The 6 Best Fireplace Bellows
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in October of 2016. The easiest way to provide the valuable oxygen that fires need to grow is with one of these fireplace bellows. Although they are designed to encourage the ignition of kindling, some of them are elegant enough to be used solely as decorative items if you never use your fireplace. We've even included an electric option for those who find manual models too labor-intensive. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 05, 2020:
For this update, we removed the EPI Astors, the Home Right Electro Light, and the Uniflame C-6717, primarily due to availability issues.
After extensive research, we decided to add several new products to our list, including the Copperfield Chimney. This model is more expensive than most others, but its high-quality materials and beautiful woodwork make it both a functional tool as well as an attractive piece of craftsmanship.
To include another budget-friendly option, we also added the Tosnail Black. Even though it costs less than $20, this model still gives you all the function you need to get your fire going quickly. Its solid black color is also a nice option for people who want something with more of a modern look.
Operating a fireplace bellows is pretty straightforward once you understand the concept. Since fire requires oxygen to grow, the more of it you can supply, the faster your fire will turn into the roaring blaze you need to heat your home or patio. Bellows work by focusing a concentrated stream of air through its nozzle, allowing you to deliver oxygen straight into the base of the fire, accelerating this growth. Too much air can extinguish the fire though, so you might need a little practice to find the right balance.
Any time you're dealing with fire, safety is paramount. With fireplace bellows, the metal tips can become very hot if used for extended periods of time, so be aware of that if there are small kids around. You should also take care not to squeeze your bellows to hard, or it could send sparks and embers into the air, which could potentially be a fire hazard.
For bellows that are made with genuine leather, be sure to apply a leather conditioner every few years. This habit will keep the material supple, and prevent cracking and drying out.
How Fire Relies On Air To Burn
And all that time, fire has consisted of three simple parts: heat, fuel, and an oxidizer.
Mankind has been harnessing the power of fire for quite a long time. It was long believed that humans started using fire sometime between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago, based on evidence from the Qesem cave in Israel. More recent evidence from a similar locale called the Wonderwerk cave in South Africa provided scientists with evidence that human-controlled fire dates back at least 1 million years.
Fire has given us the ability to cook our food, to boil contaminants out of water, to power everything from the steam engine to the space shuttle, and to keep ourselves from succumbing to the elements, whether they be a frigid wind whipping through our campsite or a howling gale rattling the windows of a cozy home.
And all that time, fire has consisted of three simple parts: heat, fuel, and an oxidizer. As long as you have enough (and sometimes the proper portions) of fuel and an oxidizer or oxygen-rich material, all you need is to heat them up to a sufficient flash point to create a flame. This is why rubbing two sticks together can theoretically start a fire. The wood is a fuel source, you do the rubbing surrounded by air (which has enough oxygen in it to get the party started), and the friction between the wood pieces can create enough heat to reach the flash point of the wood-air combination.
Whether you’re using wood, coals, or a fossil fuel like gasoline, combustion converts the oxygen in the air into carbon dioxide, which, in enough abundance, can actually hinder the growth or consistency of a flame. This is most dangerous for the life of a good fire when it’s just starting out, and when it’s close to dying. A small amount of kindling that’s just begun to burn gives off a lot of local carbon dioxide, and if the air around it is too still, there might not be enough new oxygen introduced to the environment to get your fire blazing. This is why you blow on a fire to get it started, and it's where a bellows can come in.
The fireplace bellows is a tool designed to introduce both fresh air and a steady current to the space around a fire. That current both removes the carbon dioxide that the fire itself produced, and introduces more oxygen-rich air to the mix, keeping your flame burning higher and hotter.
What To Look For In A Fireplace Bellows
Your fireplace likely serves two very important purposes in your home. When it’s the right temperature out (not too cold, but cold enough), you can use it to keep your family toasty warm and add a little holiday ambiance to a seasonal gathering. When it’s not the right temperature out, your fireplace is still a centerpiece in your home, and it can set the aesthetic tone for your whole living area. With that in mind, there are a few things for you to consider when evaluating a given fireplace bellows.
Look for a model that complements the decor you’ve worked so hard to establish, and you’ll be more than pleased with your purchase.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure the bellows you choose will deliver the proper amount of air to your fireplace. A bellows that is too big in capacity has the potential to deliver too much air to the party with far too much force, and that might cause cinders to fly around your home. That’s a big fire hazard. On the flip side, a bellows that’s too small might not add enough air to the mixture. That could result in an underperforming fire, or no fire at all, and if you rely on a fireplace for comfort in the wintertime, this can pose a whole new host of dangers.
Then, you’ll want to look at the mechanics of the bellows you have to choose from, and this is where the field really gets cut in half. There are fireplace bellows out there that are more like hair dryers than anything else. They have electric motors that produce a current of air that you can place and aim all around your fire. They certainly are convenient, but they do have their downsides.
One problem with electric bellows is that they can be a little dangerous, as many produce hot air that, as in the case of a hair dryer, will heat up the unit to the point where it’s dangerous to touch. Another problem is that they rarely have adjustable speeds, meaning that you’re stuck with one intensity, where manual bellows can be controlled by how hard you use them. The last big downside to electric bellows is their aesthetic. They add nothing to the glow and majesty of your mantle space, and, if anything, they may detract from it.
Which leads us to our last point: style. Fireplace bellows are an old technology, and they have the potential to introduce a lot of rustic charm to your living room. Look for a model that complements the decor you’ve worked so hard to establish, and you’ll be more than pleased with your purchase.
Other Fireplace Essentials
If you want to regularly enjoy a warm fire in your fireplace, you’ll want to get your hands on more than just a set of fireplace bellows. A few smart additional purchases can create an ideal space for warmth in your home.
A few smart additional purchases can create an ideal space for warmth in your home.
Look into a high-quality fireplace tool set. A good kit will include everything from a classic poker to a broom for cleaning up ashes, and it should come with some kind of stand to sit comfortably next to your fireplace.
If you think you’ll need some help getting your fire started, it might be worth investing in some starter logs. These are simple pieces of wood designed to catch fire and burn at just the right speed to get your natural logs ablazing.
Finally, you want to make sure that you and your family are as safe as possible. For this, you’re going to want a high-quality fireplace screen. This will prevent cinders and broken logs from leaving the fireplace and posing a danger to your home and its inhabitants. They can also freshen up the look of a fireplace that's a bit outdated or in need of cleaning.