the fire in the fireplace

Complete Fireplace Tool Sets: Tongs, Pokers, and More

A fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. When properly set up, a fireplace provides warmth, ambiance, and a gathering place for family and friends.

However, keeping a fireplace working properly requires having the right tools on hand. A complete fireplace tool set is an essential accessory for fireplace owners. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of the must-have fireplace tools and explain why having a full set available is important.

fireplace tongs

Fireplace Shovels and Ash Rakes

The most basic tools for any fireplace are a sturdy shovel and ash rake. These allow you to remove ashes from the fireplace once the fire has died down or been extinguished.


Fireplace shovels come in various sizes, but a standard size of around 12 inches wide should suffice for most fireplaces. The shovel blade needs to be made from durable steel to scoop up ashes effectively. The handle length can vary, with longer handles giving more leverage but short handles providing better control.

Look for a shovel with a handle made from a material that stays cool to the touch for safety, such as wood or fiberglass. Metal handles can conduct heat and burn hands.

For large fireplace openings, a wider shovel around 18 inches across provides the reach to clean out the entire space more efficiently. Smaller fireplaces may only need a 10-inch wide shovel blade. Make sure to get a shovel sized appropriately for your fireplace dimensions.

The shovel handle tip can be pointed or squared off. A pointed tip allows the shovel to loosen and poke up compacted ashes, while a squared-off tip provides a flat end for pressing down on debris. Choose the option better suited to your fireplace type and usage.

Ash Rakes

Ash rakes have thin, heat-resistant tines that help break up and spread out ashes for easier removal. The tines allow better air circulation to keep embers from reigniting when cleaning out a fireplace.

Like shovels, look for an ash rake with a long handle to keep your hands away from the hot ashes while cleaning.

Metal ash rake tines should be made from durable steel, iron, or brass to resist warping from heat exposure. Iron tines provide effective strength at a lower cost.

Brass tines are more expensive but highly resistant to warping. The spacing between tines can vary between brands, with closer spacing preventing smaller ash particles from slipping through.

For large fireplace openings, seek out an ash rake with tines at least 10 inches wide to cover more surface area for faster cleaning. Standard fireplaces can use rakes with 5 to 7-inch wide tine heads.

The tines normally angle out slightly rather than being straight across to help funnel ashes into the pan beneath the grate.

Having both a sturdy shovel and an ash rake allows you to fully clean out ash buildup and keep the fireplace debris-free after fires.

Fireplace Tongs and Pokers

While shovels and rakes help with fireplace maintenance, tongs and pokers are essential accessories for managing active fireplace fires.

Fireplace Tongs

High-quality fireplace tongs usually consist of two slightly curved metal arms connected at one end by a hinge or spring. The arms should have insulated handles to allow grasping logs or other burning materials safely. Fireplace tongs serve several purposes:

  • Relocating logs or kindling while a fire is active
  • Safely adjusting log positioning for better airflow
  • Moving hot embers or small pieces of wood
  • Lifting burning logs to check their undersides

Look for fireplace tongs around 12 to 15 inches in length for the best control and leverage when reaching into the fireplace. Tongs much longer than 15 inches will be unwieldy, while tongs shorter than 12 inches force you to get too close to the active fire.

The arm design can be simple flat steel or elaborately twisting iron scrolling for a decorative look. Simple flat arms provide good strength at a lower cost. Iron scrollwork adds visual interest but is pricier and more delicate.

High-quality tong arms will use thicker stock materials for increased durability under heating and cooling cycles. Thinner steel may bend out of shape more easily from use over time.

Fireplace Pokers

A fireplace poker consists of a long handle attached to a metal rod ending in a point, hook, or flat shovel-shaped head. Fireplace pokers allow:

  • Prodding and spreading logs to adjust positioning
  • Moving embers around
  • Smoothing out ash or debris on the fireplace floor
  • Freeing up airflow beneath logs
  • Removing stuck logs by hooking and lifting

Pokers provide greater reach and leverage than tongs for moving bigger logs. Seek out durable steel pokers with heat-resistant handles at least 32 inches long. Shorter pokers require getting uncomfortably close to the fire. Handles of 36 inches or longer provide an even better safer distance.

The poker head shape affects usage. A pointed tip is good for specific poking and prodding of logs. A flat shovel head can move around larger amounts of ashes or embers at once. Look for a hook end to securely grab and adjust logs. Combination pokers with one pointed and one flat or hooked end provide the most flexibility.

Quality pokers use solid stock steel rods at least 3/4 inch in diameter for the poker shaft. Thinner rods risk bending from leverage forces when moving heavy logs. Dense woods like oak or maple make durable heat-resistant handles.

Having both a set of fireplace tongs and a poker allows maximum flexibility for tending to fires. The tongs provide finer control for smaller items while the poker helps move whole logs.

