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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top Of The Best Fireplace Screens Reviewed In 2018Last Updated November 1, 2018
№1 – Large Crest Fireplace Screen with Doors, Solid Wrought Iron Frame with Metal Mesh, Decorative Scroll Design, Free Standing Spark Guard 44 W x 33 H x 13 D, Black Finish
№2 – Large Steel Geometric Fireplace Screen with Doors, Durable Frame and Metal Mesh, 44 W x 33 H Pewter
№3 – Large Flat Guard Fireplace Screen with Doors, Handcrafted Solid Steel, Heavy Duty Metal Mesh, Adjustable Feet, Powder Coat Finish, Free Standing Spark Guard 44 W x 33 H, Black
Log Set Inserts
An Electric Fireplace Log Set is the perfect solution for someone wanting to repurpose an old or unused wood burning/gas fireplace quickly and easily. Requiring the least amount of effort with installations, these units simply slide into an existing fireplace and plug in to the closest wall outlet. For those who want to hide the electrical cord, you may opt for a slightly more complicated installation and have a licensed electrician place an electric outlet within your fireplace.
Log sets are just as they sound: a 3D log set with a base and a rear projecting flame effect. Some units project the flames onto the back wall of your fireplace, while others have a built-in back plate. Both create a realistic flame appearance –this is where your own personal preference comes to play. The majority, though not all units, offer a fan-forced heater which can create supplemental warmth for areas up to 400 Sq. Ft. All units offer a hand-held remote for convenient and easy operation from virtually anywhere in your room.
Plug-In Electric Fireplace Inserts also offer a relatively easy installation; only slightly more complicated than a log set. These units are square or rectangular, fully encased boxes that can be used in existing cabinets, mantels and fireplaces. These units simply plug into a standard household wall outlet, which you may or may not prefer to have an electrician add to the inside of your fireplace.
These fireboxes feature glass fronts that encase either realistic log sets or contemporary glass ember beds depending on your preference. The integrated heaters vent from the top of the fireboxes and create supplemental warmth to help take the chill out of your room. Traditional fan-forced heaters warm 400 Sq. Ft. while Infrared heaters can warm up to 1,000 Sq. Ft. You’ll want to take this into consideration when deciding which unit will be best for the room you are planning for installation.
A Built-In Electric Fireplace Insert requires the most complicated installation process. These fireboxes are designed for more permanent and direct installations into a wall or fireplace. Built-In units can be plugged into a standard outlet using a plug-kit or hard-wired (preferred) into your home’s electrical grid. We encourage you to hire an electrician or carefully read the detailed instructions prior to installation. Depending on the voltage, built-in fireboxes are able to provide additional heat due to the larger circuit capacity. A hardwired 110V firebox will warm up to 400 Sq. Ft. (4,600 BTUs), whereas a 220V will heat up to 800 Sq. Ft. (9,600 BTUs).
Like plug-in units, these boxes are fully encased with glass fronts and offer either traditional log set or modern glass ember bed options.
On the other hand, infrared heaters are designed to warm larger areas, specifically rooms up to 1,000 Sq. Ft. in size. Heating much like the sun, infrared heat warms objects and not just the air within a room. Utilizing quartz infrared tubing, a copper heat exchanger and fan, these units create highly efficient, supplemental heat which is evenly distributed across your area.
Most of models of electric fireplaces can be simply plugged into a standard household outlet. However, you need to make sure that this outlet is on a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse Dedicated circuit breaker means that this breaker is not shared with any other outlets or lighting fixtures and serves only one outlet.
Plugging an electric fireplace into an electrical outlet that shares one circuit breaker or fuse with several other outlets and lighting fixtures could overload the circuit, trip the circuit breaker and create a safety hazard.
Never plug in your Electric Fireplace to an extension cord!
If your Electric Fireplace is a built-in model that needs to be hardwired, a new circuit breaker and wiring is required. We recommend hiring a licensed electrician if you need new wiring for your plug-in fireplace or installing a hardwired model.
