Best Electric Fireplaces for 2019 – A Buyer’s Guide

An electric fireplace is a great solution for colder days, it’s not always possible to install a traditional fireplace, which also requires good-quality wood and has to be lit up. Which is why a great alternative is a simple to use electric fireplace, which will provide a lot of warmth in your house without much effort, all you have to do is start it and wait a short moment for it to start generating warmth.

In my view, the biggest advantage of this type of fireplace is simplicity, short after pressing a button the area around the fireplace gets filled with warmth. To me it’s a great device that provides comfort and efficiency without having to use wood that generates real flames and smoke.

An electric fireplace has plenty of upsides and downsides that you will learn more about below. Let me just quickly remind the most important upsides in my view, it will certainly be the speed of heating up and ease of use.

I know how diverse house interiors are and I know how many different fireplaces one can find at stores, which is why I decided to prepare a guide that will make it easier for you to choose the best electric fireplace. To me, the appearance is a secondary priority, what is more important is the quality of workmanship, efficiency and price to quality ratio. Based on those criteria, among others, I have made a list of good electric fireplaces for you.

There are several types of fireplaces and plenty of manufacturers which is why it’s hard to choose the right one. Below I will present you with my suggestions at different prices and sizes. I really spent a lot of time to compare a large number of fireplaces and only choose the ones that are worth their price. I chose the most realistic electric fireplaces available in different styles ( advanced and present-day ).

You don’t know what to pay attention to and where to start? All the necessary information and tips can also be found in this guide. I invite you to read it if you have a problem choosing a new electric fireplace.

Best Electric Fireplaces 2018 – Comparison Table

MODEL

Type

PRICE

TOP 3 Pick 

Touchstone Sideline

Best Overall

Touchstone Sideline

Wall Mount

Duraflame DFI-5010-01

Runner-Up

Duraflame DFI

Stove

PuraFlame 33 Western

Also Great

PuraFlame 33" Western

Insert

Others

Touchstone Onyx

Also Great

Touchstone Onyx

Wall Mount

GMHome 50

GMHome 40"

Wall Mount & Free Stand 

Duraflame DFS-550-21-BLK

Duraflame DFS-550-21-BLK

Stove

How did I pick the best ones?

picking electric fireplaces

You know that feeling when you’re going through offers at online stores and are afraid to visit brick-and-mortar stores? There are so many different types of fireplaces and so many manufacturers that I am perfectly aware what a time consuming task it is to choose a new electric fireplace that lives up to your expectations.

Everyone would like to skip this step and that’s exactly why guides like this one are made, but in order to write this guide I had to go through the entire process of choosing a new fireplace all by myself. In most cases it is a very time-consuming and patience-requiring task that took a lot of my time, but only this way I can choose several decent models in order to later compare them all and put them to tests.

The models I initially chose make a list that I also divide into different categories ( price, size, quality etc ). It makes it easier for me to compare different models and give the final rating. When it comes to the price, most of the time it depends on the size of the fireplace which is why the prices don’t differ that much.

Then I pay attention to an array of different features, the warranty, quality of workmanship and most of all, the atmosphere the flames generate as well as whether they are realistic. Personally, I often use an electric fireplace without the heating feature, where I really like the ability to change the appearance of flames and colors.

Then I update all of my observations on a private list where once again I compare selected models and give the initial ratings that in most cases get changed after tests.

Right before the tests I buy all the fireplaces from the list so that I can personally check out their quality of workmanship, features and check the effects the flames give in real life. Only by personally testing each fireplace can I ultimately choose the models that are really worth the money and can be recommended to others.

How did I test ?

testing electric fireplace

Contrary to a popular belief, practical tests are not complicated at all when it comes to electric fireplaces. It’s the kind of device that has to be easy to use and provide a great effect in your house. It is the best when the flames are as realistic as possible, which makes it my task to evaluate the realism factor of the flames, the quality of workmanship and the basic features.

