If you long for the glowing warmth of a fireplace but could do without the usual maintenance, consider an electric one. Unlike gas and wood fireplaces, an electric fireplace (or fake fireplace heater) can go in virtually any room, with no ventilation needed.
Electric fireplaces don’t create fumes or soot, which makes them safer than traditional fireplaces. Their flickering flame settings are remarkably realistic, and they can be quite affordable too.
Intrigued by the idea of an electric fireplace? Keep reading to learn the most important shopping considerations. And don’t miss these top picks among the many electric fireplace options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace Insert
- RUNNER UP: JAMFLY Electric Fireplace Mantel Package
- AFFORDABLE FAVORITE: Homedex 36″ Recessed Electric Fireplace Insert
- BEST MODERN: Valuxhome Electric Fireplace
- BEST TRADITIONAL: DIMPLEX Featherston Electric Fireplace Mantel Package
- MOST REALISTIC: MagikFlame HoloFlame Holographic Electric Fireplace
- BEST STOVE: Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
- BEST MANTEL: Ameriwood Home Lamont Mantel Fireplace
- BEST MEDIA STAND: Walker Edison Wren Classic 4 Cubby Fireplace TV Stand
- BEST LOG SET: Duraflame Electric Log Set Heater
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Electric Fireplace
Various factors go into choosing the best electric fireplace for a given space and situation. A buyer could simply be looking for aesthetics and something that feels homey, or they might prefer the look of a fireplace and the warmth of an electric heater.
How it will be used and where it will go makes a difference in the type of fireplace that makes the best choice. Will it go in the living room under a wall-mounted TV, or will it add ambience in the dining room? Also, the buyer’s skill level for installation or assembly is important, along with extra features and how realistic it needs to look.
The following considerations will help make the decision on what is the best electric fireplace for a particular home.
Easy installation is a big selling point when it comes to electric fireplaces. Some simply plug into a wall outlet. The caveat, however, is that an electric fireplace that produces heat requires a dedicated outlet; they can’t plug into an extension cord or surge protector. But many of the best electric fireplace models require very little else in the way of installation.
- A wall-mounted electric fireplace resembles a flat-screen TV and can hang via brackets (usually included). These models have a sleek, minimalist aesthetic most suitable for modern interiors. Like recessed models, they’re often made of durable fiberglass or metal.
- Recessed fireplaces/inserts fit into a wall cavity. The surface of a fireplace insert is flush with the wall. Unlike wall-mounted models, this type of fireplace comes in various modern and vintage styles.
- Mantel fireplaces often mimic the look of a traditional fireplace, constructed from wood, stone, or a combination of those materials. These classic freestanding models are available in many styles besides traditional, including modern, rustic, and farmhouse. Some mantel fireplaces offer shelf storage and come in corner configurations as well.
- Stove fireplaces offer the antique look of a wood-burning stove. These exclusively metal models often emit more heat than other fireplace types. They fit in well with rustic and farmhouse decor.
- TV stand fireplaces are similar to entertainment consoles, with a television placed on top. Many models feature shelving that frames the fireplace. Available in multiple styles, they’re often made of wood or particleboard (a cheaper material consisting of wood and resin).
Size and Placement
A user likely knows where in the house they want to place an electric fireplace. Not every model fits every room. Sleek wall-mounted ones, for example, look better in bedrooms and dining rooms.
The planned location and type of fireplace will help determine the right size. It’s vital to get the exact measurements of the space where the electric fireplace will sit or hang, along with the size of the room.
For instance, converting a conventional fireplace into an electric fireplace requires the precise measurements of the existing fireplace in order to find the best electric fireplace insert for the job.
The size of the room also makes a difference if the fireplace is meant to heat the room. In this case, it’s essential to ensure that the electric fireplace is large or small enough for the room. Something large enough to heat a 1,200-square-foot room for a space that’s only 450 square feet might be overkill.
A handful of today’s electric fireplaces are just fake fireplaces and only for looks; they produce light but no heat. Most models, though, generate warmth in much the same way a space heater does. Some come with thermostats to maintain a steady temperature in the room, while others feature basic heat-level settings.
All the best electric fireplace heater options offer the illusion of flickering flames, but heat options come in three basic types:
- Fan-type electric: Many of the electric fireplaces on the market today are fan-type models that heat a room by blowing air over a series of hot coils and out of one or more vents located along the bottom or sides of the unit. Fan-type fireplaces offer supplemental heat for rooms up to 450 square feet in size.
- Infrared: Rather than heat the air, infrared fireplaces heat the objects in the room. Like the rays of the sun, infrared heat is heated light, warming whatever it shines upon. Infrared fireplaces can heat rooms up to 1,000 square feet, but the user must be in the direct line of its rays to feel the warmth.
