An electric fireplace heater provides extra heat and a cozy ambiance without the expense of installing and maintaining a traditional fireplace.
We tested 23 electric fireplace heaters in our Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, and evaluated them on ease of assembly, heating performance, design, safety, and value. The winner was the Costway 20-inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace because it provides powerful heat, includes several safety features, and has realistic-looking “flames” you can view from three sides. Here are the best fireplace heaters we tested.
Costway 20-Inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace
Three viewing windows
Several safety features
Flames work without heat
Negligible difference between heat settings
We tested 23 electric fireplaces, and the Costway Freestanding Electric Fireplace Heater was the clear winner. We love that it was easy to set up (we just had to screw on the legs), with no other installation required. Plus, even though it is compact, we found it provided powerful heat we felt up to about 5 feet away, almost instantly. Safety features include overheat protection, CSA certification, and a cool-to-the-touch exterior. We also found it to be pretty sturdy, and it didn't tip over easily.
If space is an issue, you won't have to store this heater in the winter. The flame feature works independently from the heat, so you can use the fireplace in the summer for a bit of ambiance, no matter how hot it is outside. The heater has windows on three sides for ample viewing of the fire. And, during testing, we noted that the movement and color of the flames looked pretty realistic.
The fireplace features a simple control panel, with a knob to adjust the heat, an on/off switch for the heater, and an on/off switch for the unit (flames only). We didn’t notice much of a difference between the heat settings, and the unit lacks a remote control. But overall, we think this is a relatively affordable option for anyone who wants to add a cozy fireplace to their home, with little effort.
Price at time of publish: $146
Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 23 inches | Weight: 17.5 pounds | Heat Output: 4777 BTUs | Wattage: 1400W | Coverage Area: 700 square heat | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: 4 different settings between 68 and 95 degrees | Safety Features: Overheat protection, cool touch exterior, CSA certified
Turbro Suburbs TS17 Electric Fireplace Stove
Compact and lightweight
Flames work without heat
Several safety features
No tip-over shutoff
Similar in style to our best overall winner, the Turbro Suburbs Compact Electric Fireplace Stove is an excellent option for warming small spaces, especially if you are on a budget. At less than $100 at the time of publication, this option is just as easy to put together as the Costway model (just put on the legs), with only one person needed for assembly.
You can enjoy the flames without the heat, which is always a nice feature. And the fire appears pretty genuine, as our tester noted: “The color of the flames and the embedding of the flames in the fake log is fairly realistic. You can see the red flames inside the grill underneath, which also adds to the realism of the unit.” However, the Turbro doesn’t have windows on the sides, so you can only view the “flames” from the front.
We believe this heater is good for small spaces due to its small size, weight, and heating abilities. At 13 pounds, it’s also lightweight enough that you could move it around the room as needed. We felt the heat from as far as 5 feet away, but it was more noticeable at 4 feet. This unit does not come with a remote, but it does feature a dial to adjust the heating power, and two on/off switches: one for the unit itself and another for the heat. This fireplace heater is also CSA certified.
Note that there is no tip-over shutoff, and it’s small and lightweight, so make sure it’s not in a high-traffic area.
Price at time of publish: $90
Dimensions: 15 x 9 x 18 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Heat Output: 4777 BTUs | Wattage: 1400W | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: Adjustable dial | Safety Features: Overheat protection, cool touch exterior, CSA certified
Real Flame Callaway Grand Electric Fireplace
Classic fireplace look with mantel
Flame brightness is adjustable
Negligible difference between heat settings
No overheat protection
As our tester noted, “This is a beautiful furniture piece.”
The Callaway Grand Electric Fireplace is well worth the splurge if you are looking to add a classic fireplace and mantel to your living space without having to worry about a chimney. It’s definitely more of an investment in money and space than a small electric stove, but your family could gather around the “fire” and decorate the mantel and space above it for years to come. We also like that it is available in white or chestnut oak to match your decor. The mantel doesn't support a TV, but it can support up to 30 pounds of decor.
It took two of us around an hour and a half to assemble the fireplace, but this seems reasonable, given it is a sturdy and heavy piece of furniture. However, we found the instructions easy to follow. As our tester noted, “All of the cabinet pieces were labeled with a number, and the instructions showed the part number in the graphics, which was very helpful in doing the assembly.” After assembly, you simply have to plug the fireplace in—make sure wherever you set it up is close to an outlet.
This is an infrared fireplace, so it heats up the objects and people in the room—not the air. When we tested the heating performance, we felt warm above the level of the heat box up to 3.5 feet away but most powerfully at 3 feet away. Although there are six settings ranging from 72-99 degrees, we didn’t notice much of a difference between them.
