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Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

Your Ultimate Guide To Electric Fireplaces (2021 Edition)

Electric fireplaces are a great alternative to traditional wood or gas fireplaces. They don't require any maintenance, wood chopping, chimney cleaning or expensive installation.

Electric fireplaces are affordable, clean, safe and easy to install without any special permits. These fireplaces are the future!

Electric Fireplace Buying Guide Contents:

What Are Electric Fireplaces?
How does an electric fireplace work?
What are the benefits of an electric fireplace?
Do you need to vent an electric fireplace?
Is the flame real?
Do electric fireplaces produce heat?
How much space can electric fireplaces warm up?
Are electric fireplaces safe?
Are electric fireplaces tacky?
Can you install an electric fireplace under a TV?
Can you install electric fireplaces outside?
Electrical Requirements
Features of Electric Fireplaces

 
What Types Of Electric Fireplaces Are Available?

1. Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces
2. Built-in Electric Fireplaces
3. Recessed into 2"x 4" Wall
4. 3-Sided Electric Fireplaces
5. 2-Sided or See-Through Electric Fireplaces
6. Electric Fireplace Inserts
- Firebox Inserts
- Electric Log Inserts
7. Free Standing Electric Fireplaces
8. Electric Fireplaces With Mantels
Who Sells Electric Fireplaces?

What Is An Electric Fireplace?

Electric fireplace is an electric heater that mimics a traditional wood or gas burning fireplace.

Electric fireplaces are often placed on a wall or inside conventional fireplaces which are no longer used for conventional fires. They plug into the wall and can run on a "flame only" setting.

They can also be used as heaters, typically consuming 1.4-1.6 kW, that can heat a 400 sq. ft. (37 m2) room. Also, there are more powerful electric fireplaces that can heat up to 1000 sq ft.

How Do Electric Fireplaces Work?

Electric fireplaces create flame imitation by projecting LED lights onto a screen in a randomized pattern.

Some models only have one line of LED lights at the bottom while others have 2 or more LED strips for added flame color options, depth, and realism.

Most electric fireplaces have a built-in heater that works independently from the flame so you can turn the heat off and enjoy the flames of electric fireplaces year-round. 

What Are The Benefits Of An Electric Fireplace?

1. Low Cost

Electric fireplaces are generally more affordable than any other kind of fireplaces. 

Related article: Are Electric Fireplaces Worth the Money?

2. Easy Installation

Electric fireplaces are easy to install. A lot of them are ready to go right out of the box. Just plug them in!

3. No Mess

Electric fireplaces create an ambiance of a fireplace without any of the mess that comes with a traditional wood fireplace.

4. Clean Air

Electric fireplaces don't pollute the air inside your home since there is no actual burning. This is a very big benefit, especially for people with asthma, other breathing problems, or are just conscious about their health.

5. Zone Heating

Electric fireplaces are great sources of supplemental heat. They are 99% efficient, meaning that there's no loss of energy as all of it is converted into heat.

Electric fireplaces can be placed in any room to add warmth thus helping you save on your heating bill.

6. Safe for Children and Pets

Electric fireplaces stay cool to the touch which makes them safe to have around small children and pets.

7. No Maintenance 

Your fireplace will bring you joy for years with it's long-lasting LED lights. Once installed, there is nothing else you need to do. Just dust it off occasionally.

Do You Need To Vent An Electric Fireplace?

No, electric fireplaces don't need any vent, chimney or flue.

Since electric fireplaces don't create any real flames or smoke there is no need for venting. This reduces the cost of installation dramatically.

If you care about the air quality in your home, an electric fireplace should be your choice over any other type of fireplace.

Low installation cost and lack of pollution are the two main reasons electric fireplaces are gaining popularity.

Dimplex Revillusion™ 24" - Built-in Electric Firebox
In photo: Dimplex Revillusion™ 24" - Built-in Electric Firebox

Is The Flame Real?

No, the flame is not real, it is created by LED lights, but it looks incredibly realistic.

