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Knowledge Center
Fireplace Buying Guide

Electric Fireplaces Buying Guide

Electric stoves and fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular because of their efficiency, easy installation, and the instant ambiance they add to a room. With real-looking flames, they add supplemental heat without the air quality issues caused by traditional fireplaces. Since a wide range of designs are available and they're very inexpensive to run, electric fireplaces make great focal points in almost any space.

A variety of types are available, so we've got you covered if you're looking for a compact fireplace for your bedroom, a media console for your living room, or a wall-mount for an office lobby. Electric stoves generally have a more traditional design than electric fireplaces, and most stove models are freestanding units that sit on the floor against a wall or in the corner of your room.

These heaters don't need to be vented and are simply plugged into a wall, so there's almost no maintenance involved. Most of our models use a standard 120-volt plug and offer supplemental heat to areas as large as 400 square feet.

Read our buying guide to determine which type, style, size, and features work best for your space.

Types

  • Wall-Mount: There are 2 types of wall-mountable electric fireplaces: Models mounted to your wall and models recessed into your wall. Wall-mounting brackets and materials are typically included with your fireplace. Fireplaces that are mounted to your wall are easier to install, but some customers prefer having their fireplace built-in a wall. These models are more portable than other fireplaces and also save you valuable floor space, making them popular in condos, apartments, and lobbies.

  • Wall/Corner Fireplaces: One of most common types of electric fireplaces is a wall fireplace that's simply placed against a wall. These models resemble traditional fireplaces and can be placed against a wall to become the new focal point in your room. We also offer corner fireplaces, which are similar to wall fireplaces but designed to be placed in a corner. Some models even include collapsible panels so they can sit against a wall or in a corner. Many wall and corner fireplaces have a mantel for home decorations; consider the mantel support weight before purchasing.

  • Media Consoles: Add ambiance, heat, and a place for your flat screen TV with a media console electric fireplace. These durable entertainment centers are built with lasting quality and their designs are similar to wall fireplaces. Most models include ample storage space for electronics and media equipment, and we offer a wide-variety of styles to match any indoor environment. There should be a maximum flat screen size provided for media console fireplaces; confirm your media fireplace can hold your TV.

  • Fireplace Inserts: Just as their name suggests, fireplace inserts are manufactured to be inserted in existing traditional fireplaces. They transform wood-burning fireplaces, which emit carbon dioxide and can increase room humidity, into efficient, attractive electric fireplaces. The inserts are far easier to handle and maintain, making them perfect for people who don't use their traditional fireplace but want the ambiance it provides.

  • Electric Stoves: Electric stoves are similar to electric fireplaces but tend to have more traditional styling. These standalone units don’t produce ash and soot like wood-burning stoves, and you just have to plug them in for operation. These models are low-maintenance, offer portable designs, and select models even purify your air while they operate.   

  • Gel Fireplaces: Gel fireplaces offer unique designs and features. They produce soft, subtle heat from alcohol-based gel fuel cans instead of electricity. Gel fireplaces use real flames but they don’t release odors, soot, or smoke. Most models in our selection offer approximately 3 hours of burning power. In addition, gel fireplaces can be used indoors or outdoors, so check out our various styles to find one that fits your needs and home design.

Styles and Finishes

Whether your home is modern or traditional, our selection of electric fireplaces have you covered—from sleek, built-in wall units to rustic, old-fashioned standalone models. If you're looking for a modern fireplace, check out heaters with minimalist design features like a stainless steel surround. More detailed, traditional designs with charming wood carvings are also available.

There are also a wide range of finishes available, one of which will surely match your home décor. Some of our most popular options are listed below:
Stainless Steel, mahogany, espresso, oak, stone, black, white/ivory

In addition, flame bed options range from traditional log set to modern glass or stone.

Fireboxes

Fireboxes are the core of electric fireplaces since it's here that the fire actually "burns". Fireboxes range in size, technology, and features. The most important aspect for most customers is the size; they come in a variety of sizes, but standard fireboxes are typically between 18 and 33 inches in width.

Fireboxes offer different technology that helps determine how "real" the flame appears. This ranges from a basic flat panel fire image to realistic 3-D flames. High-end fireboxes include flame beds with embers, glow logs, or rocks that the "flames" rise from, which help create a 3-D illusion of real fire.  Flame movements replicate real fire patterns, which also enhances the user experience.  Some models even include technology that releases fine mist into the firebox to create the illusion of real flames and smoke.

