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

Table of Contents:

What Is An Electric Fireplace?
Do You Need To Vent An Electric Fireplace?
Is The Flame Real?
Do Electric Fireplaces Produce Heat?
How Much Space Do Electric Fireplaces Heat?
Electrical Requirements
Types Of Electric Fireplace Heaters
1. Fan-forced Coil Heaters
2. Quartz Infrared Heaters
Can You Install an Electric Fireplace Under a TV?
Features Of Electric Fireplaces
What Types Of Electric Fireplaces Are Available?
1. Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces
2. Built-in Electric Fireplaces
3-Sided Electric Fireplaces
3. Electric Fireplace Inserts
Firebox Inserts
Electric Log Inserts
4. Free Standing Electric Fireplaces
5. Electric Fireplaces With Mantels

What Are The Benefits Of An Electric Fireplace?
How To Choose An Electric Fireplace?

Click Here to Download This Guide 

What is an 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)

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 fire 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.

Electric Fireplace Insert in contemporary interior

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 warmer climates. You can enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace year around 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 No Heat Electric Fireplaces

Cozy Sitting by an Electric Fireplace With View

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.

Regardless of the type of the heater, electric fireplaces are great for zone heating and can help you save on your heating bill. For example, with an electric fireplace, your 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.  

Electrical Requirements

Most of 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 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. 

Cozy sitting area by a fireplace

Types Of Electric Fireplace Heaters

There are 2 main types of electric heaters used in electric fireplace manufacturing. The most popular one is the fan-forced coil heater. And a more energy efficient but least popular quartz Infrared heater. There are also ceramic heaters that are some of the newest convection heaters on the market. And heating technologies developed and patented by individual brands that always keep coming up, for example, Comfort$aver™ Heating System by Dimplex.

1. Fan-forced Coil Heaters

Electric fireplaces with fan-forced coil heaters can provide supplemental heat for a 400-500 sq.ft. room. This is the majority of electric fireplaces. Here is how these heaters work - a silent fan blows air over the heated coils and the heated air comes out of a vent that can be located at the top, bottom, or front of the fireplace.

Click here to see our collection of Electric Fireplaces with Forced Fan Coil Heaters

Depending on where you want to install your fireplace, the location of the vent might make a difference because it needs to be at least 3 feet away from the combustible materials, like curtains, carpet, or furniture.

Modern Fireplace in a bar

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 Installed Under a TV

2. Quartz Infrared Heaters 

Electric fireplaces with Quartz Infrared heaters can provide supplemental heat up to a 1,000 square foot room which is double the coverage compared to electric fireplaces with fan-forced coil heaters which are able to heat 400-500 sq.ft. rooms.

Infrared heat is delivered through invisible rays that warm the objects they touch rather than surrounding air. Infrared heat is a warmer, more natural feeling heat than the one produced by a fan-forced heater.

Plus, Infrared heaters are more energy efficient with a cost of operation at just 12¢ to 14¢ per hour. 

Click here to see our collection of Electric Fireplaces With Infrared Heaters

3. Ceramic Heaters

"Ceramic heaters are some of the newest convection heaters on the market. These heaters have ceramic plates and aluminum baffles. When electricity passes through the ceramic, it is heated. The heat is then absorbed by the aluminum and a fan blows the hot air into your room.

Ceramic heaters are easily portable and give off a great deal of heat from a small box. These heaters tend to be more energy efficient and safer than many heaters, so even though they heat up quickly, their plastic casings stay cool."

(Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-guide-to-space-heaters/)

Click here to see our collection of Electric Fireplaces With Ceramic Heaters

Infrared Electric Fireplace in a living room

Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

Electric fireplaces don't actually produce any heat and stay cool to the touch even when the heater is in use. Only the area around the heating vent gets a little warmer. This makes them the safest fireplaces on the market.

An electric fireplace is your perfect solution if you have pets or small children!

Cozy room with fireplace

Features Of Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces have many additional features besides flames and heat. Every year there is something new coming out. Here are the basic ones:

  • 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

  • Sleep timer for heat and flames

  • Multicolor backlights - mostly on wall mounted fireplaces - that create additional ambiance in the room (Click here to see all Electric Fireplaces With Backlight)

  • NIGHT LIGHT™ settings in multiple colors (white, blue, orange and circulating)

  • One of the newest features is Bluetooth Audio Speaker!

Modern Fireplace With Backlight

    What Types Of Electric Fireplaces Are Available?

    There are 5 types of electric fireplaces based on the installation type:

    1. Wall Mounted
    2. Built-in
    3. Inserts
    4. Free Standing
    5. With Mantels

    Modern Linear Fireplace With Blue Flame

    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 in a kitchen above a bar

    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

    Modern Frameless Linear Fireplace by Modern Flames

    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

    Clean modern fireplace with pink flame

    3-Sided Electric Fireplaces

    A special category of built-in fireplaces that was introduced by Amantii in the end of 2016 is 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.

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

    3-sided modern fireplace with blue flame

    3. 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 Fireplace Firebox 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

    Realistic Faux fireplace in a cabin

    4. 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

    TV Stand With Fireplace

    5. 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 Fireplace With Mantel in a Bedroom

    What Are The Benefits Of An 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.

    Modern Fireplace with Pink Flame

    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:

    - Do you need a heat? If yes, then what size of the space do I need to heat? Fan-forced coil fireplaces are best for areas around 400-500 square feet, while infrared quartz fireplaces are best suited for rooms around 1,000 square feet.

    - 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? 

    - 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 2017

    We hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to shoot us an email with any questions: contact@modernblaze.com.

    Click Here to Download This Guide 

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