An electric fireplace combines the warmth and visual splendor of a traditional fireplace with the convenience of a modern appliance.
Visually, it’s a fireplace with flickering lights and/or logs to resemble the fire of a traditional fireplace. Then there’s a separate heating element that puts dry heat out through vents.
Though there is something lost without the actual flames and cracks and pops, not having to deal with a chimney, and the associated heat loss, smoke or ash makes electric fireplaces much easier to keep and use.
But the best electric fireplace will offer more than the convenience of no clean-up. Because it runs on electricity, you control the amount and duration of heat and exactly how much energy you use. That can save you a lot of money on heating in the long run. Plus, if you’re replacing a traditional fireplace, you’ll never have to buy wood again.
But before you go carving up your brick wall for an electric fireplace, we should study up on electric fireplace basics.
What kinds of features should I look out for in an electric fireplace?
- Convenience: Electric fireplaces can plug into any home outlet and they don’t produce any ash, soot or waste of any kind. While burning wood is awesome, the clean-up, danger of a live fire, wasted energy and lack of control are not.
- Energy efficiency: Some electric fireplaces feature high-power and low-power settings so you can choose to use less power and less heat.
- Temperature control: Being able to control the temperature is always nice because you can turn the heat down if you’re overheating a space. On the other hand, single-temp fireplaces have to be shut off if they’re overheating a room.
- Flame control: The flames in the electric fireplaces are basically light. Some electric fireplaces offer flame color, speed and brightness controls so you can customize the fire to your mood.
- Remote control: Every electric fireplace will have controls built into the unit, but being able to operate the fireplace from afar, say in bed, with a remote control is the ultimate little luxury.
- Plug-in vs hardwire: Most electric fireplaces plug into standard outlets, but if you’re planning on putting the fireplace in the same place for a long time, you might want to seek out an option that can be hardwired.
- Heat zone: You want to make sure to get an electric fireplace with decent BTUs, basically the ability to produce heat. You’ll also want to check how many square feet of space the fireplace can heat if it’s listed. Naturally, these two things will be related. Some fireplaces also let you control how fast heat gets blown out, which will decrease heat-up time.
- Aesthetics: You want to make sure the fireplace will blend into your home in the right way. Do you want logs or some kind of glass door? Maybe you’re going more for the long, flat, boardroom type of electric fireplace. Would you like your electric fireplace to make fire sounds? Though all electric fireplaces share some basic features, they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Unless you’re getting a portable electric fireplace, you’ll want to keep the room getting the fireplace in mind when buying.
- Safety: Even though there’s no fire, anytime something is producing heat there is some risk of fire, like, if the fireplace tipped over. Some electric fireplaces have timers, sleep modes or other auto-shutoff features so you can turn the heat off if you’re not able to monitor it or don’t have a remote. Some also have overheat prevention and will turn off if they reach a certain temperature. If your electric fireplace has a glass pane or door, it should be heat-resistant to some extent and remain cool during use. That typically isn’t a problem because there’s no actual fire.
What kinds of electric fireplaces can I buy?
- Wall mount: Some electric fireplaces can be mounted on walls just like TVs. Some options can also free stand. Just be sure you get the right-sized electric fireplace to suit the wall.
- Portable: Portable electric fireplaces have little feet to stand and can easily be picked up and moved around from room to room. As long as there’s a standard outlet, you can plug them in.
- Built-in / Insert: These make for great replacements for traditional fireplaces because they pop into the space where the logs and fire used to go. Like wall-mount electric fireplaces, be sure you get the right size and make sure there’s a wall outlet nearby or preferably in the wall space.
Now that you’ve got the basics, check out our favorite electric fireplaces below.
1. PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace Insert
BEST INSERTABLE FIREPLACE
Insertable fireplaces are probably the best and easiest way to replace a traditional fireplace because they’re meant to occupy the same space as your previous fireplace.
The PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace Insert is an excellent option if you’re looking to replace an old fireplace. It slots right into the wall space, can rest on the floor and plugs into a standard outlet for power.
This fireplace also boasts three flame settings, with controllable intensity and brightness for that low burning ember ambiance or the appearance of a roaring fire. The electric fireplace also features temperature control so you can up or down the heat as you like and comes with a remote control for convenience. And if you just want the fire without the heat for the light and appearance, you can always use the fireplace without heat.
In terms of appearance, this electric fireplace also tries quite hard to resemble a real one. The glass doors and mesh screen add to the realness and the glass makes the light look a bit more like an actual fire at first blush. It also features resin logs and a faux brick background, so only people looking close will be able to tell it’s an insert. Lastly, it also makes use of a fire crackling sound to really augment the realness.
The downside with inserts like this electric fireplace is that they’re not really useful unless you already have a specific space available. That also means you need an exact match in terms of size or at least a space large enough to accommodate the electric fireplace. This fireplace also cannot act as a primary heat source as it’s only designed to heat up to 400 square feet of space.
But if you have enough heat in your place already and do have a suitable fireplace spot, this PuraFlame electric fireplace will be perfect for you.
2. R.W. Flame Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
BEST WALL-MOUNTED FIREPLACE
A wall-mounted electric fireplace opens up your possibilities in a way an insert electric fireplace cannot, though it tries less to replace your traditional fireplace and be more of its own thing. For someone with the right know-how, you can mount this onto or into really any kind of structure you can make as long as it’s secured or a recessed spot in a wall.
The R.W. Flame Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace can be a great, not too pricey option if you’re considering multiple locations for the fireplace, and it comes with everything you need to put it on a wall.
It looks sleek and modern, and it’s fairly large at 50 inches long and 18 inches tall, so it’ll fill up any room with heat and lovely fire visuals. It features a touch screen as well as a remote to manage the controls. And there is a surprising amount to control: You can adjust the flame speed, the flame brightness and choose from 12 different flame colors for both the bed and the flames themselves.
You can use 1500W for more heat or 750W to save on energy, and a quiet fan helps send the heat out into the room to quicken heating times.
On the downsides, it’s only rated to heat 400 square feet, though some users found it more than sufficient to heat larger spaces. Some users also found it a little difficult to install. While we think you’ll be able to manage it, it’s definitely less simple than an insert electric fireplace.
But overall, this R.W. Flame electric fireplace looks cool, is fairly easy to use and install and plugs into a standard outlet for power. With just a couple of hours of work, you’ll have a lot more heat and ambiance to your favorite room without breaking the bank.
3. Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace
If you plan on moving your electric fireplace from room to room, you’ll want to invest in something more portable.
The Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace punches above its weight for a compact, nice-looking, portable electric fireplace.
In terms of appearance, the metal fireplace closely resembles a traditional hearth, with some fake resin logs and a glass-paneled door. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to use and manage than anything that actually burns fuel. You can adjust the flame color, brightness and speed, operate the pretty realistic-looking fire with or without heat and safely use it knowing it’ll turn itself off automatically if it starts to overheat. Even better, if the room’s getting hot and you don’t want to get up, just turn it off with the included remote.
You can control it through the included remote or the touchpad on the unit, which has a digital temperature control so you can set the heat precisely to your liking.
Lastly, the top of the fireplace doesn’t get hot, which means it can make for a great side table against a wall.
On the downsides, some reviewers said it was noisy and didn’t like that there was some assembly required. But overall, this Duraflame electric fireplace is not too expensive, very portable, aesthetically pleasing and rated to heat up to 400 square feet, or 1,000 square feet if you situate the heater strategically in your home.
4. Valuxhome Electric Fireplace
If you’re looking for a fireplace to take over a room, you might consider the largest model of the wall-mountable Valuxhome Electric Fireplace.
The 74-inch long model is one of the longest options we found, but it’s got all the standard features you’d expect in a solid electric fireplace besides its size.
