Let’s be honest: it’s time to say goodbye to all that messy soot and ash your wood-burning fireplace spits out after every use. It’s time to let go of fossil fuel-consuming gas fireplaces and their emissions.

If you’ve realized that other fireplaces are just too much maintenance and effort, then you’re the perfect candidate for switching to an electric model. 

Electric fireplaces are the most accessible type of fireplace available, as they will work in any room of the house so long as there’s electricity. Enjoying a fire is as simple as plugging it into a power source and pushing a button.

We’ve put together the ultimate buyer’s guide to electric fireplaces, including the main pros and cons, to help make your decision a little easier. Here’s everything you need to know.


Electric fireplace with mantel and stacked stone surround.

First: what is an electric fireplace? 

Electric fireplaces are versatile heating systems that offer homeowners a convenient and environmentally friendly way to generate warmth in a living space.

Using a technique known as zone heating, electric fireplaces can lead to lower energy costs, as they only heat the surrounding area or room that you’re using (rather than a central heating system, which would send heat throughout your entire house and drive up costs.) 

Furthermore, electric fireplaces come with standard safety features that make them safer than gas or wood alternatives. This makes them a great choice for families with young children or pets. 

Electric fireplaces are extremely easy to install and come in a wide variety of designs to fit in with any decorating style. Best of all, the ambiance of a fireplace can be enjoyed year round, even during the summer months, because electric models offer optional heat settings.

Linear electric fireplace in a living room with TV above the fireplace.

Types of Electric Fireplaces

One of the most appealing aspects of electric fireplaces is their versatility, as they come in many different styles and incorporate innovative features that are unique to their function. 

Fireplace Inserts

The insert fireplace slides into wall into an existing fireplace hearth or a structure that has been built for it. It consists of just the fireplace with no mantel or console or other housing. Most units can be either plugged in or hardwired for a seamless appearance.

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Wall Mount Fireplaces

The ever-popular linear fireplace with its characteristic long, rectangular shape are one of the easiest fireplaces to incorporate into your design. They can be hung on the wall at any height or recessed partially or fully into a wall (depending on your specific model). You’ll also find features like multi-sided views, see through/double-sided, and more. More on that below.

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White stove-style electric fireplace.

Electric Fireplace Heaters & Stoves

The stove fireplace is made to look like a traditional wood-burning stove but acts more like a powerful space heater. They come in different sizes and produce varying levels of heat. They are freestanding, all-inclusive units that have simple plug and play functionality. The smaller versions are excellent options for apartments or adding supplementary heat right where it counts.

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Electric Logs

Similar to an electric insert, a log set is inserted into an existing fireplace hearth. It consists of logs and a decorative grate with no enclosure or housing. It’s the fastest and simplest way to convert from a wood-burning fireplace or gas fireplace. To install all you do is place the unit in the fireplace hearth and plug it in.

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Fireplace TV Stands

The TV stand fireplace is a media console and fireplace in one. Electric fireplaces don’t pose any threat to TVs because most components of the unit stay cool to the touch (the heat output/vent does get warm). Many models come with shelves on either side of the fireplace and a deeper profile to accommodate the TV. They come in styles from contemporary to rustic to suit your home’s aesthetic.

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Fireplace Mantel Packages

An electric fireplace mantel package looks the most like a traditional wood-burning fireplace with a hearth and mantel surrounding a fireplace hearth. They  can be plugged in and placed flush against a wall. They come in a variety of sizes, price ranges, and materials.

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Multi-sided electric fireplace in a cozy and modern living room.

Peninsula, Multi-Sided & See-Through Fireplaces

For designs that put the fireplace in the visual center, peninsula and multi-sided fireplaces are the showstopper you’re looking for. A peninsula fireplace sticks out into the room as a room divider or sorts. It generally has 2-3 sides that offer a view of the fire rather than just one like traditional fireplaces. Multi-sided fireplaces can also be installed to one side of a hearth or at the end of a wall if you want to have the fire viewable from two angles of the room. See-through fireplaces are used as a separator to two rooms in which the fireplace is viewable from both sides.

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Corner Electric Fireplaces

Some mantel fireplaces and TV fireplaces also come in a corner version that slides snugly into a corner. These help you use your space more effectively, especially in smaller spaces. Available in various sizes and styles.

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Small electric fireplace insert in a brick surround with decor on the left.

