Instead of being limited by existing masonry or venting options, an electric fireplace can add warmth or ambiance to any room, as long as an electrical outlet is nearby.
John Crouch, the director of public affairs for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, sums up the benefit of this home appliance this way: "Electric fireplaces are primarily decorative, with some having a heating option. Most of the heating-option units will be designed to warm a single room and generally with 5,000 BTUs." He adds that electric fireplaces are generally considered safe for home use, "as long as you have them installed to the specifications of their owner’s manual."
We researched and tested dozens of models, judging them on style and display quality, safety features, heat output, and ease of setup and use. The Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove is the best overall option, based on its compact size, overheat protection, and adjustable heat and flame display settings.
Here are the best electric fireplaces.
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove
Flame feature works without heat
Heats great on all settings
Front grill gets hot
Instructions could be clearer
We’ve tested dozens of space heaters in our lab, including 31 space heaters and 23 electric fireplaces, and the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove continues to stand out for its compact, stylish design, quiet operation, and effective heat settings. It features a classic fireplace stove design and comes in a variety of finishes, including bronze, cream, French gray, and classic black. (We tested the bronze option.)
The fireplace stands a little over two feet tall and weighs 28.6 pounds, and it's relatively easy to move around. We also like that there’s no reason to store it during the warmer months (especially if you don’t have room). The heat and flame functions are independent of one another, so you can enjoy the ambiance from the five flame settings when you don’t need the heat.
This product also earned our in-home tester’s approval in the face of chilly Colorado climate conditions, thanks to the infrared heater that transmits warmth directly to people and objects. "While the Duraflame unit shouldn’t be used as a primary heating method in a home," they noted, "it did a remarkable job warming up smaller cold rooms in our Rocky Mountain home and added a nice ambiance for visitors in our guest room."
We also appreciate all of the safety features this UL-tested unit offers, including overheating protection on the plug, and a programmable automatic shutoff timer. The timer allows the electric fireplace to operate for a 30-minute session or up to nine hours before turning the unit off.
While testing the heat settings, we noticed that the top and sides of the heater did not get hot. However, the front grille is under the firebox and exposed, and does get hot, so keep that in mind when considering placement.
Price at time of publish: $300
Dimensions: 13.07 x 24 x 23.4 inches inches | Heat output: 5,200 BTUs | Area heated: 1,000 square feet | Mount type: Electric/plug in | Number of heat settings: Adjustable thermostat
R.W.FLAME 50-Inch Electric Fireplace
Heats areas up to 1,000 square feet
Offers variety of flame settings
Can be wall-mounted or recessed
Lacks a tabletop stand
Lacks variable heat settings
You can upgrade your space for less by choosing a budget-friendly electric fireplace. Without sacrificing much in the way of features, you can add ambiance and even supplementary heat to any room. The popular R.W. Flame Electric Fireplace is a great choice. It offers an adjustable flame display and two heater modes, and it can be wall-mounted or recessed.
This basic electric fireplace comes in widths ranging from 30 to 60 inches while beating the cost of similar units by a significant margin. This linear electric fireplace doesn’t include a stand for tabletop display, like some other models, but for anyone planning to hang or install the fireplace, that shouldn't matter. You can pick from 12 LED colors for the flames and ember bed while also adjusting flame speed and brightness levels. The heating element operates at 750 watts or 1,500 watts of power, but there is no built-in thermostat to regulate the temperature automatically.
Price at time of publish: $360
Dimensions: 18.1 x 3.85 x 50 inches | Heat output: 5,100 BTUs | Area heated: 400 square feet | Mount type: Wall-mounted | Number of heat settings: 2
Best TV Stand
Walker Edison Glenwood Highboy Fireplace TV Stand
Stylish, sturdy, practical design
Display works with or without heat
Realistic amber glow of logs
Lacks remote control
The Walker Edison Fireplace TV Stand is the perfect solution for smaller rooms, combining storage space, a TV stand, and a heater into one relatively compact footprint. The finished product is sturdy and stylish, with two glass cabinets (one on either side of the firebox) and open storage shelves above. The top can accommodate up to a 65-inch TV. Since this is a freestanding unit, after assembly you simply have to plug it in.
While testing the heating function, we found that this heater kept us feeling warmer than our readings showed. We could feel the heat strongly from three feet, and even up to 7 feet away. (The manufacturer claims that it heats up to 400 square feet—about the size of a two-car garage.) The firebox has two settings: an on/off switch for the heat, and a similar switch for the multicolored flames. This is a great feature in summer, when you may want the cozy ambiance of the fireplace but do not need the heat. We do wish this unit came with a remote control so you could relax by the "fire" without having to get up to change the settings.
