Best Electric Fireplace 2017
Enjoying a cozy fire on a cold winter night is an experience that many would people would love. But, in many homes having a real fire is simply not possible.
The answer is easy. You can now buy a relatively cheap fireplace heater, providing both the heat of a fire and the real fire experience without the hassle of installation and maintenance that a real fire requires.
There are many different options when it comes to buying an electric fireplace. We have tried to do some of the research for you and present here a list of what we consider to be a list of the best models available today.
We look at the options available and provide brief reviews for each of our selected models.
Table of Top 10 Best Electric Fireplaces
We set out below our view of the best options on the market today. There are a number of different types of fireplace and we have tried to indicate which we believe to be the best heater in each category.
Moda Flame 50" Cynergy Pebbles Stone Built-in Wall Mounted Electric Powered Fireplace
Best Electric Fireplace Insert
Touchstone 80001 Onyx Wall Mounted Fireplace
Best Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
Dimplex Novara Media Console with 25 Inch Electric Firebox
ClassicFlame 28MM6307-O107 Lakeland TV Stand for TVs up to 65"
Touchstone 80004 Sideline In-Wall Recessed Fireplace Heater
PuraFlame 30" Western Electric Fireplace Insert
HomCom 16" 1500W Free Standing Electric Wood Stove Fireplace Heater
Best Electric Stove Fireplace
Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove
Cartwright Convertible Electrical Fireplace Heater
Best Mantel Electric Fireplace
Elkmont Electric Fireplace
Best Fireplace Heater Reviews
Moda Flame 50" Cynergy Pebbles Stone Built-in Wall Mounted Fireplace Insert
Best Electric Fireplace Insert
A lovely addition to any room this heater is smokeless and ventless and fits in to a neat recess in a wall of fire surround. Its modern contemporary looks will suit almost any room, even some traditional rooms, and the flame effect is stunningly real.
The heater is a powerful 1500 W fan forced heater easily capable of heating rooms between 400-600 sq. ft. Because it is recessed into the wall (approximately 6 inches deep) you need have no worry for pets or children. The vent is positioned at the top in the centre of the fascia of the heater. This makes unexpected covering of the event leading to overheating unlikely. The heater is also UL listed.
It comes with a remote control so that you can simply and easily control the heat produced and the flame effect from the comfort of your own seat.
The heater has three settings a high setting allows setting and a no heat setting which allows you to display the flame effect but not actually use the heater. If you’re concerned about leaving the heater on when you leave, don’t be. You have an automatic timer shut-off allow you to switch off the heater any time between 30 minutes and 7.5 hours after it is turned on.
Because it is completely vent free installation is extremely easy. A licensed electrician can easily install an electrical outlet in the recess, to which the heater can be plugged in and the wires hidden from view.
Touchstone 80001 Onyx Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
Best Wall Mount Electric Fireplace
We love this Touchstone 8001 Onyx wall mounted electric fireplace. It has a gorgeously realistic set of logs behind the screen and with the flickering flames, it is really hard to tell whether it’s a real fireplace or the electric one that is.
This is a completely smoke-free heater, in fact, it’s actually a fan forced heater able to comfortably heat a room of 400 sq. ft., even doing well with a room as much as 50% larger. You can control the heat using the two available settings, and for that amazing warm atmospheric effect, there are five flame brightness settings allow you to change the way the fire looks from a dull amber glow to a full roaring fire. You can also run it without the heater, just appreciating the fire.
Although 50 inches wide this electric fireplace actually only weighs 46lbs. Installation is extremely easy, you simply locate the appropriate hanging point and secure to the wall with the screws provided. Operation is also very simple, you are provided with a remote control.
Installing a wall mounted fireplace such as the touchstone 8001, takes a great deal of the work and maintenance out of enjoying a warming fire on a cold winter’s night. No more wood cutting and storage, no more chimney cleaning, no more removal of Ashes. You simply turn it on using the remote control and allow the built-in timer to shut off any time from 30 minutes to 7 ½ hours later.
Finally, the touchstone 8001 uses low-energy LED technology and is safe in the home the children and pets. It looks great, and it’s a wonderful heater too.
Dimplex Novara Media Console with 25 Inch Electric Firebox
The Dimplex Novara media console is designed to give a chic and modern look to a living room. The sleek and linear design of this unit will match the contemporary furniture of your living room, giving it the ultimate modern appearance. With life-like flame effects, this unit is the best alternative to traditional gas fireplaces.
The Dimplex Novara media console has some of the most exclusive features which make it a favorite model.
Exclusive gWave technologies which make the fireplace start or stop functioning at the wave of a hand. If you want it to function the traditional way, you can easily do so by means of the remote control as well.
It limits heat output to a maximum of 750W for quiet and efficient operation. Consumes 33% less power than other units of its class. No harmful emissions make it the best green alternative. The heat boost feature heats up the room with maximum heat output in shorter time period. The smoked glass accents can support even a 60-inch flat screen TV.
