A traditional fireplace is something almost everyone wants for their home. Aside from providing warmth and comfort, it creates a very relaxing ambiance with its flickering flames and soft glow. A fireplace can also add a touch of elegance to your living room, making it a special place to spend time with family, especially during Christmas.
But despite the many obvious perks of owning a fireplace, it is quite difficult to maintain and can be dangerous especially if you have pets and children at home. Also, a lot of people find chopping wood an arduous and time-consuming task. For these reasons stated, the electric fireplace was born.
Earlier versions of the electric fireplace aren’t as appealing as the ones we have today. Lighting techniques were used to recreate the effect and movement of flames in a heating box. And it wasn’t until 1995 when the Irish-based brand, Dimplex, created the first ever smokeless fireplace with “realistic” flames. More than ten years later, they were also able to mimic the smoke created by a real fireplace.
Today, it isn’t uncommon to walk into a home and mistake an artificial fireplace for a real one. There are countless different design features to choose from, including the traditional brick-and-mortar look and the stove design. A lot of the newer models can also be integrated into media centers, bookshelves, as well as mantelshelves. If you move around a lot, it’s easy to take this with you wherever your next home may be.
Considerations When Choosing an Electric Fireplace
We know you want something that doesn’t just look like a fireplace, but heats like one too. Most electric fireplaces will offer you two heat settings: high and low. This is enough for most homes, but if you want more flexibility, you can find other units that will offer more heating levels. You will also want to check the Btu capacity of a product to see how quickly it heats up the desired area. A higher number equals faster heating.
Size and Design
A lot of people turn to space heaters to provide some much-needed warmth in the room, but nothing says comfort and relaxation than an electric fireplace. You’ll find that the variety of designs to choose from are staggering. There are minimalist models that look like TV screens with flames flickering from the inside, and there are very traditional-looking ones that look like real, wooden fireplaces. Our review list offers a good mix of both simple and expensive-looking units so you can choose one that best suits your room while getting good heating performance.
Aside from heat and brightness settings, there are other useful features that are designed to make the units safer and easier to use. Many electric fireplaces come with a remote control so you can adjust the settings from a distance. Some of them will also have an auto-off timer so you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to turn off the heating. One very useful feature we love is the flame-only setting that gives out the ambiance of a real fireplace but without the heating, which is great for not-so-chilly nights.
As is common with many other products, the most expensive doesn’t always equal the best. You’ll want to find an electric fireplace that has all the features you need while still being reasonably priced. As a general rule of thumb, avoid anything that’s too cheap because they tend to break down after a short while.
The 5 Best Electric Fireplaces in 2016
- Dimensions: 50.4-inches wide, 21.6 inches high, 5.5-inches deep
- Power: 1500 Watts/5100 BTU/110-120 Volts/11 Amps and up
- Heating Area: 400 Square feet
- Cost to Operate: About $0.25 per hour
- 6-foot electric cord, UL Listed
- Firebox dimensions for recessing: 38.75-inches wide, 18.75-inches high, 5-inches deep
- Window view opening: 8.5-inches high x 37.75-inches wide
- Weight: 46 pounds
- Far-infrared heat (IR) 80°C-120°C temperature panel
- 1-year warranty
The Touchstone 80001 Onyx Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace bags first place in our review for best electric fireplaces in 2016 for a lot of reasons. First is because this thing is absolutely mesmerizing! Very few products live up to the hype, but this one really takes the cake. Installation is easy, although we recommend getting someone to help if you’re not comfortable lifting 50 pounds on your own. With five brightness levels to choose from, the Touchstone 80001 Onyx is an ideal choice for creating a calming ambience for the whole family. The flames look realistic and you can heat a 400-sq. foot room quickly. The heat settings can be easily adjusted with a remote control, and the product comes with a built-in timer that lets you heat from 30 minutes to 8 hours.
The heat comes out from the top of the product. This is something you should consider when choosing to mount below a TV. Allow some clearance so you don’t risk damaging your TV or other nearby items. The built-in fan circulates the air well enough and can be set to either high or low. Additionally, you can find a thermal overload protector on the side of the product. The recommended placement of the Touchstone 80001 Onyx Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace is 24 inches below an 8-foot ceiling.
For $279, you get a very sleek and stylish unit that can fit in any home décor. If your room has modern, old-fashioned, or minimalist furnishings, you can expect the Touchstone 80001 Onyx Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace to fit right in. The hundreds of positive reviews about this electric fireplace just shows that you can get a quality product at a very reasonable price.
- Dimensions: 43 inches wide, 16.5 inches deep, and 44 inches high
- Weight: 137 pounds
- Beautiful traditional design with a burnished walnut finish
- Patended, life-like flame effect
- On-demand heat with thermostat control warms a room or area of up to 400 sq feet
- On/Off remote control
- 23-Inch self-trimmed electric firebox flame operates with or without heat
The Dimplex Holbrook Electric Fireplace Mantle is a free-standing unit that features a patented 3D flame effect. The flames are highly realistic, and it comes out of a very traditional looking fireplace that a lot of people find appealing. While this product does look classy, it is also very imposing and can take up a lot of space. If you have a small room, the Dimplex Holbrook may be too much and will make the area look cramped. It is highly recommended that you place this unit in a large room.
