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Ethanol Fireplaces Shopping Guide

What is an Ethanol Fireplace? The Complete Guide To Bio Fireplaces

Are you intrigued by the sleek and modern look of ethanol fireplaces? Perfect! You're about to dive into the ultimate shopping guide for ethanol fireplaces, where we’ll explore this stylish interior design solution that’s gaining popularity in contemporary homes. Ethanol fireplaces are celebrated for their clean eco-friendly burn and versatile installation options, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to enhance their decor with a functional art piece.

EcoSmart Ethanol burner in a stylish urban residence

In this photo: stylish design fireplace built with EcoSmart Ethanol Burner

In this guide, we will uncover exactly what an ethanol fireplace is, how it operates, and the types of fuel it utilizes. You’ll discover the variety of models available, including freestanding, wall-mounted, and tabletop fireplaces. Plus, we’ll answer some common questions to clear up any uncertainties you might have.

So, if you're considering a chic and efficient way to warm up your space, stick around as we guide you through choosing the perfect ethanol fireplace for your home or office. Ready to transform your space with a touch of elegance? Let's get started!

What is an Ethanol Fireplace?

A bio fireplace (also known as bio-ethanol fireplace, ethanol fireplace) is a type of fireplace or furnace with combined zones for generation of heat and technological process – combustion of fuel (denatured alcohol). This fireplace does not require a chimney and gives off a real flame, not imitation. Installation is possible at any place in the room. (Wikipedia)

In simple terms, an ethanol fireplace is a sleek, modern alternative to traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces. It runs on bioethanol fuel, which is a type of alcohol made from agricultural byproducts like corn, sugarcane, or beetroot. This makes it an eco-friendly choice since bioethanol burns very cleanly and releases minimal emissions—just water vapor and a small amount of CO2, similar to human breath.

EcoSmart Fire Flex Single Sided Ethanol Firebox

In photo: EcoSmart Fire Flex Single Sided Ethanol Firebox

What’s really cool about ethanol fireplaces is their versatility. They don’t require a chimney or a flue because they don’t produce smoke or soot, which means you can install them almost anywhere in your home—on a wall, as a freestanding unit, or even incorporated into furniture. They are often favored for their minimalist design and the real, dancing flame they produce, which offers a warm ambiance without the hassles of traditional fireplaces. Whether you're aiming for a touch of warmth or a stylish focal point, an ethanol fireplace can be a perfect addition to any space.

How Do Ethanol Fireplaces Work?

Ethanol fireplaces work in a beautifully simple way, making them both stylish and easy to use. Here’s how they operate:

Fueling Up: Ethanol fireplaces run on bioethanol fuel, a liquid fuel made from biological sources like plants. This clean-burning fuel is poured into a burner within the fireplace.

EcoSmart has the safest and easiest fueling for their ethanol burners. Here is the video demonstrating how to fuel up an EcoSmart XL Series burner:

Lighting: To start the fire, you simply light the bioethanol fuel using a long lighter or match. The fuel burns cleanly, producing a lively, real flame that provides warmth and ambiance.

Lighting up is simple. Watch this video demonstration (note: it takes a minute or two for the flames to warm up and become more full, they start out more translucent):

Control: Most ethanol fireplaces allow you to control the flame size and heat output. Some models come with a sliding mechanism or a cover that lets you adjust the opening of the burner. This controls the amount of heat and size of the flame.

Ventless Operation: Because ethanol burns so cleanly, producing only water vapor and a small amount of CO2, ethanol fireplaces don’t require venting. There’s no need for a chimney or flue, which means you can install them virtually anywhere in your home.

Extinguishing: When you’re done, extinguishing the flame is just as simple as lighting it. Most units have a tool or built-in mechanism to safely snuff out the flame by cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire.

Ethanol fireplaces are perfect for anyone seeking the ambiance of a real fire without the smoke, soot, or ash of traditional fireplaces. They’re ideal for creating a cozy atmosphere indoors or adding a warm glow to outdoor spaces. 