Some users have reported a cumbersome assembly process as there is no written installation manual with the kit. This can be avoided by deploying two people for assembling the unit. The assembly time of the Dimplex Novara media console is nothing more than 20 minutes if done as per the diagrams.
The amazing features and compact design of the Dimplex Novara media console make it ideal to be used in condos and small spaces. With this stylish heater in your living room, you can enjoy the ambience of warm winter fire in the chilling winter evenings.
ClassicFlame 28MM6307-O107 Lakeland TV Stand
Ideal for giving the living room an elegant look, the Lakeland 28MM6307-O107 features premium oak finish. It is one of the most popular TV stands in many urban homes. The TV-stand features a full-length open counter in its design. This is ideal for storing several media components like remote controls, speaker bars or similar objects.
There are some striking features of the Lakeland 28MM6307-O107. It has a mission style design. The premium oak finishing gives the fireplace an elegant look. It has a kick out a beveled base and real slate surround. The glass panel doors to add to the elegance factor.
The fireplace can hold 65” or 115 lb weighing TV easily. It can accommodate 25” electric fireplace. It has integrated wire management. The storage cabinets on both sides provide ample storage options for keeping books or decorative items.
Size-wise an open cabinet measuring (52.5″w x 17″d x 7.25″h) is ideal for storing an array of electronic devices. The wood shelves are adjustable. The assembly process is easy.
Some customers have stated they are not very happy with the fact that the fireplace insert is not included with the product as shown in the picture. What they failed to understand at the time of the purchase is that the product that is being sold is just the mantle and not the whole kit with the heat insert.
Overall, the Lakeland 28MM6307-O107 is a nice piece to jazz up the appearance of your living room. With this TV stand at your place, you will not have the right place to set up the electric fireplace conveniently, but would also be able to show off your taste of elegance in front of your friends and guests.
Touchstone 80004 Sideline In-Wall Recessed Fireplace Heater
When you talk about electric fireplaces, there is nothing as contemporary as Touchstone’s Sideline 50. This recessed fireplace heater is designed to give the benefits and beauty of a fireplace without the annoying smoke of the fire. With life-like flames, this beauty is going to spruce up the look of any wall where it is hung.
The Sideline 50 ships with both log and crystal option. It can heat rooms that are up to 400 square feet. The heater has five settings to emulate soft ember glow as well as an intense flame to match the needs of the user. With the dual heat mode, you are able to add the ambience of a fireplace without heating up the room.
The heater includes a built-in time for auto shut down. It is remote controlled operated for both flame and heat settings. Is made for easy installation – can be done single handed by homeowners.
Some users did not find the flames to be very intense and found them to the rather dim. What they need to understand that a blazing flame may not look very good with the given dimension of the unit. There are however setting option where you can change the flame effect and make them match your needs.
As per the manufacturers, this stunning and modern-looking electric fireplace should be hung at least 12 inches below the ceiling. For best results, it should not be mounted under a flat screen TV. The 50-inch wide fireplace emulator is fine to be mounted on the walls of living rooms, bedrooms, office rooms and even clubrooms.
PuraFlame 30" Western Fireplace Insert with Remote Control
The PuraFlame 30” is an electric fireplace insert which gives the feeling of a real fireplace with burning logs inside. This easy to operate unit can heat up a room that is as big as 400 square feet and hosts a three sided brick wall design which makes it emulate the real fireplace with the highest degree of precision.
The PuraFlame 30” comes with a number of features and benefits. The heater has 2 heat modes and 3 flame effects. The backlit LED flames saves nearly 100% power as the LED lights use minimal power. The fireplace can operate without emitting heat as well – allowing the owner to add ambience of the fireplace even when heating is not necessary.
The unit comes with a multi-function remote control, which allows the owner to operate it from the cozy comfort of bed or chairs. The heater has an adjustable thermostat, which allows the user to modulate temperature from 60ºF to 84ºF.
Some customers have complained about the electric fireplace being quite noisy with the heater turned on. To which we would note that when heating devices operate they usually make some noise. However, the unit does not make as much noise as some users have complained it to make.
This firebox is ideal to add the necessary warmth in the chilly winter evenings and make your living room or bedroom the most comfortable place to be at. The unit is ideal to be fit inside fireplace frames or set up in places where it would look good.
HomCom 16" 1500W Free Standing Electric Wood Stove Fireplace Heater
If you are looking to enjoy the warmth and convenience of a standing electric stove fireplace - the HomCom Free Standing electric wood stove can be a great pick. The fireplace is not only clean but also equally cost effective. It offers you the conventional feel of a fireplace, in a modern and contemporary package.
One of the best reasons why you should purchase this stove is simply because it offers you the warmth of a traditional fireplace without the emissions or the expense. The stove has an LED fire flame where the brightness can be adjusted to your discretion.
There are also two heat settings (of 750 watts and 1500 watts), that provides consistent heat upto 400 sq ft. At the same time, the timer is automatically turned off to prevent overheating. This stove operates flawlessly with or without the heat while giving you a soothing flame effect. The product is also vent free and the installation too is simple.
