Buying Guide for Electric Fireplaces

A cozy fireplace with flickering flames begs you to relax and kick off your shoes.  But what if you’re not lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home? No worries! A great alternative to a traditional fireplace is an electric fireplace which can add instant warmth and ambiance to your home.  And all you need is an electrical outlet!

Building a new traditional brick or stone fireplace in your home can be expensive and require regular maintenance. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand,  come in a variety of styles to fit your budget so you can choose a fireplace with just the right look and feel for your home.

Typically, electric fireplaces have logs made of rock, metal, or wood as well as a variety of fillers such as stones and crystals. With plenty of custom options, you can create the perfect look for your room .

Let’s take a look at some electric fireplaces and answer some questions about electric fireplace installation, styles, brands, and costs.

Electric Fireplace Installation

Since electric fireplaces don’t need a gas line or a chimney, they are easy to install.  Wherever you have an electrical outlet, an electric fireplace can be installed. Electric fireplaces are perfect for a condo or an apartment.  There’s no need to worry about harmful fumes such as carbon monoxide or gas so you might be wondering if an electric fireplace requires venting. There’s no need to provide venting for an electric fireplace.  And you don’t have to clean up any mess from soot and ask from a wood burning fire. These units are durable and last for many years since they use electricity instead of combustible fuel. 

Installing an electric fireplace is a snap and any homeowner should be able to handle the task.  All you need to do is hang the unit on a wall. If you want to install the unit recessed into a wall, you might need help from a carpenter unless you’re a DIY pro. Either way, the cost of installing an electric is very minimal compared to building a traditional fireplace in your home.

Traditional Electric Fireplace

Heating Capacity of an Electric Fireplace

Don’t expect your electric fireplace to put out as much heat as a traditional fireplace.  Most electric fireplaces will put out around 5,000 BTU’s of heat. That’s enough to warm the air around the fireplace but it certainly won’t heat your entire home.  A typical electric fireplace will use about $1.84 of electricity every 8 hours. You can choose the right electric fireplace for your space. If you have a larger room like a living room, you’ll want to choose a fireplace that has a higher heating capacity.  For a smaller area such as a bedroom or bathroom, you can get by with purchasing one that puts out less heat.

Be sure to check out the variety of heating capabilities of different electric fireplaces as you ‘re considering where in your home you’d like a little fireplace ambiance.  A drafty basement, home office, or enclosed porch can be transformed into a warmer more inviting area in just a few minutes.

How Cost Effective are Electric Fireplaces?

Electric fireplaces are very cost effective compared to traditional fireplaces.  By saving on annual service checks, chimney cleaning services, and chimney inspections, you’ll have more cash in your pocket.  Typical electricity costs for using an electric fireplace averages under $2.00 per 8 hours. An electric fireplace doesn’t require regular maintenance and will last for years.  

Electric Fireplace Decorating

You’ve made up your mind to purchase an electric fireplace for your home.  Now you need to consider what type of electric fireplace is best for you. Since there’s such a variety of sizes and styles of electric fireplaces, how do you choose an electric fireplace that’s just right for your space? Consider whether you want to hang your fireplace on a wall, have a free standing fireplace, a corner fireplace or set the fireplace on a table.

Electric fireplaces come in both modern and traditional styles.  With a wide variety of colors, materials and fillers, you have plenty of options.  

Wall Mount Electric Fireplace

Touchstone Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace/Onyx 80001

*What size electric fireplace do I need for my space? 

Forced fan electric fireplaces are best for rooms about 400 square feet and infrared quartz models work better in rooms about 1,000 square feet.  

*Should I choose a freestanding electric fireplace?

You can place a free standing type electric fireplace on the floor if your room has the space.  Or you can purchase an electric fireplace insert and install it in an existing masonry fireplace firebox opening.  A corner unit is a good option if space is limited.

Built-In Wall Electric Fireplace

How To Choose An Electric Fireplace

What is the best wall mounted electric fireplace?

Many wall mounted fireplaces have a sleek modern feel such as this Classic Flame 48” Helen. The rectangular shaped, linear modern styles are long and narrow rather than the traditional square shape of a traditional fireplace opening.  

Can I purchase an entertainment center, TV stand and electric fireplace all in one?

