The 9 Best Electric Fireplace Inserts of 2024

Electric fireplace inserts add warmth to your home. Explore the best options in these energy-efficient heaters.

Best Overall

The Best Electric Fireplace Insert Option: Homedex 36" Recessed Mounted Fireplace Insert

Homedex 36u0026quot; Recessed Mounted Fireplace Insert

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Electric Fireplace Insert Option: Costway 28.5" Electric Fireplace Recessed Insert

Costway 28.5u0026quot; Electric Fireplace Recessed Insert

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Upgrade Pick

The Best Electric Fireplace Insert Option: PuraFlame Klaus 33" Electric Fireplace Insert

PuraFlame Klaus 33u0026quot; Electric Fireplace Insert

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Electric fireplace inserts are energy-efficient and, as I know from personal experience, relatively easy to install. These popular electric room heaters also have a range of user-friendly features. Manufacturers offer a wide choice of styles and sizes to supply cozy warmth to virtually any room.

However, the range of options can make selecting the right model challenging. Here, we have outlined some important shopping considerations as well as showcased top performers. The information that follows should help you find the best electric fireplace insert for your home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Homedex 36″ Recessed Mounted Fireplace Insert
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Costway 28.5″ Electric Fireplace Recessed Insert
  3. UPGRADE PICK: PuraFlame Klaus 33″ Electric Fireplace Insert
  4. BEST INFRARED: ClassicFlame 23″ Infrared Electric Fireplace Insert
  5. BEST LARGE: Electactic 68″ Electric Fireplace Recessed
  6. BEST COMPACT: Tangkula 18″ Electric Fireplace Insert
  7. BEST LOG EFFECT: Masarflame 40″ Electric Fireplace Insert
  8. BEST SMART FIREPLACE: Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace
  9. BEST WALL-MOUNTED: R.W.Flame 68″ Recessed Wall Electric Fireplace Heater
The best electric fireplace insert option installed beneath a floating wooden mantel
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Electric Fireplace Inserts

I am an engineer by trade, a bit of a DIY fanatic, and have completed remodels on several former homes. As a result, I have extensive experience with electric fireplaces to draw on. With the Bob Vila team researched all the well-known electric fireplace insert brands and a wide selection of retailers, including major names and specialist suppliers. After looking at more than 60 appliances, I formed an in-depth view of the market, the products available, and the most recent developments in fireplace inserts, such as the potential for smart voice control.

Most electric fireplace inserts deliver similar heating performance. Many people are more concerned with the unit’s physical size and visual appeal, which are important to how it fits in the living space. Our top picks offer a wide range of different dimensions, and while appearance is a personal subject, we also sought to represent the many different styles available.

Since cost plays a critical part in most buying decisions, we offered models to suit all budgets.

Our Top Picks

These top picks offer practical examples that illustrate the range of features in electric inserts. Each has been assigned a different category, making it easier to find the best electric fireplace insert for every purpose.

Best Overall

Homedex 36u0022 Recessed Mounted Fireplace Insert

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Selecting a single best electric fireplace insert is challenging because so much depends on personal taste. However, this Homedex 36-inch model, which offers a combination of sleek appearance, competitive performance, user-friendly controls, and multiple flame effects, is suitable for many different rooms.

Like most electric fireplace inserts, the Homedex 36-inch unit is rated for rooms up to 400 square feet. Two heat settings and a programmable thermostat adjust from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. A timer can be set to turn off the fireplace at any time over 12 hours.

The Homedex offers nine possible flame colors with five levels of intensity. Other options include log or crystal effects. The Homedex can be fitted as an insert, but it also includes hardware for wall mounting.

Product Specs

  • Size: 36 inches wide by 19 inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500 watts (W)
  • Controls: Touch screen or remote control

Pros

  • Sleek design with numerous effects to provide customized ambience for different room settings
  • Features programmable thermostat and 12-hour timer for user convenience
  • Touch screen or remote control; flames can function without heat and has Canadian Standards Association (CSA) safety certification

Cons

  • Buyers have reported hearing a clicking sound while the unit is running

Get the Homedex electric fireplace insert at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

Costway 28.5u0022 Electric Fireplace Recessed Insert

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The relatively low-cost Costway 28.5-inch electric fireplace insert offers performance similar to many more expensive competitors, with two heat settings: 750W and 1,500W. The manufacturer is one of few that also quotes British thermal unit (BTU) heat output at 2,559 and 5,118, respectively. Control it via the onboard controls located behind a hidden panel, or use the intuitive remote.

A programmable thermostat maintains the selected heat settings between 62 degrees Fahrenheit and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit includes an 8-hour timer and three flame effects, each with five levels of brightness. The Costway complies with Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) safety certification.

While this model cannot be mounted to a surface, it weighs just 27.5 pounds, making it easy to insert into stud walls, fireplace surrounds, or cabinets.

