Categories
Kitchen

Review: Vogelzang Durango TR008

Vogelzang Durango EPA Wood Stove with Blower

Are you looking for a wood stove that is tight and compact? Do you want to have one of the cleanest burning wood stoves on the market today? If so, then the best wood stove for you just might be the Vogelzang Durango. Instead of it being a wide wood stove that is short vertically, it is designed to hold up to 26 inch logs with a slim, vertical design. This will help it fit into tighter spaces, yet won’t jut out enough that it could cause you a problem. Able to heat up to 1,500 square feet with ease, the MSRP on Amazon of $1,099 seems like a pretty good deal!

The Features of the Vogelzang Durango

The primary feature of this wood stove is the turbo burn technology that Vogelzang has included with this design. It makes a good heating experience because there are a series of re-burn tubes within the firebox that have been cross-drilled to improve air flow. You’ll get a secondary level of air at the top of the firebox that improves the overall combustion rate and extends the amount of burn time that you’ll receive.

There’s also these additional features to consider as well:

  • it has one of the lowest emissions rates on the market today for a wood stove at just 3.6 grams per hour;
  • it is incredibly easy to light, despite it being an airtight firebox design; and
  • it may qualify you for a local tax break depending on your specific community conditions.

If there was one improvement that could be made with this stove, it is with the blower. If you need the blower to distribute the air, you’ll find that you may struggle to reach the 1,500 feet of heating that is claimed. If you’re using equipment already installed in your home, then you might find even better distribution.

The Advantages of the Vogelzang Durango

The primary advantage that we noticed with this wood stove is the fact that it uses less wood than most other stoves to heat a home. Much less wood, in fact, to the point where you can potentially get through with just 1 or 2 cords for the entire cold season. The combustion gas is directed by a fiberglass panel that may take a little routine maintenance to keep in good condition and combined, the stove is able to be more than 75% efficient.

You will need to do regular maintenance on this wood stove to keep it working well. If you can keep up with the maintenance work, this stove will last for several years without much of an issue. The one thing we didn’t like so much about this stove was that there was no ash pan to collect the leftover debris, so you’ll need to get in there and clean out the grate regularly. That’s a good time to do the regular maintenance on the unit, however, so all in all it’s a push.

If space is tight and so is your budget, this could be the best wood stove on the market for you. That’s why we recommend taking a look at it today. Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on the Vogelzang TR008 Durango Wood Stove.

Categories
Kitchen

Review: Vogelzang Lil Sweetie Wood Stove

Vogelzang Lil Sweetie Wood Stove

Are you looking for a small, yet effective wood stove to heat your home? Do you want a cast iron stove that can hold logs that are up to 20 inches in size? The Vogelzang Lil Sweetie just might be the best product to meet your needs today! It can efficiently heat up to 600 square feet with ease and it’s compact design lets it have a 96k BTU rating. It’s perfect for a cabin, barn, or workshop or could supplement the heat in a room of your home. Best of all, the price on Amazon is extremely nice at just $232.33.

The Features of the Vogelzang Lil Sweetie

The primary feature of this wood stove is the way it is designed. It’s perfect for that cabin out in the woods because there is a large enough surface on top of the stove that will let you cook. The handle stays fairly cool to the touch and the door has a cam-lock latch so you don’t have to worry about it springing open. If you’re on the West Coast, however, you’re not going to be able to take advantage of this deal because it doesn’t meet emissions standards for Washington, Oregon, or California.

You do have these additional features to consider with this product if you do qualify for its purchase:

  • it’s small enough that one person can handle the installation of it, weighing in right around 60 pounds in total;
  • the assembly of this wood stove is incredibly simple and can be completed in less than an hour; and
  • it burns the wood you feed it extremely efficiently.

It’s important to realize that this isn’t generally going to be a whole home heating stove in most situations. It is a heating and cooking stove that will quickly consume the wood, especially since there aren’t any fire bricks with it. You could prolong the heating life of this stove by installing your own bricks if you wish.

The Advantages of the Vogelzang Lil Sweetie

The primary advantage of this wood stove is its cost. It’s extremely affordable and will quickly heat any room you put it in. You’ll need to have it be double vented, however, because of the extreme output it has. You’ll need to route it through a chimney if that is possible, otherwise you’re going to be cutting a hole through your exterior wall. For some users, that might be a dealbreaker if they don’t have a chimney or an exhaust output, but otherwise this is a pretty sturdy little stove.

If there was one thing that could be improved with this stove, it would be nice if it came with a heat shield. It puts out a lot of heat, so you’ll want to keep it away from the walls. It might work in some mobile homes if there’s enough clearance space, but it is primarily designed for the cabin or barn that you want to have heated. It’s tough to find a better deal at this price point, which is why the Lil Sweetie gets our recommendation. Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on the Vogelzang BX22EL Lil Sweetie Cast Iron Stove.

Categories
Kitchen

Review: Bay Front SDS Pellet Stove

Do you want the ease and convenience of a pellet stove for your home? Do you want a unit that has the power to heat up to 2,000 square feet with ease? With this bay view pellet stove by Bay Front SDS, you’ll get the visual aesthetics of a fire you love with the heating ease of a 50 pound pellet hopper. It comes loaded with features that you don’t often find at this price range, although high efficiency pellets are the only ones recommended for this unit. The MSRP of this pellet stove is $2,295, but you’ll be able to save over $600 by shopping on a website like Amazon.

The Features of the Bay Front SDS Pellet Stove

The best feature that you’ll find on this pellet stove is the digital thermostat controller. This allows you to be able to quickly adjust the warmth of your room and your home with one-touch ease. This is combined with an electric ignition process so you won’t have to worry about creating a bed of coals to keep your stove firing with strong heat either. Backed by a 1 year warranty for service and parts, you’ll get 33k BTUs of heat output that is consistent.