While most users are completely satisfied with this stove, a couple of them have expressed dissatisfaction regarding its heating capacity. Some customers have complained the heater struggles if the temperature is unusually low. Other than that, it works exceptionally fine and renders the perfect amount of warmth you expect on regular days.
HomCom Free standing electric stove is a perfect pick, if you are willing to add an aesthetic element to your homes at an economical price range. The LED fire flame lets you adjust the heat and the heating capacity too is decent. The flame effect is soothing and assembling this product is relatively simple.
Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove
The Duraframe infrared Quartz Fireplace stove is an excellent fireplace that renders comfortable and moist heat without affecting the natural humidity of the room. It can warm up to 1,000 square feet on chilly nights and the layered flame technology offers a truly realistic experience.
The stove is durable and is lightweight. The stove has a truly realistic appeal, particularly because of the beveled glass frame and the easily operable door. You can even adjust the brightness setting to enjoy the kind of ambience you are looking for. Also being portable, you can easily set the device anywhere you want.
The stove comes with the infrared technology that helps in maintaining the normal humidity of the air. This results in moist and comfortable heat that does not dry out the room’s air. The structure is made of a durable metal frame that also has side windows made from beveled glass.
The 3D flame effect technology offers layered flame to create a realistic experience of a fireplace in your rooms. Additionally, it also has an ember bed and glowing log technology that may or may not be operated with heat. There are five adjustable brightness settings and the device is perfectly safe for your little ones and pets.
Customer ratings for this product are positive. But, some have experienced issues with the sound emitted by the stove. Some of them find it loud and distracting, when it comes to set mood or watch movies. However, this is only a minor glitch and it definitely doesn’t outweigh the benefits of this product.
The Duraframe electric stove is a great pick if you are looking for a fireplace that cranks out decent heat. The metal finish on the stove looks amazing and the flame effect too is good. Installation is quick and considering its features, the product is truly worth your money.
Cartwright Convertible Electric Surround and Fireplace
If you’re looking for a fireplace that’ll render a perfectly natural look and feel, this convertible electric fireplace from Cartwright can be a great option. The stove is extremely sleek with an oak finish and wood grain elements. The crown molding adds further accent, making it a perfect product for both vintage and contemporary homes.
The stove does not require any manual installation and the LED lighting makes it an efficient and cost effective option for your homes and office. The warmth rendered is decent and you can even adjust between the four settings to put up your preferred temperature.
The fireplace is simple, sleek and extremely realistic with its flickering multicolor flames. You can adjust it anywhere or even fit it against a flat wall. Being equipped with LED lights, it offers the perfect kind of illumination without increasing your energy bills. The stove provides supplementary heat upto 400 sq. ft., which can also be adjusted with the four different adjustment settings.
Use the remote control for tweaking with the timer, flames and logs individually. The safety features include the automatic shut off feature and a self-regulating heat feature. The stove does not require any manual installation and it provides excellent performance all year round.
The product has mostly garnered positive reviews from the customers. However, some customers have experienced loud noises while using the fireplace. One of them, have also found that the flame doesn’t appear realistic unless it is adjusted to the lowest setting. However, despite these minor glitches the product has offered consistent and high value performance for many.
Considering the features, style and the rave reviews of this electric stove, we would definitely recommend it for everyone who is looking to enjoy the aesthetic feel of a conventional stove, without spending much money. The adjustable brightness, sleek flame, realistic lighting, LED lights and simple installation makes this product one of the best electric stoves in the market.
Elkmont Electric Fireplace
The Elkmont electric fireplace is a compact and useful stove that exudes a rustic and aesthetic charm. The wood grains, wormholes, small marks and imperfections make it a perfect product for everyone who is looking to enjoy the warmth of a vintage fireplace.
The firebox comes with realistic, multicolor flames along with an interior brick structure that makes it more lifelike. The remote control lets you toggle between four settings thereby warming your room conveniently. The stove provides the perfect warmth up to 400 square feet. So if you’re looking to upgrade your living room, this is one product that will never disappoint you.
The electric stove comes with a remote control that can be used for adjusting the timer, thermostat, the logs and flames individually. You can do this with or without the heat. The flames have a multicolor appearance that renders a dynamic effect to your room. The temperature can be adjusted between 62-82 degrees at four intervals.
On top of that, you will also get to enjoy the supplemental heat up to 400 sq. ft. Installing this stove is simple and you can easily plug it on standard wall outlets with a 6-inch cord. The heater is safe, self-regulating and it will automatically turn off when the ideal temperature is met.
Although the features are amazing and the stove is easy to install, some people have experienced issues with understanding and toggling between the various modes. This might initially be slightly problematic, but once you read the instruction manual and start using the product consistently, you will soon get the hang of it.
Overall, this electric stove can be a great pick for both your homes and office. You will particularly love the realistic appeal of this stunning stove. On top of that, the remote controlled settings, adjustable heat, vintage appearance, realistic flames and simple installation makes it an extremely valuable and viable product.
