One of the most important factors to consider when making a fireplace purchase is installation. You might already know what type of installation to plan for because you want to convert an existing fireplace to electric. On the other hand, you might be wondering whether a wall-mounted unit might work better.

Let's take a closer look at all the options. That way you can easily determine which is best for you: fireplace insert or wall-mounted fireplaces.


Large electric insert fireplace in a tall stone surround in a living room.

Defining "Electric Fireplace Insert"

Fireplace inserts are designed to be installed into a wall, preexisting cabinetry, or a an existing fireplace. Inserts come in one of three varieties: built-in, plug-in, and log sets.

Unlike all other types of electric fireplaces, which simply slide into place, built-in units require you to create a hole in the wall to accommodate the exact dimensions of the unit. They often need to be hard-wired into electricity. Built-ins are the fireplace of choice for converting wood-burning or gas-burning to electric.

The installation of plug-in fireplace inserts can be fairly easy due to their plug-and-play nature. They do not need to be hardwired like built-ins, but can simply be plugged in to the wall. Plug-ins, like built-in, do need to be inserted into a prepared hole in the wall. It can be an existing fireplace that you convert or it can be specially built. 

Log set fireplace inserts have the same convenient plug-and-play nature, but don't require a perfect fit like built-ins. They are designed to slide right into place in an existing wood fireplace opening. This makes them the easiest to install of all the insert units. Simply prep the opening by closing the flue and capping off any gas lines that are connected to the old fireplace.


Explore Our Top Rated Electric Fireplace Inserts


Linear wall mount electric fireplace in a dark wall with TV over the top.


Defining "Electric Wall-Mounted Fireplaces"

Wall-mounted fireplaces, unlike, fireplace inserts, are mounted right on the wall. Just like hanging a picture, you "hang" a wall-mounted fireplace. You do not have to make any holes in the wall (except for screws), and you don't have to worry about retrofitting.

The styles of wall-mounted fireplaces are varied. Many linear fireplaces are wall-mounted. The ability to place the fireplace allows you to place it anywhere on the wall. It can go up higher on the wall or even in places where traditional fireplaces could never go.


Small fireplace insert with stone surround and mantel.


Fireplace Inserts vs. Wall Mounted Fireplaces 

Fireplace inserts and wall-mounted fireplaces are similar in many ways. But they are also distinct and built for different applications.


Fireplace inserts are designed to be installed within an existing fireplace opening, typically in a masonry or prefabricated fireplace. Electric versions can be slid right into the existing fireplace opening.

On the other hand, wall-mounted fireplaces are self-contained units that are mounted directly onto a wall. They don't require an existing fireplace opening and can be easily installed without major modifications.


Both inserts and wall mounted electric fireplaces heat well and evenly. They can be purchased with varying BTU capabilities which determines their heat output. 

Most models are rated for the size of the space to be heated. An electric fireplace has no problem heating 400 square feet up to 800 square feet easily.


Both fireplace inserts and wall-mounted fireplaces offer a range of design options to suit different styles and preferences. Fireplace inserts are typically designed to replicate the look of a traditional fireplace, with options for decorative logs or realistic flames.

Wall-mounted fireplaces come in various contemporary designs and may include options for different flame colors, backlighting, and media bed materials (such as crystals or logs) to create a customized aesthetic.


Wall-mounted fireplaces provide more flexibility in terms of placement within a room. They can be mounted on any suitable wall, including in bedrooms, living rooms, or even bathrooms.

Fireplace inserts, on the other hand, are fixed within an existing fireplace opening and are less versatile in terms of placement. This is especially true when you use an existing fireplace opening.


Need to Replace an Electric Fireplace Insert? Here's How


Regardless of the type of electric fireplace you choose, it is always important to read the installation instructions thoroughly. Taking the time to read the guide will ensure that your product is installed correctly and ready to provide years of entertainment.

Learn more about the different types of electric fireplaces.

Which Electric Fireplace is Right for You?