Best Electric Fireplace Of 2018 – A Comprehensive Guide

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Best Electric Fireplaces

Are you looking for the best electric fireplace? They are truly one of the most versatile types of heating solutions available. No matter the style or decor of your home you are sure to find one to suit your needs, whether that be to cover an existing fireplace, install a brand new model or to add a fireplace to a new room.

If you are searching for the perfect fireplace for your home, then this guide is designed for you. Below we have analyzed some of the best models on the market, compiled the best electric fireplace reviews.

We have also provided a comprehensive guide to help you understand the key differences, advantages, and disadvantages of some of the best electric fireplace units available today.

If you have any questions regarding the information on this page or any of the electric fireplaces we discuss, then feel free to share them in the comments section and we’ll try to answer you as best as we can.

Electric FireplaceHeat Output (BTUs)Heat Capacity (square feet)WattageDimensions
Cartwright Electric Fireplace5,000 BTUup to 400 square feet1500 watt45.5 x 15.5 x 40.2 inches
Touchstone Onyx Fireplace5,000 BTUup to 400 square feet1500 watt50.4 x 5.5 x 21.6 inches
Duraflame DFS-550-21-BLK4,600 BTUup to 400 square feet1500 watt21 x 10.8 x 22.8 inches
SEI Claremont Fireplace5,000 BTUup to 400 square feet1500 watt78.2 x 43.2 x 30.8 inches

*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth electric fireplace reviews below.

#1 Cartwright Convertible Electric Fireplace

  • Size: 15.2 x 45.5 x 40.2 inch
  • Power: 120V/60Hz/1500W
  • Coverage: Up to 400 sq ft

The Cartwright electric fireplace is made by the Southern Enterprises, a well established North American Company with a solid reputation and excellent customer services.

This model, in particular, has received 5-star reviews for a variety of reasons and is certainly one of the best electric fireplace units you can buy.

Safety Features 

The Cartwright comes with a range of safety features for peace of mind including an automatic shut off when the fireplace elements reach a certain upper-temperature limit, as well as glass that remains cool to the touch, which is very helpful for families and pet owners.

Best of all is that if you don’t want to feel the heat, you can still have the flames in operation whenever you want, for the charm of a fire all year round!

#2 Touchstone Onyx Electric Fireplace

  • Size: 50.4 x 5.5 x 21.6 inch
  • Power: 120V/60Hz/1500W
  • Coverage: Up to 400 sq ft

If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary, then this wall mounted electric fireplace by Touchstone will look great in any modern home.

The authentic looking log set creates the ambiance of a genuine wood burning fire, while the tempered glass frames the flames for a modern twist.

Appearance & Design

The Touchstone wall mounted fireplace is available in three different styles, making it appropriate for a range of living spaces and style preferences. This includes the standard black tempered glass at 50 inches, as well as the variant with mirrored glass and a model with white ivory glass.

Easy Installation

Many people find installing anything on their wall daunting, never mind a wall mounted heating appliance. This is one of the best electric fireplace units for being lightweight at just 46 pounds, making it easier to install with the step-by-step DIY instructions provided.

However, if you’re still feeling unsure, you can pay a little extra on Amazon for expert setup, so there’s absolutely no reason to see the installation process as a barrier to achieving your heating dreams.

Safety Features

No one can deny the potential hazards associated with a wood burning fireplace – toxic emissions and smoke are a natural consequence of burning firewood.

However, these concerns don’t exist with an electric fireplace, not only that but since the Touchstone utilizes LED technology, they require even less energy to run than conventional electrical fireplaces or ones that utilize natural gas as a fuel source. Since LED lights remain relatively cool, they are cool to touch, making them safe for families with children and pets. 

#3 Duraflame DFS-550-21-BLK

  • Size: 21 x 10.8 x 22.8 inch
  • Power: 120V/60Hz/1500W
  • Coverage: Up to 400 sq ft

The traditional wood-burning stove has become increasingly popular in recent years, however, there is no doubt that burning firewood is messy, laborious and requires regular maintenance.

Not only that, but a pellet or wood stove requires the correct ventilation, which can be an expensive task if there is no pre-existing chimney in your property.

Heat Output & Efficiency 

However, a practical and effective solution is an electric stove with a heater that allows you to create the ambiance of a wood burning stove without any of the commitment.