Best Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
What is an Electric Fireplace?
There is nothing quite like having a roaring fire to snuggle down to in the deep of winter. They not only provide radiant heat, but they provide a particularly warm glow making you feel wonderfully relaxed and comfortable.
Unfortunately not everyone is able to have a real fire. In fact a large number of people live in accommodation where it is either impossible or impractical to have a real fire. For instance, many apartments simply do not have the structure to incorporate hearths and chimneys. The result is that they simply cannot install a fireplace.
In addition, having a real fire takes work. What sort of work? Well, the first thing is that they need a constant supply of fuel. Typically, fires use coal or wood to burn. But coal tends to be dirty and wood tends to be bulky. This fuel needs storage, and in the case of wood it often needs seasoning before it is dry enough to be burnt.
Assuming you have established a reliable supply of fuel and a suitable storage location you must still remember that the fire needs to be set each and every time you light it, it also needs cleaning up after a fire has burnt out. The chimney is likely to require sweeping every year in order to keep it clear and ventilating adequately. And finally, there are times when you want to warm up but just can’t be bothered to set the fire and wait until it has caught and begins to heat the room, sometimes as long as 30 minutes.
In short, having a real fire, pleasant as it might be, does in fact take a lot of effort. What’s the solution? Well, the solution may well be an electric fireplace.
An electric fireplace is essentially an electric heater that is enclosed in a case that is made to look like a conventional fireplace. Inside the case a variety of lighting techniques combined with mirrors create the effect of flames flickering as they would in a real fire. So you get a heater that uses electricity to produce the heat you want while at the same time simulating the visual effect of having a real fire.
The very best units are really very convincing and do in fact look very much like a real fire. But, they also benefit from modern electrical controls. For instance, most electric fireplaces use thermostats to heat the room to your desired temperature. They can be controlled by timers and remote controls and some of the very best ones controlled by a smartphone app.
So, in summary an electric fireplace is a substitute for a real fire, where circumstances prevent a real fire from being practical. They can be purchased in a number of different styles, modern or contemporary, or traditional. They are capable, typically of heating a good sized room, but as with many more portable space heaters are unlikely to be able to heat the whole house. These heaters are a great, practical alternative to a real fire.
Are They Energy Efficient?
When considering the question of energy efficiency, you must really ask the question, “compared to what?” The reason for this qualification is that there is clearly going to be a difference between the energy efficiency of a traditional fireplace and the energy efficiency of a portable infrared space heater.
For the sake of argument we will assume that we are comparing with more traditional real fuel fires. This will keep the arguments simple and starker.
To address the question of energy efficiency we really need to consider the cost of heating your room. The lower the overall costs, all other factors being equal, the more certain we can state that the heater is energy efficient.
It is a well-known problem of traditional fireplaces that much of the heat generated is lost up the chimney and out of the home. In fact there are many estimates out there that suggest that up to 90% of the heat is lost outside. To put this in perspective, if you were to spend $100 on solid fuel for your fire, then you would in fact only benefit from $10, the remainder would be wasted.
Wood burning stoves or pellet stoves can significantly improve these figures as the burner is encased within a metal case. And this is definitely an option you can consider as an alternative to an open fire. See our article looking in detail at the best pellet stoves available at the moment.
Electricity on the other hand is one of the cleanest and cheapest sources of energy available today. In addition, the heat generated is felt immediately meaning that there is no fuel wasted as the fire gets up to the desired temperature. The cost of running one of these heaters therefore can be very low. They provide heat when you need and want it, and when you don’t the fireplace costs nothing.
Overall, the cost of providing heat from these fireplaces can be as little as 7-10c an hour. It is possible if you have a bountiful supply of wood on hand that the cost of a real fuel fire would be lower, but this will not be true for everyone, and overlooks the other problems of fires such as storage, cleaning and maintenance.
In summary, the heaters use clean, cheap energy, they are extremely efficient at turning the electrical energy into heat and the only cost money when you use them. In our opinion, the from an energy efficiency perspective, the electric fireplace is by far the most energy efficient fireplace option.
The Benefits of an Electric Fireplace
Having a real fire is lovely. But in many homes completely impractical. If you don’t own your home, or you live in a condo in multiple occupancy housing you may not have the opportunity to install a fireplace, not to mention a chimney. Electric fireplaces are a really good alternative. They give you the opportunity to experience the effects of a real fire, ranging from soft gentle heat, to the flickering flames, but without any of the associated complexity of a real fire.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of owning an electric fireplace.
The Look and Feel of a Real Fire
Some electric fireplaces are so convincing in creating the look and feel of a real fire many people would not be able to tell the difference at first glance.
Obviously, cost is an issue here. If you are looking for a small portable fireplace heater in the shape of a stove or small fireplace insert then your options may be adequate but not completely convincing. But at the higher end of the market you can get some fantastic fireplaces that look amazingly like a real fire.
Classic Flame and Dimplex are both suppliers of top of the line models. They make a range of fireplaces in a number of styles ranging from contemporary to traditional and with freestanding, inserts or wall hanging models. If you have the budget for it we recommend you check them out.