There’s also these features to consider as well:

  • a high temperature automatic switch-off feature will turn off the fire within your stove when temperatures reach 200F;
  • if the power goes out, the stove will automatically restart if the unit exhaust is above 120F; and
  • with an ash drawer in the bottom, it’s easy to clean out this pellet stove, especially if you have a Shop-Vac around to help.

This pellet stove is a fully automated unit. You set the times and temperatures that you want for your home to be heated and it turns on. The blower is also automated so you’ll always receive the proper amount of heat for your home with this unit.

The Advantages of the Bay Front SDS Pellet Stove

The primary advantage that you’ll find with this unit is that when equipped with a hearth pad, it will even work on combustible floors with ease. You can reduce the pellet distribution amount to reduce heat output as well, allowing you to be able to install this stove virtually anywhere in your home with ease. You’ll want to give it a little extra clearance from a combustible wall than some other units, but overall it’s a versatile stove.

The one issue we can see some folks having with this stove is that the venting attachments are just a bit smaller than what you’d get with a standard-sized unit. You or your preferred installation professional may need to tinker just a bit with your adapters to finalize the installation. To get the pipe to go on all the way, you may also need to disassemble the back of the unit, depending on your specific venting needs.

Overall, however, for the price of this pellet stove, you’re definitely getting a great deal! You’ll have a lot of versatility to meet your heating needs thanks to this stove’s features and that allows you to save on your heating bills. There’s a lot of value in this investment and that’s why it receives our recommendation.

US Stove 5040 Pellet Stove, Small
Castle Pellet Stoves Serenity 12327 Indoor Heating Temperature Free Standing with Flame Window and Smart Controller, 18-1/4"W x 34" H x 23-3/4"D, Black
ComfortBilt HP50S Pellet Stove Arctic White
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU
pelpro Pellet Stove, 2,500 Sq Ft, PP130-B
US Stove 5040 Pellet Stove, Small
Castle Pellet Stoves Serenity 12327 Indoor Heating Temperature Free Standing with Flame Window and Smart Controller, 18-1/4"W x 34" H x 23-3/4"D, Black
ComfortBilt HP50S Pellet Stove Arctic White
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU
pelpro Pellet Stove, 2,500 Sq Ft, PP130-B
$1,715.74
$1,295.00
$1,749.00
$2,299.00
$2,383.65
US Stove 5040 Pellet Stove, Small
US Stove 5040 Pellet Stove, Small
$1,715.74
Castle Pellet Stoves Serenity 12327 Indoor Heating Temperature Free Standing with Flame Window and Smart Controller, 18-1/4"W x 34" H x 23-3/4"D, Black
Castle Pellet Stoves Serenity 12327 Indoor Heating Temperature Free Standing with Flame Window and Smart Controller, 18-1/4"W x 34" H x 23-3/4"D, Black
$1,295.00
ComfortBilt HP50S Pellet Stove Arctic White
ComfortBilt HP50S Pellet Stove Arctic White
$1,749.00
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove HP22- 50,000 BTU
$2,299.00
pelpro Pellet Stove, 2,500 Sq Ft, PP130-B
pelpro Pellet Stove, 2,500 Sq Ft, PP130-B
$2,383.65
Categories
Kitchen

How To Find the Best Wood Pellets

If you have a furnace that operates on wood pellets, then it can be somewhat difficult to find the high quality pellets you need to stay warm at times. Wood pellets require a certain level of denseness in order to be an effective heat source and unfortunately you aren’t always able to find reliable pellets available for sale online. This means you’ll need to know how to find the best wood pellets that can be found in your area.

Here are the steps that you’ll want to take to make sure you’re getting the best product at the best price locally.

1. Stop by your local farm supply store first. The best wood pellets tend to come from local suppliers. This is because the pellet itself can be damaged during the shipping process. Local products tend to be in greater demand through your local farm supply store, so make this the first stop you make. The pricing might be a little higher than you anticipate, even if you’re purchasing your pellets in bulk, but the quality will help you make back that extra expense over the course of a year because your burn will be more consistent.

2. Calculate the per-pound rates from national chain stores. You typically won’t find bulk wood pellets available at your local hardware chain store or home improvement center. You will find single bags of pellets that weigh between 20-60 pounds in most circumstances. You must be careful when shopping at these stores for two reasons: the pellets can be very expensive per-pound and the pellets might be designed for grilling instead of heating. Always ask for the “best fuel pellets” to avoid this issue.

3. Know your wood. Certain types of pellets just burn better than others. Many pellets are made from a compression process which may utilize several different types of wood. Some are made from a single type of wood. Check for public reviews on the brand of pellets you prefer for real customer experiences to get a glimpse of what kind of burn you could expect from each type of pellet offered.

4. Check the manufacturer’s ratings on your furnace. Some wood pellet stoves or furnaces require a specific type of pellet in order to operate efficiently. If you use the wrong type of pellet, then you may have increased soot levels, shorter burn times, inconsistent temperatures, or all of the above. If you’re not sure what pellets to purchase, then check the owner’s manual for a specific recommendation or contact the customer service department of the stove/furnace maker.

5. Understand the shipping process. If you’re purchasing wood pellets online, then the weight of your product becomes an important consideration. Heavier weights always cost more to ship, especially over longer distances. If your product is coming from the other side of your country, you might find yourself paying more in shipping charges than the actual product price. Look for options through Amazon Prime or other providers where free shipping may be available.

Knowing how to find the best wood pellets will help you be able to stay warm and comfortable no matter how cold it happens to be outside. The next time you need to restock on pellets, consider this guide to make sure you get the best pellets at the best price.

Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets for Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise and BBQ, 20 lb. Bag
Flame Genie FG-P20 Premium Wood Pellets for Fire Pits
Pit Boss Whiskey Barrel Blend Hardwood Pellets, 40 lb
Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets for Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise and BBQ, 20 lb. Bag
Flame Genie FG-P20 Premium Wood Pellets for Fire Pits
Pit Boss Whiskey Barrel Blend Hardwood Pellets, 40 lb
$17.95
$8.59
$29.99
Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets for Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise and BBQ, 20 lb. Bag
Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets for Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise and BBQ, 20 lb. Bag
$17.95
Flame Genie FG-P20 Premium Wood Pellets for Fire Pits
Flame Genie FG-P20 Premium Wood Pellets for Fire Pits
$8.59
Pit Boss Whiskey Barrel Blend Hardwood Pellets, 40 lb
Pit Boss Whiskey Barrel Blend Hardwood Pellets, 40 lb
$29.99
Categories
Kitchen

How to Find the Best Fireplace Grates

The best fireplace grates might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it might just be an investment that is worth making. There are three primary types of grates to consider today.

Steel bar grates. These are used for fireplaces that burn wood exclusively.
Cast iron grates. These are used for fireplaces that burn coal but will also work with wood.
Grate heaters. This product produces heat for the home for wood-burning fireplaces.

You cannot use a steel grate with coal because the bars on the grate are spread too far apart to hold the materials.

Once you know what type of gate you need, you’re ready to start taking advantage of everything the best fireplace grates are able to do.

Amagabeli Black Wrought Iron Fireplace Log Grate 30 inch Wide Heavy Duty Solid Steel Indoor Chimney Hearth 3/4" Bar Fire Grates for Outdoor Kindling Tools Pit Wood Stove Firewood Burning Rack Holder
Amagabeli 27in Fire Grate Log Grate Wrought Iron Fire Pit Round Spider Wagon Wheel Firewood Heavy Duty 0.7in Bar Fireplace Stove Burning Rack Holder 4Legs Chimney Hearth Kindling Stacking BG275
G GOOD GAIN Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer, 16" Heavy Duty Cast Iron Indoor, Chimney Hearth Wood Stove Burning Rack Holder,1/2” Bar Fire Place Asseccories for Outdoor, Fire Pits, Camping.
Panacea Products Corp 30' Blk Cast Iron Grate 15430 Fireplace Grates & Andirons
Rocky Mountain Goods Heavy Duty Fireplace Grate - Solid Metal Bar Log Holder Grate with 3/4” Bars - Rack Heater for Wood Stove with Heavy Gauge Wrought Iron Bars (27")
Amagabeli Black Wrought Iron Fireplace Log Grate 30 inch Wide Heavy Duty Solid Steel Indoor Chimney Hearth 3/4" Bar Fire Grates for Outdoor Kindling Tools Pit Wood Stove Firewood Burning Rack Holder
Amagabeli 27in Fire Grate Log Grate Wrought Iron Fire Pit Round Spider Wagon Wheel Firewood Heavy Duty 0.7in Bar Fireplace Stove Burning Rack Holder 4Legs Chimney Hearth Kindling Stacking BG275
G GOOD GAIN Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer, 16" Heavy Duty Cast Iron Indoor, Chimney Hearth Wood Stove Burning Rack Holder,1/2” Bar Fire Place Asseccories for Outdoor, Fire Pits, Camping.
Panacea Products Corp 30' Blk Cast Iron Grate 15430 Fireplace Grates & Andirons
Rocky Mountain Goods Heavy Duty Fireplace Grate - Solid Metal Bar Log Holder Grate with 3/4” Bars - Rack Heater for Wood Stove with Heavy Gauge Wrought Iron Bars (27")
$93.99
$69.99
Price not available
$73.04
$89.95
5,371 Reviews
686 Reviews
1 Reviews
82 Reviews
113 Reviews
Amagabeli Black Wrought Iron Fireplace Log Grate 30 inch Wide Heavy Duty Solid Steel Indoor Chimney Hearth 3/4" Bar Fire Grates for Outdoor Kindling Tools Pit Wood Stove Firewood Burning Rack Holder
Amagabeli Black Wrought Iron Fireplace Log Grate 30 inch Wide Heavy Duty Solid Steel Indoor Chimney Hearth 3/4" Bar Fire Grates for Outdoor Kindling Tools Pit Wood Stove Firewood Burning Rack Holder
$93.99
5,371 Reviews
Amagabeli 27in Fire Grate Log Grate Wrought Iron Fire Pit Round Spider Wagon Wheel Firewood Heavy Duty 0.7in Bar Fireplace Stove Burning Rack Holder 4Legs Chimney Hearth Kindling Stacking BG275
Amagabeli 27in Fire Grate Log Grate Wrought Iron Fire Pit Round Spider Wagon Wheel Firewood Heavy Duty 0.7in Bar Fireplace Stove Burning Rack Holder 4Legs Chimney Hearth Kindling Stacking BG275
$69.99
686 Reviews
G GOOD GAIN Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer, 16" Heavy Duty Cast Iron Indoor, Chimney Hearth Wood Stove Burning Rack Holder,1/2” Bar Fire Place Asseccories for Outdoor, Fire Pits, Camping.
G GOOD GAIN Fireplace Grate with Ember Retainer, 16" Heavy Duty Cast Iron Indoor, Chimney Hearth Wood Stove Burning Rack Holder,1/2” Bar Fire Place Asseccories for Outdoor, Fire Pits, Camping.
Price not available
1 Reviews
Panacea Products Corp 30' Blk Cast Iron Grate 15430 Fireplace Grates & Andirons
Panacea Products Corp 30' Blk Cast Iron Grate 15430 Fireplace Grates & Andirons
$73.04
82 Reviews
Rocky Mountain Goods Heavy Duty Fireplace Grate - Solid Metal Bar Log Holder Grate with 3/4” Bars - Rack Heater for Wood Stove with Heavy Gauge Wrought Iron Bars (27")
Rocky Mountain Goods Heavy Duty Fireplace Grate - Solid Metal Bar Log Holder Grate with 3/4” Bars - Rack Heater for Wood Stove with Heavy Gauge Wrought Iron Bars (27")
$89.95
113 Reviews

What Are the Advantages of Owing a Fireplace Grate?