The tests are a great opportunity to check all of this in person, at stores I can’t try everything, and when checking a product out at an online store I can only see pictures. All the electric fireplaces are subject to the same tests and given an objectively fair rating.

Therefore the first thing I pay attention to right at the beginning is the quality of workmanship of the entire fireplace ( especially the elements responsible for assembly ). To make the ratings fair, I only compare models at similar prices so that it’s not only objective but also fair.

Then I start each of the fireplaces and test the effect of flames. Most models offer several flames settings which I really like, you can set different shades of flames and intensity and color. In a dark room, I compare the effect that each of the fireplaces gives and I rate how realistic it is.

Finally I check the additional features like a timer or a remote control and how the heating feature works in reality. In smaller rooms you can feel the warmth generated by the electric fireplace whereas inside bigger interiors this feature can’t be felt too much, but it’s still useful during cool summer evening.

Finally the time comes to analyze all the notes and experience from tests. That way an objective ranking was made that presents what I believe are the best electric fireplaces. Some models surprised me quite a lot whereas others really disappointed me judging by their price and quality. All of my current suggestions can be found in the table and a review for each of them can be read below the table.

1. Best Overall Touchstone Sideline

An electric fireplace should mostly stand out with its aesthetics, the flames should be as realistic as possible as well as clearly visible so that one can enjoy watching them from close and from afar alike. That’s exactly what Touchstone Sideline is, designed to be installed on a wall, available in many sizes.

It stands out with its modern design and realistic flames with three colors to choose from ( blue, orange and blue-orange mix ). The remote control provides a 5 level adjustment of the flame’s intensity, from a faint glow to a fully glowing fire so that everyone can adjust the intensity of flames to their own preferences.

It is also an electric fireplace that you can use all year round. You can turn off the heating component any time you want and enjoy effective flames during summer, and when cold days come, all you have to do is re-enable the heating feature, which has two heating levels ( low and high ). The air vents are located on the upper front part of the fireplace.

It has a useful “timer” feature that makes it possible to turn off the device after a specified time ( 30 minutes to 7,5h ).

All those features make it a great fireplace that has realistic flames allowing you to give the interior a very pleasant atmosphere. The heating feature is very efficient and works great on freezing days, the ability to change the fire’s colors is also a great advantage and so is the adjustment of flames’ intensity.

PROS

  • Realistic Flames
  • Features
  • Quality

CONS

  • No batteries in the set

All of that allows me to confidently say that it is the number one among electric fireplaces thanks to all those useful features and of course the quality to price ratio. It is a very well made product that is definitely worth your money. Thanks to the realistic flames and the modern design, this model can create a very pleasant and positive atmosphere around.

Thanks to its great appearance, it is one of the most versatile electric fireplaces that looks great in very different interiors.

Touchstone Sideline is equipped with a remote, but you have to remember about buying batteries as they are not included which is a slight downside for a product with this kind of price.

2. Runner-Up Duraflame DFI-5010-01

Your house lacks a fireplace ? You can change it very fast and easily by buying an electric fireplace from Duraflame. That way you can have a beautiful and authentic fireplace without having to clean or ventilate it.

Duraflame DFI-5010-01 not only looks great, but it also serves its purpose very well as a fireplace that can heat an area of up to 1000 square feet. Such solution is not only more economical than a traditional fireplace, but also more convenient and easier.

I have to admit, though, that the power of 5,500 BTU is not enough to heat up on very cool days, real heaters have power several times this high. 

That’s why I believe that this fireplace will serve its purpose as an additional source of heat in a less heated interior ( the exception are those living in warm climates ).

One very neat feature is the thermostat that makes it possible to choose the desired temperature in the room. It is also equipped with a safety measure that prevents it from overheating, once such a threat occurs, the heater automatically turns itself off, thus preventing overheating.

How realistic are the flames? Well, thanks to using a 3D technology, the flames are very close to real ones, if I were to rate it on a 1 to 10 scale, I would certainly give it at least 8-8,5/10 which is very high for an electric fireplace.

