Tired of your old, drafty fireplace? Electric fireplaces are the perfect solution!
Adding the flair and comfort of a fireplace to your home can be the finishing touch on a truly unique living space, but the messy ash, need for firewood, and the time you’ll need to build a fire aren’t for everyone.
If you’re looking for home fireplace options with half the hassle, an electric fireplace may be right for you! Not only does an electric fireplace provide a ton of heat, but it also looks great and comes in a variety of styles to fit any home.
You've come to the right place to find the best electric fireplace for your home in 2022! In this article, we will outline the different types of electric fireplaces available on the market and list our top picks.
We also answer many popular questions about electric fireplaces, so you can find the perfect fireplace for your needs. Stay warm all winter long with one of these fabulous fireplaces!
Types of Electric Fireplaces
There are two main types of electric fireplaces: wall-mounted and built-in or recessed. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplaces: These fireplaces are designed to be mounted on a wall. They can be used with or without a mantel. Wall-mounted fireplaces are a great choice if you're looking for a temporary solution, such as when your home is under construction.
Built-In Electric Fireplaces: These fireplaces are designed to be installed into an existing wall. They offer a flush, finished look and can be used with or without a mantel. Built-in electric fireplaces are a great choice if you're looking for a permanent solution.
What are the best electric fireplaces?
Choosing the right electric fireplace can be a painful process with so many great options on the market! Thankfully, we can offer a bit of advice.
Best Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplaces
The best Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplaces is the Electric Fireplace Touchstone Sideline Outdoor/Indoor 50" Wall Mounted.
What we like: The Touchstone Sideline 50" electric fireplace can be used both indoors and outdoors. This makes it perfect for patios and cabanas.
- The fireplace is designed to be recessed or wall mounted.
- It comes with a log set and crystal set.
- The frame is slim, making it easier to see the large viewing area with life-like LED flames.
- It can be plugged in or hardwired 120V (GFI plug).
- It has a realistic flames and is made of stainless steel.
The best feature of this fireplace is the option of choosing an orange, blue, or orange/blue combination for the realistic LED flames.
Best Recessed Electric Fireplace
The best Recessed Electric Fireplace is the Dimplex IgniteXL® 50" Linear Electric Fireplace.
What we like: The Dimplex IgniteXL 50" electric fireplace has a very sleek and modern design. It is also 50" wide, so it will fit in most spaces. This fireplace also comes with a remote control, which makes it easy to use.
- The patented Comfort$aver® ceramic heating system uses 11% less energy than the leading quartz infrared heater
- Choose from a variety of brilliant color themes or cycle through a range of colors using the prism mode, freezing on the hue of your choice
- Quickly warms a room by delivering maximum heat output for a predetermined amount of time
- Enjoy the ambiance of the flame with or without the heater
Best Electric Fireplace Heater
The electric fireplace producing the most heat is the Dimplex IgniteXL 100" Electric Fireplace.
What we like: Not only is the IgniteXL 100" Electric Fireplace more elegant than other bulky electric fireplaces, it's also lighter. It measures just 5.5 inches deep and doesn't take up much wall space, so you may effortlessly remove it from the wall, a cabinet, or wall-mounted.
- The IgniteXL Electric Fireplace can heat up to 1000 square feet
- It produces less heat as the room temperature gets closer to the set point, resulting in an 11% savings in energy
- When the fireplace reaches a specified sleep time, it will also be shut off by a timer
- It gives you a variety of brilliant color themes and range of colors
The greatest feature of this fireplace is that it is safe. Because there's no combustion or emission, the glass front stays cool to the touch.
Questions About Electric Fireplaces
Imagine a winter evening in front of your safe, smokeless electric fireplace. You relax with your favorite beverage in clean, comfortable clothes, because you didn’t haul wood in from out back or get down on your knees to start the fire.
If you’ve hoped for an evening like this, you may have a lot of questions about electric fireplaces and how well they work. Should you buy one? If so, which is the best electric fireplace? Here are some common questions and answers about this flexible home heating option.
What is an electric fireplace?
An electric fireplace uses heated coils and a blower fan to push warm air into a room at 100% efficiency, according to How Stuff Works. While an electric fireplace may not produce as much heat as a traditional one, they use very little energy to provide both charm and heat to any space they’re installed in.
These fireplaces are both cheaper and cleaner than a wood-burning fireplace. Installing an electric fireplace only requires purchasing the unit and hiring a skilled contractor or electrician and lighting one only takes the flip of a switch instead of potentially dirty logs in your home and messy ash.