Make sure to always follow manufacturer’s instructions provided in the product manual.
Fan-forced Coil Heaters
Electric fireplaces with fan-forced coil heaters can provide supplemental heat for a 400-500 sq.ft. room. This is the majority of electric fireplaces. Here is how these heaters work – a silent fan blows air over the heated coils and the heated air comes out of a vent that can be located at the top, bottom, or front of the fireplace.
Depending on where you want to install your fireplace, the location of the vent might make a difference because it needs to be at least feet away from the combustible materials, like curtains, carpet, or furniture.
Electric Log Inserts
Electric log inserts look like a grate with logs and they have built in lights that create a flame like effect on the walls of your existing fireplace. Log inserts have a built in heater and come with an included remote allowing you to control the flame height, intensity, heat and even the ember bed lighting.
Electric fireplaces are great sources of supplemental heat. They are 99% efficient meaning that there is no loss of energy all of it gets converted into heat. Electric fireplaces can be placed in any room to add some warmth just there thus helping you save on your heating bill.
One of the oldest and the most frequently used fireplace accessories, damper pulls are used to open and close a fireplace damper.
Typically measuring about a foot long, a damper pull is made of brass and has a hook on one end, which makes closing the damper easy.
The damper pull can be hung from the fireplace stand, mantle or wall whenever the fireplace is not in use.
Andiron are horizontal iron bars where logs are laid on for burning in an open fireplace. They stand upon short legs and are typically linked with an upright guard, which may be made of steel, iron, bronze, copper, or even silver. Andirons are often richly adorned with conservative patterns or heraldic ornaments.
A fireback is a thick iron plate located at the back of a hearth. It is placed against the back of the wall of the hearth. It shields the wall and reflects the heat of the fire toward the room. A cast iron fireback is still the best way to shield a hearth’s back wall from damage. It efficiently protects the back wall from any further damage.
Eco Fire Glass
Eco Fire Glass is a great option for consumers living the green lifestyle. It has been made from recycled postindustrial glass that has been melted down, then fused together. With its familiar “jelly bean” shape, eco fire glass is a great option to save some money and the environment.
Recycled Fire Glass
Recycled Fire Glass has been refired using the same process as all other types of fire glass in order to create the same high quality product with an eco friendly result. Recycled Fire Glass come in two different size ranges, 1/2″ or 3/4″ and comes in a variety of vibrant colors.
Sizing of Fire Glass
Not only are there multitudes of colors and styles, but the sizes of fire glass differ between the styles. While size ultimately doesn’t make a difference in the performance of your fire feature, you may decide you like larger or smaller fire glass. Use the image below as a guide to how large the fire glass styles are in reference to each other. If you have a hard time deciding what you like best, order one of our sample packs of fire glass and choose a small handful of styles to get an idea of what it looks like in person – only for the price of postage!
Large fire pits can hold more wood, therefore creating a bigger fire, but do you have the means to accommodate this bigger size? If you intend on moving your fire pit often, it might not be the best option. Think carefully before purchasing a fire pit over feet wide because when it comes down to it, fire pits are supposed to be enjoyable, not a hassle.
Perhaps the most important element when deciding on your perfect fire pit is the material used to construct it. The materials not only equate to durability; they also create a certain style. Depending on your needs and your style preference, the prominent component of your fire pit will have a huge impact.
