Easy to light
Looks elegant and beautiful
Easy to carry and store
Small fuel capacity
Regal Flame Utopia Ventless Portable Tabletop Fireplace
We purchased the Regal Flame Utopia Ventless Tabletop Fireplace so our reviewer could put it to the test in her home. Keep reading for our full product review.
Fire features like the Regal Flame Utopia Ventless Tabletop Portable Bio Ethanol Fireplace add atmosphere and ambiance without the expense or maintenance of a standard fireplace. The best indoor/outdoor portable fireplaces offer easy storage, filling, and plenty of atmosphere that only a fire can bring. It doesn’t hurt if they’re easy to light, too. I tested the Utopia to see if it looked as good as I hoped for a touch of class to my outdoor space. I also wondered if one of these tiny fire features were really worth owning.
I read the product description before the Utopia arrived. I have to admit that when it showed up on my doorstep, I was shocked. The box was tiny. T-I-N-Y. How could a fireplace fit in something so small? And the box was larger than the fireplace itself.
I put it together, and this adorable little feature got even cuter. I chose a solid black base that holds two panes of glass. The wick and fuel basin sit in the base’s center. It also included a snuffer to put the fire out and a mysterious piece of white fluff. Assembly was a cinch, but the directions were somewhat lacking.
It came with a four-page user manual, and I still wasn’t sure if the white fluff that came with the fireplace was supposed to go in the fuel or get thrown away. It turns out the white fluff was the wick, so don’t throw it away.
I only figured that out by asking someone with camp stove experience, not from the manual. Thankfully, I didn’t throw away the wick and figured out how to place it correctly. Again, without help from the manual.
The Utopia doesn’t come with fuel. You have to buy the bio-ethanol separately, and it took almost two weeks for the fuel to arrive.
Once it did arrive, I filled the basin 2/3 full, per the manual’s sparse instructions. I expected the fire to be harder to start, but it was simple and easy. A touch of a match to the wick, and it lit right up. The user manual also said that the flame might not be visible at first, taking 15 to 20 minutes to warm up to its full height.
That wasn’t my experience. Yes, it took the wick a moment to get fully lit, but it was going strong within a minute or two. It put out beautiful, dancing orange flames that withstood a 10 to 15 mile per hour wind. I expected a low, blue flame, but it was gorgeous once it got going. The fire itself far exceeded my expectations. The bio-ethanol fuel burnt clean, with no smoke as part of the design’s ventless charm.
I planned to use the fireplace on an outdoor patio table to add extra light for summer barbecues and parties. It looked great there, but I also tried it inside. It looked just as good and functioned just as well there as it did outside. No smoke, though there is a slight alcohol smell to the ethanol at first.
However, if I had young children, I wouldn’t put Utopia somewhere within reach. Of course, that’s true of any fire element, including simple candles. It would look great in a gas fireplace or on a mantel where it’s out of reach and adds that small touch of ambiance.
It put out beautiful, dancing orange flames that withstood a 10 to 15 mile per hour wind.
You’re not supposed to move the Utopia once it’s lit. I didn’t move it, but I did turn it to change the orientation. The glass gets warm, but the base didn’t get hot to the touch.
The manufacturer advertises that at 2/3 full, the fuel should last 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, the longest I got the Utopia to burn was 45 minutes. That’s a far cry from 1.5 hours. Now, I eyeballed that 2/3 full, so there’s a possibility that I could have put in more fuel than I thought.
However, there’s no fill line, and there are holes in the basin to prevent overfilling. I poured as much as I dared. The sad thing about a short burn time is that the basin needed to fully cool before I could refill and light the fireplace again. Think of it as short-term ambiance rather than something to burn quietly for three or four hours. While the burn time was disappointing, it was beautiful while it lasted.
Think of it as short-term ambiance rather than something to burn quietly for three or four hours.
When it came time for putting the fire out, the included snuffer did the trick. All it does smother the flames by covering them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How easy was it to put the fuel in the fireplace?
