A gas fireplace insert provides heat and flames without producing the smoke, soot, and ashes associated with a wood-burning fireplace. We spent hours researching dozens of fireplace inserts to find the best buys, assessing ease of installation, use, and maintenance.
Enjoy heat and flames on demand with one of these top gas fireplace inserts.
Duluth Forge FDF300R Vent Less Gas Fireplace Insert
Includes remote control
Heats up to 1,350 square feet
Lacks a thermostat
Heat your room in a hurry with the help of the 26,000 BTU per hour Duluth Forge Vent Less Gas Fireplace Insert. This model is sized for heating spaces up to 1,350 square feet and requires no external venting. As a safety precaution, an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) monitors air quality and sounds an alarm if oxygen levels become low.
You can slide the Duluth Forge Vent Less Gas Fireplace into your existing masonry fireplace (with appropriate ductwork) or build a fireplace to suit this insert exactly. Its remote control makes starting a fire as simple as pushing a button: Unlike a wood-burning fireplace, there are no matches or fire starters needed.
Price at time of publish: $1,000
Venting Type: Ventless | Fuel Type: Dual Fuel | Front Product Width: 29.1 inches | Material: Ceramic | Heat Output: 26,000 BTU/hour
Pleasant Hearth PHZC32F Vent Free Gas Firebox
Zero clearance insert
Includes draw screen for safety
Must buy a set of gas logs
Decorative brick panel insert sold separately
Many gas fireplace inserts are sold as a complete package, including a log set with a burner or other filler material. However, another option to save money or customize the look of your gas fireplace is to purchase a gas firebox without logs. You can add the log set of your choice or other filler material (like crushed glass) and a burner.
For an affordable gas fireplace insert, choose the Pleasant Hearth Vent Free Gas Firebox, which is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than many other popular models. It offers zero-clearance installation options and a fire screen for safety, and it can be used with either natural gas or propane log sets. While you still need to purchase the log set to make this gas fireplace insert functional, you’ll be able to choose components that fit your style and budget.
Price at time of publish: $451
Venting Type: Ventless | Fuel Type: Natural gas or propane | Front Product Width: 32.19 inches | Material: Metal | Heat Output: Not applicable
Best Direct Vented
Empire Tahoe Deluxe Direct Vent Fireplace
Only 16 inches deep
Includes brick liner and logs
Not equipped for dual fuel
Barrier screen or door set sold separately
A direct vented gas fireplace insert creates more versatile installation options, since it can be vented horizontally or vertically. It also offers the advantage of using the outdoor air for combustion rather than drawing in warm air from the room you'd like to heat.
The Empire Tahoe Deluxe NG Millivolt Fireplace provides up to 20,000 BTU of heat using a natural gas supply. It features a brick liner and six ceramic logs for an authentic fireplace look. The glass front provides a sealed chamber for combustion, but take note that the glass can become very hot to the touch. You’ll need to buy a barrier screen or door set for protection against touching the hot glass. This fireplace insert measures 37 inches wide but only 16 inches deep, allowing it to fit into shallow fireplace openings.
Price at time of publish: $1,800
Venting Type: Direct Vent | Fuel Type: Natural Gas | Front Product Width: 37 inches | Material: Metal | Heat Output: 20,000 BTU/hour
Best Natural Vented
Empire Comfort Systems Deluxe Keystone Series B-Vent Fireplace
4-inch exhaust vent
Log set included
Blower is a separate accessory
Natural vented gas fireplaces vent vertically, like the chimney on a standard fireplace. Also sometimes referred to as a B-vent fireplace, this type of gas fireplace insert pulls air from inside the room while exhausting it up and out of a chimney outfitted with the proper ductwork. The result brings large, bright flames that more closely resemble a wood-burning fire than direct vent or vent-free models of fireplace inserts.
The Empire Keystone Deluxe B-Vent Fireplace measures 37 inches wide, while the B-vent is just four inches in diameter. This fireplace includes a brick-look liner and a set of logs for a cozy ambiance all year long. It has an output of 21,000 BTU using a natural gas supply. Generally speaking, natural vented gas fireplace inserts are ideal for heating smaller rooms. They provide warmth while exhausting fumes but won’t overpower a room with too much heat like some direct vent models.
Price at time of publish: $1,580
Venting Type: Natural vent | Fuel Type: Natural gas | Front Product Width: 37 inches | Material: Metal | Heat Output: 21,000 BTU/hour
Best Log Set
Duluth Forge Ventless Dual Fuel Log Set-24 in 33,000 BTU
Realistic shape and texture
Battery-assisted Piezo ignition
A gas log set can be used along with a fireplace insert or inside an existing wood-burning fireplace. The Duluth Forge Ventless Dual Fuel Log Set can use natural gas or liquid propane, offers eight realistic, hand-painted logs cast from refractory ceramics, and can warm a room up to 1,300 square feet. Gas log sets come in vent-free and vented varieties; this set is a ventless option that does not require a chimney or duct to dispel exhaust.
This set is available in 18-, 24-, and 30-inch widths, so be sure to pick the set of gas logs that fits your firebox or fireplace. All sizes feature a battery-assisted Piezo ignition with a built-in pilot oxygen-depletion sensor (ODS), so it will immediately turn off if it detects carbon monoxide or lack of oxygen.