The primary advantage in using a fireplace grate is that it makes a fire easier to light. Because your burning materials are kept off of the ground, you will have a full range of oxygen to get that fire started.

The best fireplace grates are also able to provide you with these additional advantages.

You will receive a better quality burn. Because the burning materials are off of the ground, you’ll receive 360 degrees of burning instead of the 180 degrees of burning when the materials are grounded. This also means that the burn will be more complete, reducing the need to adjust the wood or coal while the fire is active.
You will protect the floor of your fireplace. A fireplace grate will keep the heat off of the floor, reducing the wear and tear placed on your fireplace.
You will experience better drafting. Since your fire is placed closer to your chimney, you’ll find that smoke tends to be drafted away. Fumes are also reduced. This is because you’ve provided the opportunity to put more air above and below the burning materials.
You will have less work. The design of most fireplace grates includes a curl that keeps the firewood or coal in a central location. This allows you to enjoy your fire more and worry about working it less.

Which Type of Fireplace Grate is Right for Me?

Steel grates are best suited for occasional use. There are thick steel grates that are intended for daily use, but they also tend to come with a higher price. If you burn harder woods in your fireplace, you’ll want to purchase a high-quality steel grate even if you use the fireplace infrequently.

Cast iron grates tend to be the gold standard of fireplace care. Not only are they affordable, but they also retain heat well so you receive residual warmth for some time after you extinguish your fire.

If your fireplace struggles to circulate heat throughout your home, then a grate heater is your best choice. We highly recommend this wood-burning grate heater by Stoll to meet that need.

The best fireplace grates will make it easier to care for your fire while adding life to your fireplace. That’s why an investment makes sense.


Categories
Kitchen

How to Find the Best Fireplace Tongs

Every so often, you need to work on a fire in your fireplace. Maybe one of the logs has fallen out of position or you need to stir up some of the coals. The best fireplace tongs are one of the tools you can use to make sure your fire is always burning in the way that you want.

Knowing how to find the best fireplace tongs means combining features, price, and a comparison of manufacturing processes. You may also wish to purchase your tongs in a set of fireplace tools to complement your hearth.

40-Inch Log Claw Tongs firewood Grabber Tool for Fire Pit and Fireplace-Indoor and Outdoor Log Grabber Tool
KABIN Fire Tong Log Grabber – Extra Long Firewood Claw Tongs for Fireplace, Outdoor Campfire, Firepit & More 38"
Epica Fireplace Tongs, 26" Long, Log Grabber
36 inch Fire Pit Poker Fireplace Poker and 26 inch Tongs Rust Resistant Black Solid Steel One-Piece Heavy Duty Poker and Tongs for Camping Campfire Wood Stove Fireplace Fire Pit Indoor and Outdoor Use
Sunnydaze 40-Inch Log Claw Tongs - Heavy-Duty Metal Outdoor/Indoor Gripping Grabber Tool for Wood-Burning Fire Pit or Fireplace - Safely Moves Firewood
40-Inch Log Claw Tongs firewood Grabber Tool for Fire Pit and Fireplace-Indoor and Outdoor Log Grabber Tool
KABIN Fire Tong Log Grabber – Extra Long Firewood Claw Tongs for Fireplace, Outdoor Campfire, Firepit & More 38"
Epica Fireplace Tongs, 26" Long, Log Grabber
36 inch Fire Pit Poker Fireplace Poker and 26 inch Tongs Rust Resistant Black Solid Steel One-Piece Heavy Duty Poker and Tongs for Camping Campfire Wood Stove Fireplace Fire Pit Indoor and Outdoor Use
Sunnydaze 40-Inch Log Claw Tongs - Heavy-Duty Metal Outdoor/Indoor Gripping Grabber Tool for Wood-Burning Fire Pit or Fireplace - Safely Moves Firewood
$45.50
$79.99
$15.50
$39.99
$41.95
24 Reviews
74 Reviews
6,065 Reviews
-
911 Reviews
40-Inch Log Claw Tongs firewood Grabber Tool for Fire Pit and Fireplace-Indoor and Outdoor Log Grabber Tool
40-Inch Log Claw Tongs firewood Grabber Tool for Fire Pit and Fireplace-Indoor and Outdoor Log Grabber Tool
$45.50
24 Reviews
KABIN Fire Tong Log Grabber – Extra Long Firewood Claw Tongs for Fireplace, Outdoor Campfire, Firepit & More 38"
KABIN Fire Tong Log Grabber – Extra Long Firewood Claw Tongs for Fireplace, Outdoor Campfire, Firepit & More 38"
$79.99
74 Reviews
Epica Fireplace Tongs, 26" Long, Log Grabber
Epica Fireplace Tongs, 26" Long, Log Grabber
$15.50
6,065 Reviews
36 inch Fire Pit Poker Fireplace Poker and 26 inch Tongs Rust Resistant Black Solid Steel One-Piece Heavy Duty Poker and Tongs for Camping Campfire Wood Stove Fireplace Fire Pit Indoor and Outdoor Use
36 inch Fire Pit Poker Fireplace Poker and 26 inch Tongs Rust Resistant Black Solid Steel One-Piece Heavy Duty Poker and Tongs for Camping Campfire Wood Stove Fireplace Fire Pit Indoor and Outdoor Use
$39.99
-
Sunnydaze 40-Inch Log Claw Tongs - Heavy-Duty Metal Outdoor/Indoor Gripping Grabber Tool for Wood-Burning Fire Pit or Fireplace - Safely Moves Firewood
Sunnydaze 40-Inch Log Claw Tongs - Heavy-Duty Metal Outdoor/Indoor Gripping Grabber Tool for Wood-Burning Fire Pit or Fireplace - Safely Moves Firewood
$41.95
911 Reviews

Here’s what you need to know.