It can heat from 71 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit and features low (750W) and high (1500W) power settings as well as adjustable top lights, flames colors and flames bed colors. All of that can be controlled through the touchscreen or the included remote. Thankfully for safety purposes, you can set timers from one hour to nine hours and the fireplace will turn off itself if it’s overheating.
What’s also kind of cool about this is the inclusion of both logs and crystals, so you can choose the flame bed you want, or use both.
Some reviewers complained about poor setup instructions, but overall this is a large, stylish electric fireplace that’ll class up any room. If you prefer the design and way the fire looks on this Valuxhome Electric Fireplace, you can always downgrade all the way down to the 36-inch-long model.
5. Home Decorators Collection Cecily Media Console Electric Fireplace
BEST CONSOLE + FIREPLACE
Most of the options we’ve covered so far are standalone electric fireplaces, but it might be more convenient for your home to get an actual piece of furniture that includes an electric fireplace.
The Home Decorators Collection Cecily Media Console Electric Fireplace makes for a classy selection. The console has two drawers, two cupboards, a shelf for any media devices and a space for the insert electric fireplace, all enclosed by a combination of rich brown cherry-finished wood and laminate.
The fireplace itself runs on 1,500W, has four flame level settings, can be operated without heat and includes a remote. We should also note that all fake logs look fake, but that the logs here are some of the most realistic-looking logs we’ve seen.
The one obvious downside is the price. You’re getting a high-powered electric fireplace in a console that uses some actual hardwood, and there’s no way around the fact that that costs money. There is also some assembly required and the naming is somewhat misleading because the electric fireplace itself is 42 inches long while the whole console is 72 inches long.
But if you’re looking for a more permanent addition to your home with a fireplace baked into it, you can do so much worse than the Cecily Media Console Electric Fireplace.
6. Air Choice Electric Fireplace Heater
The Air Choice Electric Fireplace Heater has one thing going for it and that is the price. For just under $100, you get a small, powerful, portable, hearth-like electric fireplace meant to quickly heat up a small room.
Surprisingly though, you still get a decent amount of the standard features from our other options, if not the same level of adjustability.
Fortunately, you can choose the low heat setting (750W) or the high heat setting (1,500W) depending on how much heat you want. A spin button also allows you to adjust the flame intensity and use the flame without the heater and vice versa.
Lastly, this fireplace will shut off automatically if it’s tipped over or if it overheats, which is always a win.
Overall, there isn’t too much not to like about this budget electric fireplace. Sure, it won’t heat up a room as quickly or as well as something more powerful, but it’s about as powerful as most of our picks so it’ll more than get the job done for your small-room heat needs.
7. Cambridge 20-inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace
For an electric fireplace that looks a little different than most offerings, you can check out the Cambridge 20-inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace.
There’s something appealing about the look of this freestanding fireplace, with its curved display, as though you’d see it in the same room as an Eames Lounge Chair.
But it’s also just a solid electric fireplace. It’s easy to use and install, features two heat settings and a touchpad and remote to control the heat and flame intensity. Built-in timers and overheat protection round out the safety features to make this Cambridge electric fireplace an overall great option.
8. Ameriwood Cleavland Electric Fireplace TV Stand
If you’re all about a unique-looking electric fireplace then you will love the Ameriwood Cleavland Electric Fireplace TV Stand.
The console itself is just under 65 inches long with space in the middle for a 23-inch electric fireplace insert, but it’s the sci-fi-looking fireplace and color scheme that will really get you.
The stand uses a mix of gray laminated particleboard, MDF and hollow-core construction with metal feet and glass shelving and a blue light illuminate the shelving for a decidedly futuristic take on a fireplace TV stand.
Of course, you can expect the fireplace to have adjustable flame brightness, flames with or without heat, flames that can change color, timers and a remote control, so it’s as useful and easy-to-use as the TV stand itself.