Little or No Maintenance
Anyone who has had a real fire knows the effort needed in order to keep it running. First there is sourcing the fuel. Wood has to be sourced, cut up and seasoned before being ready for the fire. Even if you have a good and reliable wood source, it still needs to be stored. Similar problems are experienced with coal, which has the added complexity of being dirty.
In addition to the problem of sourcing and storing the fuel the fireplace needs to be regularly cleaned, the chimney periodically swept and the fire set every time.
Compare this to the use of an electric fireplace. The fuel is electricity which is always available. The heater is simply turned on and the thermostat set at the required temperature. And that really is it. There is little to no maintenance, with it being limited to ensuring the vents are obstruction free.
So even if you live in accommodation that can have a real fire, a fireplace heater is often a clear winner from the value and convenience perspective.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in people’s minds to buying an electric fireplace is the cost and complexity of installation. But installation is surprisingly straightforward, even with the inserts.
Freestanding units require no installation. They just need to be positioned in the room, plugged into the socket and turned on. Many models combine entertainment and media centers and look great.
Wall hung heaters are simple to install with brackets being attached to the wall in a secure location and then the fireplace fitted to the bracket.
Even inserts are not particularly difficult to install, the main complexity is if they are hardwired, which would require the services of a licensed electrician. But this is no more complex than if you need to move an electric outlet.
The point is that installation of these units is not as difficult as many believe.
These fireplace heaters are essentially electric space heater, either fan forced ceramic heaters or quartz infrared heaters. These do not produce fumes of any sort and as a result do not require venting.
Not having to install a vent means that your unit can be installed in a position that is ideal for you and you are not constrained by the positioning of a vent.
Electric Fireplaces are Energy Efficient
Energy efficiency is a particular concern of many householders. There are two factors to consider when thinking about buying one of these heaters.
The first is that electric space heaters are very efficient converters of electric power into heat. This means that you benefit directly from the electricity supplied, and no more. In comparison the fuel efficiency of a real fire is much lower with estimates that up to 90% of heat generated from burning fuel being lost up the chimney.
Second, if you leave a room being heated by an electric fireplace, you can simply turn the fireplace off. If you intend to return then when you do you can simply turn the fire back on.
Compare this to a room in which a real fire is burning. If you are leaving the room and intend to return then it is likely you will have to stoke the fire with more fuel, place a guard around it and hope that it is still alight when you return. When you do return, the room will have been heated the whole time of your absence essentially wasting your fuel.
Important Safety Factors
We examine safety issues below in more detail, but it is worth taking a little time to highlight the difference between the safety aspects of an these heaters and those of a real fire.
Clearly, real fires represent an ongoing hazard when in use. The fire should never be left unattended and unguarded. It should never be over fed with fuel in case anything falls out. The chimney or vent must be kept clear of blockages to prevent the risk of smoke billowing into the room or worse, chimney fires.
Electric fireplaces on the other hand are relatively benign in comparison. Most include auto-shut off features in the event that they overheat. Although they may get warm, modern infrared fireplace heaters are rarely hot to the touch and so are far safer in households where there may be children or pets. Finally, there is no smoke or indeed any fume at all.
All in all, the management of risk in the use of these space heaters is far more straightforward than the risks of having a real fire.
There are two aspects to the cost argument.
First, the cost of installation. If you were to install a fireplace from scratch in a home the costs can run into many thousands of dollars. In comparison, electric fireplaces are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.
Secondly, the cost of fuel for keeping a real fire running can add up quickly. Contrast this with running an electric heater. The electricity costs a few pennies an hour and the costs are only incurred when the heater is in use. Overall, the running costs of a fireplace heater can be significantly lower than those of a real fire.
There are other benefits, such as “all year round” use, and on-demand heating that you get from installing and using these units, but hopefully by now you get the picture.
Types of Electric Fireplace
There are essentially four different types available. We will go through each one in turn.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
An insert is suitable for two situations. The first is that you already have a fireplace and fire surround, but want to replace the existing fire with an electric equivalent. The second is that you have a completely new site for your fire, and want to install a fire without having too much space taken up.
In essence an insert is simple a heater that when installed is inserted into a cavity in either the wall or in the space where an existing fireplace used to reside. The main bulk of the heater sits inside the cavity and is not visible. What is visible is an attractive fire front, with potentially flickering flames and a lovely warm glow.
The Mantel Electric Fireplace
These fireplaces come as complete units. They are intended to replace an existing fireplace and the surround. They incorporate the electric heater and include a fire surround. In effect they look very similar to a real fire, except they are not.
This type of heater is perfect for a completely new installation where the homeowner does not want to go to the trouble and expense of installing a fully fledged fireplace. In essence the mantel fireplace heater may be installed anywhere there is a blank wall and a nearby electric outlet.
Wall Mounted or Hung Fireplaces
An innovation that could really only come about due the convenience of these heaters is the wall mounted option. In essence, these are standalone heaters that are installed by attaching them to brackets that are fixed to a wall.