It took two of us around 2.5 hours to assemble this in our lab! The instruction manual included illustrations and minimal text instructions, which we found a little tricky at first, but we found the 25 steps well worth our time.
Price at time of publish: $529
Dimensions: 32 x 15.75 x 58 | Heat output: 4,600 BTUs | Area heated: 400 square feet | Mount type: Freestanding | Number of heat settings: 1
PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert
Includes remote control
Multiple flame, heat settings
Fits into existing fireplaces
Cannot be hardwired
For a new way to enjoy your wood-burning fireplace with far less work, consider installing an electric fireplace insert. The PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert fits into existing fireplaces but relies on electricity rather than combustibles to create a fireside glow. As a result, there are no ashes or dust to clean up. This version plugs into a standard 120V outlet and offers multiple flame and heat settings to customize the look and function of your fireplace. It’s equipped to provide supplemental heat for rooms up to 400 square feet (about the size of a two-car garage).
To give this electric fireplace insert a realistic look, the three-sided interior has a brick-like finish treatment and a resin log that sits on a grate above the faux ember bed. A top grille grate above the glass front of the unit conceals the manual controls but easily pops open to reveal pushbuttons for flame and heat settings. The flames have three settings that vary in brightness and intensity. Heat is optional and offers 750 or 1,500 watts of power. A remote control allows you to make adjustments from across the room.
Keep in mind that you may need to prepare your existing fireplace before use. As John Crouch, the director of public affairs for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association notes, "If it’s going to be used as an insert into an old wood-burning fireplace, it would be wise to have the fireplace thoroughly cleaned by a chimney sweep, and then seal the unit to the fireplace to prevent any drafts."
Price at time of publish: $360
Dimensions: 27.95 x 8.78 x 24.61 inches | Heat output: 1,500 watts | Area heated: 400 square feet | Mount type: Insert | Number of heat settings: Adjustable thermostat
Best with Mantel
Real Flame Silverton 48 in. Electric Fireplace
LED realistic flames and embers
Easy-to-operate control panel and remote
Traditional, custom-made look
Only one speed setting
Doesn't support a TV
If you’ve always wanted a custom-made, traditional living room fireplace, we recommend the Silverton model from Real Flame. Since it is electric and doesn’t require a chimney, all you need are the space for it and a nearby outlet. The mantel is perfect for displaying holiday decorations, picture frames, and other decor items (although it cannot support a TV), and we noted that the white finish and molded trim add to the authentic look.
We also found it easy to assemble; in fact, it took two of us in our lab less than an hour to put it together. The instructions were easy to follow, even though they were illustrations only. The only issue we noted was getting the top of the cabinet to fit into the base, but we loosened the screws a bit and easily squeezed it in.
Aside from a mantel, the classic feature of a fireplace is, of course, the fire. The Real Flame uses LED technology to give the flames and embers a life-like glow, and dynamic movements that mimic a real fire that dances and dims. You can choose from five brightness settings and also customize the flame color. The unit can be operated by using the touchscreen panel or by a remote that can function up to 25 feet away. (We found both methods easy to use.) You also can operate the flame feature without the heat, so you can enjoy the ambiance year-round.
The 1,500-watt heater can be adjusted to six different temperature settings, ranging from 72 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. A blower propels the warm air into the surrounding space, and our lab tester found it extremely quiet. However, we preferred that the heater provided more than one blower speed. The manufacturer claims that it can provide supplemental heat for rooms up to 1,000 square feet—more than two and a half two-car garages. (Many electric fireplaces are only recommended for heating spaces up to 400 square feet.)
We noted that the cabinet doesn't seem that it would knock over easily, especially if placed against the wall. During testing, the back of the CSA-certified firebox did not get hot, and there is a two-inch gap between the firebox and the cabinet to provide additional airflow when placed against a wall.