Different Types of Ethanol Fireplaces

Ethanol fireplaces come in a variety of types to suit different spaces, styles, and functional needs. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types you might encounter:

1. Freestanding Ethanol Fireplaces

These are highly versatile and can be placed anywhere in a room. Freestanding models come in various shapes and sizes, from tall models that resemble traditional wood stoves to lower, more modern designs that can double as furniture pieces.

Free Standing Ethanol Fireplace by Eco-FeuIn photo: Free Standing Ethanol Fireplace by Eco-Feu

2. Wall-Mounted Ethanol Fireplaces

As the name suggests, these fireplaces are mounted directly onto the wall, saving floor space and adding a modern touch to any room. They are particularly popular in compact spaces or as a stylish centerpiece in living areas. Click here to see our collection of Wall Mounted Ethanol Fireplaces.

Anywhere Fireplace Wall Mounted Ethanol Fireplace

In photo: Anywhere Fireplace Chelsea Wall Mounted Ethanol Fireplace

3. Tabletop Ethanol Fireplaces

Small and portable, these fireplaces are perfect for outdoor tables, small indoor rooms, or as decorative centerpieces. They provide a real flame without the hassle of large installations. Click here to see our collection of Table Top Ethanol Fireplaces.

Anywhere Fireplace Table Top Ethanol Fireplace

In photo: Anywhere Fireplace Lexington Table Top Ethanol Fireplace

4. Built-In Ethanol Fireplaces

These are integrated directly into the architecture of a room, often designed as part of new construction or major renovations. They can mimic the look of traditional fireplaces and are built into walls or custom cabinetry. Built-in ethanol fireplaces can be designed using ethanol burners. Click here to see our collection of Ethanol Fireplace Burners. Another way to create built-in ethanol fireplaces is with ethanol fireboxes that are already lined with fireproof material and are easier to install. Click here to see our Ethanol Fireboxes.

EcoSmart Ethanol Burner Built Into a Kitchen Island

In photo: EcoSmart Ethanol Burner built into a kitchen island

5. Ethanol Fireplace Inserts

These are designed to be inserted into existing traditional fireplace spaces or pre-built enclosures. They are an excellent choice for converting old, unused wood or gas fireplaces into clean, efficient ethanol burning units. Click here to see all available Ethanol Fireplace Insert Options.

EcoSmart Ethanol Fireplace Insert for Existing Fireplace

In photo: EcoSmart Ethanol Fireplace Insert for Existing Fireplace

6. Outdoor Ethanol Fireplaces

Specially designed to withstand the elements, these fireplaces can enhance any outdoor living space by adding warmth and ambiance. They range from freestanding units to fire tables, fire bowls, and built-in models that can be incorporated into outdoor structures. Click here to see all Ethanol Fire Tables. To shop all Outdoor Ethanol fireplaces Click Here.

EcoSmart Outdoor Ethanol Fire Table

In photo: EcoSmart Fire Outdoor Ethanol FireTable

Each type offers unique benefits and can be chosen based on the specific requirements of your space and design preferences, ensuring that there’s an ethanol fireplace to meet every need.

Benefits of Ethanol Fireplaces

Ethanol fireplaces offer several compelling benefits that make them a popular choice for both homeowners and designers looking to add warmth and style to indoor and outdoor spaces. Here are some key advantages:

    1. Eco-Friendly

    Ethanol fireplaces use bioethanol, a renewable fuel derived from agricultural byproducts such as corn and sugarcane. This fuel burns very cleanly, releasing only water vapor and a small amount of carbon dioxide—similar to human exhalation. This makes ethanol fireplaces a great choice for those seeking an environmentally responsible heating solution.

    Eco-friendly ethanol fireplace in room divider

    In photo: EcoSmart ethanol burner

    2. No Chimney or Vent Required

    One of the standout features of ethanol fireplaces is that they do not require a chimney or venting system. This is because the fuel burns clean, producing no smoke, soot, or harmful fumes. The absence of a chimney or vent makes installation much simpler and more flexible, allowing them to be placed in locations where traditional fireplaces cannot go.