They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs and really represent the ultimate in positioning flexibility. They can be mounted onto almost any wall and the only limitation is the need for a nearby electrical supply.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this type of fireplace is very popular due to the lack of complexity in installation and the variety of models available.
Electric Fireplace TV or Media Stand
One of the newer innovations is the combination of the fireplace heater with a media center or TV stand. This has the great benefit of combining two units which would otherwise each take up their own space, into a single unit, thus saving significantly on floor space while also providing an attractive room focal point, even when the television is turned off.
For all existing properties which may be struggling with existing furniture footprints this may well be a Godsend. And, since they have hit the space heater market they have been extremely popular.
This sort of fireplace can combine modern contemporary looks for your fireplace with the modern day living room focal point, the TV. Almost certainly a winning combination and may well, for many, be the best option yet.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Space Heater
Electric fireplaces range in size and heating power. They also range from standalone to installed inset fireplaces.
The first consideration you need to make is the size of the room. Knowing the size of the room allows you to evaluate the heater power you will need to comfortably heat it. As a general rule, a 1500 watt heater is capable of heating a 400 sq. ft. room to a comfortable level. This data point should help you determine what sort of power your heater needs to be drawing. Obviously the larger the room, the more powerful heater you will need.
Size and Location
You need to decide where within the room the heater will be best located. This will also help you determine size of the fireplace. Some units are large and will take up a good portion of a wall. You should ensure that the heater does not overly dominate as this will make staging the room with furniture difficult.
Some models are designed to fit into corners, so don’t always assume that you need a blank wall to locate your heater.
The range of products available in this market is considerable. Cost does to a large extent depend upon the exact type of fireplace you are looking for. Some standalone electric fireplaces are inexpensive, costing no more than $100. But at the high end, with very real effect fires combined with a TV center then you can easily pay over $1000. The choice is up to you.
In this article we try to give you a sense of the price point for each of our best selections. Use that information as a start point for further research. You should quickly be able to determine which models fit within your budget and which are too expensive.
Look and Feel
A huge part of the decision to purchase an one of these heaters is to get the convenience of a conventional space heater while at the same time not giving up the look and feel of having a real fire.
Remember, if you are trying to make your home warm and welcoming then being able to turn on a heater and have a wonderful fire going very quickly is great. It should make you feel good and make you want to spend time in that room.
So make sure that when you choose your heater you choose a model that provides the most realistic fire that you can afford.
In our opinion, why go to the trouble and expense of installing an electric fireplace if it doesn’t offer you the convenience of operating the way you want it to. We believe the heater should have the following features as a minimum:
Remote control will make the whole process of using your heater easy. We find that the remote control helps to ensure that you will turn the heater off when it is no longer required.
Light and Flame Settings
Some fireplaces allow you to change the fire effect. This is a reflection of the way a real fire might behave. As a real fire burns down, the glow tends to shift from a bright, flickering yellow glow, to a deep red pulsing glow. Some fireplaces allow you to do set your preferred light effect.
Timer and Programmable Thermostat
It is always useful to put your heater on a timer to ensure that you will not leave it running. For all the energy efficiency of modern space heaters, the cost will add up if you accidentally leave it on when you are not present or do not need it. This also applies to the temperature settings.
This list—in no particular order—presents to you the unique features of the products that are manufactured by the top brands in the electric fireplace heating industry.
Dimplex Fireplace is driven by innovation, design, quality, and support. They have industry leading R&D engineering team, an in-house UL/CSA laboratory, and unique Heat Loss and Visualization Chambers to help them keep innovating products with the demands of time. Dimplex designs its models with the latest trends in furniture designs and home décor.
Since Dimplex equipment are designed across North America, Europe and Asia, they deliver the best quality heaters in the industry with high-quality furniture construction and their patented flame and heating technology. As far as consumer service is concerned, Dimplex provides a trilingual customer support which can help you with everything from design advice to troubleshooting.
The Linear Convector series by Dimplex offer fireplaces that are forty-two percent smaller size than conventional baseboard heaters saving more space for your floor plan flexibility.
The in-house designers of ClassicFlame have studied the great furniture tradition of the past and they also keep studying the furniture trends of today’s market. With this combination, they come out with diversified and comprehensive products. Every model is designed with the finest hardwoods, wood veneers and finishes available. This gives every product a unique character.
ClassicFlame has been honored as “The Finest Furniture in the Electric Fireplace Industry.” This company employs the highest manufacturing standards. The Incoming Control Quality (ICQ) at ClassicFlame ensures that their product conforms to all specifications always within the life of the product. The AQL standards ensure the acceptable quality levels of the product.
Furthermore, the ISTA packaging standards protect the product from structural or environmental damage. Lastly, the CSA certification for US and Canadian Markets and the UL standards of ClassicFlame fireplace heaters provide increased assurance of quality and safety in all of their electrical components.