Steel fire pits consist of a wide variety of models that vary in price and quality. Steel is a great material because it can be easily molded into any shape imaginable. Just be careful, unprotected steel does rust over time, so be sure to purchase one that is powder coated and be aware of the physical changes that your fire pit may endure. High-end models are usually handmade by a steel artisan and are extremely unique, while the less expensive models are very common and come in many styles and sizes. see more steel fire pits here
Tile and stone fire pits are very unique and artistic. They are made with a solid steel frame and mesh body, with tiles, rocks or bricks then applied to the mesh body using standard masonry procedures. These rock fire pits are generally very heavy so frequent movement is not recommended. see more brick fire pits here
Copper is the cream of the crop when it comes to fire pits. These will not rust – in fact, most fire pits made from copper develop a desirable patina over years of use. Copper can be molded into ultimately any shape and will last virtually forever. Copper products do tend to be on the expensive side, but the cost is worth it in the long run. see more copper patina fire pits here
Cast Iron is one of the most common materials used in construction and fire pits are no different. Cast iron is inexpensive, easy to work with and light enough to move around when needed. Cast iron is not as strong as wrought iron nor as heavy, but to some the lightweight nature of cast iron is desirable. see more cast-iron fire pits here
Stainless Steel fire pits come with all the great features of stainless steel, including a rust-free, durable material that will stay looking great for years. Many people like the industrial look of stainless steel, as well the functionality. Unfortunately, stainless steel fire pits are rare and only come in very few styles due to their expensive price. see more stainless-steel fire pits here
When choosing the perfect fire pit, you also want to consider what you want to use the fire pit for. Do you just want to enjoy an outdoor fire or do you also want to use it to cook food? Maybe you just want it to act as furniture or décor in your outdoor space? Today, there are fire pits to accommodate anything you may want.
Grilling is as American as apple pie and having a fire pit that can double as a grill is extremely efficient. Many people also think that food prepared over an open flame is more delicious as well! Many of Serenity Health’s fire pits come with a cooking grate, but you can also buy a grate to fit fire pits that don’t already come with one. see more grill grates here
Fire pit tables function in multiple ways. These multipurpose fixtures provide heat for chilly nights spent in your outdoor area and offer a great surface to place drinks when having an outdoor get together. Fire pit tables range in size from coffee table height to dining or bar table height. With beautiful designs like mosaic tile, decorative glass, wrought iron and more, you can easily incorporate this kind of table into your outdoor furniture set. see more patio table fireplaces here
Artistic fire pits are great for those who want a more unique look on their porch or pool area. All of these fire pits are handcrafted by skilled artisans to create an artistic look that’s sure to make a statement in any outdoor area. see more artistic fire pits here
A campfire ring is a great lightweight and safe option for backyard campfires. If you want to enjoy a simple campfire safely without breaking the bank or making more work for yourself, a fire ring may be the perfect option. see more decorative fire rings here
Whether you’re purchasing a toaster or a TV, brands are part of your decision process. Although brand name fire pits are often less known than Sony or Toshiba, there are some definite differences between manufacturers that consumers should know.
The Sunnydaze Decor brand is one of the newest outdoor living companies out there, but they are quickly making a splash. Sunnydaze Decor is constantly developing new and interesting designs while keeping the prices lower than much of the competition. This brand also offers a great 1-year warranty on all of their products. They also have great customer service in case you ever have a problem with your fire pit once you use it. check out the Sunnydaze fire pits here
Uniflame has been in the fire pit business for a long time and they are a subdivision of the Blue Rhino Company, a company most well-known for its nationwide propane tank exchange system. Due to Blue Rhino’s history with natural gas and propane, many of their fire pits can be converted to work with either propane or natural gas. They have a plethora of unique products, ranging from wood burning steel fireplaces to gas fueled granite fire tables. check out the Uniflame brand here
Landmann is one of the oldest names in the fireplace equipment industry and grills are their specialty. Their fire pits range in styles and offer a nice variety of copper, steel and cast iron models. Landmann Fire Pits are sturdy in construction and always get high reviews from consumers.
But before that
What To Look For Before Getting The Best Electric Fireplace Heater?
As usual, we start by enlightening you on some important things you should always look for when purchasing an electric fireplace. Features make a product. The better the features, the more efficient the product proves to be.