- Convection: Electric convection fireplaces allow air to circulate naturally. Cool air enters through a vent near the bottom, flows upward over the heated ceramic plates, and then flows out through an upper vent and into the room. Some convection fireplaces come with a fan to help direct the flow of air. These can heat rooms up to 600 square feet. Electric convection fireplaces without fans heat a smaller area near the fireplace itself and are best suited to rooms without drafts.
But keep in mind, electric fireplaces shouldn’t be the room’s only heat source. They cannot replace central heating or an electric wall heater, for example.
Advances in LED light technology, in combination with small rolling mirrors, create the illusion of genuine flames in modern electric fireplaces. Some models include molded fake logs and embers that glow to enhance the effect. The most realistic electric fireplaces and realistic-looking features tend to be more expensive, but not always.
However, not everyone prioritizes realism in an electric fireplace. Some units offer color selection for the flames, such as gold to match holiday decor, green for a spring look, or even purple or pink flames to match the room’s decor or set a certain mood.
Electric fireplaces don’t burn wood, create smoke, or have actual flames, all of which make them safer than the real thing. What’s more, the glass on most electric fireplaces doesn’t even get hot to the touch, which makes them safe for children and pets. Unlike their conventional counterparts, electric fireplaces can sit safely on carpet or against a wall. They also pose no risk of carbon monoxide exposure.
In addition to all this, electric fireplaces go through tests and inspections during production. They come with safety features like automatic shutoffs set to a predetermined time or heat level. Once the fireplace reaches a certain temperature, it automatically turns off.
A few tips for added safety: Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, don’t use extension cords or power strips, don’t place objects on the intake fans or heaters, keep them dry, and keep small children and pets away.
While electric fireplaces are pretty straightforward, some include a few fun bells and whistles:
- remote and touch-screen controls
- programmable timers that turn the fireplace off after the user falls asleep, or turn it on before he or she wakes up in the morning
- night-light features that emit a soft glow
- Bluetooth speakers that can play crackling fire sounds or seasonal tunes
The difficulty of the installation depends on the type of electric fireplace, but it should be relatively easy for a person with the right skill set. Cutting into the wall and installing a recessed fireplace requires the user to have some framing skills. A wall-hanging unit will require hand tools, like a drill and a lever, and enough know-how to anchor the wall bracket securely.
Some mantels require assembly, while others don’t. Same with TV stands. No matter what type of fireplace it is, make sure to follow the installation instructions carefully and ask for help if something is unclear.
Our Top Picks
These top models were chosen based on the criteria detailed above. They include products in a variety of categories to suit a variety of needs. Read on to discover some of the best electric fireplaces on the market today for producing heat and a relaxing atmosphere.
PuraFlame’s electric fireplace insert adds a classic look to any home. It features logs that glow, flames that dance, and a fire that snaps. A three-sided interior brick wall adds to the realistic look and feel. The remote control offers easy operation and includes flame settings with variable intensity and brightness, plus the choice to go heat-less for a crackling fire all year long.
With enough power to provide additional warmth in a 400-square-foot room, PuraFlame’s electric fireplace measures 35.04 inches wide, 26.99 inches high, and 8.78 inches deep. A 11.81-inch resin log sits on the grate above an ember bed. The flat bottom of the electric fireplace allows for installation directly on the floor for hearth-less fireplaces.
Bring a classic look and feel into any room with this electric fireplace mantel from JAMFLY. Its intricate details and craftsmanship add charm and character without the hassle of chimneys, firewood, and flames. It will supplement the heat in 400-square-foot apartments, condos, or rooms.
A realistic LED flame, with three adjustable brightness modes, produces a glowing ember bed with a 3D effect. It runs with or without heat. This freestanding wood mantel can support a TV of up to 48 inches. It measures 34.3 inches wide, 41.33 inches high, and 13.6 inches deep.
Homedex brings the look and feel of a cozy fireplace into the home without the hefty price tag. Its realistic flame creates instant atmosphere with its ultra-high intensity LED lights. It produces the look of an ember bed in a log or crystal stone setting. Both have nine different flame colors and five color intensities.
The lights run with or without the heat. With heat, they warm rooms of up to 400 square feet with high and low settings. This 36-inch by 19-inch fireplace allows for wall-insert or wall-mount installation.
For supplemental heat and a sleek look, it’s hard to beat this metal and tempered glass model from Valuxhome. A fan-type electric fireplace, it features high and low heat settings, a timer, and a remote control to heat rooms up to 400 square feet. The panel, which recesses into the wall to sit almost flush with the wall surface, measures 60 inches long, 21.65 inches high, and 5.5 inches deep.