Price at time of publish $1,077
Dimensions: 41 x 48 x 13 inches | Heat output: 4,780 BTUs | Area heated: 1,000 square feet | Mount type: Freestanding | Number of heat settings: 6
Best Wall Mount
Dimplex SIL48 Sierra 48 in. Wall/Built-in Linear Electric Fireplace
Mount on wall, or use with stand
Customize look of logs, flames, embers
Highest temperature is 82 degrees
Add visual interest (and supplementary heat) to a blank wall with the help of a wall-mounted electric fireplace. Most versions can be hung on the wall or recessed for a sleek, built-in look. One popular option is the Dimplex Sierra Linear Electric Fireplace. We recommend this version for its customizable features, multiple installation options, and large heating area. The standard 48-inch width is sized right for most homes. But a larger 60- or 72-inch-wide option is available if you want to make a big statement or if you have an oversized wall.
The biggest draw of a wall-mounted electric fireplace is its display, and it's tough to beat the options of the Dimplex Sierra. Upon installation (or down the road), you can choose among traditional logs, glass media, or smooth stones for the fireplace's ember bed. LED lighting effects offer even more variety for the appearance of the flames and embers; in total, there are eight variants of display lighting. You can also illuminate the flames and embers separately.
Whether you mount this linear electric fireplace or opt to use it with the included display stand, you can benefit from its built-in electric heater function. While it’s not the most robust heater (it tops out at 82 degrees Fahrenheit), it offers warm, supplementary heat, with or without flame operation.
Price at time of publish: $552
Dimensions: 19.5 x 49 x 5 inches | Heat output: 1,400 watts | Area heated: 1,000 square feet | Mount type: Insert | Number of heat settings: Adjustable thermostat
Napoleon 50-inch Clearion Elite See-Thru Electric Fireplace
Privacy glass goes from transparent to fully opaque
Options to customize ember bed and flames
Heats up to 800 square feet
Hardwired installation only
Only two flame-color options
If you have the ability and budget to install a see-through electric fireplace, this eye-catching addition adds drama to more than one room. Though it carries a premium price tag and requires direct-wire installation (120V or 240V), the Napoleon Clearion Elite See-Thru Electric Fireplace is unique.
This model is the first two-sided see-through electric fireplace (according to the manufacturer), and it also has the distinct advantage of incorporating adjustable privacy glass. You can take the visibility from one room to the other, from fully transparent to partially see-through or fully opaque. It’s a popular pick for walls between common entertaining areas, such as the dining room and living room. However, with the option to adjust the privacy of the glass instantly, you also can use it in more private living spaces.
The flame- and ember-lighting options enhance the ambiance of this see-through electric fireplace. Pair blue, orange, or combination flames with 15 ember color options for a look that fits the mood, occasion, and decor. For warmth you can feel, you can also count on the heater to produce supplementary heat for a medium-to-large room. It’s equipped to supply 5,000 BTUs of heat for 120V installations, or 10,000 BTUs in the case of 240V installations.
Price at time of publish: $2,349
Dimensions: 50 x 18.38 x 9.06 inches | Heat output: 10,000 BTUs | Area heated: 800 square feet | Mount type: Insert | Number of heat settings: Adjustable thermostat
Touchstone Sideline Outdoor 50-inch Electric Fireplace
Hardwired or plug-in installation
Includes remote and timer setting
No heat function
Outdoor living spaces are made cozier with the addition of an electric fireplace. But exposure to the elements means you need a model specifically designed for that purpose. We recommend the Touchstone Sideline Outdoor model for such an outdoor electric fireplace. It measures 50 inches wide and can be recessed into an existing outdoor structure or mounted on a wall.
The main attraction of an outdoor electric fireplace is the ambiance it creates. This model offers various colors and intensity settings to customize the flame show. However, note that the Touchstone Sideline Outdoor Fireplace has no heating element. The advantage is that it only requires 120V installation and can be hardwired or plugged into an outlet.
Price at time of publish: $1,049
Dimensions: 17.9 x 50 x 6 inches | Heat output: Not applicable | Area heated: Not applicable | Mount type: Insert | Number of heat settings: Not applicable
Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace
Works with Google Voice and Amazon Alexa
Available in multiple widths
Wide variety of flame and bed settings
Only heats up to 400 square feet
The Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart Electric Fireplace stands out for being Wi-Fi enabled. It’s a premium option for an electric fireplace. But it's a great pick for a smart home, since you can operate it using Google Home or Amazon Alexa along with the included remote control. It’s available in various widths to fit your installation space, ranging from 42 to 84 inches wide.
Once connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network, you can turn the fireplace on or off using voice commands. Other options to control the fireplace’s settings or operations are available using the included remote control or an adjustable timer. As expected of a premium electric fireplace, the Touchstone Sideline Elite fireplace has a slew of flame colors (six) and media bed settings (10), plus five intensity settings and three flame-speed settings.
