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Fire baskets are self-contained devices that may be used as fireplace inserts or as a stand-alone source of heat. Traditionally, fire baskets are used in a Victorian fireplace, although they will fit into many different types and sizes. The colorful name for the device comes from the fact that many designs for resemble an oversized rectangular wicker basket.
While fire baskets can be constructed with just about any type of non-flammable building material, cast iron is easily the most common option. The metal holds up very well under constant exposure to heat and is relatively easy to clean. As a bonus, a cast iron fire basket can also function on its own when no fireplace is available, such as on a patio or while camping.
Traditional fire baskets are designed for wood burning. However, many models will accommodate the use of coal just as easily. It is not unusual for homeowners to use this type of cast iron fireplace insert to also serve as a safe way to roast chestnuts.
Along with the traditional models, it is also possible to purchase fire baskets that make use of electricity or some sort of natural gas. Both options have the benefit of not creating any type residue or ashes, as is the case with fire baskets that utilize coal or wood as the fuel source. Still, the baskets are effective when it comes to quickly heating a room and maintaining a comfortable temperature.
The designs for fire baskets range from traditional to contemporary. Simple models that are made from cast iron and resemble a clam shell work very well in many different types of fireplaces ranging from Victorian to rustic. The baskets may be square or rectangular in shape, and make use of interesting curves in the overall design or be sport a strictly utilitarian design. Several different sizes are available, making it possible to accommodate just about any size fireplace with ease.
Choosing the right size and design essentially involves defining the intended purpose for the basket as well as taking into consideration the size and style of the existing fireplace. Many people make it a point to purchase fire baskets that also work with any other fireplace accessories they already own, such as fireplace screens, pokers, and other essentials.
Purchasing fire baskets has never been easier. Many manufacturers offer the opportunity to select from a line of commercial models as well as custom made designs. Many home stores will carry at least a few basic wood burning, gas, and electric fire baskets in stock. If none of the local selections meet the needs of the consumer, it is also possible to order the baskets online direct from manufacturers and through online stores.