    Free Standing Ethanol Fireplace
    In photo: EcoSmart Fire Igloo 38-Inch Free Standing Ethanol Fireplace

    3. Easy Installation

    Without the need for a chimney or gas line, ethanol fireplaces are exceptionally easy to install. Many models are portable and can be simply placed in a desired location or hung on a wall. This ease of installation can be a significant cost-saving benefit as well, eliminating the need for expensive construction or remodeling.

    Ethanol fireplaces are easy to set up. Nearly all table-top ethanol fireplaces come assembled, just slide the ethanol burner insert and attach the safety glasses. Free-standing ethanol fireplaces need a simple 5 part assembly which does not take longer than 10 minutes and a screwdriver.

    Wall-mounted ethanol fireplaces require mounting on a wall, just like hanging a picture or a flat screen TV and all the hardware is included in the box.

    This short video will show you how to install a wall mounted ethanol fireplace:

    If you choose to go with built-in option, there is a little bit more work when it comes to installation. However, the whole process is much easier and more cost effective than installing any other type of fireplace. 

    Here a video showing a simple installation process of EcoSmart Ethanol Firebox:

    3. Customizable

    One of the standout benefits of choosing an ethanol fireplace is its customizability. Whether you're installing a simple model or embarking on a more ambitious custom project, ethanol fireplaces offer flexibility to fit any design vision. At the heart of these fireplaces is the ethanol burner which you can purchase separately. It is the essential component that holds the fuel and controls the flame. This allows for easy integration into custom builds like design fireplaces, unique fire pits, or elegant fire tables.

    Custom fireplace built with ecosmart burner

    In photo: custom fireplace built with EcoSmart Ethanol Burner

    For those looking to make a more substantial statement, the ethanol firebox is an excellent upgrade. Featuring an insulated stainless steel enclosure and the core ethanol burner, a firebox is ideal for creating impressive one or two-sided fireplaces as well as fireplaces with one open corner. With options for both manual and electronic controls, you can adjust your fireplace's settings with ease, ensuring comfort and ambiance exactly as you need it.

    Custom fireplace built with ethanol firebox

    In photo: Custom fireplace built with EcoSmart Ethanol Firebox

    The ability to customize your ethanol fireplace not only enhances your space aesthetically but also ensures that it perfectly meets your heating requirements and personal taste. Whether opting for basic manual operations or advanced remote controls, ethanol fireplaces adapt beautifully to your living environment, providing both warmth and a captivating focal point.

     4. Real Flame Ambiance

    Despite their modern fuel source, ethanol fireplaces produce a real flame, offering the genuine ambiance of a traditional fireplace. This flame can be easily adjusted to increase or decrease the heat output and visual impact, providing both warmth and a captivating focal point in any setting.

    Here is the video demonstrating the flames of an ethanol fireplace. Showcasing EcoSmart Ghost Freestanding Ethanol Fireplace:

    5. Can Be Installed Anywhere

    Ethanol fireplaces can be used in any room and some models can even be installed outdoors.

    Some of the most popular installations include living rooms and dining rooms. Many people install these fireplaces in their bedrooms and bathrooms or even their personal spa rooms.

    EcoSmart Fire XL Series Stainless Steel Ethanol Fireplace Burner
    In photo: EcoSmart Fire XL Series Stainless Steel Ethanol Fireplace Burner

    Ethanol fireplaces are also popular in bars, restaurants, and hotels. They can enhance the ambiance and attract customers because their inviting look.

    As is protocol when buying any furniture, you'll need to make sure your room is big enough for the fireplace you're looking to get. You can find more information about the appropriate room and fireplace size in this article: What is the Largest Ethanol Fireplace for your Room?

    5. Safe to Use Indoors

    Since ethanol fireplaces emit no hazardous fumes, they are safe to use indoors. They are a great option for adding a cozy fireplace to apartments, homes, and even commercial spaces without worrying about indoor air quality.

    Wall mounted ethanol fireplace by The Bio Flame

    In photo: wall mounted ethanol fireplace by The Bio Flame

    6. Minimal Maintenance

    Unlike wood-burning fireplaces that require regular cleaning of ash and soot, ethanol fireplaces need minimal upkeep. There are no logs or ash to deal with, and the fireplace itself can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth to remove any residue.