Duraflame allows to set 5 different colors, flame speeds and of course intensities. Such combination allows to create authentic flames that will give your house a brilliant effect.

What is the advantage of The infrared quartz heat ? It provides decent warmth while keeping natural air humidity without making it dry. If you don’t need warmth on very hot days then you can start this fireplace without the heating feature.

The structure is made entirely of metal except for the strong, durable plastic legs. The whole thing makes a very good impression and most people should enjoy it ( no accounting for taste, obviously ) but this model has a universal design that fits plenty of interiors.

PROS

  • A decent heating power
  • Colors Setting & other features
  • Thermostat

CONS

  • Simple remote control without additional functions

One small downside is the remote which doesn’t have many options, for this kind of price one would like to have a remote that allows to set everything about the fireplace, in this case however it is very limited to the basic tasks.

Duraflame DFI-5010-01 is therefore an electronic fireplace that is worth your money. It’s a high-quality product that is characterized by not only authentic flames with many extra settings and adjustments, but it also serves as a room heating device. Despite its low power, it can heat small interiors very well, although I would rather recommend it as an addition to the house’s basic heating, like for a cooler big room in the house.

I really recommend it for those who never had a fireplace at home and want to change that while caring about the style, efficiency, quality, functionality, authenticity of not only the flames, but also the entire structure and of course a convenient price that is fully adequate to the product’s quality.

3. PuraFlame 33" Western

Another electric fireplace, this time designed for existing fireplaces, it is an insert that is available in many sizes that allows to replace an old defunct fireplace with a new electric one. It is a great solution for those who want more convenience together with very good aesthetics and efficiency.

This form of fireplace has plenty of upsides, most of all it significantly reduces the number of responsibilities each owner of a traditional fireplace had to deal with ( cleaning the fireplace, cleaning the air vent, firing it up, the smoke, more expensive wood, storing the wood etc ), all of that made using a fireplace tedious and not worth it to many people.

For those people, an electric fireplace insert was designed that eliminates most of responsibilities that a regular household fireplace comes with. Such insert is more economical and very easy to use and to maintain in a good condition.

One has to admit that it is also a very efficient and energy-saving fireplace with LED technology. You can turn off the heating feature any moment and enjoy the atmosphere provided by the flames themselves.

For an electric device, the flames effect is realistic, with three intensity levels to choose from (  low, high with more colors and high ) . Of course one can tell that these are not real flames but for this kind of money it looks very good. A very realistic effect would require sounds of burning wood ( fizzing and cracking ), but you can’t have it all for this kind of money.

It comes with an electronic temperature control, the thermostat allows to adjust the temperature (Temperature range: 60 °F to 84 °F ). On top of that, the set includes a remote that makes it possible to control the fireplace remotely ( it has one battery ), you can easily change the type of flames and heating power.

PROS

  • Various options for setting the flames
  • Energy-saving fireplace
  • Thermostat

CONS

  • A little loud heating function

When it comes to the noise of heating, it is similar to a hairdryer running at a low setting.

The assembly is simple, and the style is modern and universal enough for it to fit many interiors. It is one of the prettiest electric fireplace inserts in this price range.

PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace is another device on my list that in this case was designed typically for existing fireplaces. I really like this model and I know that for many of you a fireplace insert will be a very good solution.

As I already mentioned, it has plenty of upsides and looks very good, of course for this kind of price one cannot expect great authenticity of real flames, but you have to admit that the aesthetics are high level and it looks very good. The biggest upside of such fireplace is the convenience of use, all you have to do is plug it into a socket, start it and you’re done, all is working.

4. Touchstone 80001 Onyx

Another model from Touchstone that differs from the previously recommended by me TouchStone Sideline in that Onyx is installed on a wall, whereas Sideline was installed inside a wall.

Onyx is less impressive, probably exactly because it can’t be installed perfectly into the wall and because of having a smaller furnace window. Its upside, on the other hand, is definitely its lower price for the same high quality of workmanship, functionality and authenticity of flames.