Since the Duraflame is electrical it can be hooked up to to any power socket in your home and because it’s lightweight it can be easily transferred from room to room.

This means instead of heating your entire home all day long, you can instead choose to only heat up certain zones within your home – referred to as zonal heating.

This helps save money and energy by only heating up the space in which you inhabit, meaning you don’t have to waste extra energy to heat rooms that aren’t occupied.

Ambience Throughout the Year 

As the temperate begins to warm up in the summer months, a wood burning stove and fire burning, in general, becomes completely impractical.

However, with an electric stove you can enjoy the relaxing quality of the dancing flames and glowing ember bed of a fire throughout the year without getting too warm.

#4 SEI Claremont Electric Fireplace

  • Size: 21 x 10.8 x 22.8
  • Power: 120V/60Hz/1500W
  • Heating area: Up to 400 square feet

Multiple Options Available

The Claremont electric fireplace is a traditionally styled fireplace available in multiple colors including black, ivory, brown and cherry, perfect for a range of interior decors. This is a surprising amount of color options for a wood fireplace.

More than a Fireplace

This is one of the best electric fireplace units that acts as a both a fireplace that adds a nice ambience to your home, as well as a TV stand.

The mantel supports up to 85 pounds and can accommodate up to a 50 inch flat screen TV. It also has a nice amount of built in storage in the form of two side adjustable storage shelves, perfect for storing CD’s, DVD’s or anything else you prefer.

This is a great option for those looking for one of the best electric fireplace TV stands on the market.

Heat Output & Efficiency

The fire itself is provides a heat output of 120v-60hz – 5000 BTU’s, which is adequate for heating 1500 cubic feet within 24 minutes, ideal for zonal heating around your home.

The fireplace itself can be plugged into any standard power outlet, meaning it’s location can be easily changed throughout your home. In terms of energy usage, it utilises about as much energy as a coffee maker, meaning it’s highly efficient.

The fire uses LED technology, which produce heat and remain cool to the touch, so there’s no concern about burns, which is a danger in homes with children and pets.

Electric Fireplace Buying Guide 

Electric fireplaces are diverse and as a result, there is a lot of choices when it comes to the types and styles of electric models available. This guide is designed to help you understand the differences between the various types and their limitations.

How do Electric Fireplaces Work? 

An electric fireplace produces heat with the use of metal coils, which when heated by electricity cause an integrated fan to blow heat into the external environment. Since the coils are the only component of the fireplace that gets hot there is no concern about an open flame or a burning hazard, however, caution should still be taken when touching the outer metal casing of your fireplace.

Electric fireplaces are available as stand-alone or fireplace inserts. These types of fireplaces are plugged into nearby electrical outlets. For those with already existing fireplace, you can use electrical inserts as an alternative to constructing a real fuel burning stove, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.

They work in very much the same way, although inserts need to be installed into the firebox, which itself can help insulate and retain heat for longer.

Do Electric Fireplaces Heat Well?

The effectiveness of an electric fireplace is very dependant on two things, the BTU (British thermal unit output) output of the fireplace and the size of your room.

The best electric fireplace models displayed in the review section above are all 120v and have an approximate BTU output of between 4,600 to 5000 BTU. If your room is within the coverage of the heater, as stated by the manufacturer, the BTU output can be distributed around the room effectively. 

What this means in simple terms that if the room you want to heat is larger than the square foot coverage capacity of the heater, the electric fireplace will not be as effective as you would want it to be.

But, for small living rooms, bed rooms and dining rooms that are within 400 square feet in size, the best electric fire place options are perfect for them!

The Different Types of Electric Fireplaces 

1. Electric Fireplace Inserts

If you already have a pre-existing fireplace and don’t need to make any alterations to the structure of your property then you use an electric fireplace insert. These are available in two distinct versions – electric log inserts and electric fireboxes.

The best electric fireplace inserts provide you with the convenience of modern innovations and the natural beauty of a traditional looking fireplace, including flames, logs and/or coals.

Certain models even feature realistic looking embers that provide the feel of an authentic fireplace without any of the limitations such as routine maintenance and cleaning.

Integrated technology is perhaps one of the major advantages of using an electric unit, for instance, remote control operation of the flame intensity and heat output.

These types of electric fireplaces are simple and straight forward to install, simply requiring you to slot them in place of your existing fireplace and plug them into a nearby power source.

2. Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces 

Electric fireplaces that you mount onto the wall are ideal for those without an existing fireplace or for those looking for a contemporary heating solution.

You simply need to install brackets onto a wall in your home, fix the fireplace to it and plug it into an electrical outlet. The majority of models are very easy to install and lightweight, perhaps the most difficult step is installing the wall brackets.

Typically, wall mount electric fireplaces are positioned a foot or two up the wall for safety purposes. There are no restrictions to where you choose to install your wall mounted fireplace, but it is advised that you place it away from children and pets.

Wall mounted units have the advantage of being able to be installed almost anywhere in your home, just as long as there’s a nearby power outlet. Although they do not provide the same charm as traditional fireplaces, many prefer the more modern style and the convenience and ease of the installation process.

3. Electric Mantel Fireplaces 

If you have no mantelpiece or fireplace masonry in your home but you prefer the look and feel of traditional fireplaces, then an electrical mantel fireplace may be the right choice for you.

This variety of electric fireplace enable you to install a fireplace insert in your home even if you don’t have any cavities in your wall, helping you to avoid expensive and invasive structural changes to your property.

Mantel fireplaces provides the authentic appearance of a traditional mantelpiece in your home, creating a beautiful focal point. As with other types of electrical models, there are often modern features integrated within them, including remote control operation and air purifiers to help keep the air dust free and clean.

4. Electric Fireplace Stoves 

Stoves are one of the oldest types of fireplaces and have grown in popularity in recent years, however, the limitation of stoves is the high maintenance and cleaning they require, in addition, they need ventilation systems and other safety systems such as fireproof hearths.

If you want to achieve a similar look to a wood burning stove, but don’t want the commitment to maintain one then an electric stove may be a good alternative.

The best part about electric fireplace stoves is that they are typically freestanding and don’t require any holes in your walls, helping you to avoid costly building work.

You just have to plug the unit into your power outlet and it’s ready to go. Helping you to avoid the expensive installation costs associated with traditional stoves, these are a wise alternative.

Another added benefit of using an electrical stove is that they can seriously help you save money by putting you in full control of the amount of energy you use.

They allow you to control the heat output and flame intensity, which is next to impossible with a traditional stove. These stoves are typically designed to heat rooms between 400 to 700 square foot.

5. Freestanding or Fixed 

The aforementioned types of electrical fireplaces are great for those with pre-existing fireplaces or for those looking to fix them to walls. The choice is entirely down to personal taste.

If you don’t like the sound of any of those discussed above, or you want to save money on installing an electrical fireplace then you may want to consider a freestanding fireplace instead.

These can easily be stood on other types of furniture or be stood against a wall, which is ideal for those who are renting and unable to make any structural changes to their homes.

If you have a small property or are trying to conserve space, you might want to consider getting a fixed or mounted fireplace. A mounted model is usually very easy to install and as the added advantage of being considerably safer around pets and children.

Some individuals also install them as a focal point in a room since they are very easy to install and require little experience or knowledge.

Choosing the Right Size Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces come in many different shapes and sizes and as a result, as well as thinking about the best type of electric fireplace for your circumstances, you also need to think about the measurements of the intended location of your unit.

It is very easy to select a fireplace because it looks good in a marketing photo, but it’s worth noting that mantle fireplaces and wall-mounted fireplaces can be particularly large.

When you know where you want to install the fireplace in your home, you will need to take accurate measurements before making a purchase.

If you have a pre-existing fireplace or other suitable cavity, this will be ideal for a fireplace insert. Although, you must ensure you take measurements of all the dimensions of the space and make sure it matches the dimensions of the fireplace you have in mind.

If you are considering a wall-mounted fireplace, then you ought to consider how big you want it top be. Do you want it to be discreet? Or a real focal point?

You may also want to think about the types of flames the fireplace produces, many people find them distracting when watching TV, however some models allow you to control their size with ease.

The bottom line is that you will want to select an electric fireplace that has a heat output adequate to heat the room it will be located in. An easy way to calculate this is to measure the perimeter of the room and multiply the length by the width in feet, which will provide you with the square feet of the room.

Once you determine this, you will be able to easily determine what sized heater you need by checking the product description of advertised models.

Best Electric Fireplace Safety Advice 

When you get your electric fireplace, you will likely want to get it up and running straight away, although, prior to installing your fireplace, it’s a wise idea to be aware of the safety advice that can help prevent potential injury or fires.