Fireplace Bellows

The fireplace bellows are an old-fashioned but still useful accessory for extra airflow. This hand-pumped tool directs a stream of air onto a fire to help it start or burn hotter when needed.

For very large fireplaces or weak drafts up the chimney, a bellows can force air into the firebox. Although not an essential piece of equipment, a fireplace bellows can be a nice extra addition to a fireplace tool set.

Bellows consist of an air chamber with handle pumps attached. Squeezing the handles forces air out through a nozzle pointed at the fire. Release the handles to draw fresh air back into the chamber. Most bellows allow adjustable nozzle positions to direct air across different parts of the fire.

Traditional fireplace bellows had chambers made from wood boards bound with rivets. Modern versions use plastic housings for lighter weight and reduced cost. For period-correct style, seek out bellows with stained wood housing and leather handle grips.

While not a must-have, keeping a bellow with the rest of the fireplace tools provides an extra way to boost airflow when needed.

vintage bon fireplace tongs

Log Holders, Log Baskets, and Firewood Racks

Keep a neat stock of dry firewood handy with log holders, baskets, and racks.

Log Holders

Tabletop log holders typically feature multiple compartments to neatly organize different-sized logs, kindling, and fire starters. Having logs sorted and ready to place avoids disruption if more fuel is needed.

Look for sturdy log holders made from woven wicker, iron, or stainless steel. Wicker provides an attractive rustic look but is less durable over time. Iron or steel log caddies with powder coating or enamel finish offer sturdy long-term storage.

Compartment sizes can vary between models, so look for ones with openings suited to the log diameters you typically use. Standard sizes range from 5 inches for kindling sticks up to 7 or 8 inches for larger firewood.

Some log holders include a chamber at the bottom to store matches, firestarters, or other ignition supplies to keep them consolidated with the wood. Models with lids or covers help seal in flammable tinder sticks and blocks.

Log Baskets

Larger freestanding log baskets also help keep firewood organized and let you store a generous amount within easy reach. Seek baskets with sturdy steel frames and woven inserts in rectangular or cylindrical shapes.

Like log holders, log baskets come in assorted sizes and designs. Measure the storage space near your hearth before purchasing to ensure an appropriately sized basket will fit the area. Rectangular baskets tuck against walls more easily, while round rattan baskets have a more rustic appeal.

Look for heavy gauge steel in the basket frame along with double-stitched seams on woven inserts. Cheaper baskets may warp or come apart after a season or two of loading with firewood. You want a log basket that will last for years.

Lids on log baskets help keep fire starter supplies and prevent firewood from drying out excessively. Hinged lids allow easy access while magnetic closure lids seal more tightly.

Firewood Racks

Outdoor firewood racks allow bulk storage and drying of cut logs. Simple A-frame rack designs keep wood up off damp ground. Having an outdoor storage rack keeps bugs away and lets breezes circulate to dry out the wood.

Racks made from weather-resistant steel or aluminum hold up better than wooden racks against rain and snow. Look for powder-coated metal racks rather than bare steel and aluminum to prevent rusting.

When determining size, allow for at least 1.5 feet of depth for a single row of firewood. For example, a 4-foot wide rack should be at least 6 feet deep. This provides easy stacking and removal of logs while maximizing storage in space. If supporting multiple rows, make sure the rack feels sturdy enough to handle the weight without tipping over.

Some firewood racks add removable vinyl covers or metal roofs to help keep wood dry in wet conditions. Allow for the extra height when measuring covered racks.

Having an outdoor rack saves space indoors while providing storage for future seasons. Just bring in smaller amounts to top off indoor log holders as needed for active fireplace use.

Fireplace Spark Screens and Doors

Spark screens and glass doors prevent flying embers while still allowing visibility of the fire.

Spark Screens

Mesh spark screens fit into the fireplace opening to block any ashes or sparks from escaping while a fire burns. Choose sturdy screens that are heat resistant and won’t bend from exposure to fire.

Bronze, brass, and stainless steel make good heat-tolerant spark screen materials. Prefer heavier gauge mesh over lightweight screens which deform more easily in high temperatures. Handle brackets allow safe repositioning of the screen when adding wood. Some screens have hinged connections to swing away from the opening.

Measure the exact width and height of your fireplace opening when selecting a spark screen. Screens come in standard sizes but having one custom fit to your hearth provides maximum protection.

For raised fireplaces, look for taller screens designed to clear the hearth. Low-profile screens suit fireplaces nearer floor level.

Glass Fireplace Doors

For a cleaner look, install glass doors across the front fireplace opening. Tempered glass doors keep more heat inside the firebox and reduce the chances of sparks escaping. Just be sure to keep doors fully open while a fire is actually burning.

Measure carefully to get doors sized to your opening. Too large and they will not seal properly. Too small and there will be gaps around the edges for sparks to escape.

