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Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

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 Is Electric Fireplace?
What Are The Benefits of Electric Fireplace?
How does Electric Fireplace Work?
Do You need to vent an Electric Fireplace?
Is The Flame Real?
Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat?
How Much Space Do Electric Fireplaces Heat?
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
How To Choose An Electric Fireplace?
Who Sells Electric Fireplaces?

What is an electric fireplace?

What Is Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is an electric heater that mimics a fireplace burning coal, wood, or natural gas. Electric fireplaces are often placed in conventional fireplaces, which can then no longer be used for conventional fires. They plug into the wall, and can run on a "flame only" setting, or can be used as a heater, typically consuming 1.4-1.6 kW, that can heat a 400 sq ft (37 m2) room. (Wikipedia)

Correction to this Wikipedia definition: there are some electric fireplaces that can heat up to 1000 sq ft. 

What Are The Benefits Of Electric Fireplace?

1. Low Cost

Electric fireplaces are more affordable to buy and install than any other kind of fireplaces. 

Click here to read the 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 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 just conscious about their health.

5. Zone Heating

Electric fireplaces are great sources of supplemental heat. They are 99% efficient meaning that there is no loss of energy all of it gets converted into heat. Electric fireplaces can be placed in any room to add some warmth just there 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 many years with it's long-lasting LED lights. Once installed, there is nothing else you need to do. Just dust it off occasionally.

How Does Electric Fireplace Work?

Electric fireplace creates a 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. That's why you can enjoy electric fireplaces year-round. 

Do You Need to Vent 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 cost of installation and lack of pollution are the two main reasons electric fireplaces are gaining popularity.

Ventless electric fireplace

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. With modern technology, the flame looks very realistic. Long-lasting LED lights consume little energy and don't need to be replaced with a serving time of 50,000+ hours.

Watch This Video of Realistic Electric Fireplace Flames: 

For those who are looking for a more contemporary look, there are fireplaces that can change the flame color to match your decor, mood, or season. 

Click here to see our collection of Multicolor Flame Electric Fireplaces

Watch This Video of Electric Fireplace With Changing Flame Color:

Multicolor flame fireplaces have a very modern look and definitely become a centerpiece in any contemporary decor. Changing flame color is one of the newest features introduced by the leading manufacturers of electric fireplaces. The color of flames can be changed with a click of a button on the remote control or the fireplace itself. The colors range from 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.

The majority of the electric fireplaces have on-demand heat, meaning that the flames can be operated with or without the heat. 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 are only looking for an ambiance of a fire and don't care about heat, you can save a few bucks by choosing an electric fireplace without a heater.

Click here to see our collection of On-Demand Heat Electric Fireplaces

On-Demand Heat Electric Fireplaces

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 to heat 400 - 500 sq.ft.

Some hardwired models can heat 800 - 1000 sq ft.

Click here to view high heat output electric fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are great for zone heating and can help you save on your heating bill. For example, with an electric fireplace, you can raise the temperature just in your living room or your bedroom without increasing the temperature in the 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 fireplaces. 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 for example.

Electric fireplaces can be safely installed into combustible materials like drywall or cabinetry. 

Safe electric fireplaces

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, new models of electric fireplaces look very realistic and can be mistaken for real-fire fireplaces. 

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

Realistic electric flames

Can You Install an Electric Fireplace Under a TV?

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

Click here to see our collection of Fireplaces to Install Under a TV

Electric Fireplace Under a TV

Can You Install Electric Fireplaces Outside?

Outdoor patios and bathrooms are popular places for fireplaces.

If you are looking to install an electric fireplace outside or in a bathroom, there are 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?

Can You Install Electric Fireplaces Outside?

Electrical Requirements

Most models of electric fireplaces can be simply 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 an electrical outlet that shares one circuit breaker or fuse with several other outlets and lighting fixtures 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. We recommend hiring a licensed electrician if you need new wiring for your plug-in fireplace or installing a hardwired model.

Make sure to always follow manufacturer's instructions provided in the product manual. 

Electrical requirements

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 is something new coming out. Check FEATURES section in our collection filter and product pages to see what else is out there!

Features of electric fireplaces

    What Types Of Electric Fireplaces Are Available?

    There are many ways you can install of electric fireplaces. 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.

    Wall mounted electric fireplaces can be hung directly on a wall, just lie 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.

    Click here to learn How to Install a Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

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

    Click here to see our collection of Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces

    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 a beautiful alternative to linear gas fireplaces.

    Click here to see our collection of Frameless Built-in Electric Fireplace

    Installing a built-in fireplace is a little more complex than wall mounted fireplace. You will need to build a niche where you would insert your fireplace unit. You will need to have some carpentry skills for that 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.

    Click here to read the article How to Install a Recessed Electric Fireplace

    Click here to see our collection of Built-in Electric Fireplaces

    Built-in electric fireplace

    3. Recessed Into 2" x 4" Wall

    These slim fireplaces are perfect 2 x 4 installs. You can recess them into a 2 x 4 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 2 x 4 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 2 x 4  Installation Here

    4. 3-Sided Electric Fireplaces

    There is a special category of built-in fireplaces 3-Sided Electric Fireplaces. These are beautiful 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.

    Click here to see our collection of 3-Sided Built-in Electric Fireplaces

    3-sided modern fireplace with blue flame

    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 it 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.

    Shop here: Napoleon Clearion 2-Sided See-Through Fireplace

    2-Sided or See-Through Electric Fireplaces

    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 which 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.

    Click here to learn How to Install an Electric Fireplace Insert

    Electric Log Inserts

    Electric log inserts look like a grate with logs and they have built in lights that create a flame like effect on the walls of your existing fireplace. Log inserts 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.

    Click here to see our collection of Electric Fireplace Inserts

    2-Sided or See-Through Electric Fireplaces

    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. The are a perfect solution for apartments because they are movable, serve a double function, save space, and provide supplemental heat.

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

    Click here to see all our Free Standing Electric Fireplaces

    Free standing electric fireplaces

    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.

    Click here to see all our Electric Fireplaces with Mantels

    Electric fireplaces with mantels

    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:

    - Where am I going to install the fireplace? Indoors? Outdoors? Bathroom?

    - Do you need heat? If yes, then what size of the space do I want to heat? 

    - What kind of installation will fit my project best? Do I just want something easy and portable or a more permanent solution?

    - 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?

    - How much room do I have? What size would be best for me? 

    - 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.

    Click here for more information on How to Choose the Best Electric Fireplace

    Click here to see The Best Electric Fireplaces of 2020

    Best electric fireplaces this year

    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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    Electric Fireplace Buying Guide





    1 Response

    Evolution Fires
    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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