Cuddling up in front of the fireplace on a chilly night is an ideal treat. Carrying wood into your house and ashes back out can be a challenging chore.
If you enjoy the fire but not the mess, an electric fireplace might be just the ticket for beauty, heat and convenience.
In this guide you will learn about the types of electric fireplaces and their features along with options to consider in our electric fireplace reviews and comparison chart.
Top 10: Best Electric Fireplaces & Inserts
Brand & Model
Mantel With Bookcase
Slide-In Wall Mount
Why Get An Electric Fireplace?
If you've got a chilly spot in your smart home that always needs a space heater such as a basement or family room, consider adding a free-standing electric fireplace to the space.
Many of these units offer a digital fire image separate from heat, so you can enjoy the dancing flames no matter the temperature.
How Well Do They Work?
Both free standing and wall-mounted electric fireplaces run off a standard household plug, so you won't need to do any rewiring.
Many of these units operate via remote, so you can "build" or "douse" your fire with the click of a button.
Check Price & Availability: Fire Sense Electric Fire Place
Finally, the heaters within electric fireplaces generally come with fans so you can effectively heat approximately 400 square feet of your home with this unit.
Types Of Electric Fireplaces
What Is An Electric Fireplace?
An electric fireplace features three basic components:
- Display. You'll see an image of a fire. It may include logs or stones as a base, and the fire image will appear over the base. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) generate the image of firelight and may be programmable to change color or intensity as you prefer.
- Heat. You'll feel heat. Several electric fireplaces offer an image only, or a cool fire. Generally, electric fireplaces offer 500 square feet of heat or less, but an electric fireplace can keep most rooms quite cozy.
- Blower. There will usually be a blower to move the heat from the heating element out into the room. Depending on the unit you buy, you'll need to concern yourself with clearance so your family, home and belongings stay safe.
Wall Mount Electric Fireplace
A wall mounted or hanging electric fireplace can either be mounted directly onto wall board or can be inset.
You'll need to know your intended configuration before you purchase your fireplace.
It's important to review the venting requirements for these units and make sure they're not too close to carpet or other material that may be damaged over time when exposed to heat.
While these units come with mounting hardware, they're not light. If you've never installed mounting hardware or can't handle around 50 pounds on your own, hire some help or enlist a burly friend with tools.
You have some flexibility on many of these fireplaces as the fake fireplace logs may be replaced with stones for a different look.
Be aware that stones can add to the weight, so handle with care and make sure your wall mounts are secure.
Free Standing Electric Fireplace
Many free standing electric fireplaces have a mantel, a hearth or are configured to fit in corners.
No matter your home layout, if you've got a chilly spot or just want to enjoy a beautiful fire, you can probably make a space for one of these units.
The fire image is generally created by an LED fireplace design. Light emitting diodes are built into fake logs or stone arrays to create a flame effect that can often be used without heat, just for something pretty.
In some units, electric logs may be used as the heat source and glow as they warm until the blower kicks in and dissipates the heat. Electric fireplaces that use these logs generally offer glass doors over the fire image.
Portable fireplaces are available in a wide variety of shapes and styles.
From tiny units only 14 inches wide to large rolling fireplaces with their own hearth and mantel, portable fireplaces offer homeowners the chance to dress up as well as heat their home.
The units run off a standard household plug and are often controlled via remote control.
Safety features include a timed shut off, cool glass covers or metal flanges and auto shut off controls should the unit tip over.
Electric Fireplace TV Stand
The combination of fireplace placement and television is a logical one; you can stay warm and toasty while catching up on your favorite programming.
However, electric fireplaces often have very specific venting requirements and heat can be hard on televisions.
You can save yourself the worry with a TV stand that contains a small, built-in fireplace. The venting requirements are taken care of by the manufacturer.
The fireplaces built into these units are extremely well insulated to protect the exterior shelving components and anything stored in the stand.
Additionally, these units can generally be used in light only mode or with heat. The television stands can safely display a large TV, provide you some storage and keep you warm!
Is There A Real Flame Electric Fireplace?
While there is a manufacturer called RealFlame Fireplaces it's important to note that to have real flame, you need something combustible.
There are fireplaces that burn natural gas, gel, and wood.
However, while an electric fireplace can produce the image of realistic smoke and embers, true fire takes combustion.
What Is A Fireplace Insert?
Depending on your original fireplace configuration, you may need to make some adjustments on your home to make this adaptation worry free.
For example, if your previous fireplace required a chimney as most do, have the screen at the top of the chimney checked to make sure your home stays pest free.
Once you stop using the chimney, it may become a home for birds and other creatures who can fall down and become trapped behind the insert.
Nearly all electric fireplaces are lit by light emitting diodes, or LEDs. These lights offer a wide array of colors and intensities, and even electric log inserts that with a radiant heat source feature LEDs for a realistic flame quality.
Electric Fireplace Mantels
Several free-standing electric fireplaces come as a complete unit with mantel and hearth attached.
While newer models of electric fireplaces with mantels are very shallow units, making them lighter, easier to move and more flexible to decorate with, you can get an electric fireplace with attached mantel of a more traditional size.
If you desire a larger mantel and have the space, consider a corner style electric fireplace for plenty of mantel space.
Features & Controls
Flames, Embers, Smoke
Flames and embers are simulated by a pulsating pattern of the LEDs inside the electric fireplace display. Many units also offer color flexibility, so if an orange fire no longer appeals, you can adjust.
For fans of smoke, there are electric log inserts that include a water tank by Dimplex (DLGM29).
When this tank is loaded, your fire will generate steam, which appears as smoke when the lights reflect off it, see the fire place video.
In addition to looking like a real fire, adding steam back into your home can reduce dryness in the air and make your home more comfortable.
The brightness of your fireplace can generally be controlled with the remote. Many feature a gentle darkening setting once you turn the fire off. If you prefer, you can adjust the lighting color and brightness and use your fireplace as a nightlight.
Most electric fireplaces have multiple settings for heat such as high, medium and low, as well as a no-heat setting just for firelight. Review the specifications for the fireplace of your choice to confirm the settings available on the unit you prefer.
SEE ALSO: Best Smart Thermostats
Heat & Blower Fans
Few electric fireplaces and fireplace inserts don't offer some sort of heating element, and once the heating element has warmed, it will need to be vented.
Carefully review all the venting requirements for the unit you like to make sure that your fireplace will be installed safely.
If you intend to use your electric fireplace as a standing heat source for a chilly room, consider investing in a unit that offers an auto shut off feature for safety's sake.
Electric Logs & Fake Fireplace Logs
If you have an existing fireplace, you can add ceramic logs or fake logs to the unit. Some of these logs generate heat and some just simulate fire.
Review your existing fireplace and consider issues such as any existing gas lines that feed the fireplace, the condition of your chimney and clearance before purchasing logs that generate heat to guarantee the safety of your family and home.
Electric Fireplace Safety
The safety concerns about electric fireplaces are similar to those about space heaters. Electric fireplace should not be left on unattended, and purchasing a unit with an auto shut off timer is critical.
Also, be sure to invest in a unit with cool glass technology if you have pets or small children who may be drawn to the light of the fire image. Make sure the unit will turn itself off if tipped.
Finally, carefully review any venting warnings before you purchase and install your fireplace.
Fire is beautiful and has been a source of fascination for humans for millennia. With the right electric fireplace, you can enjoy a bright and beautiful fire image and heat at the click of a button.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite electric fireplace and cozy experiences.