The 9 Best Fireplace Tongs
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Maintaining a good fire is a bit of an art as well as a science. You want to position wood just right for oxygen flow and exposure to flame without burning yourself, and to do that you need more than a poker. These fireplace tongs can help out at the campsite, in your backyard fire pit, or in your living room. Some of them are even elegant enough to be used for decoration, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 23, 2020:
Several of the models here had to be overhauled due to availability issues, and we replaced them all and then topped our selections off with one additional item to bring this list to nine. You'll notice the Minuteman International Shepherd's joining the ranks today, which, like the Minuteman International Rope, are made from indestructible iron and crafted with a high level of care. They are functional and attractive, with three sturdy prongs to give you a reliable grip, a design that hangs easily on brackets or a screen for storage and display, and a graphite finish that gives them a them natural look and added protection from abuse and the elements.
We also brought on the Stanbroil Heavy Duty, which are similar to the Epica Log Grabbers except with a sleek stainless steel construction that can complement minimalist and contemporary decors. Each of these is just over two feet long, making them best suited to indoor or small fires.
Then, there's the Campfire Tongs The Original, a solid option to have on hand for larger fires and outdoor fireplaces and pits. These are crafted from aluminum, so they're lightweight despite their size, yet are still strong enough to handle large chunks of wood. Some find the design a bit awkward, but if you're handling big pieces you'll be thankful you have them.
Also coming into the fold today are the Apocalypse Chiminea, one of the few one-handed units out there. While these aren't ideal if you have arthritis or other hand mobility issues, they are an accurate tool capable of lifting dutch oven lids, moving grill grates around, and arranging charcoal, small pieces of kindling, foil-wrapped food, and more.
November 06, 2019:
You might not realize it, but you actually have quite a few different options when choosing fireplace tongs. If you're working with a standard-size fireplace and they won't be leaving your home, the Perfect CampfireGrill Tweezers and Epica Log Grabbers are two different sizes of a relatively classic design, and they should both hold up very well. Alternately, the Camp Place Tender Tongs and Solo Stove Accessories are good choices if you'll be working with them outside, as their round handles are easy to grip even if they're a bit dirty or muddy, and they aren't as heavy as some others. And if you want something made in America with impeccable standards, the Ohio Flame OF30T are a practically heirloom-quality model.
The only drawback to the above options is that they only have two points of contact, which can lead to a little instability during use. So, check out the Minuteman International Rope Design, Landmann 1537, or Pyroclaw Ultimate if you want to be absolutely sure to get a solid grip on logs and embers. The Landmann and Pyroclaw are especially convenient thanks to their pistol-grip handles, which use a trigger-like, spring-loaded mechanism to make picking up burning wood as easy as possible. If you need to outfit your hearth with a solid fireplace grate or complete tool set, we have some great options in those categories as well.
October 12, 2018:
Removed discontinued items and confirmed that remaining items are of high quality and free from manufacturing defects.
Landmann Log Grabber The Landmann Log Grabber have a black powder-coated finish that protects them from both heat and moisture, so you can use them indoors or out. They feature a one-handed, lever-action handle that allows you to clamp down on logs securely without experiencing fatigue, and they're useful for lifting brush, weeds and branches, too. landmann.com
Ohio Flame The Ohio Flame are hand-forged and riveted in the USA by skilled blacksmiths to exacting quality specifications and are backed by a lifetime guarantee. They're long enough to use without having to bend over, allowing you to rearrange your fires often without getting tired, so long as you can handle their ten-pound weight. ohioflame.com
Get a Grip: Fireplace Tongs
Simply put, if you use your fireplace, you must own fireplace tongs and keep them on hand.
For thousands of years, the fireplace was the central fixture of many homes around the world. It was the life-giving source of warmth, it was the place where food was cooked, and it was a gathering point for family and visitors. Today, most homes that have wood-burning fireplaces use them more for pleasure and decoration than as a sustaining heat source, but fireplaces nonetheless remain an important part of the home, and are often still the anchoring fixture of a den or living room.
Every home that regularly burns logs in its fireplace should have a good pair of fireplace tongs on hand. This sturdy tool is helpful for placing logs in the firebox as you prepare a fire for later ignition, but is also imperative for safety while a fire is burning: if chunks of flaming or smoldering wood roll out of place and too near the front of the fireplace -- or even fall out entirely and come into the room -- your tongs will be necessary for swiftly getting that burning material back into the fire where it belongs. Simply put, if you use your fireplace, you must own fireplace tongs and keep them on hand. Fortunately, fire tongs are one of those rare pieces of hardware that boast both functionality and aesthetic appeal. In fact, a great pair of fireplace tongs can complete the handsome tableau of a fireplace whether or not the hearth is actively being used.
