What We Like
Small form factor
Impressive heat that doesn’t dry out skin
What We Don't Like
Top is too warm to display items
Duraflame is a 50-year-old company best known for its ubiquitous paper-wrapped firestarter logs, but they also stamp their logo on some heating and barbecue products. We tested one such electric infrared heater, the Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove with 3D Flame Effect, inside our Colorado home. See if the stove’s small footprint, special features, and power were enough to heat our rooms during chilly days in late winter.
Setup: Easy installation and first use
To get started, we simply attached the legs to the main unit, which comes entirely assembled and ready to go. We also needed to install the two included AAA batteries to run the remote.
Then it was time to choose the location for the unit. Because it uses infrared heat, which can heat you directly, we wanted to put it somewhere similar to where we’d place an actual fireplace.
The feet are made of plastic and are safe for a variety of flooring types, and the relatively small footprint meant we could place the electric fireplace in a variety of spots in the room. We just had to respect the recommended clearance: Keep flammable items 3 feet from sides and front of the unit.
It was a bit of a letdown that the unit wasn’t cooler to the touch on top, as the roughly 20 x 11-inch top is a nice flat area where we’d love to display items. While we were able to hold our hands on the unit as long as we wanted, it’s definitely warm, and we were nervous to put something like a candle on top lest it melt all over the unit.
It was a bit of a letdown that the unit wasn’t cooler to the touch on top, as the 20 x 11-inch space is a nice flat area where we’d love to display items.
We ultimately settled on placing the heater on the floor since the heating elements are near the top and, at this level, radiate warmth just below waist height. When standing in front of the unit, we found it convenient to hold our cold hands in front of the fan for a nice combination of warm air and infrared heat waves.
Safety Feature: “Safer Plug” technology
The Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove features a unique safety control for a common space heater issue: overheating and even melting the plug. As part of its trademarked “Safer Plug” technology, Duraflame built a thermometer into the plug; if the temperature gets too high, the unit will automatically shut down.
While this is a welcome feature, if you find the unit shutting down frequently, you may need to relocate the unit to a plug with fewer draws on the same circuit.
Operation: Simple controls with a few welcome features
There are basically four controls—Power, Temperature, Flame, and Time—and we found that the icons made the functions clear. We were able to set the temperature to the degree; the unit heated until it sensed the ambient temperature at that level.
The timer button allows for automatic shut-off after 30 minutes, an hour, and all the way up to nine hours in hour-long increments. We also tried toggling through the five levels of flame, including running the heat with no flame at all.
Design: Realistic fire simulation and attractive build
According to the manufacturer, this heater features a “durable metal body construction.” The functional interior parts certainly seem to fit that description, but to us, the exterior looked and felt like lightweight plastic. Still, the matte black coating gives the stove a realistic cast iron appearance.
When closed, the frame of the functional beveled glass door hides the control panel, which we thought added to the realism—but it also left us guessing when operating the unit via remote, as we were unable to see the digital display. Duraflame clearly went to great lengths to make the flames look realistic, with the patent-pending “3D Flame Effect” licking against the faux logs inside the door.
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 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 heater 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.
Additionally, in our arid climate, the humidity-neutral infrared heat was preferable to electric heat that dries out our already dry air. The infrared waves provided heat more akin to sitting in direct sun or in front of a real fireplace, though those effects faded considerably if more than about 4 feet away from the front of the unit.
One surprising bonus? We discovered we could also use this heater as a de facto ski and snowboard boot dryer/warmer both before and after a day on the slopes. While leaving ski boots on a hearth in front of a real fire often ends up with melted boots, placing boots a few feet in front of the Duraflame worked well without any threat to our gear.
Price: A small premium for a small fireplace heater
With a list price of $399.99, the Duraflame isn’t exactly cheap, and you can find small infrared heaters with similar heating capacity for less.
However, if you appreciate the visual of faux flames, the Duraflame is an attractive piece that can serve as a gathering point rather than just a heating appliance.
Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove vs. Hampton Bay Legion Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove
For about $300 less than the Duraflame, you can get the Legion Panoramic Infrared Electric Stove from Hampton Bay (a Home Depot house brand), but you’ll lose many of the features including a remote, more precise digital temperature settings, and a timer.
We tested both heaters and found that the Legion has one infrared bulb compared to the Duraflame’s two and therefore seems to pack less of a heating punch. That said, if budget is your number one concern, it’s hard to beat the Hampton Bay price. If the additional features are worth the cost difference to you, the Duraflame delivers.
- Product Name Infrared Quartz Fireplace
- Product Brand Duraflame
- SKU 611768097111
- Price $399.99
- Product Dimensions 13.1 x 24 x 23.4 in.
- Color Black, bronze, cinnamon, cream, French gray, pistachio
- Max. BTUs 5,200
- Warranty 1 year limited