#1. Fireplace tongs are meant to handle hot materials. The tongs allow you to reach into a fireplace without hurting yourself from the heat of the fire. Because of this, you’ll want to own tongs that have a high heat rating. This will allow you to work with any fire, indoors or outside, whenever the need arises.

#2. The best fireplace tongs will fit your hand. Some tongs are designed with a one-size-fits-all perspective. The goal is to be as useful as possible to the greatest number of people. If your hands are larger or smaller than average, the generic tongs aren’t going to be good enough. Find a set that will fit your hand properly so that you can handle the hot materials of a fire effectively.

#3. Length is another important consideration. You’ll find that many fireplace tongs are about 30 inches in length. Although this works for general needs, you may find that a longer set of tongs (at least 45 inches in length) makes the work of building a fire become a lot easier. Longer fireplace tongs make it easier to handle heavier logs, assuming that they are made with the right materials.

#4. Brass fireplace tongs aren’t always the best solution. The best fireplace tongs are easy to handle in virtually any situation. The cheaper, older brass fireplace tongs don’t generally fit that description. Not only are those cheap tongs heavy, but they aren’t balanced very well. That means it could be potentially dangerous to move hot items around. Look instead for fireplace tongs that are made with lightweight stainless steel with counterweights so you can always be in full control.

#5. Expect to pay at least $50 for a good set of fireplace tongs. The best fireplace tongs are going to set you back at least $50-$60. Tongs which have a heat shield or a powered handle may cost even more.

#6. Multi-tools are not always the best option. You will often find tongs that are promoted as being pokers or have other fireplace tools built into them. Although this is a way to save money if you’re trying to purchase a full set of tools, it does make the actual tongs more difficult to use in most circumstances.

#7. Remember to check the weight rating of the tongs. You will want to have a set of fireplace tongs that can lift logs which weigh upwards of 15 pounds. Look for a manufacturer’s rating to determine the weight tolerance. If there isn’t a weight rating, then assume it can only handle up to 5 pounds.

The best fireplace tongs are easy to find thanks to shops like Amazon where you can find a high-quality product that can be shipped right to your front door. Don’t settle for an inferior set of tongs. Find the best product at a great price today, get it ordered, and you’ll be in better control of your fire.


Categories
Kitchen

Best Fireplace Wood to Burn

logs for fireplace

Burning wood for heat during the colder days of the year is a cost-effective way to stay warm. Yet some types of firewood tend to burn better than others. This is because certain types of wood have a higher energy content per cord than others. What is the best fireplace wood to burn?

How to Select the Best Fireplace Wood

Did you know that freshly-cut firewood may contain up to 45% water? This is called “green” firewood. In order for it to burn, the moisture must first be removed. If it is placed into a fireplace in this green status, then most of the energy content of the wood will be used ineffectively.

That means the best fireplace wood to burn has been seasoned for a minimum of 6 months after it has been cut. The natural elements will reduce the water content of the wood so that you have more available energy content.

The seasoning process is more important than finding the correct type of wood to burn. For that reason, a wood digital moisture meter can be a great investment. We recommend this highly rated model from Stihl for this process.

What Is the Best Type of Firewood to Burn?

The best type of firewood to burn depends on the results that you’re looking to achieve with your fire. Softer woods tend to burn faster, but they’ll also burn hotter. Many soft woods also tend to offer a more fragrant fireplace experience. The best softer type of firewood to burn is usually fir. Fir firewood is easy to start, easy to split, and creates a large fire.

If you’re looking for a hardwood to burn, there are several good options available to you. Oak tends to be the most popular, but that also means it is usually the most expensive. In some areas, you could pay more than $350 for a cord of oak.

Walnut, madrone, and eucalyptus are other forms of hardwood that may be a little cheaper, but just as effective for firewood. Hardwoods that are properly seasons will typically burn quite hot for longer periods of time because they have more available fuel energy.

How Can I Tell If My Firewood Has Been Seasoned?

Unless you are purchasing pine or fir firewood, then it is virtually impossible for it to be properly seasoned if it was cut this year. Only warm, dry climates where the firewood was properly stored can season firewood in the time when winter ends and autumn begins.

Seasoned firewood also looks quite white on the inside. Unseasoned firewood tends to look like lumber products that you would purchase at your local DIY store.

It is also important to note that old firewood will deteriorate. Even properly stored and seasoned firewood will only last about 3 years at most.

So what is the best firewood to burn? The correct answer would be “last year’s firewood.” If your cord was cut and split this year, you might not have the right burning experience.


Categories
Kitchen

Best Firewood Racks

A good firewood rack will help keep your wood from prematurely decomposing. It will also encourage the seasoning process during the warmer months of the year. The best firewood racks will accomplish these tasks will giving your property a nice visual aesthetic.

Choosing the rack that is best for you depends on your home heating needs. If you have a cast iron stove which heats your own home, you’ll need a large and easily accessible firewood rack. If your need for firewood is only for a backyard fire pit, then a small, decorative firewood rack can serve your needs.