Check the primary feature that will lead you to your ideal electric fireplace:
Ease of Installation
You want to buy an electric fireplace, head straight to your home and put it into action. Unfortunately, if you purchase a system that gives you a headache on the installation part, things might not go as you wanted them to.
But you can avoid this by buying an easy to install unit that does not make your spend whole day put it into place. Ensure you go for the electric fireplaces that fit easily and smoothly, without much effort.
Most of the units available today comes with the necessary mounting hardware and a list of well-outlined instructions on how you can get the thing ready in a matter of minutes.
Wall-mounted electric fireplace models do not require much installation job. They don’t demand that you reconstruct the wall you hang them on or a major remodeling of your house.
This is no brainer. How much power does the unit you’re planning to buy consume?
Have you confirmed the manufacturer’s claims with the reviews of the previous users of that unit? Of course, an ideal unit should consume energy efficiently.
Let it not be a liability that keeps n raising your energy bill every single bill. Rather, it should be a valuable asset that heats up your room allowing you to realize huge savings on the amount of cash you spend on energy annually (at least up to 50% energy saving in most cases).
More factors to keep in mind while searching the market for an ideal electric fireplace…
At this point, I’ll take you straight to our list of Top-Notch electric fireplaces that are ruling the market.
Altra Furniture Manchester TV Stand with Fireplace, 70″, Black
Altra Furniture is a reputable company behind the manufacture of top quality electric fireplaces for over 20 years. Altra Furniture Manchester TV Stand with Fireplace is one of their latest releases that serves the dual task of an electric fireplace as well as a television stand.
The gorgeous black finish of this TV stand will defiantly create a beautiful focal point in any room in your home. It’s made from high-quality, laminated Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) and durable particleboard.
These active materials enable it to hold your flat screen TV and other media accessories for a longer period. With the molded details of this unit, it has enjoyed millions of visual appreciation. The 2inches wide fireplace is incredibly easy to operate using remote control.
You can easily warm up your room with a couple of heat settings that fall between 7and 8degrees. You can opt to enjoy the ambiance of the flames with or without the heat- it all depends on your needs.
You can quickly switch between levels of flame light for varied ambiance. The unit’s heater blower will automatically go off whenever it reaches the set temperature.
You can mount the 50-inches electric fireplace anywhere- on the walls of your bedroom, children’s room, etc., living room, and even office.
You can install it to enjoy the aesthetic appeal of this finely crafted unit without any safety hazards.
The unit allows you to use it for stylistic reasons or simple mood, without producing heat. And when you want it to warm up your room, it lets you choose between two heating levels- High and Low.
These are sufficient to heat up approx. 400sq. Feet of your room. On top of all this, the Onyx electric fireplace demands only a simple installation job (comes with step by step instructions for this part).
If you’re mounting the unit under your flat-screen TV, make sure the unit stands at around 2inches below the TV base.
Duraflame DFI021ARU Electric Log Set Heater
This is a highly affordable fire insert that you can use to enhance any room with existing traditional fireplace. Duraflame DFI021ARU Electric Log Set Heater is ideal for the retrofit applications. Given its compact size, you can easily insert it even in the smallest fireplaces.
The design of this particular fireplace is unlike the others we have discussed before. The unit has no back part which means that flames will project to the back of your fireplace.
When not running, this unit looks as realistic as your traditional fireplace. It comes with a fan- forced heat near the base of the great which effectively and quietly generates instant warmth of approximately 4,600BTU’s- more than enough for a 400 square feet space.
The unit proves to be even more unique given the fact that it comes fully assembled. So, the moment it hits your doorstep, you plug it in and add that feel of warmth and a real fireplace instantly!
Like other top-quality fireplace inserts, this unit too allows you to operate it without heat (or with flame effect only).
Thus, it’s ideal for any season, through the year. A user-friendly multi-purpose remote control that comes with the unit lets you adjust flame and heat settings independently, at the comfort of your sofa. The unit remains cool to the touch- making it 100% safe for young kids and pets.