Product Specs

  • Size: 28.5 inches wide by 21 inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Concealed panel or remote control

Pros

  • Fully featured electric insert comes with a very competitive price tag
  • Offers 3 flame colors and 5 levels of brightness with or without heat
  • Onboard or remote control with 8-hour timer; meets ETL safety standards

Cons

  • A variety of fault reports suggest inconsistent quality control, and returns may incur a charge

Get the Costway electric fireplace insert at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.

Upgrade Pick

PuraFlame Klaus 33u0022 Electric Fireplace Insert

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Those who want the ambience of a real fire in their living room or bedroom without the mess or hassle will want to check out the PuraFlame Klaus electric fireplace insert. The design incorporates a brickwork background, a high-quality log and ember bed, glass doors (which stay cool), and a mesh screen. In addition to the usual flame controls, it also provides a crackling log sound. Flame effects will function without heat for the same cozy appeal on warmer days.

Power is switchable between 750W and 1,500W, providing secondary heat for rooms up to 400 square feet. An electronic thermostat offers precise temperature settings via a hidden panel or handheld remote. Installation is straightforward, and several other sizes are available.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 33 inches wide by 21 inches
tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Concealed panel or remote control

Pros

  • Antique design brings the ambience of a real wood fire into the room
  • Has realistic logs, brick wall interior, glass door, mesh screen, and crackling log sound
  • Accurate digital heat control with 4 flame levels and downlighting to brighten the hearth

Cons

  • There are few complaints, but it is quite expensive for a fireplace of this size

Get the PuraFlame electric fireplace insert at Amazon.

Best Infrared

ClassicFlame 23u0022 Infrared Electric Fireplace Insert

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Many electric fireplaces use a standard heating element plus a barely audible fan to gently push warm air into the room. However, the ClassicFlame fireplace insert uses infrared technology, which doesn’t heat the air; instead, it heats the people within the living room or space.

This makes for very low energy consumption and the sensation that the room heats up more quickly. The manufacturer rates this model to heat up to 1,000 square feet.

A digital thermostat offers precise control over heat output. The 3D flame and log effect can be set for color, brightness, and speed, with 125 total variations. Safer Plug technology switches off the ClassicFlame fireplace if it detects overheating.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 23 inches wide by 20 inches tall
  • Power settings: 1,500W
  • Controls: Touch screen or remote control

Pros

  • Energy-saving infrared technology warms people more quickly than traditional convectors
  • High-performance model for up to 1,000 square feet with easy-to-read digital thermostat
  • 3D flame for added realism, and SaferPlug sensor for overheating protection

Cons

  • Only offers a single power setting, plus there is no timer

Get the ClassicFlame electric fireplace insert at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Electric Fireplaces Direct.

Best Large

Electactic 68u0022 Electric Fireplace Recessed

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It’s nice for large rooms to have a focal point, and the 68-inch Electactic electric fireplace provides an attractive solution. It is very competitively priced for a model of this size yet sacrifices nothing in terms of performance or convenience. There are two heat settings of 1,000W or 1,500W with a maximum output of 5,100 BTUs. That makes it suitable for living rooms and bedrooms of up to 400 square feet.

The Electactic fireplace offers flame or crystal effects with 12 colors and five brightness/speed levels projected through toughened high-definition glass. At just 40 decibels, it’s also very quiet. Heating and flame functions can operate independently. An intuitive touch-screen panel provides access to all controls including digital thermostat and a 1- to 8-hour timer. A handheld remote is also provided.

Product Specs 

  • Size: 68 inches wide by 18.11 inches tall
  • Power settings: 1,000/1,500W
  • Controls: Touch screen or remote control

Pros

  • Sleek lines and strong visual impact create a focal point in any room
  • With a heat output of 5,100 BTUs, there’s sufficient heat for up to 400 square feet
  • Extensive range of effects and overcurrent protection at a competitive price

Cons

  • Faults are rare, but some buyers report an annoying clicking sound, and breakdowns aren’t unknown

Get the Electactic electric fireplace insert at Amazon.

Best Compact

Tangkula 18u0022 Electric Fireplace Insert

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It can be difficult to find a compact electric fireplace that is suitable for small rooms or guest accommodation. At just 18 inches wide, the Tangkula is an attractive and very affordable option that provides many of the features found in much larger electric fireplaces. It has two heat settings of 750W or 1,500W, so there’s 400-square-foot heating capability for those who simply want a small fireplace in a large room. There are seven flame settings, and the control is via a hidden panel or wireless remote.

While primarily designed to be inserted in a wall recess, it could also be fitted in a TV-style cabinet. However, at 9.8 inches, it is deeper than most, which needs to be considered for installation. It is ETL certified for safety. In addition, 23-inch and 26-inch versions are available.