Doors typically mount to the fireplace façade using metal brackets. Seek doors with sturdy steel frames and high-temperature silicone gasket material to form a tight seal when closed.

Choose between single large doors, double doors, or multi-panel doors based on visual preference and fireplace size. Larger fireplaces often suit two doors for easier operation, while standard fireplaces can use one large door.

For protection when not using the fireplace, glass doors provide a clean finished look. But take care to open them fully when burning fires to avoid the dangerous overheating of the glass.

Hearth Tools and Accessories

Beyond the core tongs, shovels, and pokers, a few additional accessories complete the fireplace tool set. Handy hearth tools make fireplace tasks simpler.

Ash Buckets

An ash bucket with a lid collects ashes cleared out by the shovel and hearth broom, containing the dust while transporting it for disposal. Metal is preferred over plastic buckets which can melt from hot ashes.

Hearth Brooms

These compact brooms have shorter bristles and handles to sweep up ashes from the fireplace surround. The bristles should be natural and heat-resistant.

Blackening Powder

Powdered blackener produces that classic blackened fireplace brick look through a chemical reaction. Simply brush on and wait 15 minutes.

Grate Handles

Wrought iron grate handles allow lifting out the grate for cleaning beneath. Look for long handles that keep hands away from heat.


Ornamental andirons support stacked wood, letting airflow beneath logs. They add decoration and allow adjusting log positioning.

Heat Gloves

Heavy-duty gloves provide hand protection when handling hot fireplace tools or touching logs.

Log Lifters

Scissor-like lifters grab logs for adjusting or removal without touching the hot wood.

Chimney Cleaning Brushes and Safety Accessories

Regular chimney maintenance falls outside day-to-day fireplace tool use but is still essential. Chimney cleaning kits allow for sweeping out dangerous creosote deposits from the flue. Proper chimney upkeep greatly reduces the risk of chimney fires. Safety accessories like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are also smart additions to any fireplace.

Chimney Brushes

Flexible fiberglass rods with twisted wire brush heads allow cleaning of the entire chimney length from the inside after removing the damper plate. Seek poles long enough to reach the chimney top from the firebox.

Vacuum Systems

More elaborate chimney vacuums attach to long suction poles to clear dust as it falls during sweeping. This contains the debris for easy disposal.

Smoke Detectors

Dual sensor ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors installed near the fireplace provide an alert if a chimney fire occurs.

Fire Extinguishers

Keep an ABC class fire extinguisher handy for suppressing any fire that escapes the firebox. Hang near the hearth at an easily accessible height.

Finding Quality Complete Fireplace Tool Sets

Rather than assembling piecemeal, purchasing a unified set from a reputable fireplace equipment retailer ensures all tools work seamlessly together. Here are some things to look for in a complete set:

  • Solid durable construction from thick steel, iron, or brass
  • Ergonomic tool lengths for comfort and safety
  • Insulated or heat-resistant handles
  • Decorative visual styles to suit individual preferences
  • Sturdy organizational racks and holders
  • Chimney cleaning accessories
  • All the essential tools for fireplace tasks
  • Coordinated look as a matching set
  • Backed by manufacturer warranties

While individual fireplace tools get the job done, surrounding your hearth with a unified set provides visual harmony and convenient access to implements when needed. For the most complete fireplace experience, equip the hearth with a full set.

using bon fireplace tongs

Why Invest in a Complete Fireplace Tool Set?

While a basic shovel and poker could get by, having the full range of specialized fireplace tools makes fireplace use far easier and more effective. The right tools let you quickly adjust logs, clear debris, and manage fires for maximum heat and ambiance. A complete set also enhances fireplace safety by containing sparks and embers.

Beyond usefulness, a full matching set of quality fireplace tools lends any living room, study, or lounge an elegant touch. Visitors will notice a neatly organized set of brass, steel, or black enameled tools on one side of the hearth. Fireplace tools in a matching set or holder make an attractive decorative accent in addition to serving a practical purpose.

Purchasing tools individually could become costly compared to buying an entire fireplace set. Sets allow you to acquire all the essential tongs, shovels, pokers, holders, and racks in one go. For serious fireplace users, investing in a unified high-end set of tools helps guarantee years of reliability and performance.

While each piece plays an important role, the full ensemble of fireplace tools enables properly managing every phase of building, maintaining, and cleaning up after fires. Don’t leave your hearth under-equipped when a complete fireplace tool set provides everything needed to get the most from your fireplace.

Owning the right accessories allows you to get a fire going easily and adjust it for maximum enjoyment. Keeping ashes cleared out and the fireplace area organized allows relaxing by the fire without hassle. Properly maintained chimneys ensure continued safe function year after year.

When you surround your fireplace with a full set of tools, tending the hearth becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. Spend time with your family around flickering flames, not struggling with faulty equipment. With a complete fireplace tool set close at hand, you can fully master your hearth for cozy evenings inside.



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