Yes, you can get an “all in one” electric fireplace that incorporates a entertainment center/TV stand type cabinet that looks like a stylish piece of furniture such as the Killian Electric Fireplace Media Console.  

Entertainment Center Electric Fireplace

Electric Fireplace Styles And Types

You may be wondering, “What style electric fireplace should I choose?” Electric fireplaces come in a wide variety of styles so you can choose just the right one for your room and the space you have.  

Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces

Wall mount electric fireplaces save space and are perfect for smaller spaces.  Apartments and condos are the ideal spots for this type fireplaces since they attach to the wall supported by brackets.  

Wall mounted electric fireplaces add ambiance to dining areas, living rooms and bedrooms without taking up much needed floor space.  Since they aren’t permanent, if you’re renting, you can take the unit with you when you move.  

For homeowners, these wall mounted fireplaces can be semi or fully recessed into a wall making a more permanent option.  These fireplaces require a 120V electrical outlet. 

This unit pictured below is the Touchstone Sideline 60 80011 Electric Fireplace.

Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Built- In Electric Fireplaces

Built in electric fireplaces save on valuable floor space since they can be built into an opening in a wall.  These fireplaces cannot be placed inside a traditional fireplace opening. You’ll need a professional to hardwire this fireplace since it’s a permanent option.

Built-In Electric Fireplace

HoloFlame Fireplace Insert/ MagikFlame

Corner Electric Fireplaces

Corner electric fireplaces are made to go in a …you guessed it!…corner.  They save on floor space and are made cabinet style so you can have storage for books or movies.  This type unit can be simply plugged into a 120V outlet. These fireplaces are ideal for rooms with limited wall space.

Corner Electric fireplace

Real Flame Chateau Corner Electric Fireplace

Electric Fireplace Entertainment Centers

Electric fireplace entertainment centers have plenty of space for movies, books, or video games.  The TV can be placed on the top of the unit and can be easily moved if desired since it doesn’t need to be professionally wired.  All you need is a 120V outlet.

Electric Fireplace Entertainment Center

Sinclair Electric Fireplace TV Stand – Aged Cherry

Electric Fireplace Free-Standing With Mantel

If you love a traditional fireplace, the electric fireplace with a free standing mantel might be the perfect choice for you.  Since it resembles a traditional masonry fireplace, the electric fireplace has a wood mantel surround perfect for hanging your stockings for old St. Nick.

Free Standing Electric Fireplace

MagikFlame HoloFlame Electric Fireplace

Looking for a fireplace with realistic looking flames? Check out our list of the Top 5 Electric Fireplaces With Realistic Flames

Best Electric Fireplace Finishes

White

White electric fireplaces look clean and neutral.  Perfect for farmhouse style rooms and all white modern spaces, these fireplaces brightens the area and adds instant ambiance.

White Electric Fireplace

Essex Electric Fireplace

Neutral

Neutral electric fireplace options include shades of gray, black, or brown.  The clean design of these units allows them to blend in easily with almost any decor.   

Neutral Color electric fireplace

Lexington Infrared Electric Fireplace Mantel/Gray

Metallic

If you prefer a bolder modern style, maybe the metallic electric fireplace is for you.  Choose from varieties of silver, gold, and stainless steel to find a perfect accent and conversation piece for your room.  

Built In Electric Fireplace

Dimplex Opti-V Built In Electric Fireplace

Stone

If you love the great outdoors and prefer a more rustic style, a stone electric fireplace is right up your ally.  Since it resembles a traditional wood fireplace, a stone electric fireplace is perfect for lodge style decor common in mountain and lake cabins.

Electric Fireplace With Stone Surround

Denali Stone Electric Fireplace/Brushed Dark Pine

Wood

Traditional wood finishes around electric fireplaces give the look of a real masonry fireplace.  With wood finishes in oak, walnut, cherry, just to name a few, these fireplaces complement any traditional decor.

Electric Fireplace With White Mantel

Taylor Electric Fireplace Mantel/White

Types of Electric Fireplace Fillers

Finding the perfect filler to go inside your electric fireplace is key to the type of ambiance you’re wanting to achieve in your room.  

Glass

Glass fillers look modern and contemporary.  Flames are reflected off the glass embers to give an interesting glow.  The glass provides flame depth and texture.