What to Look for in Large Firewood Racks

• There should be a cover or tarp that protects the top of your stack from ongoing moisture exposure so the seasoning process can be encouraged.
• It should be large enough to hold at least one full cord of firewood safely.
• The height of the firewood rack should come to about shoulder level at most. It is dangerous to remove firewood from a stack that is above head-high.
• It may be suitable for indoor use, but must be rated for outdoor use based on the climate conditions of your region.
• There should be some form of powder coating on steel racks, but if that coating gets scratched, it could corrode. Look for heavy-duty stainless steel racks with reinforced beams for the best results.
• It must be able to keep your firewood at least 12 inches off of the ground. Otherwise, insect and moisture damage may still occur.

What to Look for in Small Firewood Racks

• Decorative racks should still be functional. The firewood should be able to be stacked in a safe manner.
• It must still be rated for outdoor use, even if you intend to keep the firewood rack on an enclosed porch or inside a garage.
• Many small firewood racks will fold flat so that you can store them easily during the warmer months of the year when you may not want to have a fire.
• These firewood racks should be easy to move and lightweight in nature, but not too lightweight. The best firewood racks in this category tend to weigh between 15-20 pounds.
• It should offer some type of cover to protect your firewood if you plan to keep it outdoors. If kept indoors, it should be able to safely work with your floors without leaving scratches.
• It must be able to withstand the moisture that may still be in the firewood with a strong powder coating.

What Is the Best Firewood Rack for You?

Many homes that burn wood for heat will have a large and a small firewood rack to meet their needs. That way firewood can be stacked for the cast iron stove and the fireplace or fire pit at the same time.

Here are some of the best firewood racks that are available right now which meet all of the key points mentioned above very effectively.

Rocky Mountain Goods 8 ft Firewood Rack - Outdoor / Indoor - Wood Storage Firewood Holder - Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack - Easy Install in Minutes - Included Hardware - Keeps Firewood Up and Dry
Mr IRONSTONE 41 inch Firewood Rack, Firewood Log Hoop for Indoor Fireplace Wood Storage Ring, Round Tubular Steel for Patio Deck Metal Log Holder Outdoor Fireplace Pit Patio Deck Porch Lumber Stacker
GASPRO 8FT Firewood Rack Outdoor with Cover, Adds Sturdy Middle Upright, Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack Wood Holder, Easy to Assemble
The Woodhaven 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack with Cover
VIVOHOME 8ft Heavy Duty Indoor Outdoor Firewood Storage Log Rack with Cover Combo Set Black
Rocky Mountain Goods 8 ft Firewood Rack - Outdoor / Indoor - Wood Storage Firewood Holder - Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack - Easy Install in Minutes - Included Hardware - Keeps Firewood Up and Dry
Mr IRONSTONE 41 inch Firewood Rack, Firewood Log Hoop for Indoor Fireplace Wood Storage Ring, Round Tubular Steel for Patio Deck Metal Log Holder Outdoor Fireplace Pit Patio Deck Porch Lumber Stacker
GASPRO 8FT Firewood Rack Outdoor with Cover, Adds Sturdy Middle Upright, Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack Wood Holder, Easy to Assemble
The Woodhaven 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack with Cover
VIVOHOME 8ft Heavy Duty Indoor Outdoor Firewood Storage Log Rack with Cover Combo Set Black
53 Reviews
76 Reviews
383 Reviews
1,366 Reviews
1,379 Reviews
Rocky Mountain Goods 8 ft Firewood Rack - Outdoor / Indoor - Wood Storage Firewood Holder - Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack - Easy Install in Minutes - Included Hardware - Keeps Firewood Up and Dry
Rocky Mountain Goods 8 ft Firewood Rack - Outdoor / Indoor - Wood Storage Firewood Holder - Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack - Easy Install in Minutes - Included Hardware - Keeps Firewood Up and Dry
53 Reviews
Mr IRONSTONE 41 inch Firewood Rack, Firewood Log Hoop for Indoor Fireplace Wood Storage Ring, Round Tubular Steel for Patio Deck Metal Log Holder Outdoor Fireplace Pit Patio Deck Porch Lumber Stacker
Mr IRONSTONE 41 inch Firewood Rack, Firewood Log Hoop for Indoor Fireplace Wood Storage Ring, Round Tubular Steel for Patio Deck Metal Log Holder Outdoor Fireplace Pit Patio Deck Porch Lumber Stacker
76 Reviews
GASPRO 8FT Firewood Rack Outdoor with Cover, Adds Sturdy Middle Upright, Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack Wood Holder, Easy to Assemble
GASPRO 8FT Firewood Rack Outdoor with Cover, Adds Sturdy Middle Upright, Heavy Duty Steel Log Rack Wood Holder, Easy to Assemble
383 Reviews
The Woodhaven 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack with Cover
The Woodhaven 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack with Cover
1,366 Reviews
VIVOHOME 8ft Heavy Duty Indoor Outdoor Firewood Storage Log Rack with Cover Combo Set Black
VIVOHOME 8ft Heavy Duty Indoor Outdoor Firewood Storage Log Rack with Cover Combo Set Black
1,379 Reviews
Categories
Kitchen

Find the Best Log Splitter

Burning wood for heat in the colder months can be a very affordable way to stay warm. It can also be a real pain in the neck if you have to manually split and store your own wood. This is where the best log splitter can provide you with some affordable relief. Just place your wood into the machine, let it operate, and you’ll effortless be able to split the wood you need for warmth.

Now if only there was an automatic wood stacker that could work with this product.

The Best Chart for Log Splitters

Log splitters come in many different shapes, sizes, and capacities. You might even see them called a cradle, a wedge, or even a dislodger instead of a splitter. We’ve eliminated the confusion by putting together the top-rated log splitters in the chart below for review, no matter what name or label might be associated with the product.