The flame in electric fireplaces is created by LED lights and a mirror element that rolls and reflects the light. Long-lasting LED lights consume little energy and don't need to be replaced too often with a serving time of 50,000+ hours.

Watch This Video of Realistic Electric Fireplace Flames: 

If you're looking for a more contemporary look, there are fireplaces that can change the flame color to match your décor, mood, or season! You can see our collection of fireplaces with changing flame color here: Electric Fireplaces With Multicolor Flame

Watch This Video of an Electric Fireplace With Changing Flame Color:

Multicolor flame fireplaces have a very modern look and can be the centerpiece in any contemporary décor.

Changing flame color is one of the newest features introduced by the leading manufacturers of electric fireplaces. The flame colors can be changed with a remote control or through the fireplace itself. Colors range from the traditional orange to a modern blue, purple or pink.

Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat?

The short answer is yes, electric fireplaces produce heat.

However, there are variations. A majority of the electric fireplaces have on-demand heat, meaning that the flames can be operated with or without the heat. See collection: On-Demand Heat Electric Fireplaces

The option of having flames without the heat makes electric fireplaces a perfect alternative to traditional fireplaces during warmer seasons or in warm climates. You can enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace year-round without feeling uncomfortably warm.

Most of the electric fireplaces with on-demand heat have several heat settings, such as high, medium, or low. Some electric fireplaces have built-in thermostats that will maintain a set temperature in the room. 

There are a few electric fireplaces that don't have heaters at all. If you only want ambiance don't really care about heat, you can save a few bucks by choosing an electric fireplace without a heater.

Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace
In photo: Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace

How Much Space Do Electric Fireplaces Heat?

Depending on the type of the heater, electric fireplaces can heat from 400 sq. ft. to 1000 sq. ft. Most electric fireplaces are capable of heating 400 - 500 sq. ft. Some hardwired models can heat 800 - 1000 sq. ft. We also have a collection of high heat output electric fireplaces.

Electric fireplaces are great for zone heating. For example, with an electric fireplace you can raise the temperature just in your living room or your bedroom without increasing the temperature of your entire house.

Strategically placed, an electric fireplace will keep you warm and cozy while keeping your heating bill low.  

Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

Electric fireplaces are safer than any other type of fireplace because there is no actual fire. This means no burns and no dangerous emissions. 

Electric fireplaces stay cool to the touch even when the heat is on. 

You can safely install these fireplaces under TV and electronics with smaller clearances than gas or ethanol fireplaces. They can also be installed into combustible materials like drywall or cabinetry. 

Child and Pet Safe Fireplaces
In photo: Modern Flames "Landscape Pro Multi" 3-Sided Smart Electric Fireplace

Are Electric Fireplaces Tacky?

Electric fireplaces have come a long way. When they first came out they did look a little tacky and some models still do!

However, newer models look very realistic and can be mistaken for real-fire fireplaces. 

The Modern Flames Landscape Pro Multi Fireplace and the Dimplex Revillusion Fireboxes have some of the best-looking realistic flames.

Modern Flames "Landscape Pro Multi" 3-Sided Smart Electric Fireplace
In photo: Modern Flames "Landscape Pro Multi" 3-Sided Smart Electric Fireplace

Can You Install an Electric Fireplace Under a TV?

Generally, all electric fireplaces are safe to install under a TV if there's at least 12 inches between the top of the fireplace and the bottom of the TV. 

However, it is best to select a fireplace with a bottom or front heat if you are planning on installing it under a TV or electronics. 

To simplify your search, we created a collection of fireplaces that are safe to install under a TV

Fireplaces To Install Under TV
In photo: Dimplex IgniteXL 74" Built-in Hardwired Electric Fireplace

Can You Install Electric Fireplaces Outside?

Outdoor patios and bathrooms are popular places for fireplaces.

If you're looking to install an electric fireplace outside or in a bathroom, we have several outdoor-rated models to choose from: Outdoor Rated Electric Fireplaces

Note: Not all electric fireplaces can be installed outside.  

Read more: Can You Use an Electric Fireplace Outside?

Outdoor Electric Fireplaces
In photo: Amantii Panorama SLIM 50″ Built-in Indoor /Outdoor Electric Fireplace

Electrical Requirements

Most models of electric fireplaces can simply be plugged into a standard household outlet. However, you need to make sure that this outlet is on a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse.

A dedicated circuit breaker means that this breaker is not shared with any other outlets or lighting fixtures and serves only one outlet. 

Plugging an electric fireplace into a shared electrical outlet with one circuit breaker or fuse could overload the circuit, trip the circuit breaker and create a safety hazard.

Never plug in your electric fireplace to an extension cord!

If your electric fireplace is a built-in model that needs to be hardwired, a new circuit breaker and wiring is required. Make sure to always follow the manufacturer's instructions provided in the product manual. 

We recommend hiring a licensed electrician if you need new wiring for your plug-in fireplace or installing a hardwired model. 

Features Of Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces have many additional features besides flames and heat. 

Basic features:

  • On-demand controllable heat
  • Remote control for easy flame operation and heat control 
  • Touch screen panel on the fireplace for all the control functions that lights up when touched and disappears after a few seconds
  • Multicolor flame

    Popular additional features:

      New awesome features:

        Every year there's something new coming out. Check the FEATURES section in our collection filters and product pages to see what else is out there!

          What Types Of Electric Fireplaces Are Available?

          There are many ways of installing electric fireplaces. You can choose the installation that fits your space:

          1. Wall Mounted
          2. Built-in
          3. Recessed Into 2" x 4" Wall
          4. 3-Sided
          5. 2-Sided
          6. Inserts
          7. Free Standing (including TV Cabinets)
          8. With Mantels

          1. Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplaces

          Wall-mounted electric fireplaces are great for apartments because they don't require any permanent installation and you can take them with you when you move.

          These can be hung directly on a wall just like a picture or a flat-screen TV. Mounting brackets and all the hardware comes with the fireplace. All you need is a level, a screwdriver, and a second pair of hands if the fireplace is on the bigger side. 

          The installation can be done yourself, no special skills needed - simply follow instructions in the manual, hang your fireplace, plug it into a standard outlet and you are done!

          Read more: How to Install a Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

          Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces
          In photo: Napoleon Entice™ Built-in / Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

          2. Built-in Electric Fireplaces

          Built-in electric fireplaces have a more finished look because they don't stick out of the wall. There are lots of frameless linear options - this is a very popular look. Frameless linear electric fireplaces are beautiful alternatives to linear gas fireplaces. You can check our collection of Frameless Built-in Electric Fireplaces through this link.

          Installing a built-in fireplace is a little more complex than installing wall mounted fireplaces. You will need to build a niche where you would insert your fireplace unit. You'll also need to have some carpentry skills if you want to do it yourself.

          We always recommend hiring a professional to help you install a built-in fireplace, especially if you are going to hardwire it in.

          Related articles: How to Install a Recessed Electric Fireplace

          Built-In Electric Fireplaces
          In photo: Dimplex Revillusion™ 42" - Built-in Electric Firebox

          3. Recessed Into 2" x 4" Wall

          These slim fireplaces are perfect 2x4 installs. You can recess them into a 2x4 wall without building it out and taking up extra space in your room. 

          Most models are below 4" in depth which allows them to fit in the 2x4 wall just right.

          Other models are a little bit deeper but they are installed in a way that allows the fireplace to stick out of the wall just enough to compensate for the depth and still look great. View All Electric Fireplaces for 2x4 Installation here

          4. 3-Sided Electric Fireplaces

          There is a special category of built-in 3-Sided Electric Fireplaces. These are modern electric fireplaces with multicolor flames and the ability to view the flames from all three sides. 

          Different installation options allow you to make them two-sided by choosing only one of the sides to be exposed. Or you can completely recess them into the wall and still enjoy deeper more realistic flames compared to other electric fireplaces.