Price at time of publish: $369
Venting Type: Ventless | Fuel Type: Natural Gas or propane | Front Product Width: 18, 24, or 30 inches | Material: Refractory ceramics | Heat Output: 33,000 BTU/hour
Ashley Hearth Vent-Free Natural Gas Fireplace Insert
Adjustable thermostat for temperature control
Includes a blower
Must choose either a natural gas or propane model
Not a zero-clearance fireplace insert
Ventless gas fireplace inserts, like this model from Ashley Hearth, have become very popular, thanks to their versatile installation options and major heat output. Unlike vented fireplace inserts, this type of fireplace insert is highly efficient and produces very little exhaust. As a result, you don’t need external venting, though you can still install it in a conventional wood-burning fireplace with the flue open or closed.
The Ashley Hearth Vent Free Fireplace Insert puts out up to 34,000 BTU—enough to warm spaces up to 1,200 square feet in size. The included artificial log set provides a classic fireplace vibe, but keep in mind that ventless gas fireplaces do lack realism when compared with a natural vent or direct vent fireplace. Though this unit is considered to be 99 percent efficient when burning natural gas, it does release a small amount of exhaust back into the room. An oxygen-depletion sensor is included with this model for an alert if oxygen levels fall. However, it’s important to note that ventless gas fireplace inserts are prohibited in certain states or municipalities. (Check your local codes before purchasing.)
Price at time of publish: $1,442
Venting Type: Ventless | Fuel Type: Natural gas | Front Product Width: 38 inches | Material: Metal | Heat Output: 34,000 BTU/hour
The Duluth Forge FDF300R Vent Less Gas Fireplace Insert is a practical choice for most homeowners. This ventless model puts out plenty of heat with up to 32,000 BTU and offers dual fuel options. However, if you are looking for a natural vented option that exhausts through an existing chimney, then consider the Empire Keystone Deluxe B-Vent Fireplace. This option only outputs up to 21,000 BTU, but natural vented gas inserts tend to produce more realistic-looking flames.
What to Look for in a Fireplace Insert
One of the most important things to know when buying a gas fireplace insert is the type of vent configuration you need. There are three primary venting types: natural vented, direct vented, and ventless. Natural vented gas fireplace inserts require vertical ductwork terminating at the roofline. Direct vented models can use vertical ductwork terminating at the roof or horizontal ductwork through an exterior wall. Ventless models require no ductwork for exhaust.
Gas fireplace inserts require a natural gas line, or a propane tank. Natural gas units often produce more heat (measured in BTU per hour), but they need to have a gas line installed. Propane tanks avoid the need for gas line installation, but they require regular replenishment. The tanks can be unsightly, depending on where they're placed.
Most gas fireplace inserts operate with 99 percent efficiency, but there are variations, largely dependent on the unit’s venting type. Natural vented fireplace inserts have the lowest heating efficiency, since heat is lost through the open damper or flue. Direct vent fireplace inserts have better heating efficiency because they draw in outside air and use smaller ductwork for exhaust. Ventless gas fireplace inserts have the best heating efficiency, since they have no ductwork.
Can you install a gas fireplace yourself?
In most cases, the installation of a gas fireplace is best done by a professional. Some parts of the project, such as the carpentry work to install the firebox and trim, might be within DIY capabilities, but other work, like installing exhaust vents, running a gas line, or installing a new electrical circuit, will often require the help of a professional.
How much heat does a gas fireplace provide?
The amount of heat produced by a gas fireplace insert is measured in BTU, short for "British Thermal Units." Heat output varies by model and fuel type, but most gas fireplace inserts produce between 20,000 and 40,000 BTU (some have much higher or lower outputs).
Keep in mind that heating efficiency is an important factor to consider, since this percentage determines how much of the heat reaches the room and how much is lost to the venting process.
How often should you clean a gas fireplace?
Generally speaking, you should clean your gas fireplace monthly. While gas fireplaces are much less messy than the soot and ashes that come from wood-burning fireplaces, there are still by-products from the combustion process that require cleaning. Cleaning your gas fireplace insert gives you an opportunity to inspect components for any damage that may affect the operability or safety of the unit.
How deep is a gas fireplace insert?
The exact depth of a gas fireplace insert will depend on the dimensions of your existing fireplace opening. The standard depth is 16 inches, though options on our list run as shallow as 13.5 inches.
Do gas fireplace inserts produce carbon monoxide?
Generally, all gas fireplace inserts produce a minimal amount of carbon monoxide. Ventless gas fireplaces, which don't interact with outside air, may be the most susceptible. That is why, since 1980, these types of gas fireplace inserts have been required to add oxygen-depletion sensors in order to be ANSI certified. These devices monitor the room's oxygen level and close off the gas valve to shut down the unit if the air's oxygen proportion drops below 18.5 percent.
Why Trust The Spruce?
With more than five years of researching the best products for indoor and outdoor living, Erica Puisis is familiar with the features and benefits that matter the most to homeowners. Her areas of expertise have included home heating and cooling systems and appliances. To find the best options for gas fireplace inserts, she compared the venting type, maximum BTU output, and fuel type of each model considered. All of the options considered provide at least 20,000 BTU of heat, and most are available for natural gas or propane connections.