    7. Easy to Move

    Both table-top fireplaces and free-standing fireplaces are easy to move from one room to another or from inside to the outside areas. Many free standing fireplaces come with wheels making it easier to move them around.

    IMPORTANT: When moving an ethanol fireplace you need to make sure it is not lit and cooled for at least 15 minutes.

    8. Doubles up as a coffee table

    EcoSmart Fire Manhattan 50 Compact Rectangular Fire Pit Table
    In photo: EcoSmart Fire Manhattan Compact Rectangular Fire Pit Table

    If you're looking for a unique coffee table for your living room or outdoor patio, there are some sleek modern fire tables powered by ethanol. These tables can be used indoors and outdoors. Or you can build your own fireplace table using an ethanol burner. 

    Are Ethanol Fireplaces Safe?

    Ethanol fireplaces are safe for your health and they're much better for air quality than wood or gas fireplaces. Here's why:

    The result of ethanol fuel combustion produces water, steam, and carbon dioxide. The quantity of carbon dioxide or CO2 emitted by burning ethanol fuel for 3 hours is almost equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by burning 2 average-sized candles!

    how ethanol fireplaces work

    What is Ethanol (Bio-ethanol) Fuel?

    A biofuel (also ethanol or bioethanol fuel) is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes (agriculture and anaerobic digestion) rather than geological processes, such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels (coal and petroleum) from prehistoric biological matter.

    Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes (Wikipedia). Bio-ethanol fuel is 100% alcohol which is why it cannot be sold untainted to prevent human consumption.

    That's why ethanol manufacturers denature ethanol with a variation of odorless unpleasantly tasting flavors to transform a pure alcohol substance into bio-ethanol fireplace fuel. The bio-ethanol fireplace fuel is also known as denatured ethanol.

    Bio-Ethanol Production

    Bio-ethanol fireplace fuel is available online and at some hardware stores. Our selection of bio-ethanol fuel is carefully tested prior to offering it to the public to ensure the best quality and value to each and every customer. However, if you choose to purchase fuel locally, you may do so but make sure that you buy the fuel made specifically for fireplaces.


    How to Use An Ethanol Fireplace

    Watch the video below for a quick demonstration of how to use a typical ethanol fireplace. 

    1. Buy the right type of fuel: We always recommend buying single liter bottles of bioethanol, as well as using a funnel to avoid any spilling of the fuel.

    Make sure that the fuel you purchase is intended for indoor use with ethanol fireplaces. Always buy high-quality ethanol fuel. Cheaper brands can make your entire room smell like alcohol. We recommend E-NRG brand. Click here to view our selection of Ethanol Fireplace fuel.

    2. Pour fuel into the burner: Once you have the correct fuel, simply pour it into the burner as recommended in the user manual.

    We recommend filling the burners until the fuel is visible (1/2" from the top of the burner). Pouring too much fuel into the burner can make it difficult to extinguish the fire as well as cause the fuel to overflow if the fireplace is bumped into while lit.

    3. Light up the fire: Use a long lighter or a long match to light up the fuel inside the burner. 

    4. Adjust or extinguish the fire: Ethanol fireplaces usually come with a lid and a regulator rod, which makes it possible not only to decrease the flame size but also to extinguish the fire easily by pushing the lid over the opening.

    How long does it burn?

    In general, 1 liter of bioethanol fuel would last at least 4 hours on the maximum setting and up to 8 hours on minimum setting.

    Shutting the fireplace off early will preserve the rest of the fuel until you wish to light the fireplace again. The fuel itself will only evaporate if you forget to close the lid.

    Should you wish to refuel an ethanol fireplace shortly after having it lit, we recommend closing the lid and waiting 15 minutes before refueling. By waiting 15 minutes, the fireplace is allowed to cool off before reigniting it.

    IMPORTANT: Refueling a hot fireplace is a safety hazard and can cause accidents like a burst of flame when lighting the fire.

    How much does it cost to run an ethanol fireplace?

    One liter/quart of bio-ethanol will burn for around 4 hours. The cost of 1 liter of bio-ethanol varies depending on place and quantity of purchase. On average, they cost US $10 per liter (price subject to change).

