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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.
Best Overall: Duraflame DFI-5010-01 Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove
Small form factor
Top is too warm to display items
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked the Duraflame Electric Fireplace Stove.
What do buyers say? 90% of 10,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The best electric fireplace should have realistic flames, simple controls, and the option to throw substantial warmth into the room. The Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove is our top recommendation, since it checks all of these boxes. It also earned our in-home product tester’s approval in the face of chilly Colorado climate conditions, thanks to the infrared heater that transmits warmth directly to people and objects. They noted, "While the Duraflame unit shouldn’t be used as a primary heating method in a home, 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."
This electric fireplace option from Duraflame is compact enough to fit just about anywhere and looks good everywhere. Aesthetic appeal is an obvious advantage of this model—it features a classic fireplace stove design and comes in a variety of finishes, including bronze, cream, French gray, bronze, and classic black. The fireplace stands a little over 2 feet tall and weighs 28.6 pounds, making it easy to move it around your home or even store it away during the summer months. However, if your primary purpose in purchasing an electric fireplace is to enjoy the ambiance of flames, there’s no reason to store this model away in warmer weather. The heat and flame functions are independent of one another, so enjoy the show from Duraflame’s patent-pending “3D Flame Effect.” There are five flame levels, giving you options for enjoying the display.
Safety features that stand out include a plug with overheating protection and a programmable automatic shut-off timer. The timer allows the electric fireplace to operate for a short, 30-minute session or up to 9 hours before turning the unit off.
Best Budget: R.W.FLAME 50-Inch Electric Fireplace
Heats large areas up to 1,000 square feet
Offers variety of flame settings
Can be wall-mounted or recessed
Doesn’t include a tabletop stand
Not equipped with 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’ll be able to add ambiance and even supplementary heat to any room. The popular R.W. Flame Electric Fireplace is a great choice for a wall-mounted option that won’t break the bank. 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 who is planning to hang or install the fireplace, it shouldn't matter. You’ll be able to pick from 12 LED colors for the flames and ember bed while also adjusting flame speed and brightness levels. The heating element operates at 750W or 1,500W of power, but there is no built-in thermostat to regulate the temperature automatically.
Best with TV Stand: Ameriwood Farmington Electric Fireplace
Multiple finishes available
Remote control operation
Constructed of MDF
Control panel is visible
An electric fireplace serves as a great focal point in the room but might compete with your television for space and attention. Solve that dilemma by picking an electric fireplace TV stand, like this popular pick from Ameriwood. The Farmington model stands out for its weathered, rustic finish (available in multiple colors) and realistic flame display. It’s also available in 50- or 60-inch widths to fit the dimensions of your flat-screen television. The electric fireplace insert measures 23 inches wide on either model.
You can enjoy the flame display on the electric fireplace with or without heat. A touch panel on the face of the unit controls operation, but it conveniently offers remote-control operation, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the control panel isn’t hidden behind a door or in another discreet location. While it makes for easy access, it doesn’t do anything to enhance the realism of this electric fireplace. But for an electric fireplace TV stand, the Ameriwood Farmington does many things well and offers the size and finish options to meet a variety of needs.
Best Insert: PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert
Includes remote control
Multiple flame and 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 space for rooms up to 400 square feet in area.
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 grill grate above the glass front of the unit conceals the manual controls but easily pops open to reveal push buttons 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.
Best Freestanding: Real Flame Silverton 48 in. Electric Fireplace
Heats up to 1,000 square feet
LED technology for realistic flames and embers
Includes remote control
Doesn't support a TV
A freestanding electric fireplace offers placement flexibility, giving you the option to add ambiance and warmth to just about any location as long as an electrical outlet is nearby. The Silverton model from Real Flame lives up to its name by offering a realistic look and substantial heat output of 4,780 BTUs. This version measures 48 inches wide and is made from solid wood, powder-coated steel, and veneered MDF for durable and long-lasting construction. It can be situated in any room, without the need to factor in chimney placement, ventilation, or clean-up concerns.
One of the things that makes the Real Flame Silverton electric fireplace stand out is its resemblance to a traditional living room fireplace. The centerpiece is, of course, the Vivid Flame Electric Firebox. 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 integrated mantle adds to the look and is suitable for decor, but keep in mind that this electric fireplace isn’t designed to support a television.
The 1,500-watt heater of this freestanding electric fireplace 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. With that in mind, it can provide supplemental heat for rooms up to 1,000 square feet in area, which is impressive, since many electric fireplaces are only recommended for heating spaces up to 400 square feet. Like most good-quality models, the Real Flame Silverton electric fireplace can also be operated in flame-only mode, with no heat radiating from the unit.
Best Wall Mount: Dimplex SIL48 Sierra 48 in. Wall/Built-in Linear Electric Fireplace
Can be wall-mounted or used with a stand
Customize look of the logs, flames, and embers
Highest temperature setting 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. A 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 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 ember bed of the fireplace. 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.
Best See-Through: 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
A see-through electric fireplace adds drama to more than one room and is an eye-catching addition if you have the ability and budget to install one. 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. 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, like the dining room and living room. However, with the option to adjust the privacy of the glass instantly, it’s also possible to use it in more private living spaces.
The ambiance of this see-through electric fireplace is enhanced by its flame and ember lighting options. Pair blue, orange, or combination flames with 15 different ember color options for a look that fits the mood, occasion, or 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 installation.
Best Outdoor: Touchstone Sideline Outdoor 50-inch Electric Fireplace
Option for hard-wired or plug-in installation
Includes remote control 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 that you’ll need to choose a model that is specifically designed with that purpose in mind. Our recommendation for an outdoor electric fireplace is the Touchstone Sideline Outdoor model. 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. The biggest thing to know about the Touchstone Sideline Outdoor Electric Fireplace is that it has no heating element. The advantage is that it only requires 120V installation and can be hardwired or plugged into an outlet.
Best Splurge: 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 and bed settings. You can choose from six flame colors and 10 media bed colors, 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 between 68 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, however, that it’s only designed to heat areas up to 400 square feet.
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, too. It has a realistic flame effect and keeps smaller-sized 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, it’s instant warmth and ambiance with the flip of a switch. Some, 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.
Some models are made to sit on the floor, while others can be wall-mounted. Certain models can convert traditional wood-burning fireplaces into electric versions. Consider the room where you're going to put it, as well as where it will go in relation to electrical outlets.
Since a fireplace often serves as a focal point in any room, you want to 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.
How do electric fireplaces work?
Most electric fireplaces operate by drawing in cool air from the room, warming it through an internal heating element, and releasing the warm air back 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 in a three-dimensional pattern.
How much heat do electric fireplaces give off?
The heat output and recommended coverage area vary widely by model (and some electric fireplaces offer no heating capabilities at all), but here are some general rules of thumb. Most electric fireplaces provide between 4,500 and 5,200 BTUs of heat. A unit with a forced fan heater will be able to warm rooms up to 400 square feet. Models with an infrared heater can usually cover a much larger area—up to 1,000 square feet. However, Crouch points out the following distinction: "Electric fireplaces should not be confused with a gas heating fireplace or pellet heater. 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; all you need to do is plug them into an outlet. A wall-mounted unit can either be hung or recessed into a wall. Hanging the unit is an easier job, while recessing the fireplace into a wall requires some minor 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-mount, 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. He 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.