Dimplex claims that the Holbrook DFP4765BW Traditional Electric Fireplace can heat up to 400 sq. feet of living room space, but a few owners of this product have claimed that it can comfortably heat a 700-sq. foot room. The fan is not as powerful as a lot of people would want it to be, but it still manages to circulate heat well. In terms of features, it has all the common ones you would expect from an electric fireplace, but take note that the remote control only allows you to turn the unit on and off. Some people find this inconvenient while others don’t consider it a major drawback. If you’re not fond of having to walk all the way to your fireplace just to tweak the heat settings and whatnot, then you may be better off with a different model.
Dimplex is unquestionably a popular brand, so it doesn’t come surprising to see this product with a $700 price tag. You do get a lot of style and adequate heating for your money, but the lack of remote controllability may be worth considering before you decide to purchase this product.
- Design: Stunning classical design with ultra-realistic flame and real glass doors.
- Features: Quiet, fan-forced heater with Hi/Lo settings for even heat distribution; No heat option for visual enjoyment year-round; Supplemental heat for up to 400 sq. ft.
- Energy usage: 90%+ less energy usage than gas to produce visual flames; plugs into any standard household outlet
- Specifications: Uses 2 x 40W bulbs for easy maintenance and replacement. Convenient 2.2M long cord.
- Dimensions: 25″ x 23″ x 11″. Provides ultra-realistic dancing flame effect.
If you’ve dreamt of having your own little cabin in the woods but are instead stuck in a house in the city, bring a little of that classic, primitive style into your home with the Jasper Free Standing Electric Fireplace Stove. The fake logs in this product are very realistic and make you feel like you’re somewhere far from civilization. The overall design has that classic tough as well, with fully three-dimensional flames that also dance around as if they were real. The superior heating of this product is worth mentioning. In just a flick of a switch, you can easily heat up a 400-sq. ft. room in just a few minutes. Also, another design feature we love about the Jasper Free Standing Electric Fireplace Stove is that it isn’t huge or bulky like stand-alone mantel designs. This electric fireplace can be placed just about anywhere in the room and it’s guaranteed to look great. Also, if you’re living in an apartment and decide to move into a larger home in the future, the Jasper Free Standing Electric Fireplace Stove doesn’t have to be uninstalled and you can just pick this right up. For $180, we think this stove fireplace is a steal. It not only adds a lot of charm to your home, but very decent heating performance, as well.
- Easy to use adjustable thermostat; safety thermal overload protector; adjustable flame brightness control; realistic flickering flame effect; long life led lights
- Specifications: 120v-60hz, 1500w / 5000 Btus, 12.5 amp; plugs into standard wall outlet; tested to heat 1500 cubic feet in only 24 minutes (14 feet x14 feet x8 feet ); uses about the same energy as a coffee maker; glass remains cool to the touch
- Details: ivory finish; mantel supports up to 85 pounds; accommodates up to a 50 inch flat screen tv; constructed of poplar wood, mdf and pb with veneer; assembly required; cord management option in top center shelf
- Firebox front – 23 Inch Wide x 20 Inch Tall; Triangular media storage shelves- 8 Inch W x 7.5 Inch D x 8 Inch H; Media equipment storage shelf- 23 Inch W x 13 Inch D x 5 Inch H; Two adjustable shelves can move up or down 2 Inch
The Claremont Convertible Media Electric Fireplace adds a crisp look to your room. It looks good with most decors and is made from durable and high-quality material that guarantees you a long period of satisfied use. This product comes with a thermostat and overheat protection for added safety, and it lets you adjust the brightness of the flames to suit your lighting preference. This electric fireplace is a powerful one and can heat up to 1,500 square ft. of space in just 25 minutes. Also, you get a very beautiful ivory finish mantel that has cupboards in either side so you can place whatever ornaments you want or store DVDs and media devices. Another useful design feature are the storage shelves. You can adjust the height so large or small items can conveniently fit inside them.
The Claremont Convertible Media Electric Fireplace can be easily installed in any corner if your living space, but according to reviews, assembly can be a little tricky and will require time and patience. If you’re handy with a screwdriver and a drill, this unit will take under an hour to assemble and install. Overall, it’s an affordable corner electric fireplace that looks good and heats decently.
- Modern design with Crystalline ember bed
- Sleek slim line design
- 5,000 BTU’s/1500 watts heating capacity
- Convenient on/off remote, high, medium and low heat settings and adjustable ember intensity
The main advantage of the Napoleon EFL50H Linear Wall Mount Electric Fireplace is that it can be mounted almost anywhere – all you need is an electric socket that’s within reach. The heat vents from the top of the unit and can heat up to 400 sq. ft. of room space. The remote control allows you to change the flame color from blue to orange, or a combination of the two. You can also change the heating temperature or disable the heating altogether so you just get a beautiful fire going. One drawback we noticed with the Napoleon EFL50H Linear Wall Mount Electric Fireplace was the lack of display or indicator telling you which setting the fire is set to, but that’s about it. When it comes to design, this product is as sleek as they come. Instead of the fake log design that’s common with traditional-looking electric fireplaces, you get glass crystals. This makes the product a charming addition to any modern living space.