The best electric fireplaces not only heat a room, but also give the appearance of burning and are completely smoke free. Electric fireplaces offer all the heating and aesthetic beauty of a traditional fireplace, without the usual drawbacks, though space heaters are another option if you’re only concerned with heating the room and don’t care about any visual flair.
While traditional brick fireplaces look the part, they’re not always the best option when it comes to efficiently heating a room. Not only can they lose a lot of heat through the chimney, they’re a bit of an effort when it comes to gathering or buying logs, not to mention dealing with the smoke from a real fire. They’re also a bit tricky if you’ve got young children or pets, so it pays to look at a safer, more energy efficient option if you have the choice.
If you’re keen on heating your living space inexpensively, while keeping your existing fireplace, you might want to go for an electric fireplace insert that just slots into the space that a wood-burning fire would be. If you don’t have an existing fireplace and are looking to warm your space with something a little more permanent and aesthetically pleasing than the usual supplementary heat provided by space heaters, then an electric fireplace that you can recess into the wall, mount on the wall or even place on the floor and move from room to room could be a good bet.
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Before you choose your electric fireplace, you’ll need to consider several things:
How big is the room you need to heat? Some fireplaces will have a much bigger output than others, so if you’re buying it for a large living space such as a basement or den, look for a model that comfortably heats up to 1000 square feet. If you’re looking to heat a bedroom, living room or home office, you can choose a fireplace that heats up to 400 square feet. Basically, think carefully about what you want the fire to do, and where you want to place it before narrowing down contenders.
You’ll then need to figure out what style you want – contemporary or traditional? You can choose from sleek, gloss black recessed fireplaces, slimline wall-mounted models, fireplaces that fit exactly into your existing fireplace surround or models that imitate – pretty well – a traditional stone fireplace. There are corner fireplaces, console units with built-in fireplaces and even portable stoves.
You’ll need to think about options, too – do you want a realistic looking ember and faux logs, or a multi-colored flame that you can adjust the brightness on? Do you need a remote control, or a timer so you can set it to come on while you’re not home, or turn off as you sleep?
What’s your budget? Do you want the lowest price recessed fireplace or the highest price portable fireplace? Do you want to use the flame effect without the heat? If so, look for a dual-option model. With so many electric fireplaces on the market, we’ve put together our best buys to take some of the hard work out of choosing.
1. Touchstone Sideline 50-inch Electric Fireplace
Our number one choice of electric fireplace based on function, aesthetics and value has to be the Sideline 80004. It’s an outstanding model with a tonne of options meaning you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to setting the mood. Its sleek frame features a huge viewing area, so you get the most out of its aesthetics. It has realistic-looking flames that have five brightness settings <and> three different color options (orange, blue and blue-orange) – how can you argue with that?
This model comes with both glass crystals and a faux log set – the logs will give you a more traditional look while the glass crystals make it more contemporary.
While this model is designed for recessing into the wall, you can also wall-mount it – great if you’re in a rental property or don’t want to get a builder in. It comes with glass crystals and a faux log set, so you can choose whichever you prefer when you set it up. It heats a medium-sized room quickly, and scores highly on its efficiency. It also has a remote control, a timer and easy-to-operate functions. The only thing it’s missing is a thermostat, but those who’ve bought this model don’t cite that as an issue.
The heat from the Sideline 80004 50-Inch Electric Fireplace is distributed evenly and gently and it’s also very quiet when in use.
Although this model is primarily designed for recessed mounting, it can also be wall-mounted, which makes it ideal if you don’t want to touch your walls or you’re in a rental.
- Read our full Touchstone Sideline 50-inch Electric Fireplace review
2. Home Decorators Collection Highland 40-inch Media Console Electric Fireplace
This model has some great features, including an electronic timer function that allows for automatic timed shut off from 30 minutes up to nine hours, so you can leave this running overnight, set it to come on before you get home on a cold day or run it first thing in the morning to warm up the room before you leave for work.
Its infrared heat helps to maintain the natural humidity within the air, so it doesn’t dry out the air in the room. It has dual control, so it can be operated with the heat and flame effect, or just the flames if you live in a warmer climate or want to use the fireplace as a focal point in your living room in summer.
Not only does it look good, this model is quiet, easy to install, and the flame effect gets a big thumbs-up from users for its realistic-looking embers.
- Read our full Highland Media Console Electric Fireplace review
3. Orren Ellis Razo Curved Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
The Razo Curved Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace is designed to heat spaces of up to 400 square feet, so it’s a great option for a small to medium-sized living space such as a bedroom, home office or den.
This model scores well on how quiet it is, as well as for the fact that is has the option to be placed on a stand on the floor, rather than wall-mounted. This is a great alternative to wall-mounting if you’re in a rental, say, or you want to move the fireplace to another room now and again. Installation is quick and easy, too.
With an incredible 10 color settings for its flame effects and five brightness levels of LED technology, you’ll have a lot of fun with this model. It can be operated with heat and flame, or just the flames, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a model that delivers on aesthetics.
The downside to this model is its huge power cord that users recommend is tucked up behind the fireplace.