Many households may opt for an entire set of fireplace tools, but by far the most important tool in any set are the tongs, and thus focusing on the sole purchase of tongs is a fine approach. (Also consider augmenting your existing set of fireplace tools with a superior log grabber.) And note that even the most expensive fireplace tongs will usually cost less than even a shoddily-made full set of fireplace tools.
Most log grabbers use a triple-hinged design that allows you to stay well away from the flames as you open wide their grabbing end with a pair of handles. They usually feature a rounded gripping area that is designed to accommodate the average size of a split log used in a residential fireplace. These standard tongs are ideal for keeping your hands clean as you place logs in the fireplace before lighting the fire and for safely adding logs once there are flames and heat filling the hearth.
However, often tongs with rounded ends are not as useful for moving about smaller pieces of wood and fallen embers, as their shape precludes deft control over anything but large, thick pieces of wood. If you regularly find yourself struggling to reposition smaller combustibles (or often need to add smaller kindling or fire starters to a smoldering fire) then a pair of tongs with more precise, pointed tips may serve you better. There are multiple fireplace tongs available that eschew the triple-hinge, accordion-style shape for a scissor-type of mechanism that affords the user more precise control and which can be used to pick up even minute embers. This type of tong has the added benefit of also being suitable for positioning coals in a charcoal-burning grill, wood chips in a smoker, or pellets in a pellet-burning heating unit. Of course tongs without a rounded head may necessitate loading those larger logs into the fireplace by hand, but there are always protective gloves for that.
Three Great Pieces of Hearth Hardware
As with everything in life, when it comes to working with your fireplace, safety always comes first. That's why you get a great pair of fireplace tongs, of course: to keep your hands (and head and the rest of you) well away from the heat and flames. But there's no reason not to go one step further and also make the modest investment in a pair of fire-resistant gloves. Thick and protective fire gloves can prevent your hands from being burned even with brief exposure to direct flames. That makes them ideal for tossing logs into a roaring fire or for picking up an ember that has slipped out, but they are equally as useful as you flip burgers or kabobs over a hot grill. These gloves also prevent splinters and keep your hands clean as you grab logs off of the woodpile for later burning.
But there's no reason not to go one step further and also make the modest investment in a pair of fire-resistant gloves.
Many people clean out their fireplaces too often, misunderstanding that a layer of ash an inch or two deep actually helps subsequent fires burn hotter and cleaner by creating a ready bed for new coals. You should, however, completely clean your firebox several times during a season of heavy use, as once the ash bed reaches the bottom of the log grate, it will become counterproductive. One approach is standard brush and shovel cleaning; a more modern and efficient method is to use an ash vacuum. These powerful and carefully-engineered tools have such effective filters that they can suck in the finest ash without propelling particles up into the room. They will clean out an entire firebox in a matter of minutes; just make sure you have removed any larger chunks of wood that might clog the hose using your tongs before operating the vacuum.
Finally, take the time to clean out your chimney at least twice a year, at the start and the end of the fire season, using a creosote sweeping log. These specialty "logs" feature additives (usually natural compounds) that bond with the creosote -- a byproduct of wood burning that consists of potentially flammable oils condensed and collected inside the flue and chimney -- and help to break up and clear the buildup that plagues many chimneys, helping to prevent potentially dangerous and damaging chimney fires. Also have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional every two to three years.
The Best-Laid Fire for the Indoor Fireplace
There's a distinct chance that you have been laying fires wrong for your entire life. It's not your fault: the conventional wisdom has undergone a recent and radical shift, and one that might at first seem upside-down in its logic. But indeed the "upside down fire" is rapidly gaining currency as the best way to create a hot, clean, and safe fire.
It's not your fault: the conventional wisdom has undergone a recent and radical shift, and one that might at first seem upside-down in its logic.
The setup sees the largest logs laid down atop your fireplace grate first, with smaller logs placed across those (usually in perpendicular orientation), and then finally with plenty of fine kindling laid across the top. While the approach does seem odd, as fire and heat rise, and thus traditionally kindling is placed below larger logs, this method creates less smoke and leads to fires that burn more cleanly and evenly, consuming more wood and leaving behind less ash.
The upside down (or top-down) fire works because the kindling atop the larger wood creates lots of heat above the logs, while the hot embers that drop down create a coal bed beneath them. This heats up and then combusts the main logs, which will burn hotter and more fully than in a traditional fire, producing less smoke in the process. Just make sure to crack a nearby window until the upward draft is firmly established.