          3-Sided Electric Fireplaces
          In photo: Amantii TRU-VIEW 40" Indoor /Outdoor 3-Sided Electric Fireplace

          5. 2-Sided or See-Through Electric Fireplaces

          Currently, there is only one truly see-through electric fireplace on the market. It is made by Napoleon Fireplaces. You can install this fireplace into a dividing wall and enjoy the view in both rooms. 

          This 2-sided fireplace has the ability to control the temperature in each room and warm up to 800 sq. ft. One of the cool features of this fireplace is a privacy screen that you can put up on demand.

          2-Sided or See-Through Electric Fireplaces
          In photo: Napoleon CLEARion Elite See-Through Electric Fireplace

          6. Electric Fireplace Inserts

          Electric fireplace inserts are used to convert your existing wood or gas fireplace into an electric fireplace. A lot of homeowners have old masonry fireplaces they haven't used for years because of all the mess involved.

          There are two types of electric inserts:

          • Firebox Inserts 
          • Electric Logs Inserts

          Firebox Inserts

          Firebox inserts look just like a built-in fireplace. All you need to do is to find the right size, insert the firebox inside your existing fireplace, plug it in and enjoy.

          We have this helpful article on How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert you can use as your guide.

          Electric Log Inserts

          Electric log inserts look like a grate with logs and have built in lights that create a flame like effect on the walls of your existing fireplace. Log inserts also have a built in heater, and come with an included remote allowing you to control the flame height, intensity, heat and even the ember bed lighting.

          7. Free Standing Electric Fireplaces

          Free standing electric fireplaces are available as media cabinets or stand-alone units. 

          Media cabinets are basically TV stands with built-in electric fireplaces. They're the perfect solution for apartments because they are movable, serve a double function, save space, and provide supplemental heat.

          Stand-alone units all have the same features as wall mounted electric fireplaces, only instead of hanging them on the wall, you place them on an included pedestal. 

          Free Standing Electric Fireplaces
          In photo: Dimplex Ramona Media Console with Electric Fireplace for 55" TV

          8. Electric Fireplaces With Mantels

          Electric fireplaces with mantels are extremely easy to set up! No remodeling required. Simply put the mantel together, insert the fireplaces, and plug it into a standard outlet. 

          Mantels come in several different colors and some of them even serve as media cabinets with built-in storage and wire management systems.

           Electric Fireplaces With Mantels
          In photo: Napoleon The Braxton TV Stand with Electric Fireplace for 54" TV

          How To Choose An Electric Fireplace? 

          Electric fireplaces make a great addition to the living room, dining room, bedroom, den, and office as a supplemental heat source.

          When choosing your electric fireplace, ask yourself:

          1. Where am I going to install the fireplace? Indoors? Outdoors? Bathroom?
          2. Do you need heat? If yes, then how much space do I want to heat? 
          3. What kind of installation will fit my project best? Do I just want something easy and portable or a more permanent solution?
          4. What style am I looking for? Do I want a frame or a frameless design? Do I want a regular flame or a multicolor flame? Do I want logs or glass crystals or both?
          5. How much room do I have? What size would be best for me? 
          6. And last but not least - What is my budget?

          Thinking about these questions will help you get on the right track to finding your perfect electric fireplace. And if you need more help, you can always visit this article: How to Choose the Best Electric Fireplace

          Who Sells Electric Fireplaces?

          The best place to shop for an electric fireplace is online. While you might be able to find a few models of electric fireplaces at your local fireplace store - the selection is usually very limited.

          If you want to find a perfect fireplace to match your style and needs, we can help you with that. Just give us a call or shoot us an email support@modernblaze.com.

           

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          Comments

          Evolution Fires - July 21, 2020

          Thank you for sharing this informative blog on electric fireplaces. People who are looking to buy electric fireplaces will find it useful. I’ll look forward to more such useful blogs.

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