Users can choose from three flame colors, three fuel bed colors, and five flame intensities to suit their preferences. Decorative logs and crystals create the look of burning embers.
The DIMPLEX replicates the feel of a mountain lodge, with its stone look and wood accents providing rustic charm to make living areas cozier. The remote control offers easy operation of the authentic-looking flames that run with or without heat. This electric fireplace mantel measures 16 inches long, 61 inches wide, and 44 inches deep, while featuring cool-touch glass to keep the whole family safe.
MagikFlame’s electric fireplace employs theme-park technology to create 30 realistic flames. Actual video of a real fire projected onto a physical log provides the flames, while crackles, pops, and hisses add to the authenticity. A built-in heater provides supplemental heat to rooms of up to 1,000 square feet to help take the chill off cold days. It’s like an actual fireplace, just without all the hassle.
The corner mantel unit works nicely in a small or large home and can support the weight of a TV. It measures 52 inches wide, 42 inches tall, and 40.5 inches deep.
For the traditional style of a wood-burning stove without any of the maintenance work, Duraflame’s infrared electric stove fits the bill. The model’s 3D flames mimic a real wood fire, while providing enough heat to warm spaces up to 1,000 feet in area. The Duraflame measures 24 inches wide by 23.4 inches high and comes with an adjustable thermostat in addition to a remote control.
Add elegance to a living room, bedroom, or home office with this evocative electric mantel fireplace from Ameriwood Home. Two bookshelves on either end add charm and function. Though it won’t support a TV, it almost calls out for a family photo or artwork to hang above it. An in-panel touchpad and remote control allow for operation of the heat and flame settings.
Made of engineered wood and particleboard, the mantel blends a crisp black finish with gray marbleized accents around the fireplace. It measures 12.6 inches deep, 69.3 inches wide, and 44.7 inches high.
Binge-watch by the fire with Walker Edison’s electric fireplace TV stand. It accommodates TVs of up to 150 pounds and 65 inches. Two adjustable shelves on either side of the fireplace support up to 30 pounds of books, picture frames, and decorative objects.
The fireplace display and heat operate separately. The heat provides supplemental warmth to rooms of up to 400 square feet. This TV stand measures 25 inches high, 15.75 inches deep, and 58.25 or 70 inches long.
Duraflame’s log set slides right into an existing fireplace. A realistic pulsating ember bed projects flames onto the back wall. Adjustable temperature settings offer just the right amount of heat for rooms of up to 400 square feet.
Overheat protection prompts the heater to shut off if the temperature rises too high. The bronze electric log set measures 20.5 inches long, 8.66 inches wide, and 12 inches long.
The Advantages of Owning an Electric Fireplace
Many people love the idea of a fireplace in the living room, dining room, or bedroom. They provide a warm place to cuddle up with a good book or the latest movie.
Not everyone is keen on the mess, work, and upkeep that come along with all that charm, though. Cleaning up ashes, stocking firewood, and maintaining the chimney are chores. Electric fireplaces relieve those burdens.
Check out some of the other benefits that an electric fireplace offers:
- Easy installation
- No chimney required
- A choice of styles, including mantel, insert, TV stand, wall-mounted, and electric fireplace stove
- Compatible with any room
- Modern features such as colored LED lights
- Some come with crackling sounds and other features that provide a more realistic experience.
FAQs About Electric Fireplaces
For more information about the best electric fireplace, check out these answers to some of the most common questions. If additional concerns arise, contact the manufacturer.
Q. Do electric fireplaces give off heat?
Yes, some give off supplemental heat. They are not intended to be the only heat source, though.
Q. Do electric fireplaces increase electric bills?
Yes. An average electric fireplace uses about 1,500 watts of power. When used strictly for ambience, the cost can range from $0.003 to $0.03 per hour. When you add heat, the cost can range from $0.09 per hour for medium heat and $0.18 an hour for maximum heat.
Q. Can I plug an electric fireplace into a regular outlet?
Yes, you can plug one into a dedicated wall outlet. Do not plug one into an extension cord or power strip.
Q. Can you leave an electric fireplace on all night?
Yes, you can.
Q. Can electric fireplaces catch fire?
Electric fireplaces don’t produce real fire. There are no flames, only LED lights. They don’t produce toxic by-products either. If you follow the instructions, it should not cause a fire. However, ignoring instructions, like using an extension cord, can cause fires.
An electric fireplace can easily add ambience and warmth to a room or a household. With realistic flames and sounds, it can feel like sitting by a real fire, allowing one to relax and soak up the heat. The many options on the market accommodate most size and style needs as well as preferences for heat, realism, and other extra features. Take into consideration the best electric fireplaces mentioned above and add a little warmth to your home.