The functionality, the simple universal black design, the price, the authenticity of flames and other aspects make it one of the best selling electric fireplaces. It is also available in different colors and sizes, which makes it easy to choose something that fits most interiors.

Onyx offers two heating levels ( low and high ), it allows to heat up smaller interiors ( up to 400 feet ). What do I think of this? I believe that you buy this kind of device for its appearance, for the aesthetics of the entire room and for the atmosphere, not for heating. Of course it is a huge advantage to be able to feel that an electric fireplace can heat a room, but with this kind of power I would see this device more like an addition to regular heating of the house or for heating a room on a cool summer evening.

One has to remember that it is possible to turn off the heating any moment which is useful on very warm days.

How authentic are the flames? It is a high level, as high as TouchStone Sideline. The kings in this price range are without doubt Onyx and Sideline. The authenticity of flames is also influenced by the ability to adjust them, you have as many as 5 flames intensity levels to choose from which gives a very pleasant and authentic atmosphere. The more expensive version which is Touchstone Sideline differs in that it allows to change the color of flames ( there are 3 combinations available ). But without the flames color changing feature, Onyx is still a great device for this kind of price.

PROS

  • High Quality
  • Two heating levels
  • Realistic flames

CONS

  • Lack of advanced Features

The onyx electric fireplace was designed to be installed on a wall and I have to admit that the assembly is not complicated. The LED technology makes it also an energy-efficient fireplace.

My final opinion is that TouchStone Onyx is a very good quality modern electric fireplace with authentic flames that are really impressive. The simple yet modern design that is available in several colors allows this model to fit in most interiors. For this kind of price, most buyers should be satisfied, I’m sure that Onyx is worth this kind of money. However, if you expect something like ability to change colors then check out the more expensive version of TouchStone Sideline that was intended to be installed inside a wall, but it is also possible to install it on a wall.

5. GMHome 40"

Another electric fireplace that is a versatile device mostly designed to be installed on a wall ( it is not intended to be fixed into a wall ), but also with a standalone option ( it comes with optional legs ). That’s not the only advantage that makes it stand out among other, competitive models.

Another upside is large number of flame colors available, I’m talking here about as many as 9 different combinations with colors that you won’t see in any competitive model in my guide. Of course colors are subject to personal preferences, but it’s a neat feature to be able to have something different from orange, blue or red.

The 3D technology makes the flames very realistic. GMHome will definitely contribute a lot to the aesthetics of your interior, the modern design allows one to match it with many different interiors, and realistic flames only add more atmosphere to your interior.

What about heating? There are two-level heating options available, low and high ( 750W and 1500 W ). Speaking from experience, I can say that it’s enough to heat smaller interiors. During summer, on the other hand, it is always possible to turn off the heating and you can just enjoy the attractive flames that are available in so many interesting colors.

PROS

  • Advanced flames setting ( 9 different combinations of colors )
  • Good price

CONS

  • The new product, some minor elements should be improved.

Therefore the GMHome model makes a good competitor for TouchStone, the advantage of which is definitely a bigger number of colors. The quality of workmanship is good, but I like the details more in competitive models. I recommend this model for those who want to have fun with different interesting colors as well as those who are interested in the very interesting “standalone” electric fireplace feature, the set includes legs that you can use for that purpose. All of that for this kind of price makes it a product that I am satisfied with.

6. Duraflame DFS-550-21-BLK

I spent a lot of time with this model thinking if I should put this on the list and in the end I decided to do just that. It is a poor quality electric fireplace made of poor quality materials, but for this kind of money it serves its purpose. My doubts arise from the multiple negative reviews it gets despite my model having arrived in good shape and working properly, everything seems to indicate that sometimes you can run into a defective series for this kind of price.

It is a small electric fireplace with a structure of a small oven that looks and presents itself at home very well. In smaller rooms it should live up to expectations when it comes to heating, but I wouldn’t expect much more from it in bigger interiors.