Duraflame DFS-750-Pendleton Electric Stove Heater
If you’re looking for a freestanding electric fireplace stove to take you through the cold winter seasons, the Duraflame-750-is the ideal product for you.
The heater not only adds warmth to any room but also introduced ambiance and charm to any room in your home. The stove adopts the traditional designs while delivering the modern heating characteristics. The stove comes with efficient heat output capability that will amaze you.
The ember bed and the glowing logs produce a gorgeous burning effect that makes you fall in love with this stove. The ember alone gives you a beautiful glow that is also highly realistic.
An upgraded door handle that comes with this product will make you mistake it for the conventional wood stove. The doors resemble each other in all aspects, only that the door for this electric unit does not get hot.
You can open it to view the inside of the stove (not necessary, though). Durable metal construction sets the stove ready to give you unlimited service for an unlimited number of years.
The included remote control lets you control the temperature and the intensity of the flame from anywhere in the room. You can use this stove in condominiums, apartments, lofts, and single rooms.
The unit provides the warmth of up to 4,600 BTUs adequate for use as supplemental heat for a 400 Sq. Ft space. Because the oven makes it possible to utilize zone heating, you’ll only heat the rooms you’re using and save utility bill spending.
Duraflame DFS-450-Carleton Electric Stove with Heater
This is the lightest weight and the most affordable freestanding electric fireplace we’ve reviewed so far. With less than 20lbs, this unit is a compact powerhouse that you simply unplug and transfer to any area in your room where you need extra warmth as well as the glow of the fire.
Cheap maintenance finds a new meaning in this product. No costly gas lines or chimneys. No smokes, soot, or ashes to clean.
The 100% efficient electric stove meets your heat needs without much hassle.
With an enormous heat capacity of up to 4,600 BTUs, the unit can sufficiently heat around 400 square feet of your home space.
It’s also an ideal freestanding stove for zone heating- you’ll find out that you’ll be able to heat only the specific areas that require heat and thus save a lot of cash on the energy spending. The design of this stove is great!
It features a picture of a window with arched frame. This, together with the ambiance produced by the realistic flames, adds the ultimate charm to your room.
With a durable, matte finish that stays cool (which is incredibly easy to clean), you’re guaranteed f the safety for your kids and pets.
Additionally, this perfectly laid finish hides the thermostatic dial as well as two switches behind the door. The unit is ideal for any room in the home, apartment, condo, etc. It’s also great for RV’s.
Brightest of the Bunch
We’ve done the dirty work for you and scouted the market for the handy nuggets, cubes, and packages worth stashing by the grill or fireplace. Keep reading for which options have been reviewed as the best fire starter in the business by consumers who have tried them all—as well as where you can stock up.
Tablet Buying Guide: What to look for when buying a tablet
There’s a lot more to tablets than just the iPad. If you’re looking to replace a PC with something simpler and more portable, or just want a grab-and-go device for email and movies, we’ve got answers to all your tablet questions.
But if you just want a fast and easy answer, these are a few of our current top choices.
Apple iPad Pro
Apple’s iconic iPad is the most popular tablet, and for good reason: it has stellar performance, the largest app store and a fantastic ecosystem that supports access to an incredible number of tools, games and music and video apps. The processor inside of the iPad Pro 9.7, our top choice, is one of the fastest mobile chips available. It’s the best iPad model to get, though it also comes in a larger 12-inch model. If you want to save some cash, the older iPad Air is still a worthy choice, too.
Google Pixel C
If you prefer Android, the Google Pixel C is for you. It’s a speedy 8.9-incher with top-notch graphics performance. Google’s growing ecosystem is confidently catching up to Apple’s, though it still lacks in tablet-optimized apps. It also has a solid magnetic keyboard accessory (sold separately) that connects so strongly, you can even hold it upside down and it won’t detach.
Microsoft unsurprisingly makes the best Windows tablet.