We like that this fireplace comes with a remote to control all the settings, with no control panel on the unit to take away from the authentic look. Safety features include CSA certification, but the unit does lack tip-over shutoff or overheat protection. However, this is a sturdy piece of furniture that should not tip over easily, and it comes with a wall anchor kit to secure it. It also features a timer so you can program it to shut off after a period of time.
Price at time of publish: $1,316
Dimensions: 63 x 17.24 x 48.38 | Weight: 200 pounds | Heat Output: Not listed | Wattage: 1500W | Coverage Area: 1000 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding with anchor kit | Number of Heat Settings: 6 | Safety Features: CSA certified
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Great warming on all settings
Includes a remote
Realistic flame display works without heat
Grill gets hot
Instructions could be clearer
We’ve tested this fireplace heater at home, as well as in the Lab along with other space heaters. It continues to be one of our favorite heaters because it is stylish and compact, has the look of a wood stove without the hassle of using firewood, and has effective heat settings. Like our best overall option, this fireplace has viewing windows on three sides and can be used without heat. And, our tester noted, “The logs glow to look like a real firebox.” Although you can’t change the color of the flames, there are five settings to change the brightness.
Since this is an infrared heater, it heats the people and objects in the room instead of the air. We confirmed this when testing this heater: We didn't record any change in the temperature of the room. But our tester noted that the heater did a good job of heating on all settings. The heater also comes with a remote to change those settings, although we found the instructions unclear.
This UL-tested heater has several safety features, including overheating protection on the plug, and a programmable automatic shutoff timer. Also, while testing, we noticed that the top and the sides of the heater did not get hot (although our tester commented that the top is too warm to display items). The grill, however, did get quite hot, so you should keep this in mind when considering placement.
Price at time of publish: $250
Dimensions: 24 x 12.9 x 23.4 inches | Weight: 26.4 pounds | Heat Output: 5200 BTUs | Wattage: 1500W | Coverage Area: 1,000 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: 3 | Safety Features: UL listed
Better Homes & Gardens Freestanding Fan Forced 1500W Portable Fireplace
Easy to carry
Warms up quickly
Flames work without heat
Not the best option for larger spaces
It’s hard to imagine a portable fireplace, but this budget-friendly option from Better Homes and Gardens is small and light enough to take with you (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by The Spruce's parent company, Dotdash Meredith). Measuring about 12 x 7 x 15 inches, it has a leather strap handle that makes it easy to carry. So if you didn’t think you had room in your home for a fireplace, this one should fit into any space. In fact, our tester thinks it’s “great for a small office or bedroom.” Plus, out of the 23 space heaters we tested in the Lab, this was our top choice for its effective heating and stylish look.
With no assembly needed, this small heater has many of the same features as the bigger freestanding fireplaces in this roundup, and in some cases, even more. It has two heat settings (high and low), and you can view the flames without the heat. We were surprised by how quickly this heater started warming up the room, and we loved the temperature-regulating feature. Once the heater warmed the room to the set temperature on the dial, the heater would shut off, and once it cooled down below it, it would turn back on again.
Safety features include a cool-touch exterior and a tip-over shutoff, which we found worked before we even knocked the heater completely over. The instruction manual notes that the cord is both UL- and ETL-compliant (but we didn't see this information on the cord).
Price at time of publish: $47
Dimensions: 11.91 x 6.87 x 14.71 Inches | Weight: Not listed | Heat Output: Not listed | Wattage: 750W/1500W | Coverage Area: Not listed | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: 2 | Safety Features: Overheat production, tip over shut off, cool-touch exterior
Best With Mantel
Real Flame Silverton 48 in. Electric Fireplace
Adjustable color and brightness of LED flames
Easy-to-operate control panel and remote
Only one fan speed setting
Mantel can't support a TV
We love the Real Flame Silverton Electric Fireplace because it looks like a custom-made fireplace, complete with trim molding, and creates a warm focal point in any room. The mantel can support up to 31 pounds, so although it can’t support a TV, it’s perfect for picture frames and other types of decor. This fireplace also stands out for its ability to adjust not only the brightness of the flames but also their color.
Although it’s not the easiest unit in this roundup to assemble, it took two of us less than an hour, and we found the illustrated directions easy to follow. The only assembly glitch our tester found was getting the top of the cabinet to fit onto the base, and they fixed that by loosening some screws. Once assembled, we found it easy to use the settings located on the firebox panel, as well as on the remote. In fact, we noted that the remote worked up to 25 feet away. And although this fireplace doesn’t have an overheat shutoff feature, you can set a timer so the heater turns off after up to nine hours.
While this fireplace stands out for its authentic look and flame display, it’s not the best option to heat your space. It can be used with or without heat, and although the heat can be felt up to 11 feet away, we didn’t feel it to be as powerful as we’d hoped. However, if you want to add a fireplace to your home without the hassle of installing a chimney and hearth, this is a beautiful option that looks custom-made.