ChimneyFree is mostly famous for appearing as “Best of Market” in Furniture Today for nine years (2004-2013) and has been receiving the ADEX design awards since 2007. It shall be no mistake to call them “Fashion Leaders” of the industry. ChimneyFree produces its products under extreme care and therefore they are made in limited quantities.
They make wall/corner combo electric mantel packages, TV/media units, small unit mantel packages (Petit Foyer) and many other mantel fireplace options. They operate with or without the heater throughout the year and can easily be plugged into a standard hundred and twenty-volt electrical outlet.
The range provided by ChimneyFree are easy to assemble and install. It is very cost effective as it consumes only $0.02 per hour without heat and $0.08 per hour with heat.
Duraflame has been in the industry for more than fifty years and operates with two manufacturing units; one in California and the other one in Kentucky. Duraflame’s Powerheat’ series of products features models in two categories: Infrared Quartz heaters and Infrared Tower Heaters.
With the infrared heating technology Duraflame, these heaters generate heat quickly and distributes them evenly throughout the room. Infrared technology helps fireplaces in producing what is called a “healthy heat”. Healthy heat is a moist heat that never lets the atmosphere become dry.
Moist heat also prevents the oxygen levels from falling. Duraflame Powerheat is absolutely safe for kids and pets as it always stays cool to touch. Lastly, it helps in saving the electricity bill substantially.
Comfort Smart produces a range of units of high quality at affordable prices. It’s a brand you can totally count on when it comes to electric fireplaces. The durability and longevity of the products have made Comfort Smart a leading name in the industry.
There are no assembling hassles with this brand’s products. Everything is designed and assembled for you. All you have to do id plug it in and switch it on to enjoy the warmth of your room.
All Comfort Smart models are available with cutting-edge heating and flame technology in stylish designs blending the old furniture styles with the modern ones. These fireplaces are ideal for any room such as bedroom, family room, or basements.
Napoleon is an fireplace brand that is famous for its series of designs on linear wall mounted electric fireplaces. On the design side, Napoleon chooses to move with the times and designs some of its fireplaces for an audience that loves contemporary designs. The linear wall mounts have sleek and slim design with a heating power of up to five thousand BTU (British thermal unit) and can consume up to fifteen hundred watts of power.
Napoleon’s models come with a remote control for convenience. Through the use of the remote the consumer can switch the device on/off according to needs; control the temperature to high, medium, and low heat modes; and adjust ember density. Napoleon’s electric fireplaces’ warmth can be easily enjoyed by plugging them into a standard hundred and twenty-volt outlet.
Common Questions about Fireplace Heaters
Can you place a TV over a mantel fireplace?
The short answer to this question is, yes. The risk with placing a TV on a traditional fireplace is that heat from the fire will cause damage to the TV. But with electric fireplaces the main heating method is either infrared or fan forced ceramic heating elements. Most such heaters heat without the casing being overly hot to the touch. This means that placing electronic items, such as a TV, is safe as there is no damage or fire risk.
One word of caution however. You should make sure that the surface is stable and the TV set is not too heavy. Although heat damage is unlikely you would not want the whole thing to become overbalanced or fall.
How large a room will my heater heat?
As a general rule, a modern space heater will comfortably warm a room with a floor area of around 400 sq. ft. This means that most rooms in all but the largest homes will be heated satisfactorily.
The power consumption of such heaters is usually 1500 watts with a heat output of around 5000 BTU’s. Heaters often have a low power setting which will consume less power and they often have a no-heat option which allows you to experience the look of the fire without actually providing any heat.
Are they really safe?
The simple answer to this is that any device generating heat needs to be operated with care.
However, having said that, modern space heaters with overheat and tip-over cut-outs, programmable timers and no longer having exposed heating elements, are generally far safer than they used to be and certainly a great deal safer than running a real fire.
Will the fireplace need any venting, or require a chimney?
No. Electric fireplaces do not burn fuel. Instead they use electrical power to heat an element, normally a quartz infrared element or a ceramic element. Neither of these elements give off fumes when heated.
The flames are not real and will not burn or require replacing. You could even install your heater upside down and it would still probably work just fine.
The only circumstance you may want to install a chimney is if you want your heater to look even more as though it is a real fire, with a real chimney. But this is not necessary.
Will I need to get a permit to install my electric fireplace?
Normally, no. But you should check your local electric installation regulations.
Unless your model is hardwired to the electric output you will not need any permits to install the heater. If it is to be hardwired then we recommend you use a licensed electrical professional to ensure the work is carried out to an adequate standard.
Will my heater be energy efficient to operate?
Yes. Fireplace heaters are a great way to supplement the central heating system in your home. The reason for this is that they add an element of zone heating that would otherwise not be available.
Zone heating is where you heat one part of a house, but leave the rest of the house unheated. Only the more sophisticated and modern heating installations offer zone heating options. For this reason using an electric fireplace can make a lot of sense.
In general, space heaters, especially the infrared kind are extremely energy efficient. They provide instant heat when you want it and no heat when it is turned off. In addition, the convert almost all the energy consumed into heat (the flame effect does use some of the consumed energy) meaning that you rarely end up paying for electricity that is not benefiting you.