Product Specs

  • Size: 17.9 inches wide by 18.5 inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Concealed panel or remote control

Pros

  • A high-performance fireplace that can fit in even the smallest rooms
  • All the power of larger models with 2 heat settings and 7 flame options
  • Easy-to-use controls on the fireplace, or via the handheld remote

Cons

  • It’s deeper than most, there’s no timer, and a few buyers have reported malfunctions

Get the Tangkula electric fireplace insert at Amazon or Target.

Best Log Effect

Masarflame 40u0022 Electric Fireplace Insert

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The Masarflame 40-inch electric fireplace insert’s stand-out feature is its accurate rendering of an authentic log fire. Rather than a simple black interior, the sides have a brick pattern that adds visual depth. This is enhanced by lifelike resin logs with three different lighting effects and five flame heights. A crackling sound completes the retro wood-burning effect.

Two heat settings offer competitive performance, but the unit doesn’t have a programmable thermostat. However, it does feature a 9-hour timer and a safety cutout to prevent overheating. The Masarflame can be installed into a wall recess or cabinet, but it may look best in a false fireplace surround.

Product Specs

  • Size: 40 inches wide by 27 inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Concealed panel or remote

Pros

  • Features a realistic log set with top lighting to enhance the flame effects
  • 5 levels of flame height plus log-crackling sounds to add realism
  • Has 2 heating modes, flame-only option, a timer, and overheating protection

Cons

  • Some feel the crackling sound is loud, and there’s no volume control—just on or off

Get the Masarflame electric fireplace insert at Amazon.

Best Smart Fireplace

Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace

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The slender frame on the Touchstone Sideline Elite gives it a sleek, contemporary appearance. While a remote is provided, this fireplace is also ready for Wi-Fi. The free smartphone app, which adds a range of additional functions, integrates with Alexa or Google Home.

Two power settings and a programmable thermostat can be set between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The model contains an 8-hour timer. It comes in log, driftwood, and crystal bed effects in 10 color choices, plus flames that can be set to six colors and three speeds.

The Touchstone Sideline has ETL safety certification and overheating protection.

Product Specs

  • Size: 49¾ inches wide by 19¼ inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Remote and Wi-Fi with voice via Alexa or Google Home

Pros

  • Wi-Fi compatibility provides smart control via app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home
  • Offers a wide range of colors and intensities for logs, crystals, or driftwood base
  • Has cool-touch glass, 8-hour timer, and can be plugged in or hardwired

Cons

  • It’s expensive compared to nonsmart options, and some found the Wi-Fi flaky

Get the Touchstone electric fireplace insert at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best Wall-Mounted

R.W.Flame 68u0022 Recessed Wall Electric Fireplace Heater

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At 68 inches wide but just 18 inches tall, the R.W.Flame electric wall-mountedfireplace insert makes an impression. A choice of 12 bed colors, 12 flame colors, and five flame speeds allows variety in visual impact and ambience.

The two power modes work in conjunction with a programmable thermostat to control room temperatures between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. A sleep mode provides heat but turns off all the effects. It has an 8-hour timer and ETL safety certification.

The ultrathin body is under 4 inches deep, making this the best wall-mounted fireplace for ease of installation. However, the wall must be structurally solid as the R.W.Flame 68-inch fireplace weighs 67 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Size: 68 inches wide by 18 inches tall
  • Power settings: 750/1,500W
  • Controls: Touch screen or remote control

Pros

  • The choice of insertion in a recess or wall mounting allows versatile installation
  • Easy-to-use touch-screen controls with digital readout for temperature setting
  • Redesigned cord for easier fitting, overheating protection, and ETL certification

Cons

  • Touch panel cannot be dimmed, and some found the fan noisier than expected

Get the R.W.Flame electric fireplace insert at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Fireplace Insert

While the best freestanding electric fireplace is often just plug in and go, an electric fireplace insert typically requires at least minimal installation. Apart from that, along with their general appearance, they frequently share similar features. The following section explores the issues that buyers will want to think about when choosing the best recessed electric fireplace for a particular location.

Type of Fireplace Insert

Many types of electric fireplaces can be called “inserts”; however, the term usually describes those units that fit into a recess in the wall. These can either be pre-existing (replacing a gas or log fire) or new additions. A new installation can be installed at floor level or recessed into the wall above it. Several models have the flexibility to be used in either position.

Some electric fireplaces come as part of a complete surround and mantel package that’s fitted to the wall, mimicking a “real” fire. While these are sometimes called inserts, that’s not a very accurate description and can lead to confusion. The same also can be said of electric log sets that sit in the space formerly used by the grate of a log fire.

Heating Capacity

Regardless of their physical size, even the best electric fireplaces seldom use more than 1,500W of electricity. More power than that and the unit could trip a standard breaker. Many models have two power settings to help save on costs.