4. Ameriwood Home Carson Electric Fireplace
The Ameriwood is a contemporary TV and console unit with a realistic flame effect fireplace. This model has dual control, so you can use it with or without heat, which makes it ideal if you live in a warmer climate.
Its LED flame effects are very realistic, and it has plenty of storage space for DVDs, consoles and your WiFi router.
Its energy-saving LED bulbs give off a whopping 50,000 hours of use, so it’s a long-term, worthwhile investment. As far as performance goes it gives off an even heat and warms up the room quickly. The downside is that there’s only one temperature setting, but it still scores very highly in reviews.
It does require two-person assembly as it’s very heavy, but it’s fairly simple to put together. Overall it’s a timeless design and a very efficient, good-looking model so we highly recommend it.
- Read the full Ameriwood Home Carson Electric Fireplace review
5. Northwest 54-inch Fire and Ice Electric Fireplace
This 54-inch, contemporary wall-mounted LED fireplace from Northwest is a great buy. It’s not only one of the sleekest - and biggest - models on the market, but it comes with a superb LED flame effect that will add ambiance to any room.
The Northwest 54-Inch LED Fire and Ice Electric Fireplace has a timer, so that’s a great option if you want to heat your room before you come down in the morning, or set it to come on before you get home. It has dual function, so the flame option can be used without the heat, which is a great option if you enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace but don’t need the heat output.
It comes with auto shut-off, too, so your room will never get too hot.
If you’re looking for a stylish, modern fireplace with real ‘wow factor’ at a very fair price, this is the one for you.
- Read our full Northwest 54-inch Fire and Ice Electric Fireplace review
6. Real Flame 5950E Chateau Corner Electric Fireplace
The Chateau Corner Fireplace is a corner unit that comes in three traditional-looking finishes, so you can match the unit to your room’s decor. It plugs into any standard outlet and comes with some great features, including a thermostat that enables you to set the desired temperature of your room.
Its ultra-bright Vivid Flame LED technology creates realistic-looking flames with amber embers that actually ‘warm up’ or ‘die out’, just like with a real fire. It has five brightness settings, too, so you can control the flame effect depending on whether you want the fireplace to be a focal point or not.
The Chateau Corner Fireplace is designed for use in spaces up to 1000 square feet, so it’s ideal for a large room such as a games room, loft conversion, basement or den.
It’s also easy to install, which is always a bonus.
7. Muskoka 25-inch Freestanding Infrared Curved Front Stove
The Muskoka 25-Inch Infrared is a freestanding panoramic stove with a wonderfully rustic aesthetic and a realistic flame effect. If you’re in the market for an electric fire that looks like the real deal, this is a great choice. It requires some assembly, but it’s easy to set up and plugs straight into a regular plug socket.
On the heating front, this model puts out a whopping 5200 BTUs and can effectively heat up a room of up to 1000 square feet - so if you’re looking for something to heat up a large room like a loft conversion or basement, the Muskoka 25-Inch Infrared is perfect.
It also features a variable thermostats that means you can leave it on overnight without worrying about it.
8. Real Flame G8600E-W Silverton Electric Fireplace
We found the Real Flame G8600E-W Silverton Electric Fireplace to be a great choice for homeowners looking for a stylish, traditional looking fireplace but without all the hassle of the real deal.. It’s easy to install and looks fantastic as a centerpiece in your living room.
The Silverton features a programmable thermostat and offers five different brightness levels for the flame effects, using a technology that Real Flame calls “Ultra bright” LED to deliver the brilliant look of a roaring fire.
It’s not cheap though. The Real Flame G8600E-W Silverton Electric Fireplace will cost you just shy of $600, which is a hefty price compared to some of the other options on the market.
- Read our full Real Flame G8600E-W Silverton Electric Fireplace review
9. Real Flame Maxwell Grand 58-inch Ventless Electric Fireplace
The Maxwell 58-Inch Grand Series Electric Fireplace is massive - this isn’t just a fireplace, it’s a statement. It features a faux marble surround for that authentic fireplace aesthetic. These impressive visuals are backed up by a heat source that can warm a room of up to 1500 square feet, so this is ideal heating for large spaces.
Along with all that power, the Maxwell comes with a programmable thermostat that displays in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. The LED display has five brightness settings for the flame effect which are highly realistic.
Given the enormous size, installing the Maxwell is a two-person job though, so be prepared before purchase. All this power and style doesn’t come cheap either, as this Maxwell will likely set you back over $600.
10. Xbeauty 28-inch Electric Fireplace Insert
The Xbeauty is another option for consumers looking for a recessed electric fireplace at the low end of the budget range. This little fireplace kicks out enough heat to warm up a 400 square feet area, so it’s perfect for small to medium sized rooms. There are two power settings depending on your needs and how cold it is. The infrared heating system also prevents the air from drying out in the room.
It has a multi-color flame option and five brightness settings, letting you adjust the flames to suit your mood and situation. All of this can be controlled either via remote control or through the built-in touchscreen.