While iOS tends to get first dibs on the latest apps, Android has definitely made strides of late with its media ecosystem. Movies, TV shows, magazines and games, in particular, have seen vast improvements in both quantity and quality of selections. Also, it’s a more customizable OS than any other.
A Windows tablet can do anything a Windows laptop can do.
Microsoft Windows 10
Microsoft’s latest operating system works great on traditional laptops and desktops, but also on tablets and hybrids. The latest Windows OS combines the best parts of old and new Windows features into a cohesive package, and its functionality focuses largely around taking advantage of a touchscreen. Unfortunately, the app store is severely lacking in variety and number of apps available in comparison to both iOS and Android, but because it’s Windows, you can get software from just about anywhere.
Not all stylus are created equal — or offered for free.
The worst way. Please don’t use starter fluid, mineral spirits, gasoline, kerosene, or any hydrocarbons. They soak into the coals and emit a stink that I can smell from blocks away. When I smell it I want to march over to my neighbor with a fire extinguisher and a link to this page.
Gas and kerosene put out noxious vapors and I have heard of more than one case of people being killed by the fumes. Here’s a news video about a man who died from gasoline fumes used to ignite a charcoal fire. Let’s not talk about how many sleeves have caught fire while trying to light coals with fluid and a cigarette lighter, and if your fire doesn’t get off to a roaring start please please please don’t squirt it with starter fluid unless you’ve been wanting to see how the inside of the hospital’s burn unit looks.
And stay away from the easy lighting charcoal. Just open the bag and smell. They are soaked in mineral spirits. All the way to the core. So petroleum products are in the smoke right to the end. And you can taste it in the food. I prefer salt and pepper thank you.
Here are some techniques that work. Remember that there are really two fuels, charcoal and oxygen, so make sure all the vents are open wide when you try to light the coals. With briquets you should wait until the heavy smoke subsides a bit and the coals are covered in white ash before you start cooking. Lump will not ash over, so about 1minutes is sufficient.
The charcoal chimney
This is the best method. A chimney is a tube with an upper compartment and a lower compartment. First you stuff newspaper into the bottom compartment, add charcoal to the top compartment, then you light the paper, and after about five minutes, put on a glove and grab the handle and give a shake so the unlit coals on top will turn over and that’s about it. In about 1minutes the coals are white and ready. The hot air from the newspapers rises and sucks oxygen in through the bottom which ignites the coals and creates an updraft that grows rapidly in heat making the top of the chimney blowtorch hot.
Some folks have been known to drizzle some cooking oil on the newspaper to make it burn longer but I’ve never found this necessary. Another technique is to use firestarters on the chimney. Weber sells small cubes of paraffin that work just fine (above). The package says to use two per chimney, but one is really all you need. You can even make your own starter cubes, cheap and easy. Just take a look at the sidebar.
Reader “SuperDave2” writes to say he puts the chimney on the sideburner on his gas grill and “I can light my chimney with a push of a button, they are ready in half the time, and perfectly evenly lit.” Clever feller.
With a chimney there is no chemical aftertaste, no solvent smell in the air, and it’s a lot cheaper and safer than using lighter fluid. Just make sure you place it on something heatproof after you dump out the coals, and away from children and pets.
The Weber brand of chimney is my fave and it lasts longer than the cheaper models. But another feature of the chimney is that it is an excellent temperature controller for your cooking because it is a measuring cup! As you get experienced, you will learn just how high to fill the chimney in order to get your grill to the desired temp. A Weber chimney holds about five quarts, or about 80 briquets. For a Weber kettle, I put about half a chimney of unlit coals in the grill and put about half a chimney of fully lit coals on top to get to 225°F. To get to 325°F, 3/to a full chimney should do it. It all depends on the air temp, humidity, brand of charcoal, and other variables. You must do dry runs to calibrate your grill.
Use a chimney. Get repeatable heat every time and save your eyebrows.