This splurge-worthy electric fireplace is equipped with two heat settings—750W or 1,500W. You can dial in the temperature using the adjustable thermostat, picking a comfort level from 68 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, however, that it’s only designed to heat areas up to 400 square feet, about the size of a two-car garage.
Price at time of publish: $989
Dimensions: 19.25 x 41.75 x 5.5 inches | Heat output: 5,118 BTUs | Area heated: 400 square feet | Mount type: Insert | Number of heat settings: 2
Styled after a traditional wood stove, the Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove is a great choice overall, especially if you are looking for a freestanding option with a heater. It has a realistic flame effect and keeps smaller rooms nice and toasty. If you’re looking for a wall-mounted unit that is customizable and wallet-friendly, we recommend the R.W. Flame Electric Fireplace. With 12 different flame and fire-bed colors, you can really personalize the ambiance of a room without spending big bucks on an electric fireplace.
What to Look for in an Electric Fireplace
Ease of Use
The beauty of electric fireplaces is how easy they are to use—there’s no wood to gather or matches to find. Instead, you get instant warmth and ambiance with the flip of a switch. Some electric fireplaces, however, are easier to use than others, and some are significantly easier to install than others. Make sure you look at both factors before selecting a fireplace for your home. For example, our best overall pick, the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove, requires no assembly and is simple to operate.
Some models are made to sit on the floor, while others can be wall-mounted, like the Dimplex Sierra Linear Electric Fireplace. Certain models, including the PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert, can convert traditional wood-burning fireplaces into electric versions. Consider the room where you're going to put it, as well as where electrical outlets are located. "Safety Note: Be sure to place where the cord will reach an electrical outlet without the use of an extension or plug strip," says Larry Campbell, a licensed electrical contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board. "Always plug any electric heating device directly into a wall socket and not a plug strip outlet."
Since a fireplace often serves as a focal point in any room, make sure you select one that matches your taste and surrounding décor. From the look of the frame to the interior components, such as faux logs or crystals, there are various details to consider when choosing the best electric fireplace for your home. For example, the Real Flame Silverton 48 in. Electric Fireplace can give you the look of a traditional, custom-made fireplace and is perfect for displaying decor. The Walker Edison Fireplace TV Stand can function as an entertainment center and support a TV.
How do electric fireplaces work?
Most electric fireplaces draw in cool air from the room, warm it through an internal heating element, and release the warm air into the room via a fan or blower. Electric fireplaces do not produce real flames. Instead, they create the illusion of flickering flames by refracting light from a bulb or LED device configured in a three-dimensional pattern.
How much heat do electric fireplaces give off?
Electric fireplaces' heat output and recommended coverage area vary widely by model; and some electric fireplaces offer no heating capabilities at all. But most electric fireplaces provide between 4,500 and 5,200 BTUs of heat. A unit with a forced fan heater can warm rooms up to 400 square feet (about the size of a two-car garage). Models with infrared heaters usually can cover much larger areas—up to 1,000 square feet. However, John Crouch, the director of public affairs for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association points out the following distinction: "Electric fireplaces should not be confused with gas heating fireplaces or pellet heaters. Electric fireplaces are primarily decorative. Of course, the amount of heat needed to keep a room comfortable will vary tremendously from a new home in Phoenix to an older house in Minneapolis."
How do you install an electric fireplace?
Most portable and freestanding units don’t require any installation; you just plug them into outlets. A wall-mounted unit can be hung or recessed into a wall. Hanging the unit is easier, while recessing the fireplace into a wall requires some carpentry work, like cutting and patching. Mantel fireplaces usually require some assembly; most models are secured to the wall with cleats and construction adhesive.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, a freelance writer with expertise in researching and testing home appliances. She relies on a fireplace stove-style electric heater for supplementary warmth during Northeastern winters. To find the best options based on aesthetics, features, and heating ability, she considered a variety of electric heater models, including freestanding, wall-mounted, and insert options. In her research, she compared the options for flame appearance and intensity, heat output, and functions, along with firsthand insights from product testers.
Erica also interviewed John Crouch, the director of public affairs for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Crouch spoke about the purpose of an electric fireplace, its versatility for most home environments, and what you should consider when installing an electric fireplace insert into a wood-burning fireplace.
Jenica Currie, associate commerce editor for outdoor, gardening, and home improvement at The Spruce, updated this list using additional results and insights from top electric fireplace heaters and space heaters tested in our lab.