Features of Electric Fireplaces

Besides the various types, there are several other design features that define electric fireplaces, including:

Flame Effects

Electric fireplaces feature realistic flame effects that simulate the experience and appearance of a real fire. The illusion of flickering flames is produced by a combination of light, reflections, projections, and sometimes even water vapor.

Top of the line flame effects use LEDs and moving light refractors that give the appearance of natural flame. Color also plays a role. RGB LEDs combine red, orange, and blue to create lifelike colors. Some of the newest models use video projection in addition to LED refraction and color for a realistic experience.

Water vapor is used in the most sophisticated models to produce smoke-like wisps that further enhance the realism. Additionally, you can look for models that allow you to adjust the size, height, intensity, speed, and color of the flames for a fully customizable experience.

Heat Settings

Electric fireplaces come with built-in heat settings that allow you to control the amount of warmth produced. All models have multiple heat settings to choose from, including no heat, which means you can use them year-round.

Many models come with a thermostat that can be set to any temperature you desire to get the exact amount of heat you want. They will automatically cycle depending on where you set the thermostat.

As a precaution, most models will also shut off automatically if the temperature rises above a certain setting or has been running for an extended period of time. 

Mantel Options

Some electric fireplaces will come with a mantel, which is the decorative framework surrounding the fireplace itself. Mantels can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, stone, or metal, and can be designed in many different styles to suit the rest of your décor.

Smart Controls

As mentioned, powering your electric fireplace is as easy as the push of a button! A remote control allows you to easily adjust the flame settings, heat output, and other functions from a distance. Additionally, many models have wifi integration, allows for control using an App on your mobile device and with some units, even your voice with the help of Amazon Alexa or Google Home.


Traditional electric fireplace insert in wall with mantel surround.

Heat Output of Electric Fireplaces

The heat capacity of an electric fireplace depends on the way the heat is generated and the size of the unit.

Electric Coil/Filament Heat

Just like a space heater, electric fireplaces can have metal coils that are heated up by electrical current running through them. A fan is then used to blow air across the hot coils, which heats the room. Plug in models can easily tackle rooms up to 400 square feet with an average of 4000 BTUs. Hardwired or larger models can handle 800 square feet and provide up to 8000 BTUs.

Infrared Heat

Some electric fireplace models use infrared technology to create heat. Infrared is a form of radiant heat where a bulb is activated by electricity and the heat it generates radiates through the room (like sunlight warms a room). Infrared heating units also use a fan to circulate warm air. It is a very effective form of heat and can easily warm a room up to 1,000 square feet with an average of 5000 BTUs.

Ceramic Heat

Ceramic heating technology uses electricity to heat up a ceramic plate, which then radiates heat into the room. A fan blowing across the ceramic plate aids the movement of heat into the room. Because ceramic retains heat better than metal filaments and coils, ceramic heat gives more heat and longer than coils/filaments.


TV console electric fireplace with storage on the sides and TV on the top.

Pros & Cons to Electric Fireplaces

All in all, their low maintenance, energy efficiency, and easy installation make electric fireplaces a highly popular choice. As you make your decision, here are some of the main pros and cons to keep in mind.


Safe to use: Electric fireplaces don’t produce any harmful fumes or smoke, making them safe for homes with children or pets.

Low maintenance: Electric fireplaces require very little maintenance compared to traditional wood or gas fireplaces. You won’t need to clean any soot or ashes.

Easy installation: Electric fireplaces are quick to install and do not require a chimney or gas line like traditional fireplaces. They can be easily mounted on a wall or placed in an existing fireplace opening.

Cost-effective: Electric fireplaces are more affordable than traditional fireplaces, because they deliver zone heating and therefore won’t drastically increase your energy bills.


Low heat output: While electric fireplaces can provide supplemental heat, they are not as effective as traditional fireplaces in generating significant heat.

Limited authenticity: Some people may view the look, sound, and lack of smell of an electric fireplace as less authentic compared to the crackle of wood-burning models.

Dependence on electricity: Electric fireplaces require a stable source of electricity to function, meaning they won’t work during a power outage.

Requires space and outlet: Electric fireplaces require a dedicated space and electrical outlet to operate, which may not be available in all homes or apartments.

Still need help making a decision? Take a closer look here.

Which Type of Electric Fireplace Is Right for You?

Clearly, there are a lot of reasons why electric fireplaces are seen by many as the fireplace of the future. Now that you know all about electric fireplaces from our buyer’s guide, we hope this makes your decision a little easier!

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