When your fireplace is switched on your electric fireplace will get extremely hot.

As a result, ensure you be careful around the fireplace as getting burned from the metallic casing covering the unit is a potential hazard.

Electric fireplaces often have vents where the warm air is circulated out from.

You should make extra sure these vents are never obstructed during use and should never use it to dry clothing on or anything else for that matter.

When the fireplace is not in use you should switch it off and remove the plug from the power outlet.

This is prudent, especially if you have young children around as they may switch the heater on, therefore, if it is unplugged this can not happen.

You ought to examine the fireplace cord routinely as it is not uncommon for wires to become worn overtime.

If you ever notice damage to your wires, you should stop using it straight away and have a professional carry out the necessary repairs.

Never leave children or pets unsupervised when the fireplace is turned on and be aware of any objects that they may have placed into vents or other parts of the heater that could be a potential fire hazard.

It goes without saying that an electric fireplace should not be installed in an area that experiences high levels of moisture, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

Can You Leave an Electric Fireplace on Overnight?

Electric fireplaces are designed to be left on for long periods of time and therefore it is safe to keep them running throughout the night. The majority of modern appliances have a range of safety features installed within them including automatic shutoff which ensures it turns itself off if it exceeds a certain temperature.

Bedsides the basic safety features outlined above, it is a good idea to make sure all objects such as rugs, fabrics and clothing is kept at least 4 feet away from the fireplace.

When Not to Leave the Fireplace On 

It is advisable to only have your fireplace running when you going to be in the location it is heating, therefore, for financial reasons alone it’s not a good idea to have your heater running when it is not being used. As a result, the majority of users choose to  run an electric fireplace on a partial day basis.

Final Words 

Electric fireplaces are ideal for those looking for a modern heating solution that is easy to install and easy to use with very little maintenance or cleaning required.

The great thing about electrical appliances is that they are available in a range of styles to fit any type of decor, whether that be a contemporary home or the more traditional.

Always ensure you read the product description and take the right measurements, especially if you are planning on installing a fireplace insert that will need to match the dimensions of the cavity.

Our buying guide is ideal for those looking into buying best electric fireplaces on the market and want to know more about the potential safety ramifications.

These electric fireplace reviews will provide an outline of the types of fireplaces available, so you can make an informed choice for you and your home’s needs. If you have a gas supply, then you may also want to consider a gas fireplace.

Electric Fireplace FAQ

While electric fireplaces are not as cheap to run as gas or wood burning fireplaces, they are somewhat more efficient with their heat output.

Electric fireplaces are usually without ventilation as they do not need them and so heat isn’t being lost up the chimney or though a vent.

This means you may be paying more per hour for your utility usage (dependant on the average cost in your area) but the heat output is not being lost anywhere and so a warm room can be achieved faster if we are talking about heaters with an approximate 5000 BTU output.

Venting is not needed for an electric fireplace at all. The heat output is clean with no fumes or smoke as no fuel is being burned.

This is an added value that an electric fireplace can bring as you have no chimneys to clean or ventilation associated with the fireplace to install and maintain.

There are no real flames present in an electric fireplace, it is all an illusion.

They are achieved with the use of light, typically regular light bulbs or LED bulbs are used alongside refraction. By refracting the light, the  illusion of a genuine flickering flame or a warm glow results.

Many models don’t feature a moving flame but instead, utilize more contemporary lighting effects.

For wall mounted electric fireplaces or electric fireplace inserts, just how far up the wall you install it is normally a matter of preference.

However there are some considerations to take into account and they are:

  • Try not to have it so low that things like toys or ornaments can be accidentally kicked into them.
  • Draw a plan to ensure the fireplace looks proportionate to your room decor.
  • From seated eye level is about 40″-42″
  • From standing eye level is about 60″-66″

In most places, the cost of gas fuel is cheaper than the cost of electricity. This can vary from state to state and it may also depend on your total household electricity usage too.

However, if you haven’t already got the infrastructure set up to have a gas fireplace, it would be expensive to get it all installed and may be worth having an electric fireplace to avoid the set up costs.

About the Author

Dave Miller is a HVAC technician with over 10 years in the industry. Dave created HeatTalk with the ambition for it to become a resource for individuals looking for answers, whether they be a layman, student or a professional.

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