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If you love the idea of a burning fireplace but don’t love the ash cleanup, gas fireplace inserts are a great option for you. Gas fireplaces are a convenient and appealing way to add the warmth of a fireplace to your home without the hassle of traditional woodburning fireplaces.
Available in either vented or ventless configurations, you’ll need to determine which choice is right for your space. Vented gas fireplace inserts will require a flue or ductwork for external venting, while vent-free fireplace inserts can be installed anywhere. Other decisions will include whether to buy a model that runs on natural gas or propane, or shop for a gas fireplace insert that is dual fuel—meaning it can operate with either fuel source.
Here, the best gas fireplace inserts on the market today.
Best Overall: Ashley Hearth 34,000 BTU Vent-Free Firebox Natural Gas Stove
A gas fireplace insert is an easy-to-use, low-maintenance solution for adding warmth and ambiance to your home. The Ashely Hearth Vent-Free Firebox slides into the existing space of your woodburning fireplace (with optional insert kit) or can be installed in a specially-made niche for a gas fireplace. The advantage of a vent-free model like this one is a high-rate of heat efficiency—99 percent, according to the manufacturer. In addition, you’ll enjoy the most flexible placement options since it doesn’t require venting to the outside through an existing chimney or new ductwork.
This natural gas model from Ashley Hearth is 38 inches wide and 23.75 inches high, but the actual firebox measures slightly smaller at 25 inches wide by 15.5 inches high. Included with this ventless gas fireplace insert is a set of realistic-looking logs to complete your set-up. The steel construction of the unit’s exterior is durable and sturdy and the 36,000 BTU fireplace heater does an excellent job of heating up a room.
Best Vented Gas: Empire Comfort Systems Deluxe Keystone Series B-Vent Fireplace
A vented gas fireplace can either be a direct vent or a B-vent model. While a direct vent requires the installation of a venting pipe that terminates outside the wall of the home or the roof, a B-vent gas fireplace makes it easier by using the existing chimney to vent exhaust.
The Empire Keystone Fireplace is an option if you’re shopping for a B-vent gas fireplace insert to use inside of your woodburning fireplace. This model offers 21,000 BTU and makes use of your fireplace’s existing vent—giving you the convenience of a gas fireplace insert where your wood burning fireplace currently sits. This natural gas fireplace insert offers the ease of millivolt ignition, and also includes a remote control to adjust the settings of your fireplace—even from across the room.
Best Direct Vent: Empire Tahoe Deluxe Direct Vent Fireplace
A direct vent gas fireplace offers more possibilities as to where to install your fireplace. While most gas fireplace inserts need to exhaust fumes through the chimney, a direct vent fireplace uses a sealed chamber to draw in fresh air and expel exhaust through a specialized pipe that exits the house through a wall or roof opening.
The Empire Tahoe Deluxe is a 36-inch direct vent fireplace that operates using natural gas. It features millivolt ignition for easy operation. Users generally find the installation to be straight-forward, but be sure that you understand the installation process well and have the necessary components (like venting pipe, gas hose, etc.) and tools for the job—or hire a professional to ensure proper installation.
Best Ventless: Ashley Hearth Vent-Free Natural Gas Fireplace Insert
A ventless gas fireplace doesn’t require external venting, which offers an important upside: no heat escapes out the chimney or flue. As a result, ventless gas fireplace inserts are generally considered the best type of inserts for heating your room. This model from Ashley Hearth offers 99 percent efficiency, thanks to its ventless design.
The included mesh screen and ceramic logs complete the look of this ventless gas fireplace insert. Models using either propane or natural glass are available. The heat distribution from the 34,000 BTU heater is powerful enough to warm up large rooms—even the entire first floor of a house, according to one user.
Best Log Set, Vented: Peterson Real Fyre Pioneer Oak Vented Gas 24-inch Log Set
This vented log set offers a realistic look and brilliant flames that will add warmth and beauty to an existing woodburning fireplace. This is a good option if you want to convert your fireplace into something with less maintenance and clean-up but aren’t ready to commit to the investment of a gas fireplace insert.
The Peterson Real Fyre 24-inch log set needs to be used with an open chimney or flue, but produces taller flames that burn yellow, adding to the realistic look of this gas log set. Additionally, these faux logs will continue to provide radiant heat after the burner has been turned off, so you room will continue to remain warm.