Paraffin wax blocks or some left over wax from used candles
Newspaper, cotton balls, or some dryer lint (whatever you have handy)
1) Put the parafin in a disposable aluminum pan, place the pan over a low heat source and melt the wax completely.
2) If you are using newspaper tear the pages into squares about 12″ x 12″, crumple into balls, and dip them into the wax holding one corner so it can act as the fuse when you light it. If you are using cotton balls simply hold a corner and dip into the melted wax. If you are using drier lint, make a ball about the size of a golf ball and dip.
3) Break open a cardboard box and lay it flat. Cover it with foil or parchment paper. Put the wax dipped starters on the foil and let them dry. Once the wax has had time to harden use a scrapper or spatula to break them free. Bag or box the cubes and store them in a cool area, away from direct sunlight or moisture.
To use the starters simply fill your chimney with charcoal place the starter on your grill grates and light one corner. Place the chimney over the lit starter and the coals will catch.
If you are in a hurry and can’t wait 1minutes for your chimney to be fully lit, the BBQ Dragon accelerates startup with a battery operated hairdryer-like fan on a goose neck with a clamp.
When the company sent us a test unit, I rolled my eyes and chuckled. Hair dryer on a stick. It sat unopened for weeks. Then one night my wife asked the dreaded question “When will it be ready?” The salmon was prepped, sides were almost done and I hadn’t started the fire yet. I filled the Big Green Egg with charcoal, lit up a couple of paraffin cubes, pointed the blower at the bottom damper and within minutes had a beautiful glowing fire.
There are some other uses that may not have occurred to you. Meathead uses his to fire up the logs in his pizza oven and when he grills over wood and says it reduces startup time for wood fires drastically. It can also be used on a fire for a long cook when the temp is dropping because the fuel is burning down. Puff some air on it and things really pick up. Or if you want to add new coals to a fire, it is always best to add lit coals. BBQ Dragon can have them ready in a hurry.
The sturdy goose neck arm clamps securely to legs, shelves and handles, or use the clamp as a base to rest on a flat surface. The variable speed motor allows infinite air control: crank high to get the coal started or dial low to gently aid a struggling cooker and stabilize temps. It is battery-powered, hands-free and the stainless steel and heavy black plastic construction feels durable and looks sharp. A micro-USB connection that accepts most cell phone chargers is built into the handle for AA rechargeable batteries. Water proof for cooking in the rain. Two year warranty. – Max Good
The Looftlighter is a real boy toy. It is a hair drier flamethrower hybrid. Just make a pile of coals (try to count them first or use a giant coffee can to measure a fixed amount), place the tip of the Looftlighter against the coals, and within 20 seconds you’ll see sparks flying. Pull back a few inches, and in about a minute or two you have a ball of hot coals. Stir, and in about 1minutes you’re in biz. Looftlighter is an excellent way to start a chain of coals (there are occasions when you want to lay down a C-shaped chain of coals and light just one end).
On the minus side, you need an outlet, you don’t want to use it in the rain, you don’t have the convenient measuring tool of the chimney, you have to stir the coals, and you have to be careful where you place it when it is hot. Plus, it sounds like a leaf blower. sous vide machine one day, I discovered it can also be used to sear meat!
The electric starter
This is an electric coil similar to the coils on a hotplate. Pour a pile of charcoal in your grill and jam the coil into it and plug it in. As the coals ignite, remove the coil, and mix the unlit and lit coals together with a fireplace shovel. Make sure you place the hot coil on something that is not flammable until it cools.
It’s an OK firestarter, and unlike the Looftlighter, you can walk away while it is doing its thing. But I have a few quibbles with it: You need access to an outlet, you don’t want to be using it in the rain, it ignites only the coals it is in contact with so you need to stir them around to get them all lit, and then you need to move them to where you want them. Chimneys are faster, get the coals hotter faster with less fuss, and you can dump them right where you want them. Also, you don’t have the convenient measuring tool that the chimney is.
