Once you’ve been bitten by the barbecue bug it’s only a matter of time until you start collecting offset log burner style smokers.
While you can easily stash bags of charcoal around the house, it won’t take long before you get in trouble for leaving huge piles of wood around the yard (you may want to take our word on this one…)
Even if you don’t use wood to fuel your barbecue, nothing beats a fire pit outdoors. It’s a great gathering spot for friends, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors.
Instead of leaving piles of wood around the house, investing in a quality outdoor firewood rack keeps everything neat and tidy, and because the wood is off the ground it won’t rot. So read on to learn who makes the best wood racks.
Best large firewood rack – Woodhaven 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack
This stand offers you a neatly stacked one-half cord of wood with a cover, and it isn’t a ghastly sight, so no screaming neighbors or community associations.
This beauty measures 96 by 48 by 14 inches and is made with a black, powder-coated finish, arc welded end sections, and stainless steel nuts and bolts, so don’t expect rust anytime soon!
The available cover that accompanies this item protects the top 12 inches of wood. This keeps wood at the top dry for burning while the remaining pieces are fully exposed to the elements to aid in the curing process.
This hefty 46-pound baby is American made, sturdy and easy to assemble. The only drawback on this item may be that due to the larger size, you will want to place it further away from the house and keep something a bit smaller closer to your home for quicker access.
You can learn a bit more about the manufacturer and see what the different racks in their range look like in this video.
We really like how the cover moves down as your wood pile get’s smaller, and protects your stack from the elements. Get the latest price on Amazon.
The best small firewood rack – Woodhaven 3 Foot Firewood Log Rack
This model is a replica of the 8-foot rack described above, only smaller.
Measuring 36 x 10 x 36 inches and weighing in at a much lighter 22 pound, you also receive the same style cover, and it’s made with the same materials.
The Woodhaven 3 foot is best suited for placement closer to your home so you can reach outside the door on a cold, snowy day and grab the wood you need.
It’s also about half the cost of the 8-foot rack and is adequate for a one-eighth cord of timber.
All Woodhaven models come with a lifetime structural warranty. Get the latest price on Amazon.
The best budget large firewood rack – Landmann 8 Foot Firewood Log Rack
The Landmann offers both an 8 and a 4-foot rack, but let’s focus on the larger of the two.
It holds about two-thirds of a cord of wood and measures 96″ by 48″ and only 11 pounds.
Not quite as muscular as the Woodhaven, it is made with tubular steel and offers a similar black powder coating that aids in rust prevention.
The black plastic cover it comes with looks nice, but you can tell it’s a bit cheaply made and tends to tear easily. Having said that, for the price you can’t fault the Landmann too much. You should still expect to get a few years out of it.
This model, as well as the others we’ve shared, sits above the ground, rather than resting on the ground. That feature helps to keep some of the pests away, and the added air flow will also assist the curing process.
We found assembly to be very straight forward as well.
Be sure you select the option with the cover accessory for protection as you can choose without cover. Get the latest price on Amazon.
Best budget small firewood rack – Panacea Deluxe 4 Foot Outdoor Log Rack
If you’re locking to keep a small pile of logs or wood chunks tidy the Panacea 4 foot rack is a solid choice. It’s also a bit easier on your wallet than some of the other options.
This rack offers the following features:
- Powder coated finish (black);
- Steel tube construction;
- Assembled Dimensions 48H x 48W x 14D;
- Tips the scale at 18 pounds;
This product is made in China and does not come with the helpful cover provided in the Woodhaven models. But for the price this unit can still hold a decent amount of weight. The nuts and bolts provided feel very heavy duty.
Assembly only takes about 15 minutes and is very straight forward. We do recommend you tighten each nut very tightly though as you don’t want the rack to wobble.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
Benefits of Using a Firewood Rack
You may be asking why you need a rack for storage. Well, to be honest, you don’t. However, there are several benefits you gain by using a stand over just a pile of wood.
As you know, dry wood just burns better and racks aid in the air flow process, helping with ventilation. Fresh cut firewood has a high moisture content, which will decrease the value of your fire.
The folks at Backyard City explain how properly storing freshly cut firewood can make it ready to burn in 6 months.
Dry wood also leaves less residue in the chimney, reducing the risk of a chimney fire, but not relieving you of an annual sweep.
We mentioned neighbor complaints earlier, and racks tend to made your wood stash more presentable and easier on the eye.
Leaving the wood directly on the ground, allows it to absorb the earth’s moisture, which will have an adverse impact on your fire building efforts. Wet or damp wood, also tends to generate more smoke.
Stacked wood has fewer nooks and crannies and therefore is less attractive to pests than a heap of timber that offers many tunneling options.
Improperly stored wood tends to rot and will also dampen the quality of your fire.
What you need to know before buying a firewood rack
There are two primary kinds of racks, circular and standard. The classic frames are made of steel for longevity and are flat and long, akin to a fence line. The log hoops come in assorted sizes and are often used inside the home near the fireplace for easy access.
It’s a matter of your personal preference. Since a stack of wood tends to attract insects and other pests, we do recommend that log racks, especially larger racks, be placed outside of your home, and that’s what we’ll be focussing on this guide to firewood racks.
Having said that the indoor racks can make a very funky addition to your living room.
Please don’t wait until you have a cord of wood dumped in the driveway, to made your wood storage decision. You will likely regret that decision. Here are some things to consider before you make the purchase. In a perfect world, wood should be:
- Stored about six inches off the ground,
- At least partially covered, with a waterproof tarp, to protect it from the elements,
- Stacked away from the house to keep any pests from taking up residence in your home,
What size rack should you buy
The right size for you depends on how much wood you typically go through each year. If you frequently use wood as your main source of heat or fuel you should go for a larger 8ft or more sized rack.
Or if you just enjoy the occasional fire pit outdoors you can get away with a smaller rack.
Typically, the rack industry makes every effort to size their products by most firewood providers. Of course, if you’re the Paul Bunyan type, you may be splitting wood into your preferred sizes or sizes friendly to your fireplace or pit.
- You want the wood to be exposed to the sun and the wind when possible, as it helps the drying process. As a matter of fact, if you’re able to stack your wood in the direction of the wind, the greater the air flow, a good thing for your fire.
Pay attention to the materials used to make the rack; they need to sustain the elements well. There isn’t a good reason not to use a firewood rack.
In summary, the use of a wood frame is highly recommended for numerous reasons mentioned earlier.
As opposed to purchasing a frame, you also have the option of building one of your design, if you like being a do-it-yourselfer. In any case, remember:
- Wood can get wet from either the top or the bottom,
- Wood must be adequately aired to get to the driest state for the hottest fires,
The adequacy of the size depends on your use of firewood.
Wrapping it up
A beautiful, fragrant fire is only one reason to look forward to cold temperatures. It takes a little effort to purchase or cut the wood, but it is well worth the effort.
Go ahead, strike the match, share a bottle of wine and relax in the soft and romantic glow of a warm fire. Indoors or outside, a roaring fire is sure to be the gathering spot for you and your guests. Enjoy!
Feature CC Image courtesy of Pic Basement on Flickr