Pouring the fuel wasn’t the easiest. The fuel comes in what looks like a 20-liter soda pop bottle. A funnel would have been helpful, especially when the fuel container was full. The liquid poured down the side of the bottle and onto the fireplace base rather than into the basin. I cleaned up the fuel with a paper towel to keep it from lighting a fire outside of the basin.
After I’d used about half the bottle, it became easier to pour. A funnel would definitely make less of a mess. Plus, you wouldn’t have to worry about something other than the wick lighting on fire. The wick soaks up the fuel once you actually get it all in the basin, so there wasn’t much fuel pooled in the basin. I appreciated that because it seemed like less of a spilling hazard if the Utopia got bumped.
I made sure to keep the fuel at least 6 feet away from the fireplace, as advised by the user’s manual. You wouldn’t want that fire to jump from the fireplace to the fuel bottle!
Does the fireplace take up a lot of space in storage?
Oh my goodness, no, it does not. Everything, including the base, basin, wick, glass, and snuffer, easily fit inside the box in which they came. It’s small enough to store in a garage or closet.
However, you have to be careful of where you store the fuel. The two can’t necessarily store together. The fuel requires consistent temperatures and cannot be somewhere that gets too hot because of a combustion risk. For me, that’s going to be inside since I don’t have an insulated garage.
Was it hard to find fuel?
The manufacturer suggests using Regal Flame Premium Fireplace Bio-Ethanol Fuel. It wasn’t carried in any of the chain home improvement stores near my house, so I ordered online.
I don’t have a problem with the fuel, except that it was expensive. It came in a three-pack, which cost almost as much as the Utopia. Granted, it’s a small fireplace, but somehow, it doesn’t seem like the fuel should cost as much as the feature.
My other issue with the fuel was that I couldn’t roast marshmallows. It’s not safe to cook food over bio-ethanol. I know that’s a small thing and isn’t what fireplaces like this are designed to do.
But you can’t tell me you don’t look at it and think, “Hmmm, I bet I could make a s’more at my kitchen table.” Sad, but it’s a no-go.
Is the Utopia Ventless Tabletop Fireplace worth the price?
The Utopia Ventless Tabletop Fireplace offers a lot of ambiance for a low price of $70. Yes, I would say it’s worth it. However, and this is kind of a big one, the fuel makes it expensive to run. It burns through fuel pretty fast, so it’s not something I’d light every day. For special occasions and parties, most definitely, but I would be careful when and how long I used it.
Regal Flame Utopia Ventless Tabletop Fireplace vs. Anywhere Fireplace Metropolitan Tabletop Bio-Ethanol Fireplace
These two fireplaces function pretty similarly. They’re about the same size and take the same fuel type. The Utopia is lighter in weight, making it more portable. However, the Anywhere Fireplace Metropolitan Tabletop Bio-Ethanol Fireplace has a larger basin, so it burns longer.
The Metropolitan’s glass design makes it a bit more delicate than the Utopia, too. It works inside or outside, like the Utopia, but the chances of the glass getting smudged or even cracked are higher simply because there’s more of it. The Metropolitan takes contemporary a bit further than the Utopia. It also retails for more than the Utopia at around $160.
As for me, if I was choosing between the two, I’d opt for the sturdier, lighter, and less expensive Utopia. It fits my lifestyle better, where I’m more likely to be toting the fireplace to different outside locations rather than leaving it in one spot for display.
Yes, for special occasions.
The price of fuel seriously made me think twice before lighting the Regal Flame Utopia Ventless Tabletop Portable Bio Ethanol Fireplace. However, it really does add a gorgeous light to any indoor or outdoor space. It’d look beautiful in an indoor fireplace. I loved using mine on my patio table as a fun way to light the table for conversation and games.
- Product Name Utopia Ventless Portable Tabletop Fireplace
- Product Brand Regal Flame
- Price $70
- Weight 1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 5.7 x 13.8 x 7 in.