An electric fireplace also has safety benefits. These include an electric fireplace’s heating method keeping it cool to the touch, so it’s safe around curious children and pets who might otherwise be burned if they touch the glass of a traditional fireplace, a benefit touted by Twin Star Homes.
Odorless gases like carbon monoxide are produced when anything is combusted, and dangerous levels of the gas can cause serious health issues or even death. Compact Appliance prudently mentions that an electric fireplace doesn’t emit any fumes, as opposed to a traditional or gas fireplace. That way, you can be sure you and your family are safe from harm!
How does an electric fireplace work?
An electric fireplace imitates a live, burning fire. Instead of flaming wood there’s a heating element. A forced air fan mechanism draws in the cool air from the room, heats it up and blows it back out as the warm air you enjoy. The system works by heating up the air that surrounds you.
There’s a second type as well. It’s based on infrared technology. These fireplaces send out light rather than heat. The light is just beyond the range that people can see. This infrared light doesn’t change the temperature of the air, but instead it directly heats objects, such as you and the chair you’re sitting in.
What are the pros and cons of electric fireplaces?
They are safer than gas or wood fireplaces. They don’t start fires, they don’t produce smoke and pollutants and they don’t get dangerously hot.
Electric fireplaces are clean and odorless. You don’t have to worry about smoke getting into your clothes or your upholstery.
They don’t have to be permanent. They can be used by renters. Even if you’re the homeowner, you can unplug it and take it with you when you move. You can even carry one along in your camper or RV.
Most require little in the way of installation. You can decide you want one this morning and have electric fireplace heat tonight. They don’t require any venting.
They’re available in a number of attractive and versatile design options. Fireplace insert log sets provide an ambiance similar to a wood fire. You can choose whatever kind of flame or glow suits your fancy. Room units can be modernistic aluminum or stainless steel. Some have a wood appearance that matches the decor. Others double as actual pieces of furniture such as cabinets and media centers. Whatever your design style, you can find an electric fireplace that will fit into the theme of your room or even enhance it.
There don’t take up space the way a wood fireplace does. There’s no fire screen, fire barrier or fireplace clearance. You don’t need shovels, pokers and brooms.
They last a long time and require little maintenance and upkeep. They’re economical. You’ll never have to buy and carry wood or shovel ashes. There’s no sooty chimney to be cleaned or ducts to be blown out.
Operation is a breeze. You don’t need paper or kindling to get your electric fireplace started. You don’t have to open a window to get the draft moving in the right direction. If you want more heat from your wood fireplace, you have to guess how many logs to add. With electric, you adjust the level with the push of a button or the turn of a dial. Many electric fireplaces even have timers so they can turn on or shut off when you’re not in the room.
There’s no heat loss. Nothing goes up the chimney. Every penny you spend on electricity stays right in the room and keeps you warm.
In pleasant weather you can enjoy the play of the flame, and you can have it without the heat.
They’re best for heating one room at a time. If you’re looking to heat an entire level, a wood burning fireplace will do a better job.
They will not work during a power outage.
For some people, there’s nothing quite like the sounds and the smells of a genuine wood fire. If you’re in love with the sizzle of a wood flame and the homey aroma of burning wood, the ambiance of a wood fire may be worth the hassle.
You can’t cook on your electric fireplace. If you want to gather the family around and enjoy charred hot dogs, foil-wrapped potatoes and s’mores, you’ll need old-fashioned burning wood.
Which types are the best electric fireplaces?
An infrared fireplace heats up faster and some people find the heat more comfortable because it doesn’t take humidity out of the room. On the other hand, the infrared stops working the second you turn it off. The forced air heated room continues to stay warm even after the switch is no longer turned on. You get an hour or so of “free heating” at zero cost for electricity. Either is adequate for an average room, though the infrared can heat a larger space.
For many people, a more important distinction is whether the fireplace is plug-in or built-in.
Plug-ins are just what the name suggests. Plug them into any wall outlet, turn them on and let them start doing their thing. They come in a variety of styles. Some resemble standalone stoves, but many look just like wood furniture. Often they are built into cabinets or media centers and serve double duty in your room’s design.
Some plug-ins are electric fireplace inserts. They replace your wood fire with clean electric heat. A common type of insert is the log set, which looks just like a stack of firewood. Run the electric cord to a room outlet, or have an electrician install an outlet inside the fireplace, and you get your own simulated fire. You can seal up the flue and rid yourself of the muss and fuss of wood, smoke and ashes forever.