Price at time of publish: $809
Dimensions: 41 x 48 x 13 inches | Weight: 101 pounds | Heat Output: 4700 BTUs | Wattage: 1500W | Coverage Area: 1000 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding, brackets to attach to wall | Number of Heat Settings: 6 | Safety Features: UL listed
Best With TV Stand
Walker Edison Glenwood Highboy Fireplace TV Stand
Glass cabinets and shelves for storage
Supports a TV
Lacks a remote
Although it doesn’t have a traditional mantel, this unit from Walker Edison is designed to support a TV (up to 150 pounds), and provides ample storage. We also believe it’s a great space-saving solution if you are looking to add a fireplace but wondering where to place it. The cabinets on either side of the firebox have glass doors, with a long shelf on top. While it did take two of us two and a half hours to complete the setup (with 25 steps!), you should be able to enjoy the results for years to come.
Aside from being a stylish and practical piece of furniture, this unit features a very effective heater. While testing, we were surprised at how strong the heat felt—we could feel its warmth more than 7 feet away. However, the fireplace has only one heat setting and lacks a remote. Although the controls on the unit are simple to use, we would prefer that the fireplace take a cue from the TV it supports: letting you relax on the couch without having to get up to change the settings. We do like the multicolor flames, and that you can view them without the heat.
Price at time of publish: $435
Dimensions: 58 x 15.75 x 32 inches | Weight: 120 pounds | Heat Output: 4600 BTUs | Wattage: Not listed | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: 1 | Safety Features: CSA certified
Real Flame Foster Stove Electric Fireplace
Realistic flames and chimney
Heats up quickly
Flames work without heat
Unclear instructions, hard assembly
Plastic stovepipe could be more realistic
Our favorite feature of the Foster Stove Electric Fireplace is the “fire," causing our tester to marvel, "From the front view of this fireplace, this is probably one of the most realistic flames I have ever seen!” We also like that it heats up quickly—we felt the warmth at 4 feet away—and we noticed a difference between the four heat settings. This is also the only option in this roundup that features a stovepipe (although it is just for show), for an even more realistic look.
With a relatively small footprint, this unit is black and made of steel, and although it doesn’t feature a tip-over shutoff, we couldn’t imagine it being knocked over easily. We found the control dials easy to use and operate, although we would prefer that the unit came with a remote.
Also, even though this seems like a straightforward, freestanding unit, like a few of the smaller ones we examined, it was relatively complicated to put together, taking us 37 minutes. We had a hard time assembling the plastic stovepipe in particular and found the instructions to be unclear.
Price at time of publish: $754
Dimensions: 25 x 15 x 56.5 | Weight: 42 pounds | Heat Output:4700 BTUs | Wattage: 1400W | Coverage Area: 1000 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding with wall | Number of Heat Settings: 4 | Safety Features: CSA certified, cool-touch exterior, temperature limiting control
Best Faux Stone
Hearthstone Home 36-Inch Electric Fireplace With Mantel
Rustic, stone look
Almost no assembly required
Best for heating small spaces
If you want to add a rustic, stone fireplace to your home, almost instantly, we recommend the Hearthstone Home 36-Inch Electric Fireplace. During testing, we were pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to assemble, given its size. It took us only about 15 minutes to get it going, from the time we slipped it out of the box, removed the plastic, and screwed in a bracket on one side of the heat box. “The fact that the unit was 98 percent assembled was fabulous,” our tester noted.
We don’t recommend this fireplace if you are looking for a powerful heater for a large room—farther than 3 feet away, we felt no heat. But if you love the look of a traditional stone fireplace and want to enjoy the ambiance of the flames year-round, this is a great choice. Plus, it has a wood mantel that is perfect for displaying seasonal decor or other small items. It comes with a remote and is CSA certified.
This unit doesn’t offer automatic tip-over shutoff, but since it’s so sturdy, we believe it would be hard to knock over.
Price at time of publish: $782
Dimensions: 36 x 11.53 x 17.8 inches | Weight: 66.57 pounds | Heat Output: 4777 BTUs | Wattage: 1400W | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Mount Type: Freestanding | Number of Heat Settings: | Safety Features: CSA certified
Zipcode Design Lauderhill Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace
Sleek and modern design
Great safety features
Doesn’t produce multicolor flames
If you lack floor space, this wall-mounted electric fireplace has a sleek look and space-saving functionality. Its adjustable, flickering LED flames create a realistic look. This unit is equipped with a powerful 5,118-BTU heater and is best suited for rooms up to 400 square feet (about the size of a two-car garage). It offers some great safety features, including a timer, safety stop, and thermal overload protection. For added convenience, it also includes a remote control.
Although we haven’t tested this electric fireplace in our Lab, we’ve noted that it is easy to install and looks great. We also like that it is available in four styles: White Frame, Black Frame, Mirror Glass Panel, and Stainless Steel. You can activate the flames without turning on the heater when you just want to add ambiance.