The truth is that I chose it for those who have a very limited budget, if you’re looking for an authentic electric fireplace then you have to be prepared that such model will cost several times as much. For the price of around $100, on the other hand, you will get a product made of poor quality materials that gives satisfactory effects of flames and heating.

Can you be dissatisfied with this model?

That depends on what you expect, you have to be prepared that the structure is poorly made, and the flames look like authentic ones to a lower degree. The purpose of this fireplace is to heat small rooms which I believe it does achieve.

PROS

  • Very low price

CONS

  • Poor quality & support. Certainly not an investment for years. 

Simply put, it’s a good choice for this kind of money, but if you’re looking for something durable and very well made then check out a model several times more expensive that I mentioned above, or else you’ll be greatly disappointed with this purchase when it comes to quality of workmanship and details, it’s a good product for some time for this kind of money and that’s all I can really say about it.

Buyer's Guide

buyers guide

An electric fireplace is a versatile device the advantages of which allow it to add plenty of aesthetics, character and change the atmosphere of your interior while also being a functional device that can heat a room. It’s a very convenient solution compared to regular traditional fireplaces that require a lot of time to properly maintain them, clean their air vents, fireplace, remove the ash, smoke, fire up, require special wood, time and obviously money.

All of that means that plenty of time it is better to replace a regular fireplace with an electric fireplace that not only is convenient, but also functional. You don’t have to clean up after it, just turn it on and that’s it, and the flames with today’s technology can really look realistic enough to allow to pleasantly spend time by such fireplace.

A big upside of electric fireplaces is also their diversity, you have many different types of fireplaces to choose from. If you have an old fireplace at home that you don’t use anymore then you can replace it with a special insert, whereas if you don’t have any fireplace at all, you can buy a freestanding electric fireplace or one that you can install on a wall or within it. As you can see, there’s plenty of combinations, so everyone can find something for themselves.

For those completely unfamiliar with the topic, I have prepared a guide that will allow you to understand the differences between each type of electric fireplace and which one would be perfect for your house, I invite you to read it below.

Types of Electric Fireplaces

Depending on your interior and whether you already have a fireplace at home or not, you can choose one of few types of electric fireplaces. Which one will suit you best? Read the short description of each type in order to learn what will be the best for you.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

A good solution for those who already have a fireplace at home and want to replace it with an electric fireplace. Without major changes to the house, you can install a new insert fast and easily, all you have to do is pick the right size, and there’s plenty of them, so it’s not hard to find something.

An electric fireplace insert looks very good and offers different kinds of realistic flames or even a radiating glow. Electric inserts are very easy to use which makes them a good alternative to regular fireplaces. They also have many additional features such as remote control or a timer that are not present in a regular fireplace.

The installation is very simple, all you have to do is secure the insert inside your fireplace and plug it in – that’s it. Prior to that, you only have to take exact measurements in order to get a matching size of the insert, then you just have to install it which, as you can see, is not difficult.

Wall Mount Electric Fireplaces

When it comes to installing fireplaces of this type, it is possible to do it on your own, as they are mostly lightweight, although I won’t say that it isn’t always easier to do it with someone else’s help. The most difficult thing is just bolting the fastening elements to the wall, but most people probably won’t have problems with that. After installing it on the wall, you need to plug it into an electric socket and you’re done.

One advantage of this type of electric fireplace is that you can install it anywhere in your house, the installation is easy and fast, and the electric fireplace becomes a great addition to your house. It is also an advantage that you can install it up high which is away from small children or pets.

The modern design makes it easy to match such fireplace to the style of your interior. A wall-mounted electric fireplace contributes a lot in terms of aesthetics plus it can be installed nearly anywhere.

Electric Fireplace Stoves

A regular fireplace is incredible, but the necessity of removing the ash, providing ventilation, the need for frequent maintenance and several other limitations make things like stove type electric fireplaces actually a better solution in many regards.

