire bricks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *