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Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

Ultimate Guide To Electric Fireplaces in 2024

Dive into the cozy and convenient world of electric fireplaces with our easy-to-understand electric fireplace buying guide! Electric fireplaces are the perfect mix of practicality and pizzazz, offering warmth and a stunning flame effect without the fuss of traditional fireplaces. They're a fantastic way to add a cozy vibe and a stylish touch to any room.

Whether you're sprucing up a snug corner or elevating your living area's ambiance, our Electric Fireplace Buying Guide is here to light the way. Get ready to explore how electric fireplaces can turn your space into a warm and welcoming retreat with the flip of a switch!

Here are examples of different types of electric fireplaces we are going to discuss further in the article:

Types of electric fireplaces

We are going talk about many aspects of electric fireplaces. Feel free to skip ahead and get to the part you are interested in.

What Is An Electric Fireplace?

Electric fireplace is essentially an electric heater that mimics a traditional wood or gas burning fireplace. The flames of most electric fireplaces operate independently from the heating element allowing you to use the flames without heat and enjoy the cozy fireplace ambiance even in the summer.

Electric fireplace flames

Fireplace featured: Modern Flames Orion Multi Built-In/Wall Mounted Smart Electric Fireplace with Real Flame Effect

Electric fireplaces can be placed on a wall, inside conventional fireplaces which are no longer used for conventional fires, set on a floor in a form of a free standing stove or a TV stand. Electric fireplaces can be plug into a standard wall outlet or hardwired in for more permanent installation and in come cases to produce more heat.

Electric fireplaces are safer and more eco-friendly than other types of fireplacesThey are energy efficient converting almost all the energy they consume into the heat you can use. Electric fireplaces can also help you save money on your heating bill when utilized for zone heating specific areas rather being used rather than the whole house. Electric fireplaces typically consume 1.4-1.6 kW, that can heat a 400 sq. ft. (37 m2) room. There are also more powerful electric fireplaces that can heat up to 1000 sq ft.

How Do Electric Fireplaces Work?

Electric fireplaces create flame imitation by either projecting LED lights onto a screen in a randomized pattern or displaying pre-recorded flames on an LCD screen.

All electric fireplaces have so called "media" which is usually placed in front of the flame display. It can be decorative imitation of logs or fire glass or both. There are often more lights underneath or inside the the media to add glow and realism. 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. 

Benefits of Electric Fireplaces

Let's dive into the amazing benefits of electric fireplaces! These cool gadgets bring the cozy vibe of a traditional fireplace without any fuss, fitting perfectly into our modern lives. They're super easy to set up, incredibly safe, and eco-friendly, too. Plus, they look amazing in any room. Whether you're relaxing after a long day or entertaining friends, an electric fireplace is like a warm hug for your space. So, grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage, and let's explore all the fantastic ways electric fireplaces can light up our homes and hearts.

If you don't feel like reading, you can watch this video that summarized the main benefits of electric fireplaces:

- Low Cost:  Electric fireplaces are generally more affordable than any other kind of fireplaces. 

Related article: Are Electric Fireplaces Worth the Money?

- 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!

- No Mess:  Electric fireplaces create an ambiance of a fireplace without any of the mess that comes with a traditional wood fireplace.

- 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.

- 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.

- Safe for Children and Pets: Electric fireplaces stay cool to the touch which makes them safe to have around small children and pets.

- 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, there are currently two types of electric flames LED and LCD flames. Both are imitations of real flames and can look very realistic. 

Realistic Flames of LED Fireplace Modern Flames Orion

Featured fireplace: Modern Flames Orion Multi

Click here to see our collection of realistic electric fireplaces.

LED vs LCD Electric Fireplace

The difference between LED and LCD flames in electric fireplaces lies in the technology used to create the flame effects, which impacts the realism, energy efficiency, and design flexibility of the fireplace.

LED Flame Technology:

How it Works: LED (Light Emitting Diode) flame technology uses a series of LEDs to produce light patterns that mimic the look of flames. The light from the LEDs is typically reflected on a surface or through a set of mirrors to create the illusion of flickering flames.

Realism: LED flames can look realistic from a distance, but they might not withstand close scrutiny as well as LCD flames. However, advancements in LED technology have significantly improved their appearance, offering various colors and flame patterns.

Energy Efficiency: LEDs are known for their low energy consumption, making LED fireplaces extremely energy-efficient and cost-effective to operate.

Durability: LED bulbs have a long lifespan and are less likely to need replacement over time, contributing to the durability and low maintenance of the fireplace.

Heat Production: Most LED fireplaces come with an independent heating function, allowing the flame effect to be used without heat, thus contributing to year-round ambiance.

