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Best Electric Fireplaces of 2020
An electric fireplace provides the same warmth and ambience of a regular fireplace, sans the safety and maintenance issues. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best electric fireplace for your family.
Escape the Chill with a Quality Electric Fireplace
When the weather gets cold and snow is piling up outside, there's nothing like curling up in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.
But some people don't have fireplaces. And even if you do have one, it can be a hassle to lug the wood inside, get the kindling going, and clean everything up afterward.
That's where electric fireplaces come in. An electric fireplace is an excellent alternative to a traditional fireplace because it provides the same warmth and ambience without the work or maintenance.
But not all electric fireplaces are worth the investment, so choosing the right one is key. There are a variety of options to choose from, including different styles, sizes, and specialty features.
At BestReviews, we conducted deep research to better understand the electric fireplace market. We never accept samples from manufacturers, as we want our recommendations and reviews to be completely unbiased. As a result of our work, we're now ready to pass along the information you need to choose the right electric fireplace for your home.
Check out the matrix above for information about three of our favorite electric fireplaces. And if you'd like more information about electric fireplaces before making your purchase, please read on.
The Perks of Owning an Electric Fireplace
You may wish to buy an electric fireplace for the sheer fact that your home doesn't have a real fireplace built into it. But ownership is not the only perk. Electric fireplaces offer several conveniences that you just can't get from a real fireplace.
- An electric fireplace doesn't require wood, so you don't have to venture outside to drag in logs for a fire.
- An electric fireplace doesn't actually burn any materials. There are no charred logs, soot, or ash to clean up afterward.
- Compared to traditional fireplaces, an electric fireplace offers lower installation and operation costs. In most cases, you won't need to pay for professional installation. You won't need to buy firewood or hire someone to clean your chimney either.
- Electric fireplaces are usually much safer than traditional fireplaces. There are no open flames to worry about. And an electric fireplace won't produce toxic fumes that could build up in your home.
Types of Electric Fireplaces
Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplaces
As the name implies, a wall-mounted electric fireplace attaches to a wall. Some mount directly to the wall with brackets; others are placed in a recessed nook in the wall. Notably, most wall-mounted electric fireplaces do not have mantels.
Wall/Corner Electric Fireplaces
A wall or corner electric fireplace is also meant to be placed on a wall. However, these appliances do not actually attach to the wall, and they usually do feature a mantel. Corner electric fireplaces are designed specifically to save space.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
An electric fireplace insert is meant to be inserted in an existing fireplace. Using the insert, you can convert a wood-burning fireplace into an electric fireplace while taking advantage of the original fireplace design.
Media Console Electric Fireplace
A media console electric fireplace is housed inside an entertainment center. You can place your TV and other media equipment above the fireplace to maximize space in a room.
Electric stoves operate like electric fireplaces, but they are designed to look like old-fashioned wood-burning stoves.
Electric Fireplace Features
Electric fireplaces can be equipped with a variety of features that allow you to customize their operation.
An electric fireplace may feature digital controls that make it extremely easy to operate. It may also be equipped with a remote control so you can turn it on and adjust it from across the room.
Some electric fireplaces have an adjustable thermostat that allows you to control exactly how much heat is released into your room. Others have a flame-only operation that provides the ambience of a roaring fire without heating the room.
You can find electric fireplaces that allow you to adjust the speed of the flames so they flicker exactly the way you want. Some models also provide a brightness-control setting that lets you increase or decrease the brightness of the flames.
Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Electric Fireplace
What are the dimensions of the room in which I want to place the electric fireplace?
Measure the area where you plan to place the fireplace, as well as any furnishings that will be around it. Choose an electric fireplace with dimensions that match your available space. If you don't have much space, a wall-mounted fireplace could be your best option.
How much heat does my room require?
Most electric fireplaces provide between 700 and 1,500 watts of heating power. In most cases, this type of power offers enough supplemental heat for a room up to 400 square feet.
- In a smaller space like a den, a 700-watt electric fireplace would probably suffice.
- A larger room may require an electric fireplace that produces up to 1,500 watts of heating power.
Which electric fireplace style do I prefer?
Electric fireplaces come in a variety of styles, so you should have an easy time finding a model that complements your home's architecture and decor.
- For a modern look, opt for an electric fireplace with a minimalist design, such as a stainless-steel finish.
- If you prefer a more traditional look, consider an electric fireplace with a wooden mantel.
Do I want to be able to move my electric fireplace from room to room?
If you want to move your electric fireplace from room to room, it's important to choose a model that offers some portability. A wall-mounted electric fireplace would be a poor choice in this instance, but most other types of electric fireplaces would fit the bill. For the utmost in portability, we recommend an electric stove.
Electric Fireplace Safety Tips
In general, electric fireplaces are much safer than wood-burning or gas fireplaces. Follow these tips to make your electric fireplace even safer.
- Be sure that the electric fireplace you're considering has been safety-tested to meet national standards. Look for a model that has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent safety testing agency.
- It's a good idea to opt for a fireplace with a stay-cool exterior. This way, you won't have to worry about anyone burning themselves. If you have small children or pets, this is an especially important feature.
- Choose an electric fireplace with overheat protection. This feature enables the fireplace to automatically turn itself off if overheating is detected.
- Place your electric fireplace where it won't come into contact with fabrics or other flammable materials. An electric fireplace may not have open flames, but it could still cause items to ignite if you're not careful.
- Some electric fireplaces are designed for use as a TV stand. Make sure that yours is equipped to do so before placing media equipment on top of it.
- An electric fireplace can overload your home's electrical circuits. Check your system to ensure that it can handle the wattage of the electric fireplace that you've chosen.
Electric Fireplace Maintenance
Electric fireplaces require little maintenance, but you should keep them clean to ensure good performance. Before you engage in any cleaning activity, turn off the fireplace and unplug the unit.
To clean the fan, remove the grill and use a small brush to remove any dust and debris. Use a vacuum cleaner with a wand nozzle attachment to clean any loose debris.
To clean the exterior, wipe the unit down with a damp cloth. If the exterior is made of a specialty material, you might wish to use a targeted cleaner, such as a wood polish for a wood mantel.
How Much Should I Pay for an Electric Fireplace?
Electric fireplaces vary in price based on size, type, style, and included features. You can typically expect to spend between $70 and $1,000 for an electric fireplace.
- Wall-mounted electric fireplaces usually cost between $240 and $400.
- Wall or corner electric fireplaces with impressive mantels typically cost between $300 and $1,000. Simpler styles usually cost between $100 and $300.
- A fireplace insert usually costs between $100 and $600.
- Media console electric fireplaces typically cost between $150 and $900.
- Electric stoves usually cost between $70 and $199.
Q. Does an electric fireplace need to be vented?
A. Because they don't produce any smoke, carbon dioxide, gas, or other fumes, there is no need for venting or a chimney with an electric fireplace. They're the most eco-friendly fireplace option because they don't produce any pollutants or toxic fumes.
Q. Does an electric fireplace need to be professionally installed?
A. Depending on your comfort with DIY projects, you may need some assistance with a wall-mounted electric fireplace, particularly if it sets into the wall. If you're installing a direct-wire built-in fireplace, it's a good idea to have a certified electrician handle the job. But in many cases, you'll have only to plug the fireplace into an outlet to complete installation, and professional installation won't be needed.
Q. Will an electric fireplace work with any standard outlet?
A. Most electric fireplaces are equipped to work with a 120V outlet, so they'll work with most standard outlets. But some built-in models may require direct-wire installation and are dual voltage, so they can be used with 120V or 240V power.