If you like the appearance of a classic stove, but don’t want such construction in your house, you can buy an electric stove that looks similar. A freestanding electric fireplace stove doesn’t need any work related to installing it and doesn’t require any other work in the house such as building the ventilation for them. You can set it anywhere around the house, and then plug it into an electric socket and you’re done, you can enjoy realistic flames and warmth that an electric fireplace stove can give.

Their upside is no installation costs of any kind and plenty of useful features such as the ability to adjust the temperature or flame intensity for example. In a good model, the flames effect can be really realistic. The heating power they offer is usually only enough for smaller interiors.

Electric Mantel Fireplaces

You don’t have a classic fireplace at home, but you really like how it looks and would like to have something like that? Just for people like you, the electric fireplace was made, which looks just like a regular fireplace. Mantels were designed to function without need for hard and expensive housework ( drilling the assembly sets or making air vents ).  The structure, on the other hand, looks just like in a regular fireplace that adds a lot of aesthetics to every interior except that this model is electric. Instead of a typical hearth, you will find an electric fireplace insert that looks just as good as a regular fireplace.

Most of them have plenty of useful features that improve the convenience of use, a regular fireplace doesn’t have any gadgets so if you’re a fan of the classic fireplace then you should consider this kind of models.

What to pay attention to ?

Of course first you have to analyze the types of electric fireplaces, so that you can match the model to your interior. A lot depends on your budget, it’s hard to buy a fireplace that is perfect which is why I have prepared a list of important things to pay attention to before a purchase. I suggest to read it before you make the final decision of which electric fireplace will be the best based on that knowledge.

  • Size – A very important thing, the size of a fireplace will have a significant influence on the aesthetics of your interior. I advise against picking large wall-mounted electric fireplaces for small interiors. It is a must before each purchase to measure both the fireplace and the place where you’re planning to place it several times so that you can be 100% sure that everything will fit.
  • Type & Style – As you may know already, there are many types of fireplaces, pick one that matches your interior best. If you have an old fireplace then an insert might be a good solution, if you don’t have a fireplace at all nor a free wall then choose a standalone fireplace, if you have pets and children you’re concerned about then it’s a good idea to consider a wall-mounted fireplace that can be installed high. When it comes to style, in most cases you have a modern design available that fits most interiors ( old and new ) and classic one, most often with wooden finishings, which usually only fits certain types of interiors.
  • Heating power – If your fireplace is meant to be the main source of heat on cool days then check out stronger models, whereas if your fireplace is an addition to the basic heating of the house or you live in a very warm climate then even the lowest power is enough for you to sufficiently heat an interior on a cool evening. If you’re expecting something with a very strong heating power then sadly a better solution will be to check out other types of fireplaces, ovens or any heating devices.
  • check
    Features and Gadgets – I think that the best feature in electric fireplaces is a developed flame adjustment system. I’m not just talking about adjusting the intensity of flames here but also their colors. You need to know that some models offer nearly 10 different colors which allows to create a varying atmosphere in the room, a very useful gadget. Another useful feature is the ability to adjust the temperature and the timer, which will turn off the device after a specified time passes.
  • check
    Authenticity of flames and quality – You have to take into account that very cheap fireplaces have much poorer technology. If you want a satisfying flame effect then you should buy something from at least the medium price range for about $300-$400. Starting from this range, you can usually get models that have realistic flames of high quality, more expensive models also come with sound effects of burning wood which makes the effect of wood burning in the fireplace even more convincing. When it comes to quality then I advise against buying models at very low prices, in my view they are not worth it. It is a much better solution to buy something from at least the middle price range that looks very good and is more durable.

Conclusion

I think that my experience, reviews and tips will make choosing a new electric fireplace easier for you. I can’t clearly pick one winner because as you can see there are many types of fireplaces. It all depends on what type suits you best and which one will best match your interior. I hope that my suggestions will turn out perfect for you and you will be pleased with your purchase. If you believe, however, that there’s something missing in this guide or see some error then let me know, I will happily try to improve this guide where possible.

Related Post