What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (2023)

Electric fireplaces are a common way tobring the experience of having a real fire in a fireplace into your homewithout the downsides of having to setup, maintain and clean a real fire.

Electric fireplaces have become verypopular within the last couple of years, so what is an electric fireplace?

Anelectric fireplace is an electrical appliance that imitates a real fireplacefire using flames effects and a heat source. An electric fireplace runs onelectricity only and can be found in many forms including freestanding, wallmounted and built-in.

We’ve explained what electric fireplacesare in more detail below, including discussing what the different forms ofelectric fireplace are, and showing what our own electric fireplace looks like.

What Is An Electric Fireplace?

Electric fireplaces are a type of fireplace.Fireplaces burn fuel in order to produce heat as well as providing theexperience and enjoyment of having a fire in your home.

Electricfireplaces run on electricity and can’t operatewithout this source of power. In order to use an electric fireplace theytypically need plugging into a nearby electrical outlet and they can be usedstraight out of the box.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (1)

Some forms of electric fireplace, such asbuilt-in, may be required to be direct-wired into home electrics in order towork.

Unlike other forms of fireplace such as gasand wood burning, electric fireplacesdon’t produce real flames.

There’s no fuel to burn in an electricfireplace and so an electrical supply is used to operate a number of electricalcomponents that help to imitate the experience of a real fire.

The flameson an electric fireplace are produced either through LED lights or from the combinationof light sources and rotating mirrors to generate the effect of flickeringflames.

The type and realism of the flame effectsused in an electric fireplace will be influenced by the quality of the product andthe technology used to create the flame effects. More expensive electricfireplaces will typically use more realistic and better quality flames effectsthan cheaper models.

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We have a relatively inexpensive electricfireplace stove in our home and it produces flames using a light source androtating mirrors.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (2)

As our electric fireplace is designed torepresent a wood burning stove, there’s plenty of room within the unit tocontain the components that create these flame effects:

We have a complete guide on how an electric fireplace works in another article here.

As electric fireplaces don’t produce realflames, they therefore need another way to produce the heat that would havebeen generated by a real fire. Electric fireplaces therefore use a separate heater to produce the requiredheat.

Different forms of heater can be found onan electric fireplace, with two most common types of heat being:

  • Fan forced
  • Infrared

Conventional heaters that use a blower toforce air over a heating element can be the most common form of heater found onan electric fireplace. Our electric fireplace stove uses this type of heater.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (4)

Infrared heaters can generally be found onmore expensive models of electric fireplace and have some added benefits overfan forced heaters including larger heating areas and faster heat.

For more information about infrared electric fireplaces we have a complete guide to them here.

Types Of Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces don’t produce realflames and generate heat artificially, and so they can be more flexible inwhere they can be located in your home compared to other types of fireplace.

Many electric fireplaces are also designedto imitate other types of fireplace, such as open wood fireplaces and woodburning stoves.

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Types of electric fireplaces include:

  • Electric fireplace stoves
  • Electric fireplace log sets
  • Built-in electric fireplaces
  • Electric fireplace inserts
  • Wall-mounted or recessedelectric fireplaces
  • Electric fireplace TV stands
  • Electric fireplace mantels

The versatility of electric fireplaceallows them to be placed inside or built into existing fireplaces, be freestandingwhere an electrical outlet is located nearby, or even built into mantels,entertainment centers or walls.

ElectricFireplace Stoves

You can buy electric fireplaces that aredesigned to look like wood burning stoves, with a black stove design, legs andthe effect of roaring flames inside.

We have an electric fireplace stove and itsflexibility in where it can be located means we can move it around our homeinto any room we want to heat as we please.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (5)

We have a guide to the best electric fireplaces stoves right here.

ElectricFireplace Log Sets

Electric fireplace logs imitate the look ofwood logs inside a fireplace grate and so they’re best placed inside anexisting open fireplace for best effect.

These electric log sets produce the look ofa smoldering fire but can also project flames onto the back of the fireplacefirebox. Some higher end logs even have realistic looking smoke effects integratedinto them for added effect.

See the list of best electric fireplace log sets that you buy right now.

Built-inElectric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces can also be built intomany different home installations such as entertainment centers or installeddirectly into walls.

Built-in electric fireplaces can be more ofa permanent solution and are typically direct wired into your home electrics.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (7)
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Check out our complete guide to the best built-in electric fireplaces.

ElectricFireplace Inserts

For a less permanent solution compared tobuilt-in electric fireplaces, electric fireplaces can also be used as insertsinto existing open fireplaces.

Electric fireplaces inserts fit directlyinto an existing open fireplace and a surround can be used to fill any gapbetween the unit and the edge of the fireplace to make it look more built-in.

These fireplace inserts are typicallyplug-in and so you may need to have an electrical outlet installed within thefirebox of your open fireplace.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (8)

For more information see our buyers guide to the best electric fireplace inserts.

Wall Mount Electric Fireplaces

Some models of electric fireplace can alsobe mounted on any wall in your home with a nearby electrical outlet, whichhelps to save space if you’re living in a small home or apartment.

Some models of wall mount electricfireplace also give you the option to partially recess or fully recess theminto walls to save even more space and look more built-in.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (9)

We have a guide to be best wall mount electric fireplaces right here.

ElectricFireplace TV Stands

Electric fireplace TV stands incorporate anelectric fireplace into a TV stand with a range of different features such asopen media consoles areas and storage cabinets to bring you the best all-roundentertainment center for your home.

See our complete buyers guide to the best electric fireplace TV stands.