Here is a great example of a realistic electric fireplace that uses LED flames technology. Watch this quick video to see the flame effect.

Realistic Electric Fireplace with LED Flames:

LCD Flame Technology:

How it Works: LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) flame technology uses liquid crystal displays to create an image of fire on a screen. This can include video footage of real flames or digitally generated images, offering a more realistic and dynamic flame effect.

Realism: LCD flames can provide a more lifelike and detailed representation of fire, especially when high-definition screens are used. They can replicate the movement and nuances of real flames more accurately than LEDs.

Energy Efficiency: While LCDs are generally efficient, they might consume more energy than LEDs, especially if the fireplace utilizes a large, high-definition screen.

Flexibility: Some LCD fireplaces can offer more than just flame effects; they can display different backgrounds, settings, or even other types of visual content, providing versatility in how the fireplace is used for ambiance.

Heat Production: Like LED fireplaces, LCD models often have separate heating and visual functions, allowing the fireplace to be used for visual effect alone without generating heat.

In summary, LED fireplaces are known for their efficiency, longevity, and improving realism, while LCD fireplaces excel in delivering a highly realistic and dynamic visual experience. The choice between the two depends on personal preferences regarding realism, energy consumption, and how the fireplace complements the room's overall design.

Realistic Electric Fireplace with LED Flames:

LED fireplaces have been around for many years and represent the bulk of the electric fireplace market right now. LCD fireplaces are a relatively new technology and often offer a more realistic look.

The first LCD fireplace was Dimplex Opti-V and it was the only one for a while because of the patent. In 2022 other fireplace manufacturers were able to start using LCD technology with Modern Flames being at the front of this innovation with their Orion fireplaces that use their proprietary HELIOVISION Technology and look incredibly realistic.

Click here to see our collection of electric fireplaces with the latest flame technology.

Multicolor Flames

If you're looking for a more contemporary look, most electric fireplaces including LED and LCD fireplaces 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

Here is a short video of our Modern Blaze Electric Fireplace demonstrating different colors of the flame.

Electric Fireplace with Changing Flame Color:

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

The flame colors can usually be changed with a remote control or a touch pad on the fireplace itself. Smart electric fireplaces which we will talk about later, allow you to change colors via mobile app. Colors can 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. 

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. 

Electric Fireplaces Without Heat

There are a some outdoor electric fireplaces that don't have heat at all, for example Touchstone Sideline Outdoor Electric Fireplace - the reason for this is that electric fireplace heater is not powerful enough to warm out the air outdoors and customer can save money by not paying for the addition of the heater to an outdoor fireplace.

Touchstone Sideline Outdoor Electric Fireplace without Heat

Another popular electric fireplace without heat is Dimplex Opti-V. We mentioned it earlier when we talked about the history of LED fireplaces. Opti-V was the first LED fireplace and it looks incredibly realistic. However, it doesn't come with a heater. It is for ambiance only.

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.

Here is a great example of high-heat output electric fireplace: Dimplex Ignite XL Bold 3-Sided Smart Electric Fireplace. At a very affordable price point, this fireplace comes with all the latest features and can heat up to 1000 s.ft. room.

Here is a video showcasing the High-Heat Dimplex Ignite XL Bold:

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 out of LED fireplaces. When it comes to LCD fireplaces, Modern Flames Orion takes the cake.

Modern Flames Orion Slim Electric Fireplace

In photo: Modern Flames Orion Slim Built-In/Wall Mounted Smart Electric Fireplace with Real Flame Effect

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?

When talking about outdoor installations of electric fireplaces the main concern is water. Electricity and water don't play well together. So some manufacturers of electric fireplaces figured out how to protect electrical components of their fireplace from the elements. These outdoor rated electric fireplaces can be installed in outdoor patios and bathrooms which is pretty amazing.

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?

Built-in outdoor electric fireplace
In photo: Simplifire Forum Built-In Outdoor Electric Fireplace With Trim Kit - No Heat

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.

Click here to view our collection of Plug-in Electric Fireplaces. 

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!

          Different Types of Electric Fireplaces

          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 Stands)
          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.

          Dimplex Royce 52-Inch Electric Fireplace and Mantel Package
          In photo: Dimplex Royce 52-Inch Electric Fireplace and Mantel Package

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

          2. Heat? Do you need heat? If yes, then how much space do I want to heat? 

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

          4. Style? 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. Size? How much room do I have? What size would be best for me? 

          6. Budget? 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.

            Want help finding the perfect fireplace to match your style and needs? Give us a call at (866) 713-2399 or send us an email us at

            Ready to start browsing? Click here to view our Electric Fireplace Collection.

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

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            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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