Then there’s the real flame thrower. Connect it to a propane tank, hit the spark, and whoosh! Within a few minutes a whole bag of charcoal is glowing and that makes it popular on the competition circuit. And propane, unlike gasoline or lighter fluid, is flavorless and odorless when burnt.
It is also good for burning weeds from the cracks in your patio, and flushing enemy woodchucks. This is the kind of tool Karl Spackler would love. This model is the Red Dragon Torch.
For long cooks
Part of the problem with charcoal is that it starts cold, heats up rapidly, hits a peak, and then slowly cools as the fuel is consumed.
But it is important to keep the temp of your grill or smoker constant. There are several clever solutions. The core concept of them all is that you put lit coals on top of unlit coals, or visa versa, or side by side, and the ignition of the new coals synchronizes with the death of old coals.
They work well with one noteworthy problem. Freshly lit coals put out a lot of smoke, and it is thick white smoke, not the thin blue smoke that makes the best flavor.
The Minion Method
The Minion Method came first. Named after Jim Minion, a caterer who invented the technique, you start by pouring a Weber chimney full of unlit coals (80 briquets) into the grill or smoker and bury about three chunks of wood in the pile. Then put 1/a Weber chimney (40 briquets) of hot coals on top of cold coals, and a lump of wood on top. The exact number of coals will vary depending on the brand you use, the smoker, and the weather. It is the standard technique now for the very popular Weber Smokey Mountain bullet smoker.
The fuse method
To light the fuse, known as the snake, C, or U method, you put the coals in a C or U shape, ignite one end, and walk away. It works remarkably well. Here is how it looks on a Weber Kettle or a bullet smoker.
Here is how it looks on a Backwoods Smoker, but it can be adapted to many others.
As you can see that I have divided the coal tray with two bricks. No special firebricks, just bricks. The coals are spread out around the U and there is wood scattered along the path. Hot coals lit in a chimney are poured in one end on top of a wood chunk and the door is closed.
After about three hours. Notice the second chunk of wood has begun to smolder.
Discard the dust
Often there is charcoal dust and small crumbs in the bottom of the bag. Discard them. If you pour them in your grill they can clog the airspaces between the coals and constrict airflow and choke back your fire by as much as 50°F. Remember, oxygen is just as important as charcoal!
Discard the ashes
Empty the bottom of your grill. Ash is a great insulator and it reduces the amount of heat bouncing off the bottom of the cooker. On the other hand it reduces the amount of heat escaping through the bottom of the cooker. But too much ash can choke off oxygen, or be stirred up and coat your food with gray dust.
I prefer to suffocate the fire by closing all vents. It can take an hour or more for the coals to die, but they will die if your cooker is reasonably tight. You can extinguish a charcoal fire by dousing it with water, but beware, steam that that can peel the skin off your face will come up in a hurry, and the hot water that will pour out of the bottom of your grill can put you in a wheel chair for a while. Also, wet ashes can form a concrete-like crust that can corrode your grill. When they are thoroughly dry, coals can then be shaken to slough off the ash, and used again. But it can take days for them to get thoroughly dry so if you plan to use the grill soon, don’t douse the coals with water. If you have a ceramic grill, never use water to douse the fire or it might crack.
A video about charcoal
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Fireplace Screens wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Fireplace Screens
- №1 — Large Crest Fireplace Screen with Doors, Solid Wrought Iron Frame with Metal Mesh, Decorative Scroll Design, Free Standing Spark Guard 44 W x 33 H x 13 D, Black Finish
- №2 — Large Steel Geometric Fireplace Screen with Doors, Durable Frame and Metal Mesh, 44 W x 33 H Pewter
- №3 — Large Flat Guard Fireplace Screen with Doors, Handcrafted Solid Steel, Heavy Duty Metal Mesh, Adjustable Feet, Powder Coat Finish, Free Standing Spark Guard 44 W x 33 H, Black