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ElectricFireplace Mantels

Electric fireplaces can also come in mantelsuites that create the look and feel of an open fireplace in one package.

Electric fireplace mantels are thereforegreat for any home that doesn’t have a real open fireplace or for when you wantto bring the experience of an open fireplace into another room.

What Is An Electric Fireplace? - Fireplace Universe (11)

We have a buyers guide to the best electric fireplace mantels here.

What Is An Electric Fireplace Insert?

Anelectric fireplace insert is an electric fireplace that can be installed ineither an existing open fireplace or frame to imitate the look and feel of areal fireplace.

The following range of electric fireplacescan be categorized as ‘inserts’:

  • Plug-in electric fireplaces
  • Built-in electric fireplaces
  • Electric fireplaces logs

Plug-inelectric fireplace inserts are typically usedinside an open fireplace to turn it from wood-burning to electric.

Built-inelectric fireplace inserts can be used in walls andinstallations such as entertainment centers, as well as being placed inexisting fireplaces for a more permanent solution than plug-in inserts.

Electric fireplace log set inserts are designed to be placed on the base (hearth) of your open fireplace to represent a fireplace grate with burning logs. Unlike plug-in inserts and built-in inserts, log inserts don’t take up the whole opening of an open fireplace.

Further Reading

How An Electric Fireplace Works

How To Use An Electric Fireplace

Things You Need And Don’t Need For An Electric Fireplace

Can An Electric Fireplace Really Heat A Room?

(Video) Why Does My Electric Fireplace Flash When I Push the Heat Button?

Electric Fireplace Common Problems (And Solutions)

Things To Consider When Buying An Electric Fireplace


What is the point of electric fireplace? ›

Electric fireplaces are one of the most efficient ways to heat a home and heat rooms faster and more efficiently than wood-burning fireplaces. Since heat rises, traditional chimney fireplaces let all the heat out through the chimney.

What is needed for electric fireplace? ›

Electric Fireplaces simply require a plug and a wall to start providing instant heat and ambiance. They are a great choice if the typical amount of space required for a wood burning or gas fireplace isn't available, for those who want convenient, no maintenance warmth and the romantic glow of a fire.

Is an electric fireplace a real fire? ›

Electric fireplaces are designed to make life simple. They have no real fire, no smoke and no gas byproducts. In fact, all you have to do is plug yours into a wall outlet, just like you would any other appliance. Then, simply press a button to turn the fireplace on.

Is it worth it to get an electric fireplace? ›

Electric fireplaces can also heat a room faster and more efficiently than wood-burning fireplaces, and they're safe to use. These cost-effective heaters are also one of the most efficient ways to heat a room, which reduces energy costs. To find the best electric fireplace for your home, find a dealer near you.

Do electric fireplaces warm a room? ›

Electric fireplaces work much like space heaters to provide heat to your home, but can an electric fireplace really heat a room? Using an electric fireplace is a great way to heat a room. From testing, an electric fireplace was able to increase the temperature within a room by 13.5°F (7.5°C) within 4 hours.

How long can an electric fireplace stay on? ›

As long as an electric fireplace is plugged into one of your standard home electrical outlets or hard-wired into your home electrics, then these components of an electric fireplace will be able to run indefinitely, within reason.

Can you plug an electric fireplace into a regular outlet? ›

Most electric fireplaces can be plugged into a standard 120 Volt outlet, and no dedicated circuit is required.

Do electric fireplaces have to be vented? ›

Q – Do Electric Fireplaces need venting? A – No, Electric fireplaces do not create any emissions and therefore do not need to be vented through a chimney, direct vent, or other source like gas and wood fireplaces do.

Do electric fireplaces use a lot of electricity? ›

Do Electric Fireplaces Use a Lot of Electricity? Electric fireplaces use approximately the same amount of electricity as the average space heater. Since most fireplaces operate on a standard household outlet, they use 120 volts to power the internal heater and draw about 1,500 watts at 12.5 amps.

Do all electric fireplaces look fake? ›

No, electric fireplaces do not have real flames. However, the best of the bunch using holographic technology look almost as realistic as actual flames without actually setting something on fire.

Do electric fireplaces have sound? ›

An electric fireplace can give you the look and feel of a real wood-burning or gas fireplace with authentic flames, warmth, and even sounds. The sounds can be one of the most beneficial features of your electric fireplace.

What are the disadvantages of an electric fireplace? ›

Electric Fireplace Pros & Cons (The Complete Guide)
Relatively low costMust be near electrical outlet
Can look realisticNo real fire sounds
Different types availableNo real fire smells
Easy to set upNon-serviceable parts
12 more rows
21 Nov 2020

Do electric fireplaces use a lot of electricity? ›

Do Electric Fireplaces Use a Lot of Electricity? Electric fireplaces use approximately the same amount of electricity as the average space heater. Since most fireplaces operate on a standard household outlet, they use 120 volts to power the internal heater and draw about 1,500 watts at 12.5 amps.

Do electric fireplaces save on heating bills? ›

An electric fireplace is extremely energy efficient as outlined in the points above. It's much more efficient than a space heater or an Amish heater when it comes to heating a single room or even a large space. It costs at most, nearly $0.09 per hour at its highest setting.

Are electric fireplaces better than gas? ›

Although gas fireplaces produce more heat than electric fireplaces, an electric fireplace can provide enough heat for a several-hundred-square-foot area. Despite their increased heat production, if your primary concern is cost and energy efficiency, an electric fireplace is undoubtedly a better option.


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