The lack of a thermostat is the only major downside to the Xbeauty 28-Inch Recessed Electric Fireplace, but if you’re looking for a decent, affordable electric fireplace then this is a fine choice.
Why trust us?
We have been evaluating electric fireplaces for several years now. During this time, we have spent over 100 hours comparing fireplaces to find the best models on the market. Our most recent test evaluated ten units ranging from portable fireplaces, wall-mounted units, faux realistic fireplaces, and fireplace media centers. To determine the best of the best electric fireplaces, we initially found models that had high star rating scores from Amazon users.
After gathering the best choices, we scoped out user manuals, manufacturer websites, and customer reviews to find products that worked reliably. It was important to us that the products were safe to use, so we listed each product's safety features and eliminated any products that had serious safety concerns. We also looked for models that looked good and were convenient to use. When we had further questions, we would contact manufacturers and talk to current owners of electric fireplaces for further expertise.
How we found the best electric fireplace
When evaluating the fireplaces for safety, we looked for features like automatic shut-offs which disabled the device if it overheats. We also looked to see if the fireplace stayed cool to the touch when in operation, so that users can feel safe using the device with children and pets on the loose in the house. All of the devices in our best electric fireplace guide can heat a room of at least 400 square feet, though many could heat much larger rooms.
Since many people buy electric fireplaces for the visual spectacle and ambiance, not just for heating purposes. We looked at the visual styling of each fireplace along with the quality and variety of flame effects that they are able to produce. We also looked at the number of different heat settings that each model had and whether or not they came with various quality of life features like remote controls, programmable thermostats, and heating timers.
Many of the units we considered come with a one year warranty as standard, but some models only come with a 90 day warranty so be sure to consider this when you’re choosing your electric fireplace. We also considered how easy the fireplaces are to install, how big and heavy they are, and how easy it is to move them between rooms, as some users place a high value on portability.
How much do electric fireplaces cost?
The electric fireplaces we looked at cost roughly between $200 and $700. That’s quite a wide range and this means that no matter your budget, you should be able to find an electric fireplace to suit you. There are some smaller fireplaces, ideal for small rooms, which can be found for just over $200.
If you want to heat a larger room or want the fireplace to be decorative, you’ll likely pay anywhere from $400 to $600. Many of these large fireplaces also serve as media centers, allowing you to combine two bits of furniture into one purchase.
Benefits of an Electric Fireplace
It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of a roaring fire in your living room, but there are a whole host of practical reasons that mean it may not be the best idea. Fires come with chimneys, which is essentially just a big hole in your house. So while you’ll be nice and warm with the fire on, you’ll be freezing the rest of the time as the heat escapes through the chimney. Electric fireplaces do not require a chimney, so you avoid this problem.
Another issue is space and cost. If your room doesn’t already have a fireplace and chimney installed, it will be a costly and time consuming project to install one, if it’s even possible at all. Likewise, functional fireplaces are impractical for small rooms. Electric fireplaces come in a range of sizes to suit any space and come in a range of prices to suit any budget.
How to choose an electric fireplace
There are many kinds of electric fireplaces, offering various advantages and disadvantages, so you will have to determine the correct option for your needs. We've listed the main types of electric fireplace below.
Freestanding electric fireplaces
Freestanding electric fireplaces tend to be smaller and more portable than other variants. They come with their own stand or legs, so don’t require wall mounting or other difficult installation procedures. These devices are typically aimed at small to medium sized rooms and will comfortably heat an area of 400 square feet. Because of their smaller size and lower cost, these models can often lack certain extra features like remote controls, thermostats, and automatic shutoff.
Realistic electric fireplaces
These are the granddaddy of electric fireplaces, offering a complete illusion of a real fireplace, complete with realistic-looking mantels that often feature a stone, wood, or marble effect finish. Realistic Electric Fireplaces provide a centerpiece for the room, giving you something to arrange your furniture around and decorate with ornaments and family photos. Due to their impressive size, these fireplaces can typically heat large rooms of 1000 square feet plus.
These modern fireplaces are as much about offering a chic, stylish focal point for the room as they are about actually heating the place up. Despite this, many wall-mounted fireplaces do an admirable job of heating rooms of between 400 and 1000 square feet. These devices tend to come with remote controls and typically offer various flame colors and effects.
The main advantage to a wall-mounted electric fireplace is that it doesn’t take up any floor space, which is ideal for those with limited floor real estate in their rooms. This also keeps them out of the reach of small children and pets, which is a safety concern with other types of electric fireplace.
Media center electric fireplaces
Media center electric fireplaces are, as the name would suggest, fireplaces that also double up as a media center. These typically come with an abundance of storage space for your TV, games consoles, movies, and books.
Unfortunately, many media center electric fireplaces also often skimp on safety features. When considering this type of electric fireplace, make sure that you buy a model that stays cool to the touch and automatically turns off if it overheats.
Media-center fireplaces typically have the heating power to warm a 400-square-foot room, but some can warm as much as 1,000 square feet. Since they are meant to function more like furniture, you will find that most units offer various colors to choose from. Another perk of a media center fireplace is that the extra bulk often makes it easier to hide the power cord.