In any event, most modern home heaters on high power draw 1500 watts of power every hour. If you check your electrical bill you will see that the cost of electricity per kilowatt hour is only a few cents, meaning that running your heater for a few hours each day does not cost very much at all.
How easy will I be able to move my fireplace if I want to change its location?
If the heater is an inset heater then moving it will require disconnection from the power supply and the creation of a new cavity to which the heater will be placed. But as a general rule, as most electric heaters simply plug into a power outlet, moving them is straight-forward. Because no venting is required they can literally be positioned almost anywhere in a home and still operate successfully (safety first, remember).
How to Install an Electric Fireplace
There are essentially two types of installable fireplace heater. We are ignoring the portable electric fireplace category as these are essentially the same as any other portable space heater.
The model of electric fireplace that most people identify is the electric fireplace insert. Clearly, as the name suggests, the main heater case is inserted into a wall or fireplace cavity leaving just the fireplace front facing outwards. Due to the potential for cutting, wiring and repairing this is the most complex type of electric fireplace installation
The second type of model requiring installation is the hanging electric fireplace. This type of electric fireplace is very similar to a large screen television, although some of these fireplaces are considerably heavier than conventional flat screen televisions.
Installing an Insert Heater
The first thing to note is that this would rank as a moderately difficult do-it-yourself task, and you should consider getting some professional assistance to ensure you get the best result. All inserts come with manufacturers’ installation instructions and you should make sure that you read these through in detail before starting any installation work.
Selecting the Best Location
Please note, insert heaters are heavy. They must be properly supported when installed otherwise they can be a significant safety hazard. To be properly installed they should be fixed to the studs, or supports behind the sheetrock. They should never be installed on a drywall.
You will also need to ensure that there is an electrical outlet close to the installation location. This should be located either below of off to the side of the fireplace insert as you do not want the heat emitted by the heater to directly affect the outlet. To be safe, it is recommended to use non-flammable outlet coverings.
Hardwire and Plugin Fireplace Inserts
Inserts are either plugin which have a standard 120v plug that is simply plugged in to the chosen electric socket. This is clearly the most straightforward electric installation, but will require a trailing wire to be visible. For this reason you can also choose a hardwire electric fireplace insert.
Hardwire inserts look significantly better than their plugin cousins, but of course they will need to be installed by a licensed electrician and this will add to the cost.
Cut the Cavity and Build a Frame
Use a reciprocating saw to cut through into the wall. Locate the supporting studs and build a supporting frame, based on the manufacturers’ size recommendations out of 2x4’s. Secure the frame to the studs.
Once in place you insert the unit into the frame, ensure that it is adequately level and secure with the screws and brackets provided.
Wiring the Heater Up
As previously noted, we recommend for hardwire inserts you employ an licensed electrical professional.
However, in any event you must ensure that the connections you make are sound and properly insulated. You should also test the connection before turning the fireplace on, as you would not want to damage your insert due to errors.
Once you are satisfied that the installation is correct, we recommend you turn on the fireplace and go through the controls to ensure that the unit is fully functional.
Once the heater is secured into the cavity, the wiring is complete and the heater has been tested and is fully functional you should now move to repairing any peripheral damage to the surrounding wall.
Installing a Hung Unit
The installation process for hanging an electric fireplace is far simpler than that involved in installing an insert fireplace.
The key criteria here is to make sure that the brackets are secured properly to studs.
First you must locate the studs behind the drywall or sheetrock. The best way to do this is using a stud finder. This should save you from having to make a number of small holes in the wall as you attempt to locate the studs.
Once you have located the studs you can safely install the brackets that will hold the electric fireplace. Make sure you use the recommended screw length as you want to make sure that the screws are firmly secured into the studs behind and not just in the drywall surface.
Once the brackets are in place the electric fireplace can be attached. The fireplace can then be plugged into the nearest electric outlet and the fireplace heater is ready to go.
Final Points on Installing your Heater
Modern fireplace heaters look great. There is no question about it. They can look contemporary, or traditional, whatever your particular choice is. They are relatively easy to install and once securely in position are able to provide energy efficient, low cost heat for your enjoyment.
Summing It Up
With the advent of realistic flame effects the electric fireplace has become a very popular alternative to a real fire. The reason for this popularity is clear. An electric fireplace can replace an existing fire, can be installed in apartments that have no chimney, require no venting, are very low maintenance, are energy efficient and very cheap to run.
You can choose from a wide variety of designs. You can get ultra-contemporary designs or you can get traditional looking stoves. You can choose the fireplace design that fits best in your home and all for a comparatively low cost.
Fuel for you electric fireplace is always available and the heater once installed requires almost no maintenance. You can operate the fireplace by remote control and can turn it off when not in use.
This brief recap should provide you with an excellent set of reasons why you will not regret choosing a fireplace heater for your home. We recommend you read our reviews found above and choose the best electric fireplace on the market for your home.