    1 liter = 4 hours (minimum) = $10

    Therefore, 1 hour will cost you about $2.5

    To put it into perspective, in order to operate a 40,000 BTU/hour gas fireplace it would cost you roughly around $0.50/hour to operate for natural gas and about $1.61/hour for propane. 

    What is an ethanol fireplace? A complete guide to ethanol fireplaces.

    In photo: Anywhere Fireplace Chelsea Wall Mounted Ethanol Fireplace

    Wood (depending on the type and degree of dryness) will usually burn at a rate of 5 pounds per hour. This is about half of a typical bundle that costs about $5 apiece (not including delivery costs). So, a wood-burning fireplace will cost you about $2.50/hour.

    As we see, the difference in the cost of operation is not that big among fireplaces, however, when we look at the purchase price of a fireplace and the cost of installation, ethanol fireplaces win the battle. 

    Difference between ethanol and gel fireplaces

    Ethanol and gel fireplaces are often grouped under one category because their fuels' main component is alcohol. These two offer a lot of the same benefits however, they have some distinct characteristics that might make one a more appealing option for your home.

    Although this article's main focus is on ethanol fireplaces, we've provided a comparison table below to give you a general idea about the differences between the two.

    Ethanol vs Gel Fireplaces

    Ethanol Alcohol Gel
    • Playful, scattered bright orange flames
    • Pourable liquid used to continuously refill burner pan
    • 4,000-8,500 BTUs/Hr.
    • Biodegradable - made from produced by the fermentation of sugars originating from plant forestry products
    • 1 quart of fuel burns for up to 5 hours - may vary depending on the size of the fuel tray
    • Takes 10-15 minutes to warm up until flame reaches its full potential
    • Gathered, thicker flames
    • Ready-to-use canisters set directly inside of the fireplace and disposed of when empty
    • 2,500-3,000 BTUs/Hr.
    • Made with a mixture of pure isopropyl alcohol, water, salt (creates a crackling sound effect) and thickeners
    • Each 30 Oz. can last up to 2.5-3 hours
    • Crackles while it burns to simulate the sound of a real wood-burning fire
    • After just 30 seconds from lighting, flame is at full potential



    In conclusion, ethanol fireplaces present a stylish, eco-friendly, and versatile option for modern living. Whether you're interested in a straightforward, ready-to-use model or a more personalized, custom installation, ethanol fireplaces cater to a diverse range of aesthetic and functional needs. With their clean-burning technology, ease of installation, and ability to enhance any space without the need for a chimney or vent, they offer a compelling alternative to traditional fireplaces. Moreover, the option to customize elements, from simple burners to elaborate fireboxes, means you can tailor your fireplace to perfectly suit your home's decor and your personal style. Embrace the beauty and practicality of ethanol fireplaces and transform your living environment into a warm, inviting, and environmentally responsible space.

    Next Steps

    We hope you are as excited about ethanol fireplaces as we are. If you are ready to start browsing wha't's out there, take a look at our collection of Modern Ethanol Fireplaces.

    Still have questions? We are here to help. Just give us a call at 866-713-2399 or shoot us an email at

    Want to save on your fireplace purchase? Click here to get on our email list!

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    Anonymous - November 12, 2020

    Hi Kyle!

    Thanks for the question. I’m not familiar with the site you are referring to but it looks that they sell ethanol fireplaces in the UK.

    All ethanol fireplaces run on the same ethanol fuel and it is currently a little more expensive than other fuel types as you noted above. If you are looking for a more economical solution that you don’t have to refill all the time, check out water vapor fireplaces or electric fireplaces. You can learn more about these fireplaces here:

    Electric Fireplaces –
    Water Vapor Fireplaces –

    Kyle T. - October 2, 2020

    Hello! Thank you for this article. So far I did not know the differences between the types of fireplaces. I love the idea of an ethanol fireplace. However, 2.5$ seems expensive for only 1 hour. I love to keep the fireplace going the entire evening, especially when we have visitors. 10$ per day seems to much for us. Therefore, we are looking for cheaper alternatives. Are the fireplaces from worth it?

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