Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater Review

Compact, simple-to-use faux fireplace heater perfect for small rooms

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3.9

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater

 The Spruce / Justin Park

What We Like
  • Small form factor

  • Simple setup

  • Heat that doesn’t dry out skin

What We Don't Like
  • Less convincing as a fireplace

  • Somewhat expensive for size

The Duraflame Carleton Electric Fireplace Stove is a simple-to-use faux fireplace heater perfect for supplemental heat in small rooms.

3.9

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater

 The Spruce / Justin Park

We purchased Duraflame's Carleton Electric Stove With Heater so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

The Duraflame company has been around for 50 years and is best known for its ubiquitous paper-wrapped firestarter logs and stamps their logo on some heating and barbecue products. We tested their small electric fireplace heater, the Duraflame Carleton Electric Fireplace Stove, inside our Colorado home. Read on to see if the stove’s tiny footprint, special features, and power were enough to heat our rooms during the chilly days in late winter.

Setup: No setup and easy installation

This unit requires zero setup and came out of the box ready to be plugged in and start heating. The only time spent on setup was deciding where to put it. Generally, we tested it in locations where you would place a space heater. 

The unit is meant for supplemental heating, and we found it most useful for zone heating in a smaller space such as our bedroom or our home office. 

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater
 The Spruce / Justin Park

The feet are made of plastic and are safe for various flooring types, and the relatively small footprint meant we could place the unit in numerous spots. Because the unit’s fan-forced wire heating element is mounted on the bottom of the unit, the unit's flat top is cool to the touch and opens up the possibility of using the unit as a de facto end table. We put it at the end of the home office desk, and it performed double-duty as an end table for the adjacent guest bedroom.

The only real restriction we had in placing the unit was respecting the recommended front clearance of three feet, per the instruction manual. The manual specifically cautions users against placing the heater too close to Christmas stockings or decorations, so it sounds like adorning this little heater with those embellishments is not a good idea.

Safety Features: Auto shut-off options

The Duraflame Carleton has a couple of features that help mitigate possible safety concerns with stoves of this kind. This heater has a tip-over shut-off feature, helpful if you have pets or children that might knock over this relatively small stove and pose a fire or burn risk.

The device also has an overheat shut-off switch that prevents it from harming itself if running too long or too hot. Thankfully, this feature never came into play during our testing. It also never shut off unexpectedly, which we have experienced before with inexpensive space heaters.

Operation: Simple controls with few options

There are not many options on this simple unit, and that’s mostly a good thing. One switch powers the unit on, and the other toggles the heat on and off. There is no switch for the faux flame lights. This leaves you with three basic modes to choose from: Off, Flame Effect with Heat, Flame Effect without Heat. 

Because we already have the ambiance of our real woodstove in the house, we never found the desire to run the flames without the heat, but someone featuring this stove in a room might enjoy it after the heater has done its work.

The unit is meant for supplemental heating, and we found it most useful for zone heating in a smaller space such as our bedroom or our home office. 

Additionally, there is a knob that controls the temperature set point when the heater is on. There aren’t any numbers here, so it’s just a matter of trial and error to find the point at which the heater turns off when you want it to, not prematurely (room still cold) or too late (room gets and stays too hot). While this knob is helpful, we also experimented with just switching the heater on and off for as long as we wanted it to be running. Given that we mostly used it in short sessions early in the morning when rooms were cold, turning it on and off wasn’t too much of a hassle.

Design: Cozy fire effect and cool exterior

The unit is a matte black paint on durable plastic and metal construction meant to mimic the classic black cast iron stove look. The light effect flames inside the plastic “glass” door are not as cheesy as you might expect if you’ve never used one of these faux fireplaces before.

Duraflame Carleton Electric Stove With Heater
 The Spruce / Justin Park

When closed, the door hides the illuminated controls and helps maintain the fireplace illusion. Other units, including other more expensive units from Duraflame, make grand claims about how realistic their flames are. Having used at least a half-dozen of these similar fireplace heaters, we think that most, including the Carleton, offer a passable fire-like experience from afar. But, at close inspection, it is clearly fake.

Performance: Directional heat that doesn’t dry you out

While the Duraflame unit shouldn’t be used as a primary heating method in a home, it did the job of warming up smaller cold rooms in our Rocky Mountain home and added a nice ambiance for visitors in our guest room.

We checked the moisture in the air by using a hygrometer (humidity meter) in the room and didn’t notice any wild drops in humidity when running the heater for short periods.

One thing to note about this heater is that, unlike many other faux fireplace heaters, this unit uses fan-forced air over an electric wire, which usually dries out the air more than the infrared heating element in other stoves. Infrared has the bonus of heating directionally with radiant warming (as a real fireplace does), whereas this unit operates more like an electric baseboard with a fan to distribute the heat. We checked the air's moisture by using a hygrometer (humidity meter) in the room and didn’t notice any wild drops in humidity when running the heater for short periods. Someone in a more humid climate might care less if the unit dries their air—we were glad it didn’t do that.

Price: A small premium for a small fireplace heater

With a list price of $119.99, the Duraflame isn’t exactly cheap, and you can find small infrared and wire element heaters with similar (maybe even a bit more powerful) heating capacity for a less, especially if you don’t mind a unit that dispenses with the theater of the faux flames.

However, if you appreciate the visual, the Duraflame is an attractive piece that can serve as a touch of ambiance in addition to serving as a heating appliance.

Duraflame Carleton Fireplace Stove vs. Duraflame Quartz Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove

For about $20 more than the Carleton, you can get an infrared version from Duraflame. This unit is slightly larger than the Carleton, and it also has a bit more heating capacity

We tested both heaters and found that the Infrared Quartz heater and the electric wire Carleton had similar features and performance. If you value the smaller form factor, get the Carleton. If you prefer an infrared heater, spend a little more for that option from Duraflame Quartz.

Final Verdict

Yes, buy it.

If you value a small and affordable alternative to actual fireplaces, the Duraflame inexpensively delivers supplemental room heat with ambiance.

Specs

  • Product Name Carleton Electric Stove With Heater Review
  • Product Brand Duraflame
  • MPN DFS-450-2
  • Price $111.99
  • Product Dimensions 19.7 x 16.2 x 11.6 in.
  • Color Matte black
  • Max. BTUs 5,200
  • Warranty Limited, 1-year