Glass For Fireplaces

Logs

Electric fireplace logs resemble a traditional wood burning fireplace.  These type logs can be made from real wood logs or made from 

Electric Fireplace Logs

Rocks

Using rocks as a filler in an electric fireplace looks sleek and modern.  These stones come in a variety of colors and shapes. Black and crystal colors are common choices.

Electric Fireplace Blue Rocks

Types of  Electric Fireplace Technologies

LED Technology

Napoleon Electric Fireplaces have LED technology.  With realistic flames, the technology randomly adjusts the flames’ height, color and speed to simulate a real wood burning fire.  

Napoleon Allure Phantom

Napoleon Allure Phantom

LED Flame Technology

LED Flame technology by Real Flame gives realistic wood burning and brightness.  Vivid Flame Electric Firebox sets give the look of an authentic fireplace.  

LED Flame Technology

Opti-Myst Technology

Dimplex makes an electric fireplace with a fine water mist technology that reflects light and results in a 3-D flame effect that looks like a real wood burning fire.  Its wood pieces are crafted from real wood which makes the fire look natural.  

Dimplex Optimist Pro 1000


Steam Flame Technology

Modern Flames has a product line that uses the power of commercial steam flame technology used by Disney and Universal Studios.  The FusionFire Steam Fireplace has been designed for heavy usage while needing very small water amounts.  

Fancy Electric Fireplace With Stone Surround

Electric Log Sets

Electric log sets can be placed in an existing fireplace.  An alternative to gas logs or wood, electric log sets do not need to have venting or a working masonry chimney. These logs can be hardwired or simply plugged into a 120V outlet.

Electric Log Set

Pleasant Hearth

How Much Do Electric Fireplaces Cost?

Electric fireplaces range in cost from around two hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars with the average price landing somewhere around $800. Big box stores such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s carry electric fireplaces during the colder months. 

The cost goes up if you want your electric recessed into a wall which would require installation by a professional which averages around $300.  If an electrical outlet needs to be moved closer to the unit, an average cost is around $100.

Best Electric Fireplace Brands

The best and most reliable electric fireplace brands include Dimplex and Napoleon.  These top manufacturers offer wall mount, inserts, media consoles, and mantel packages so you can be sure to find just the right electric fireplace for your space.  Real Flame, Classic Flame, Duraflame, and Touchstone are also offer quality products.

Interested in a Dimplex Electric Fireplace? Check out our guide on Dimplex Electric Fireplaces.

Dimplex Revilluision RBF36

Eco-Friendly Electric Fireplaces

Since electric fireplaces don’t emit toxic gases, they are the perfect choice for anyone wanting an eco-friendly fireplace that’s energy efficient.  An excellent source of heat, electric fireplaces can convert every bit of their electrical power into heat without any waste.. A thermostat can help you control the amount of heat your electric fireplace emits and the fireplace can be turned on and off with one click of the remote.  With no wood to burn or gas to consume, an electric fireplace doesn’t need to be vented. And the unit can be recycled when it’s out of use.

Infrared Electric Fireplaces

Some electric fireplaces use an infrared light, a type of electromagnetic light, to generate heat.  Infrared units are different than fan-forced units since they heat your room differently. Fan-forced heat blow across heater coils making the air in the room warmer and drier.  Infrared fireplaces radiate heat absorbed by objects in the room and heats up the room a lot faster.   

For more information on Electric vs. Infrared Fireplaces, read our article on the differences between electric and infrared fireplaces.

Electric Fireplaces with Thermostat

You can purchase electric fireplaces with a thermostat to regulate the temperature.  The glass is not hot to the touch so they are a safe alternative to wood burning fireplaces.  Many electric fireplace units come with a convenient remote control and optional wall thermostat.

White Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces can add elegance and style to any room in an instant.  With so many styles, and sizes from which to choose, you can find the perfect electric fireplace to accent any modern home decor.  Electric fireplaces can be easily installed anywhere your home has an electrical outlet. With no gas lines or chimney maintenance, electric fireplaces provide an easy solution for renters in apartments or condos who don’t have a traditional fireplace and want the warm atmosphere of a glowing fire. 

The convenience of turning the fire on and off easily, low cost, and modern style make electric fireplaces an excellent choice for homeowners or renters who want to add a little warmth and ambiance to your home.  Whether you add an electric fireplace to your living room, basement, bedroom, home office or bathroom, you’ll enjoy cozy ambiance for years to come!

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