The one major drawback is although you can adjust the brightness, this fireplace doesn’t produce multicolor flames (although most products in this roundup don’t). But it’s a great option if you like a modern aesthetic and want to utilize wall space.
Price at time of publish: $230
Dimensions: 50.38 X 5.38 x 21.63 inches | Weight: 46 pounds | Heat Output: 5118 BTUs | Wattage: 1500 | Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Mount Type: Wall-Mounted | Number of Heat Settings: 2 | Safety Features: Automatic safety shut off, Thermal Overload Protection, ETL listed
After testing 23 electric fireplace heaters in our Lab, our favorite is the Costway 20-Inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace. It provides enough heat for small- to medium-sized rooms and has realistic flames, as well as three windows, so more people in the room can enjoy the ambiance. We also like the budget-friendly Turbro Suburbs Electric Fireplace, which has similar features but can only be viewed from the front.
How We Tested the Electric Fireplace Heaters
After extensive research, we purchased 23 top-rated electric fireplace heaters and tested them in our Lab in Des Moines, Iowa. First, to evaluate the ease of assembly, we put together each unit according to the manufacturer's instructions, timing the assembly process from start to finish. We also noted if it took one or two people to put the fireplace together, and noted any safety features, including cool-touch exterior, overheat protection, and automatic shutoff, as well as any listed certifications. After fully assembling each product, we intentionally bumped into each heater to assess how sturdy it was or if it would tip over easily. We then looked at the design of the fireplace, including the user-friendliness of the control panel and remote (if included). Since the focal point of a fireplace is the fire, we noted how real the flames looked and if the unit had any special settings, such as whether we could change the brightness and color, and could operate it without producing heat.
Aside from ambiance, electric fireplace heaters should add supplemental heating to your space, so we also evaluated each unit on its heating performance. With an IR thermometer, we recorded the temperatures of the room, the tester, the grill, the glass, and other surfaces of the fireplace after different time intervals. We ran through each heating setting and noted if there was a difference in temperature between them. We then used a decibel meter to measure the fireplace's noise output at its highest setting to determine if they operated quietly or were noisy and distracted from the ambiance. Last, we evaluated the value of each unit, considering the price, features, and design.
What to Look for in an Electric Fireplace Heater
While electric fireplace heaters shouldn’t be your primary source of heat, they can provide an impressive amount of supplementary heat in your home. If you want to use your fireplace heater to warm part of your house, consider its recommended heating capacity. Most units clearly state what size room they’re designed to be placed in.
Fireplace heaters come in a wide variety of styles, from sleek, modern, wall-mounted units to rustic, wood stove-inspired models. As you shop, consider your decor and how the heater may fit into the room. For instance, our best splurge option, the Real Flame Callaway Grand Electric Fireplace, is designed to look like a real fireplace along with having a functional mantel for decorating. The Walker Edison Glenwood Highboy Fireplace TV Stand can support a TV and has ample room for storage.
Electric heaters are a common cause of house fires, which is why it’s important to find a product that has built-in safety features. Look for a model that automatically shuts off if it overheats. If you have young children or pets, you may want a product that stays cool to the touch. Also, be sure to look for labels indicating that the unit has been tested by recognized agencies such as UL, ETL, or CSA. Never use an extension cord with an electric heater—choose a model with a long power cord if proximity to an outlet is an issue.
How much electricity do electric fireplace heaters use?
If you know how many watts the heater draws per hour, you can determine how much it costs to run it. Electric fireplace heaters generally use 1,000 to 1,500 watts per hour, but some models might also be equipped with a low, 750-watt setting. Multiply the wattage per hour by how many hours each day you plan to operate your electric fireplace heater. Then, multiply this number by 30, then by 1,000. This gives you the total kilowatt-hours of energy the heater uses in a month. On your utility bill, check the cost per kilowatt-hour to estimate the cost of using the electric fireplace heater.
Do electric fireplaces need a vent?
No, electric fireplace heaters do not require vents. These heaters are not burning any type of fuel, so there is no exhaust needing to be vented.
How big a room does an electric fireplace heat?
Most electric fireplace heaters with 1,000-watt heaters can warm rooms up to about 400 square feet (about the size of a two-car garage). Electric fireplaces with more powerful 1,500-watt heaters may be able to warm rooms up to 1,000 square feet in size (two and a half two-car garages).
Why Trust The Spruce?
Jenica Currie is the associate commerce editor for outdoor, gardening, and home improvement at The Spruce. She has tested products at home and in the Lab, including combination fan heaters, outdoor solar lights, garden hoses, and snow shovels. She researched dozens of top-rated electric fireplace heaters and used our test results to compile this roundup.
What Is the Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.