What Is a Log Splitter and Why Do I Need One?

It’s been said that splitting wood with an axe can “build character.” If you’re splitting wood for heat and have a number of other chores that need to be done, then it’s better to work smarter instead of harder. This is where the best log splitter makes for a tremendous investment.

You place the log which needs to be split into the splitter. Then you start the unit’s cycle. The splitter will then chop the wood for you.

Now the most affordable log splitters do tend to require some manual strength in order to operate. You’ll need to pull levers and use the power of leverage to your advantage. It’s still easier than hefting an axe on a repetitive basis.

How to Find the Best Log Splitter for Me

When you’re looking for a log splitter, your choice often comes down to the total tonnage of the unit. A 30+ ton log splitter can take on a wood diameter of 24 inches and a hardness rating of 2,200 pounds. In comparison, a 4-ton log splitter can handle a wood diameter of 6 inches and a hardness rating of 600 pounds or less.

That means to find the best log splitter, you need to consider the type of wood and the log size that you’ll be needing to split. Here are some reference points for you to consider.

All softwoods have a hardness rating below 1,000 pounds. Basswood, Aspen, and Cottonwood have a hardness rating below 500 pounds. Pine and Sweet Gum have the largest hardness ratings, each just under 900 pounds.
Most hardwoods have a hardness rating above 1,000 pounds. The only exception to this rule is Cedar, which has a hardness rating of 900 pounds.
Dogwood is the hardest common wood used for burning. It’s hardness rating is at 2,150 pounds.

The reason why this information is useful is because it takes more tonnage out of your wood splitter to work with wood that has a higher hardness rating. Here’s an example: at 6-inches in diameter, a 4-ton wood splitter can handle wood with a hardness rating of up to 600. If the wood is rated up to 900 pounds, then a 6-ton wood splitter is necessary. If you have 6-inch Dogwood that needs to be split, then you’d need a 10-ton wood splitter.

Size also matters. If the wood you’re splitting is 24-inches in diameter, then the minimum tonnage for your wood splitter must be 27 tons. The benefit of a 27-ton splitter is that it can work for all softwoods and Cedar.

What Are the Features of the Best Log Splitters?

The tonnage a log splitter can handle is only one feature that needs to be considered. There is also the motor horsepower, the cycle time of the unit, and even the manufacturer of these components to consider. Pump size, hydraulic fluid capacity, and the physical size of the motor may also be important.

Here’s why these features need to be considered.

High tonnage log splitters with low costs have slow cycle times. You can find off-brand high tonnage splitters that are very affordable, but their cycle time is so slow that it might take 5 minutes just to split one of your logs.
High tonnage log splitters with low costs can also have very fast cycle times. Some manufacturers also offer cycle times that are way too fast for the logs being used. You’re not going to split Dogwood in 3-5 seconds, no matter how good the log splitter happens to be. Even if it can work that fast, you’re probably not going to be working that fast.
Warranties are often associated with personal use. If you are over-using your log splitter based on its cycle time, then you might unintentionally void your warranty. On the other extreme, if you have a cycle time that you are under-utilizing because it is so fast, then you’re paying for something that you don’t actually need.

You’ll also notice in the best log splitter reviews that there are electric log splitters and gas-powered log splitters. Some will split logs horizontally, while others require vertical splitting. Some of this is personal preference, but higher tonnage log splitters tend to work better when they are gas-powered. Anything that is rated at 12-tons or above should be gas-powered if you plan to use the splitter on a regular basis.

Machine-mounted splitters and kinetic log splitters are also specialty options that may be suitable for some homeowners.

What Are the Prices of the Best Log Splitters?

Cost is difficult to judge when looking at the best log splitters. Some low tonnage units may cost more than $2,000, while high tonnage units might be less than that. You must compare the quality of the motor, the presence of features, and the tonnage rating together in conjunction with the type of wood you are splitting to find the best possible price.

Best case scenario? You spend less than $2,500. Some homeowners might be able to spend between $500-$1,000 to get a great unit. Low-cost options below $500 might also work in specific situations.

Read Our Reviews

WEN 6-Ton Electric

We really loved how reliable this little electrical unit happen to be. It works on household current, so it really is a plug-and-play splitter. Just don’t use an extension cord with this model unless you absolutely have to do so – it changes the performance of the splitter. We found log sizes of about 20 inches would still work with this model, but only with the softer woods. Our best experience came with testing it indoors. Give it a try and your back will thank you.

Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on this log splitter.

Kindling Cracker

This isn’t a high-powered log splitter by any means. It’s more of a kindling maker than anything else. It’s good for creating those small bits of wood that you sometimes need to get the fire going. You can attach to this a standard mallet securely and be able to make some of the firewood you need without a hatchet or a blade around. It’s a good solution for those where a fully automatic log splitter isn’t an option, but you also want to do less manual work in splitting your logs.

Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on this log splitter.

Powerhouse XM-380

This 3HP log splitter gives you 7-tons of support for your firewood. It’s light enough to be portable, but still offers you some of the strength that a gas-powered unit could provide even though it is electrical. We found logs about 18-20 inches were its maximum capacity in terms of length – about 12 inches was all it could handle from a diameter standpoint. It did great with soft woods and reasonably well with cedar. Overall we found the results to be very positive and highly recommend this unit.

Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on this log splitter.

Boss Industrial

This electric log splitter has some good things working for it. It has a push-button start so that virtually anyone can use this unit. It really only takes one hand to work the splitter as well, so you feel like you’re using 50% of energy resources. There’s an automatic ram return and a high-quality hydraulic system as well. It’s the power of the motor that disappointed us. It takes a little extra time to split logs on this unit compared to others, but the overall construction of the unit is more durable. Check it out – this could be the best log splitter for you.

Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on this log splitter.

Champion Power Equipment

This log splitter gets everything right. The 20-second cycle time lets you work quickly but at your own pace. The wedge is skewed better than on other models as well, which gives you a cleaner split on your logs. A 2-year warranty supports this model, with technical support included, and the low profile design is nice for efficient log processing. The tires are never-flat, which makes them tough to use in certain landscapes, but that’s really our only complaint. It gets the job done.

Click here to view prices on Amazon and get a great deal on this log splitter.

The best log splitter will make fast work of your firewood needs. Make the investment today and you’ll be able to put that axe away for good.

Categories
Kitchen

What Is the Best Way to Clean Fireplace Glass?

Before you clean your fireplace glass, make sure you check your owner’s manual for any manufacturer recommendations. Some warranties can be voided by cleaning the glass the wrong way. Follow any instructions that are provided.

If your fireplace is out of warranty or there aren’t any instructions, then here is the best way to clean fireplace glass effectively and affordably.

If You Need to Remove Soot from Your Fireplace Glass

The best way to remove soot from fireplace glass is to use a specific cleaner that is intended to get the job done. You can use an ammonia/water combination if you wish, but these products work more effectively without the need to have proper ventilation.

Rutland Products Hearth and Grill Conditioning Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce
SPEEDY WHITE Speedy White-22 oz Bottle
MEECO'S RED DEVIL 701 Woodstove Glass Cleaner (16oz)
Rutland Products Hearth and Grill Conditioning Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce
SPEEDY WHITE Speedy White-22 oz Bottle
MEECO'S RED DEVIL 701 Woodstove Glass Cleaner (16oz)
$8.99
$24.50
$14.45
Rutland Products Hearth and Grill Conditioning Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce
Rutland Products Hearth and Grill Conditioning Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce
$8.99
SPEEDY WHITE Speedy White-22 oz Bottle
SPEEDY WHITE Speedy White-22 oz Bottle
$24.50
MEECO'S RED DEVIL 701 Woodstove Glass Cleaner (16oz)
MEECO'S RED DEVIL 701 Woodstove Glass Cleaner (16oz)
$14.45

You can also use a chemical-free approach to cleaning your glass. Just use some newspaper, get it a little wet, and apply some of your fireplace ash to the glass. Scrub until it becomes clean.

Sometimes the reason why the glass is dirty is because the interior fire isn’t hot enough to burn away all residues. You may wish to start a very hot fire to remove as much of the residue as possible before starting the cleaning process.

If You Need to Clean Cloudy Glass

If your fireplace glass has become cloudy and yellow due to the buildup of contaminants within the fire box, then you’ll need to have an acidic cleaner that can break through that often sticky, gummy stuff. Natural cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice are often promoted as an effective way to restore the appearance of the glass.

We like these products to help restore the appearance of glass within a fireplace.

MRS. MEYER'S CLEAN DAY Glass Cleaner Bottle, Lemon Verbena Scent, 24 Fl oz (Pack of 1)
The Laundress - Glass & Mirror Cleaner, Unscented, Streak-Free Shine, Family, Food & Pet Safe, 16 fl oz
Rutland Products Rutland 1/2-Pint White-Off Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce, 8 Fl Oz - 565
MRS. MEYER'S CLEAN DAY Glass Cleaner Bottle, Lemon Verbena Scent, 24 Fl oz (Pack of 1)
The Laundress - Glass & Mirror Cleaner, Unscented, Streak-Free Shine, Family, Food & Pet Safe, 16 fl oz
Rutland Products Rutland 1/2-Pint White-Off Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce, 8 Fl Oz - 565
$15.94
$12.19
$8.23
MRS. MEYER'S CLEAN DAY Glass Cleaner Bottle, Lemon Verbena Scent, 24 Fl oz (Pack of 1)
MRS. MEYER'S CLEAN DAY Glass Cleaner Bottle, Lemon Verbena Scent, 24 Fl oz (Pack of 1)
$15.94
The Laundress - Glass & Mirror Cleaner, Unscented, Streak-Free Shine, Family, Food & Pet Safe, 16 fl oz
The Laundress - Glass & Mirror Cleaner, Unscented, Streak-Free Shine, Family, Food & Pet Safe, 16 fl oz
$12.19
Rutland Products Rutland 1/2-Pint White-Off Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce, 8 Fl Oz - 565
Rutland Products Rutland 1/2-Pint White-Off Glass Cleaner, 8 Fluid Ounce, 8 Fl Oz - 565
$8.23

Just apply these glass cleaners as directed by the product. If you have tough spots on your glass that just won’t come off, then leave the glass wet with the cleaner. Apply a paper towel to that wet area so that it sticks to the glass. Then leave it there for 10-15 minutes. Scrub the spot clean. Repeat as necessary.

Tips to Make Sure You Stay Safe While Cleaning Fireplace Glass

• Always make sure the glass being cleaned is cool to the touch.
• Never mix bleach products with ammonia cleaners.
• Many cleaners can contain flammable items, so keep them away from a fire box that may contain hot coals.
• Be prepared to use considerable efforts if scrubbing glass clean that has had 6+ months of build-up which needs to be removed.
• Do not use abrasives when cleaning the glass unless there is no other way to remove stains or spots. Abrasives can scratch the glass and decrease its overall structural integrity.
• Always use personal protective equipment when applying fireplace glass cleaners, even when using natural products like vinegar.

With regular care and cleaning, your fireplace glass can give you a beautiful glimpse of the warm fires you create. Use these products and methods to make sure that glass can get clean and then stay that way.