How realistic looking is a log set’s “flame?” Well, the inserts come with a variety of glow styles, so you can check out several and pick the one you like best.
Built-ins, on the other hand, are permanently installed, usually into a wall or an existing fireplace. They can be plugged into a regular outlet, but to take advantage of what they can do, it’s best to hard wire them into 220 volts. This way they generate twice as much heat.
There are people who think the best electric fireplace is the one that looks best. If you’re one of these folks, there’s a lot to choose from. Fireplace inserts are only one option.
Some of the plug-in electric fireplaces are built to look like the old wood stove you might find in a country store. On the other hand, many electric fireplaces look like furniture. That’s because many are furniture. Electronic fireplaces can be integrated into cabinets and entertainment centers.
Just about all fireplace cabinets have glass fronts, often with bifold doors, and a heating element set into a log set or glass ember beads. Some will hold your TV, your decor and your audio system. These can be the focal point of a room whether they’re operating or turned off.
Do the electric fireplaces really heat a room?
Heating an individual room is what these fireplaces are made for. A forced fan unit can heat up to 400 square feet. Some infrared fireplaces can cover up to 1000 square feet. In other words, an electric fireplace has no problem delivering warmth to the average living room or den.
However, an electric fireplace does a poor job of heating more than one room or heating an entire level or entire home. That simply isn’t what it’s made for.
In that individual room, though, the heat is more efficient than a wood fire. There’s no chimney for the heat to escape from. As much a half the warmth produced by firewood can vanish right out into the air. Not only that, but fires sometimes draw in the warm air from a room and send it up the chimney as well. With an electric fireplace, every bit of warmth stays right in the room where you want it.
Electric fireplaces work well in conjunction with zone heating. You can lower the heat directed to your family room and warm it with your electric fireplace instead.
Is an electric fireplace safe?
Safety is where the electric fireplace excels. Think of all the hazards associated with wood fireplaces. The risk of a house fire isn’t the only one. Children and pets can get burned simply by touching the glass. Unhealthy smoke can work its way into the house and bring along all the problems it carries. Problems such as pollution and particulates, substances that aggravate asthma and are dangerous for people with lung or heart conditions. Even regular old gas heating carries the risk of carbon monoxide.
With an electric fireplace there’s none of that. No smoke, no irritants. The heating coil inside the unit gets hot, but the exterior is always cool to the touch. You won’t have to jump up and grab the tyke who’s getting too close.
Do you need to vent an electric fireplace?
Whenever you’re heating with wood or gas, you always have to be aware of venting. You need to have a pathway to make sure anything dangerous winds up outside of your home. With electric fireplaces that simply isn’t a concern. Electric fires are safe and clean. There is no gas, carbon monoxide or other toxic byproduct to deal with. You don’t need a vent. And no venting means no lost heat going up a chimney or vent.
How do you install an electric fireplace?
If you buy the plug-in variety, there really isn’t any installation. All you have to do it take it out of the box, put it where you want it and stick the plug into an outlet. If your plug-in is an electric fireplace insert, you may want to have a new outlet installed so you can hide the cord.
Installing a built-in is a bigger project. It’s often done as part of a total room remodel. Still, it’s just a matter of carpentry or masonry and some electrical work. There isn’t any duct work or venting involved. Some units are designed to be built into an existing fireplace while others can be recessed into a wall or nook or under an overhang. It’s not a huge extra effort if you’re doing a remodel already.
How much will an electric fireplace raise my electric bill?
Depending on your local cost of electricity and how high a setting you run, electric costs can run between three and 20 cents an hour. It would require a lot of use to spend more than about $100 a year. Typically, an electric fireplace has about half the operating cost of a gas fireplace.
Additionally, your electric fireplace is free from maintenance. You’ll never have to buy firewood or have your chimney cleaned. There are no ducts to be blown out. Your electric fireplace will serve you for a long, long time and ask you for nothing more than a little electricity.
Are electric fireplaces expensive?
A simple insert can be had for as little as $200 or $300. More elaborate units like the Dimplex IgniteXL® 100" Linear Electric Fireplace can run into the thousands. Many of these double as pieces of furniture and add much more than just heating to your room. In that case you’re getting more for your money than just a heat source.
We hope this article has helped you choose the best electric fireplace for your needs! Stay warm all winter long with one of these fabulous fireplaces. Take a look at our collection of Electric Fireplaces for other options!