In actual heat capacity, 1,500W of power is generally considered sufficient to maintain comfortable warmth in a room of up to 400 square feet. The high setting could be used for initial warmth then lowered to maintain that temperature.

Heating capacity also may be listed in BTUs on some electric fireplaces. Technically, 1 BTU is the energy required to raise 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. At full power, most electric fireplace inserts emit about 4,000 to 5,000 BTUs. While useful for comparison, the figures don’t offer much practical help, and many manufacturers don’t even supply them.

Size

Physical size is important when looking through the available electric fireplaces for two reasons: First, it helps determine the insert’s appearance in the intended location, and second, size affects the installation.

Generally, width is the main dimension used when describing an electric fireplace insert. The smallest unit currently on the market is just 22 inches wide, while the largest measures 100 inches. Height and depth also should appear in the details. The fireplace insert’s dimensions invariably differ from the dimensions of the recess required, so it’s important to have those measurements, too.

Visualizing the actual size from the dimensions can pose a challenge. To help judge the impact the fireplace insert will make, use low-tack tape to outline the fireplace on the intended wall.

Installation

Installing an electric fireplace insert is generally much easier than installing gas or real fire alternatives. While it can be fitted as a replacement for either of these, an electric fireplace doesn’t need a chimney, flue, or venting.

Depending on the wall structure, electric fireplace inserts can be recessed at floor level or higher. If the existing walls are brick or concrete, experts may advise building out a false wall, which also can serve as a decorative element.

Most electric fireplace inserts need only to be plugged into a convenient wall outlet. Often, it’s possible to wire one into the recess or permanently hardwire. Experienced DIYers may be able to perform the task, though it’s probably better to contact a qualified professional.

Programmable Thermostat and Other Features

A programmable thermostat, which is a popular option, can help reduce heating costs. Once set to the desired level, the fireplace automatically varies its output to maintain it, so no energy is wasted. A shut-off timer also is frequently included.

Many manufacturers offer flame effects and colors to create a welcoming ambience without heat. Realistic log-crackling sounds also help enhance the atmosphere. Control is usually possible via a handheld remote, but the most advanced electric fireplace inserts also allow smart control via Wi-Fi and integration with home hubs that allow voice commands.

Safety is an important consideration. The best electric fireplace heater options have thermal overload protection that cuts the power if the device overheats. Cool-touch exteriors also are available.

Safety Tips for Using an Electric Fireplace Insert

When properly installed, with no exposed flames and no smoke or noxious fumes, electric fireplace inserts are among the safest home-heating devices. However, some potential for danger always exists. The following tips should help keep you, your family, and your property safe.

  • If not completely confident in your ability to install the fireplace, call a professional.
  • Make sure electrical connections supply the correct voltage and amps and use a suitable circuit breaker.
  • Never plug an electric fireplace into an extension cord.
  • Never cover the front of the fireplace. Don’t use it to dry clothes.
  • Although many modern electric fireplace inserts have cool-touch exteriors, it’s safest to keep furniture and fabrics at least 3 feet away.
  • If the cord is exposed, check it regularly for damage. Do not run cords under carpets or rugs.
  • Electric fireplace inserts are for indoor use only. Never install them outdoors, even in a sheltered space.

FAQs

This article looks at the technical aspects of choosing the best electric fireplace insert, followed by real-world examples of units available for purchase. This wealth of information can help you make your choice. In the next section, we address several questions that crop up frequently.

Q. What is the standard size for an electric fireplace insert?

No “standard” size exists. Widths can measure from 22 inches to 100 inches. Height also varies, and the depth required for installation can vary from 4 inches to 12 inches. Check sizes carefully when making your choice.

Q. Are electric fireplaces safe?

When properly installed, electric fireplaces are often considered the safest fireplace option. With no fumes or smoke, they also are kinder to those with respiratory difficulties and many allergy sufferers.

Q. Are electric fireplaces expensive to use? 

Not normally. Costs depend on the watts consumed by the fireplace and utility charges, but several independent tests show an average of around 15 to 18 cents per hour. If the unit is run for 6 hours a day, that’s roughly $30 per month.

Q. Do electric fireplace inserts use a lot of electricity?

Electricity consumption is measured in watts. Most electric fireplace inserts operate at around 1,500W maximum. That’s about the same as an electric space heater, though an electric fireplace insert is usually more efficient.

Q. Can you put an electric fireplace insert in an existing fireplace?

Placing an insert into an existing fireplace is typically possible as long as power can be supplied. The existing fireplace gap may need some modification. When in doubt, consult a professional.

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Bob Beacham

Contributing Writer

Bob Beacham is an engineer by trade and has spent 35 years working on everything from auto parts to oil rigs. He is also an avid DIY enthusiast. Bob started writing for the Bob Vila team in 2020 and covers tools, outdoor equipment, and home improvement projects.

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