In addition to realistic flames, fireboxes have additional features to consider. For example, some models offer air treatment systems that continuously filter irritants out of your space. These systems use the latest in air filtration technology to remove dust, mold, and pet dander from your air. They work by pulling air from your space, heating and filtering it, then releasing it back out cleaner than before. These models include washable air filters that need to be changed periodically (generally once a year).

Select fireboxes can be purchased and simply placed into existing fireplaces, which make them particularly convenient and popular among consumers. Just slide them into your existing fireplace to save space and time.

Size and Heating Power

Electric fireplaces are simply plugged into a wall outlet to operate. Most models use a standard 120-volt plug so can be plugged in almost any residential location.  Their plugs are grounded for additional protection against fire and other electrical problems.  

Most models offer between 750 and 1500 watts for low and high heat settings. This wattage offers supplemental heat for spaces as large as 400 square feet—which is why these products are perfect for living rooms, basements, and offices. Electric fireplaces are typically used as supplemental heat in these areas but can be the primary heat source for spaces like a small den.

Some larger models may require higher voltages (a 240-volt plug) and offer higher wattages, so confirm your fireplace is compatible with your home—but most use the standard residential 120-volts.

Features

Electric fireplaces and stoves have a variety of convenience and energy-efficient features, including:

  • Flame-Only Operation: If you're interested in the ambiance of a fireplace but not always the heating option, consider a model that offers flame-only operation. You can enjoy a real-looking flame year-round without adding heat to your room.
  • Adjustable Thermostats: A model with an adjustable thermostat lets you decide the rate at which heat is released into your space.
  • Flame-Speed Control: You can adjust the speed at which your flames flicker, depending on your preference.
  • Digital Controls: If you're looking for added convenience, consider a model that can be controlled with a digital control board or remote control.
  • Brightness Control: Generally located on the control board, this control lets you to adjust the brightness or your fire. Simply move the knob (or select a level digitally, if possible) to increase or decrease the amount and brightness of the flames.
  • Self-Trimming Firebox: You won't need to add or purchase trim to for installation or aesthetic purposes. It snaps into place and is ready to provide instant character and heat to your space.
  • Portable: If you live in a small apartment or want to use your heater in different rooms, look for one of our portable models that are easy to move from place to place.

Remote Control Options

Remote controls make changing settings a breeze in all appliances; when they're included with electric fireplaces, the remote controls your firebox options. More basic remotes simply turn your fireplace on or off, but others let you make all setting adjustments from anywhere in the room. These settings include: heat level (generally low or high), adjusting the interior light, and controlling the flame speed.

Safety Features

You can't get much safer in terms of heaters than an electric fireplace. Their fake flames and enclosed firebox are naturally safe, but there are other features to consider:

  • Cool-to-the-touch: Regardless of the mode, you won't have to worry about getting burned if you touch the fireplace if it has cool-to-the-touch housing or glass. This feature is particularly popular for customers with children or pets.  
  • Overheat Protection: A built-in switch automatically turns the heater off is overheating is detected.
  • Safety Approvals: Heaters are put through safety tests to ensure they operate to national and international standards. Look for UL and CSA certifications to know you're purchasing a safe, efficient electric fireplace.  

Inexpensive and Eco-Friendly Operation

Electric stoves and fireplaces don’t have smoke or ventilation requirements, which make them better for your indoor air quality.  You won't have to worry about hazardous emissions (like carbon dioxide) or the messy maintenance that can be associated with traditional fireplaces or wood-burning heaters.

They're also very inexpensive to run. Many models cost as little as 1 cent an hour while in flame-only mode and 8 cents an hour while in heating mode. Simply plug them in a socket to enjoy the ambiance and supplemental heat without causing your energy bills to dramatically increase.

Consider This

These stylish additions offer supplemental heat to rooms, but typically can’t be used as the main heat source in your home. Be sure to check the wattage and square footage suggestions before purchasing one. But don’t forget, they’re purchased just as often for the ambiance and style as they are for heat, which is why most models have a flame-only (no heat) mode.

Still Have Questions?

For more information on specific electric fireplaces and other indoor air treatment solutions, shop our products and visit our Knowledge Center. Not sure what's best for you? Contact our product experts toll free at 1-800-934-9194. We want to help you make your indoor environment healthy and comfortable.

Other Resources

Electric Fireplaces Add Ambiance, Preserve Energy Savings, and Subtract Cost
Bestselling Electric Fireplaces
Bestselling Electric Stoves

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